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Dublin used to have a pretty amazing public transport system

But we had to go and rip the whole thing up.

THE LUAS CROSS City development has been ongoing for the past two years.

The new development will connect the existing red and green lines.

While an additional 10 million journeys a year will be facilitated in the city, major traffic delays across the city have been caused and the line will not be operational until the end of 2017.

This is all a bit strange considering the fact that Dublin’s tram system used to look like this…

Dublin's tram system Wikicommons / Kelly Wikicommons / Kelly / Kelly

View the full-sized image here. 

Up until the 1920s the main mode of public transportation around the city was its tramways.

Ther service came into existence in 1865 and, according to Moving Through Modernity: Space and Geography in Modernism, was considered “one of the most impressive in the world” by 1904.

On the old system, Dublin had pretty comprehensive coverage.

Examples of some of the routes in service at the time included:

  • Phoenix Park to Ballsbridge
  • O’Connell Street to Dalkey
  • O’Connell Street to Howth
  • Rathfarnham to Drumcondra via Harold’s Cross

What brought about the end for Dublin’s tramways was the rise of the bus service in the city. Buses proved to be more mobile and had the ability to travel to areas that were a long distance away from tram stops. Dublin’s first official bus route opened in 1925, running from Killester via Clontarf to the city centre.

Coming towards the end of the 1940s, the use of trams in the city went into rapid decline, as shown in this table in an article published in the Journal of Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland in 1955.

dublin buses How transportation in the city changed coming into the 1950s Stewart Stewart

Click here to view a larger version of the above table. 

The last tram journey taken in the city before the establishment of the Luas was on the Hill of Howth line on 31 May 1959. 

Read: Here’s how Dublin was served by trams over 100 years ago

Also: Ireland’s railways could be the next up for privatisation…

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