Replete with embedded German subtitles, Once Upon A Tram (1959) gives a fascinating look at bygone Howth, and one of the Howth Tram’s last runs. Screengrab: YouTube

FINGAL County Council has – for the time being – ruled out the return of the famous Howth tram because it would cost almost €7 million.

 

The popular tourist trams – which ran from Howth harbour to the summit – were phased out by CIE in the late 1950s and replaced with buses.

 

However, a number of locals support the return of the tramway and their case is supported by growing visitor numbers.

 

They would like to see the tramline up and running again between Howth DART station and the Summit pub, which serves as a meeting point for cliff walkers.

 

Locals – backed by some councillors – estimate the service would prove a winner with tourists and attract upwards of 60,000 users a year using the original restored trams.

 

But a study produced by consultants for Fingal County Council estimates it will require an initial outlay of €6.7 million, and may operate at a loss.

 

Jim Kilroy, of the National Transport Museum in Howth, is fully behind the project and has spent his life refurbishing the original vehicles.

 

He anticipates there would be no shortage of volunteers to operate the service. He told The Irish Times: “They need the trams that we have – real, genuine trams.

 

“It would be a dream come true. I travelled on the Hill of Howth tram, I am old enough to remember. I would love to relive that memory.”

 

The local authority says while the proposals are feasible, they are not “currently being considered due to the significant capital cost” and anticipated need to subsidise it.