As the funeral carriage rolls past Westland Row on Great Brunswick Street, Bloom notices a sudden vigorous action in the street: "A pointsman's back straightened itself upright suddenly against a tramway standard by Mr Bloom's window." Pointsmen (called switchmen in the U.S.) were railway workers stationed at track junctions to pull on metal levers that opened one line or another to oncoming trains. In The Bloomsday Trams (2009), David Foley observes that "An example of a standard is now preserved at the national Transport Museum" (4), which is located inside the main gates of Howth Castle. 

John Hunt 2023

1937 photograph said to show a tramway pointsman on Nassau Street, in central Dublin. Source: www.pinterest.com.

Manually operated switch on a Finnish rail line, with arrow indicating the present setting of the points. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Caricature of a pointsman looking confusedly at his "standard" in the 19 October 1872 issue of Punch magazine. Source: joyceimages.com.