Great Orme Tramway/Railway

Summary
Photos of the first 20 years or so of the Great Orme Tramway, which clearly show crew members, are extremely rare, so very little can be said about this era with any degree of certainty. The early photo below would seem to suggest that drivers initially wore smart single-breasted jackets with lapels, along with a shirt and tie, and a soft-topped cap, the entire ensemble being devoid of insignia; however, the photo may in fact show a 'proving' run, an operation which would probably have preceded the issuing of uniforms. Photographs taken in the 1930s through to the 1950s clearly show that drivers and conductors wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons and lapels, apparently without any insignia. Headgear took the form of a soft-topped cap with a glossy peak and a large oval cap badge of unknown pattern, probably metallic (judging by the photos below which show a strong reflection). Given the sparsity of the photographic record, it may well be that these, or similar uniforms, were in fact worn during the preceding decades.

The vast majority of photos taken from the 1940s through to the 1960s show crews wearing long cotton dust coats (probably light brown), presumably over their uniform jackets, or in hot weather, instead of them; these coats appear to have been plain, i.e. without badges of any kind. By the1960s however, an increasing proportion of photographs show crews without uniforms, or with just the light-coloured dust coats.

A uniform policy appears to have been reintroduced once again in the 1970s/80s, possibly at the same time as the rebranding of 1977 - to the Great Orme Tramway from the Great Orme Railway - after which time photos show staff wearing light blue shirts and ties, along with single-breasted jackets with gold embellishment on the cuffs; caps seem not to have been issued. In recent decades (the late 1990s through to the present day), staff are frequently seen in waterproof and/or fleece jackets, with a large logo emblazoned on the bearer's left-hand breast; once gain, headgear of any kind appears to have been eschewed.

As far as I am aware, other than the manager, the Great Orme Tramway never employed inspectors or senior uniformed staff of any kind. Additionally, although the GOT may have employed female staff during the Great War and the Second World War, there is currently no evidence whatsoever - either documentary or photographic - that would suggest they ever did so.

For a more detailed history of the line, see 'The Great Orme Railway' by R C Anderson (Light Railway Transport League), later reprinted as 'Great Orme Tramway, The First 80 Years' (Light Rail Transit Association).

Images

Drivers and conductors
Great Orme Tramways 1900s
Tramcars No 4 and 5 at the lower section passing loop - photo undated, but probably early Edwardian. The tramcars carried curtains for the first two years, so the above photo was either taken after this, or more probably, judging by the pristine condition of the vehicles and track, this was a proving run in taken in 1902. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramway Edwardian driver
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, who appears to be wearing a smart jacket and soft-topped cap, without a cap badge. If this was indeed a proving run, the lack of uniform may merely mean that they had yet to be issued.


Great Orme Tramway No 5
Great Orme Tramways No 5 in Old Rd - photo undated, but judging by the livery and the fashions, probably taken in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramways Tram No 5 and driver 1930s
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor, who is wearing a light-coloured dust jacket with a cap and a metallic cap badge.


Great Orme Tram No 4
Virtually the identical location, but this time of Tramcar No 4 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramways driver 1950s
A blow-up of the driver above ,who is clearly wearing a double-breasted uniform jacket, along with a cap bearing a highly reflective - i.e. metallic - cap badge.


Great Orme Railway No 6 and No 7 1953
Trams No 6 and No 7 at the upper section passing loop on the 30th August 1953. Photo by R B Parr, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Great Orme Railway Tramway driver 1953
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver of Tram No 6. Whilst the cap would appear to be a formal issue (with oval cap badge), the overcoat is probably the driver's own, i.e. self-purchased.


Great Orme Railway Tram No 5 Victoria Station
Tram No 5 just entering the Victoria Station terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Photo by F Wilson, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Great Orme Tramway driver 1950s
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver, who is wearing a light-coloured summer dust coat. The soft-topped cap bears a cap badge, the precise form of which remains unknown.


Great Orme Tramway No 7 in 1950s
The driver and conductor of Tram No 7 reversing the communication poles at the summit terminus - undated, but probably taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Great Orme Tramway Driver 1950
A blow-up of the above photo showing the driver who, apart from his cap, appears to be in informal attire.


Great Orme Tramway conductor
Another blow-up of the above photo, this time showing the conductor, a grade which appears to have largely evaded the attention of photographers, probably because most shots were of trams approaching the cameraman. He is clearly wearing a double-breasted uniform jacket.


Great Orme Tramway Tram No 4 and drover
The driver spares a glance for the cameraman as he eases Tramcar No 4 into Victoria Street station - photo undated, but probably taken in the early 1960s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramway driver 1960s 70s
Tram No 4 photographed on the 2nd June 1968. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramways Tram No 4 and driver
The driver of Tramcar No 4 in short-sleeved shirt and tie - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1980s or 1990s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramway No 5 and driver
A driver or conductor aboard Tramcar No 5, in smart blue jacket with gold cuff embellishment at Victoria St terminus - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1990s or early 2000s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Great Orme Tramway No 5 and driver
The driver of Tramcar No 5 in what appears to be a formal fleece-style jacket with logo - photo undated, but probably taken in the first decade of the 21st Century. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.