Wakefield and District Light Railways

Summary
The W&DLR existed as a separate entity for barely 9 months before it was subsumed into the newly formed Yorkshire (West Riding) Electric Tramways Company. The influence of the W&DLR was however to last much longer, as the Y(WR)ETCo appears to have adopted the former's uniform policy - as well as much else - lock stock and barrel, only changing the system title, for example, on badges, buttons and tramcars. This was probably because the newly formed Y(WR)ETCo had yet to build any lines of its own, so effectively had no pre-existing uniform policy to follow.

Motormen and conductors were issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons (see link), two breast pockets (with button closures), upright collars and epaulettes (again with button closures); the upright collars carried an employee number on the bearer's left-hand side, and probably on the right-hand side as too, though proof is currently lacking. Caps were in the military style and carried a large oval cap badge comprising a garter, within which was the full system title - 'Wakefield and District Light Railways' - surrounding, in the centre of the badge, the system's initials: 'WD&LRY' (oddly not plural). Tramcar crews were also issued with long, double-breasted overcoats with high, fold-over collars; they do not appear to have carried any badges. A single photograph exists showing a motorman wearing the distinctively shaped Wakefield municipal licence; these however do not appear in any other photographs, either of the W&DLR or its successor, the Y(WR)ETCo, so may have only been used for a very short time.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets edged in a finer material than the main body, with hidden buttons - or an hook and eye affair - two breast pockets and upright collars; the latter almost certainly carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering. Caps appear to have been in the kepi style and probably carried the designation 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, possibly on a hat band.

For a detailed history of the Wakefield and District Light Railways, see 'The Tramways of Dewsbury and Wakefield' by W Pickles; Light Rail Transit Association (1980).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Wakefield and District Light Railway Tram No 12
Motorman and conductor with what is evidently a nearly new, or brand new, Tramcar No 12 - photo undated, but probably taken shortly after delivery in 1904 given that the vehicle still has curtains (these did not last long at all) and a bulkhead oil lamp. Author's collection.


Wakefield and District Light Railway Tram No 12 and crew
Blow-up of the above photo showing details of the crew men, both of whom are wearing single-breasted jackets with collar insignia and military-style caps with prominent oval cap badge (see below).


Wakelfield and District Light Railway cap badge
Wakefield and District Light Railways cap badge - nickel. The precise form of this cap badge, but with a different title (see link), was used for the W&DLR's successor company, the Yorkshire (West Riding) Electric Tramways Co Ltd.


Wakefield and District Light Railway Tram No 29 and crew
W&DLR Tramcar No 29 at the Sandal terminus in 1904. The motorman is clearly wearing a Wakefield municipal licence, which is not evident in any other photograph, either of the W&DLR or its successor, the Y(WR)ETCo. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.