Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway

Summary
The Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway was rather ill-conceived, and though steep, was clearly far too short to have ever stood a chance of turning a profit. The bleak financial realities were however further compounded by a series of operating difficulties, some of them self-inflicted, such that the concern, which only opened in August 1898, closed for good in October 1901, barely two years later. Surviving photographs are few, and of rather poor quality, so it is only possible to say that staff (driver and conductor) appear to have been issued with kepi-style caps, along with jackets with lapels; the latter may of course have been self-purchased, i.e. informal. No buttons or insignia are known to have survived, though given the small number of staff (two vehicles) and the short period of operation, this is hardly surprising, even if it is assumed that they once existed, which is far from certain.

For more on this ill-fated and short-lived line, see: 'A Tramway Fiasco' by J H Price; Modern Tramway and Light Rapid Transit 42, p410–417 (1979).

Images

Cable tram drivers and conductors
Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway Tram
A driver and conductor pose for the cameraman with what would appear to be a stationary car, as the electric trolley (presumably for lighting and communication) is positioned for the downward journey and the men are therefore at the wrong end of the car. Photo courtesy of David Beynon.


Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway Tram
A blow-up of the above photograph, which suggests that the crew are wearing kepi-style caps, along with open-necked jackets, which may or may not indicate a uniform.


Swansea Constitution Hill Incline Tramway Tram
Another photograph, again of rather poor quality, which tentatively suggests that a uniform may have been worn. Photo courtesy of David Beynon.