Aberdare Urban District Council Tramways

Despite the fact that Aberdare UDC Tramways opened as late as 1913, photographs that show staff in anything other than greatcoats — at least taken prior to the 1930s — are yet to surface. However, as the uniforms used by Aberdare trolleybus and bus staff were almost certainly the same, and photographs of them have survived, it is highly likely that tramway crews wore single-breasted jackets with six nickel buttons (bearing a monogram and title — see link), two breast pockets (with button closures) and upright collars; the latter probably bore an employee on the bearer's left-hand side (in individual nickel numerals) and system initials (possibly 'A U D C T' or 'A C T') on the right-hand side (in individual nickel letters). Caps were in the military style with a glossy peak and bore a standard, 'off-the-shelf', script-lettering grade badge — either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' — in nickel. In the last few years of the system's life, a switch was made to single-breasted jackets with four buttons, two waist pockets and lapels; the upper part of the latter (i.e the collars), appears to have carried embroidered system initials — again either 'AUDCT' or 'ACT' — on both sides.

The vast majority of surviving photographs show tramway staff in long, double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons, high fold-over collars and epaulettes (with button closures); the latter probably bore an employee number on both sides.

Photographs of inspectors taken prior to the 1930s have not survived, so it is currently impossible to say what uniforms were worn. By the 1930s however, they were certainly wearing jackets of a very similar style to those issued to tramcar staff, namely: single-breasted jackets with two waist pockets, four buttons and lapels; it is possible that the latter bore the grade — 'Inspector' — in embroidered script lettering, though this cannot be made out with certainty on surviving photographs. Caps were also in the same style as issued to tramcar staff, but with the grade — 'Inspector' — in embroidered script lettering, and braiding on the peak. Inspectors were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of four buttons (possibly plain black composite), three waist-level pockets and high, fold-over collars; the latter bore the grade — 'Inspector' — in embroidered script lettering.

Aberdare - like most UK tramways — almost certainly employed female staff during the Great War to replace men lost to the armed services. Photographs have however yet to come to light, so it is currently not known what uniforms, if any, these ladies wore.


Motormen and conductors
Aberdare Urban District Tramways Tram No 13 and crew
Conductor and motorman in heavy-duty greatcoats, pose for the cameraman, with what is likely to be a new, or at least nearly new, Tramcar No 13, dating the photograph to circa 1913. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society.

Aberdare Council Tramways cap badges
Standard 'off-the-shelf' script-lettering cap badges of the type worn by Aberdare staff — nickel.

Aberdare UDC Tramways driver
Motorman at the controls of an unidentified open-top tramcar (probably of the No 21 to 26 series) on the 29th August 1930. Photo by Dr H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.

Aberdare Urban District Council Tramways last day
A staff photo taken on 31st March 1935, presumably to mark the last day of tramway operation. Note the excellent condition of the tram.

Aberdare Urban District Council Tramways last day
A blow-up of the above photo showing four of the tramcar staff, who are wearing metal script-lettering grade badges, 'Motorman' and 'Conductor'. The collar badges appear to be embroidered, and are possibly the system initials, 'AUDCT'.

Senior staff
Aberdare Urban District Council Tramways Inspectors
A group of three inspectors in their overcoats, taken from the last day photograph above. The braided caps carry 'Inspector' in embroidered script, as do their overcoat collars.

A photograph of an inspector in single-breasted jacket, with braided cap and somewhat unusually, wearing what appears to be a licence.

Female staff