Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway

Summary
It is currently unclear what uniforms were worn in the earliest years of operation (1909 to 1920), as photographs showing staff are surprisingly rare; what has surivived however, suggests that tramcar staff may have been issued with single-breasted jackets with five buttons and upright collars. From the 1920s onwards, the photographic record is increasingly rich, and it is clear that both conductors and motormen wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of four buttons (plain with scalloped rims - see link), two waist pockets and lapels; the upper left lapel appears to have born individual metal initials 'L C B E R', probably in nickel.

Caps were in a military style with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top); they bore script-lettering grade badges - either Conductor or Motorman - though in later years Driver frequently made an appearance. The caps and uniforms remained essentially unchanged right through to the tramway's closure in 1956.

Motormen and conductors were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats for use in more inclement weather, and light-weight coats for summer use (colour photos suggest that the latter may have been light grey, though this is uncertain). Both types of coat appear not to have borne any insignia. White rain covers were also worn on the caps in summer.

In common with a small number of other seaside tramway systems, so-called 'Jumper' conductors were employed in the summer months; the name stems from the practice of jumping from tramcar to tramcar to assist the resident conductors in fare collection on the heavily patronised summer trams. They usually worked the eastbound services from Palladium Corner, either doing the top deck of the double-deck cars or helping out on the toast-racks, before alighting at or before Craig-y-Don, then riding back (as a passenger) to Palladium Corner to start all over again (with thanks to John Bird for this information).

Photographic evidence of inspectors is relatively thin on the ground, but what little there is (post World War Two) indicates that they wore double-breasted jackets with two rows of black buttons (probably unmarked), two waist pockets and lapels. The jackets appear to have borne 'L C B E R' in embroidered lettering on the right-hand upper lapel, whilst the left possibly bore Inspector, again in embroidered script lettering. Caps were similar to those worn by tramcar staff, but bore Inspector in embroidered script lettering on a hatband, rather than the metal badge issued to tramcar staff.

Although female staff were employed by the vast majority of tramways during the Great War - to replace male staff lost to the armed forces - it is believed that the L&CBER never did so (thanks to Keith Turner for this information). In contrast, they certainly employed conductresses during the Second World War, and continued to do so in the post-war years, though photographic evidence is frustratingly sparse. What little exists seems to show that these ladies wore jackets and trousers that were similar to their male colleagues, but appropriately tailored.

For a history of the system, see: 'The Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway' by Keith Turner; The Oakwood Press (2007).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 22
Conductor and motorman pose in front of Tramcar No 14 in Penrhyn Avenue, formerly Tramway Avenue, on 21st May 1933. Photo by H Nicol, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway cap badges
Script-lettering cap badges of the pattern worn by Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway staff - nickel. Author's Collection.


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 22
A motorman poses for the camera at the controls of Tramcar No 22 at Craigside - photo undated, but almost certainly taken in the 1950s. Photo by N Willis, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 22
Tramcar No 22 again, this time in Conway Rd on 30th May 1955. Note that the motorman is wearing a Driver script-lettering cap badge. The bearer's upper right-hand lapel appears to bear individual metal initials 'L C B E R'. Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 19
Conductor and motorman with Tramcar No 19 at the Llandudno end of Gloddaeth Street in 1956. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


llandudno and Colwyn Bay tram driver
A motorman takes the opportunity for a brief snooze in the interior of Tramcar No 6 - 10th June 1955. Once again the cap carries a Driver script-lettering badge rather than the usual Motorman. This type of interior crew shot was seemingly a favourite of the photographer, M J O'Connor (courtesy of the National Tramway Museum).


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 22
Another shot of Tramcar No 22, this time at Bodafon Crossing on 29th May 1955, evidently a chilly day given that the motorman is wearing a greatcoat (with passengers wrapped up too). Photo by M J O'Connor, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway 19
Motorman and conductor in summer attire (light-coloured coats and white rain covers on their caps) ascending the Little Orme aboard Tramcar No 19 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1950s. Photo by D W K Jones, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Senior staff
Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway inspector
An inspector stands in the depot yard at Rhos (Tramcar No 5 behind him) - photo undated, but probably taken in the last few years before closure. Photo by D W K Jones, courtesy of the National Tramway Museum.


Female staff
Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway conductress
A poor quality but rare view showing an L&CBER conductress (extreme left) in the act of reversing the trolley pole of Tramcar No 1 (an ex Accrington vehicle) at the Conway Rd terminus in Colwyn Bay - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.