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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Single Deck Trams - PS Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Electric Tramway

John Woodman

Referring back to my recent Blog on the subject of UK single deck tram operation, and more particularly my reference to the North Wales coastal line at Llandudno I was sharply reminded by that amazingly knowledgeable tramcar expert, Derek Redmond, that the operator also acquired a sizeable fleet of double deck cars from Bournemouth when the latter system opted for trolleybuses. In fact one survivor of Llandudno's open top ex Bournemouth fleet survives at Crich tramway museum - having been moved from its former static display venue on the south coast.

Of course Llandudno also acquired a small number of working class single deck trams from Accrington which provided all-weather service replacing open toastracks on rainy days and during winter months up until closure in 1956. Such a pity this fascinating operation could not linger on a little longer, until heritage preservation movements took hold to conserve unique operations in similar fashion to emergence of vintage steam railways - for new generations to sample.

The loss of the Llandudno system was just one of several classic first generation tramways which succumbed to operators' postwar aversion in favour of diesel buses. Swansea and Mumbles, Giants Causeway, Hill of Howth (in the Republic of Ireland) being among the discarded heritage lines lost to history. Only Blackpool's tramway survived more or less intact (at least until the early 1960s) providing a rare opportunity of sampling pre-war tram operation with a mostly single deck fleet. It was joined (up to 1962) by Glasgow Corporation which had to pace itself running down the second largest tram system in the British Isles (after the capital). Glasgow's staff had the decency to maintain three unusual 'oddities' in the otherwise standard double deck fleet, more or less to the end of operation. One of these was the only single deck bogie car 1089 based in Partick Depot emerging as an 'extra' on shipyard peak hour workings. Known as 'Wee Baldie' for its pale cream domed roofline - the tram's unique role was recognised by enthusiasts and management alike to become a prized exhibit in the marvellous transport museum on Clydebank. Below : GCT Number 1089 resplendent in Glasgow Corporation colours with a regular destination displayed from its service along Clydebank. Note the craftsmanship of Coplawhill Works in constructing the driver's cabs.


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