Great Orme tramcars
These tramcars have been taking visitors up and down the Great Orme since the tramway opened in 1902 (lower section) and 1903 (upper section). A winding station at the top of each section pulls one car upwards on a cable while paying out the cable attached to the other tramcar on the same section. The kinetic energy of the descending car helps to pull its partner car up the slope. The cable runs between the tracks, and in a trough where the tramway runs in the road.
The tramcar bodies still look similar to when they were new. Under the chassis, various alterations included fitting of automatic brakes in 1934. The brakes would be applied if the tramcar exceeded a certain speed.
Cars 4 and 5 operate on the lower section, 6 and 7 on the upper. The numbers 1 to 3 were allocated to vehicles used in the tramway’s construction and long gone.
The poles on the roof originally made contact with a continuous wire above the track. This mobile communications system, long before cell phones, enabled the tram drivers to contact the controller in the winding station at any time, anywhere along the track.
The tramway was originally steam-powered. The winding engine at the halfway house was double the size of its cousin at the summit station, because the lower section is much steeper than the upper. In 1957 electrically powered winding equipment was installed.
Llandudno once had a second tramway, which ran from the town centre and over the headland to Colwyn Bay. It closed in 1956 but enthusiasts who dream of reopening some of the route have restored a tramcar that's almost identical to one of the original Llandudno trams. This tramcar is often paraded at special events in the area.