75 YEARS
of Llandudno Urban District Council Transport

In March 1928 Llandudno Urban District Council was successful in obtaining a license to operate a fleet of omnibuses for the benefit of visitors to the resort. It was explained that the services would not be of the ordinary sort, and would be operated solely to enable their patrons to enjoy the scenery of the district. Accordingly it was agreed with the Electric Railway Company that they would not pick up passengers close to the tramway. Services would operate only during a 22 week summer season, and intially there were two vehicles - a Guy and a Dennis.

1929 Dennis CC8671 1929 Dennis CC9424

The first service was operated from 30th July 1928 on a circular journey around the Great Orme's Marine Drive, starting and ending at Prince Edward Square. The service was sufficiently popular that a further four Dennis vehicles with similar 'toastrack' bodies were purchased for the 1929 season. Records suggest that around 82,000 passengers were carried that year.

1938 Guy Wolf JC2772 1938 Guy Wolf (Barnard) JC5313

The fleet remained unchanged until 1935, when the original Guy was replaced by a new Guy Wolf with a body carrying detachable side panels, and in 1937 the original Dennis was replaced by a coach-bodied Commer with a roll-back canvas roof. In 1938 another such vehicle joined the fleet.

After the second war, the fleet was augmented by three Barnard-bodied Guy Wolf vehicles, and the cable-tramway to the summit of the great Orme was purchased by the council in 1948. This ushered in a period of expansion, when stage carriage services were started to St Tudno's Church on the Great Orme and an express carriage service via Little Orme, Glanwydden and the West Shore. In 1951 two Fodens and three Guy Wolf buses, all with Metalcraft bodies, entered service. The Fodens were used on the St Tudno's service, being fitted with sprag gear to prevent run-back on the exceptionally steep (1 in 4) climb. It was reckoned that over 50% of the 17 minute journey was spent in first gear! These buses also provided a year-round service to the Great Orme, as the tramway only operated in Summer. From 1953 the services on the Orme were extended by running express shuttles to St.Tudno's Church for the extremely popular open-air service at 11:00 on Sunday - up to 1300 people being transported at times. Further Guy Otter buses were added to the fleet in 1954 and the fleet reached maximum strength at 17 vehicles operated.
1951 Guy Wolf AJC550
1954 Guy Otter CCC596

Prince Edward Square, Llandudno May 1999 No further vehicles joined the fleet until 1968 when two Dennis PAX buses replaced the Fodens on the mountain route, and introduced a new blue livery which was applied to all the forward-control buses in the fleet. Maroon and cream was retained for the normal-control buses. In 1974 the old UDC was amalgamated as part of the new Aberconwy Borough Council, and new liveries of red and grey were applied to the vehicles over the ext two years. The bus stand at Prince Edward Square was significantly changed, with benches for waiting passengers. In 1976 two new Bedford SB5 buses were purchased, followed by two second-hand Bedford VAS5's. Buses of this type continued to be used until the end of services operated by the council.

Since that time, there have been many changes, and now the old tour bus stand has gone completely, swept away in a complete remodelling of the road layout in 2000. The last vehicles to be owned by Conwy Borough Council were disposed of in 1999, and the Great Orme tour bus is operated by Alpine from a lay-by at the end of the pier. An open-top tour of Llandudno and Conwy is also operated by them under the name of Guide Friday.

Llandudno UDC Rally A surprising number of ex-Llandudno buses are now in preservation, and it is hoped to gather the maximum number together for the celebrations this year. Click here for the Click here for the FLEET LISTING and current status.

I am indebted to Geoff Lumb, and Fare Stage (the magazine of the Omnibus Society, July 1978) for the historical details presented here.