The Great Orme Tramways Act of 1898 provided for the construction of a cable tramway rising to the summit of the Great Orme headland at Llandudno.
It was promoted and operated by the Great Orme Tramways Company Ltd, and consisted of two separate sections, with the cable-winding house situated at Halfway station between the two sections.
The lower section was opened on 31st July 1902, commencing at Victoria station in Church Walks, Llandudno, climbing to the Halfway station at an average gradient of 1 in 6.5.
It was designed to operated on the funicular system, with a car attached to each end of a cable running in a conduit down the centre of the track.
The upper section was opened on 8th July 1903 and connected the Halfway station to the Summit station at an average gradient of 1 in 15.5. Since that year the service has been operated in the summer season only.
In 1935 ownership of the Great Orme Tramway passed to the Great Orme Railway Ltd., by which name it was known until 1977.
In 1949, Llandudno Urban District Council, who had powers to compulsorily purchase the operation at seven yearly intervals, exercised their option and acquired the tramway.
Llandudno UDC did not operate motorbuses until the late 1920’s, principally because, as in the case of neighbouring Colwyn Bay, there were already adequate facilities provided by the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Electric Railway, and Crosville Motor Services, but in March 1928 powers to operate motorbuses were granted.
On the 30th July 1928, the first service along the Marine Drive, which circles the Great Orme headland for a distance of some five miles, commenced.
It was to have been supplemented with additional services from North Coast to West Coast, and a service along the North Bay, but these never materialised.
The initial fleet consisted of two toast rack vehicles, a Dennis G and a Guy, both liveried in maroon and seating 20 and 18 respectively. In the following two years four similar vehicles, all with toastrack bodywork were purchased.
In 1928, a depot in Builder Street West was opened in order to accommodate the vehicles.
A second tourist service was inaugurated in 1950, from Prince Edward Square travelling via the Little Orme and Gloddaeth Woods to Llanrhos, returning via the West Shore.
The following year, a stage carriage service to St. Tudno’s Church on the Great Orme commenced. During this decade the fleet size reached its maximum of seventeen vehicles, and the livery was modified to maroon and cream.
Although route modifications were made in 1953 and 1954 the basic route network remained subsequently unchanged.
In 1968 two Dennis Pax vehicles were delivered and heralded a change in livery to dark blue and cream.
On 1st April 1974 Llandudno UDC became part of the new Aberconwy District Council in the county of Gwynedd.
All the bus services and vehicles, including the Great Orme Tramway were transferred to the new authority, marking the end of Llandudno UDC as an independent municipal operator.
In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); Municipal Buses in Colour 1959-1974 (Reg Wilson, Ian Allan 1997); PSV Circle Fleet History PC16A; Buses (various editions).