Llandudno Urban District Council
Llandudno UDC was one of Britain’s smaller municipal fleets, and unlike most municipalities, it’s services were aimed at tourists rather than local residents. A fleet of small buses was built up for use principally on the Marine Drive, a 5 mile scenic road around the base of the Great Orme, a 679ft high headland which dominates the local scenery. In the early fifties, a second tour was added which took in some of the inland countryside and then circled the Marine Drive. In 1951 a stage service was introduced which connected the town centre with St. Tudno’s Church, near the summit of the Orme. Two Foden coaches were purchased for this spectacular route; it was said that the journey took 17 minutes, of which nine minutes were in first gear!
CCC 596 was one of a pair of similar vehicles bought in 1954; they were small enough to operate the Marine Drive tour, but could also be used on the St. Tudno’s stage service at quieter times. Like the Fodens, they were fitted with "Spragg Equipment", a safety device which apparently prevented the vehicles running back on the gradient. These were the last new buses to be bought by Llandudno UDC for fourteen years, until a pair of Dennis buses, based on a lorry chassis, were bought to replace the Fodens. in 1968.
On summer Sunday mornings an open air service was held in St. Tudno’s graveyard, and virtually the whole fleet was pressed into service to carry the crowds; the smaller vehicles ran round part of the Marine Drive before climbing a zig-zag road with easier gradients.
When new these buses, like the rest of the fleet, were painted maroon and cream. In the late sixties they was repainted blue and cream, a livery introduced on the Dennis’s. In 1974, Llandudno UDC was taken over by the new Aberconwy Borough Council, and the red and grey livery shown here was introduced. Bedford SB buses were purchased for the St. Tudno’s route, and several second hand Bedford VAS coaches took over the Marine Drive Tour. Later the stage service passed to Crosville, which resulted in Leyland Nationals climbing the Grat Orme. At this time the upper terminus was moved from St. Tudno’s to the Summit Car Park. After a spell with minibuses, Crosville’s successor, Arriva, now uses Dennis Darts, although only three journeys a day reach the Summit.
The size limit on the Marine Drive no longer applies, and nowadays Alpine Coaches run "Vintage" tours on the Marine Drive using Leyland Tiger Cubs, while the annual Transport Gathering in May sees a variety of old buses and lorries circumnavigating the Orme.
This view shows CCC 596 approaching St Tudno’s Church on the Sunday morning alternative route from the Marine Drive.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown
29/10/13 – 13:29
Nice view, Don, and a very interesting caption. Thanks for posting. I’ve only ever been to Llandudno once, on a boat trip from Liverpool. It was running so late that my parents and I just had time to disembark and join the queue for boarding again!
30/10/13 – 07:15
I remember taking the Marine Drive trip in the mid 50’s but we had a small normal control Guy, definitely petrol engined but I don’t know what model.
I also remember the Fodens on the mountain route. Formidable looking machines!
30/10/13 – 11:54
Here’s a webpage with full details of all the early buses going to Great Orme.
I like the Guy Wolf, which had detachable sides. It states that a surprising number of these vehicles survive and there’s a photo of a selection on the GO at the bottom of the page.
Link to view: www.llantransfest.co.uk/l
31/10/13 – 07:27
This is shown in Classic Bus 127 and described as a Dennis Stork school bus owned by the former London County Council!
19/10/16 – 06:17
Nope this is one of only 2 Guy Otters new in 1954 to Llandudno and District Urban Council. They were fitted with a ratchet brake so as to stop them sliding back on the steep hill of the Great Orme.
They were registered CCC 596 and CCC 597.
As far as we know CCC 597 was used as a hen hut.
CCC 596 was bought by Alpine Coaches of Llandudno in about 1992 and Mike Jones an Alpine Mechanic (and my brother) spent over a 1000 hours restoring it.
We travelled to many shows in the 90’s with it and won many trophies.
Alpine still own it but it doesn’t get out much these days.