Darlington Corporation Light Railways

History
Although Darlington Corporation took over the town's horse tramways in January 1902, it never actually worked the services itself, instead preferring to lease the operation to a Mr C J O'Dowd (see link), who ran them until closure in August 1903. The Corporation began its life as a tramway operator some ten months later in June 1904 with the inauguration of electric services. The final tramcars ran on the 10th April 1926.

Uniforms
Motormen and conductors were issued with double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of buttons (narrowing from top to bottom) and upright collars; the latter carried an employee number on the left-hand side in individual numerals, and the system initials — 'D C L R' — on the right-hand side, all almost certainly in brass to match the municipal buttons (see link). Caps were in a military style with a glossy peak and tensioned crown (top); they carried standard, 'off the shelf', script-lettering grade badges, either Motorman or Conductor, again almost certainly in brass. The style of the uniforms and the insignia do not appear to have changed at all during the entire course of the tramway's relatively short existence (1904 to 1926).

Tramcar staff were also issued with double-breasted greatcoats with two rows of five buttons and high, fold-over collars; these garments do not appear to have borne insignia of any kind.

Inspectors wore typical senior staff tramway jackets, single-breasted with hidden buttons (or more likely a hook and eye affair), edged in a finer material than the main jacket, and with upright collars; the latter carried the grade — Inspector — in embroidered script lettering. Caps were in the same military style used by tramcar staff, only differing in the cap badge, which once again was in embroidered script lettering. Inspectors were also issued with double-breasted overcoats with two rows of five buttons and lapels, the upper part of which carried the designation Inspector, again in embroidered script lettering.

Women were employed in the Great War — certainly as conductresses, and possibly also as motorwomen — to replace male staff lost to the armed services. These ladies were issued with tailored single-breasted jackets with lapels and long matching skirts; it is currently unclear if they carried badges of any kind. Hats — at least in summer — took the form of dark-coloured straw bonnets, which may have borne a grade badge, though this cannot be stated with certainty. Female staff were also issued with long, tailored, single-breasted coats with large lapels; the latter appear to have borne an employee number on the left-hand side.

Further reading
For a short history of Darlington's horse and electric tramways, see: 'The Light Railways of Darlington' by G S Hearse, in The Tramway Review (Volume 2, No 11, p49-58); Light Railway Transport League (1953).

Images

Motormen and conductors
Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 13 and crew
A motorman and conductor pose for the camera with Tramcar No 13 at Cockerton — photo undated, but probably taken not long after opening judging by the pristine condition of the tramcar. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram driver No 22
A blow-up of the above photo showing the motorman and his collar insignia: employee number on the left-hand side (22) and system initials — 'D C L R' — on the right-hand side.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways cap badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Darlington Corporation Light Railways — brass. Author's Collection.



Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 2 and crew
A conductor, motorman and an inspector with Tramcar No 2 at the Eastbourne terminus — photo undated, but given the excellent condition of the tram, probably taken in 1903 or 1904.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 2 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductor and motorman.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 13 at Eastbourne terminus
The crew of Tramcar No 13 at the Eastbourne terminus — photo undated, but probably taken shortly after the inauguration of electric services. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Tram Staff April 1908
A staff photo taken at Freemans Place depot in April 1908. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways conductors 1908
A blow-up of the above photo showing three of the conductors and a motorman.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 15 at Barton St terminus
The crew of Tramcar No 15 pose for the cameraman at the Barton Street terminus shortly before the Great War. Both men are wearing double-breasted greatcoats, seemingly without badges of any kind. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways conductor 1912
A rare studio portrait of a DCLR conductor, postally used on the 15th January 1912. The back is signed 'Arthur', which may well be the subject's name. Author's Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railway conductor
A blow-up of the above photo showing details of the cap and collar insignia — 'D C L R on the bearer's right-hand collar, and employee number ('3') on the left.


Senior staff
Darlington Corporation Light Railways inspector
A blow-up of the early Edwardian photograph of Tramcar No 2 above, showing the inspector. His overcoat and the upright collars of his jacket underneath both appear to carry his grade — Inspector — in embroidered script-lettering. In all probability, his cap also carries the same embroidered designation, though this cannot be made out on the photograph.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Eastbourne Tram No 12
The crew of Tramcar No 12, together with an inspector, standing in sylvan surrounding at the terminus at Eastbourne — photo undated, but probably early to mid Edwardian. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways inspector
A blow-op of the above photo showing the inspector (right).


Darlington Corporation Light Railways tram inspector
A blow-up of the 1908 staff photo above showing an inspector — the embroidered script-lettering grade on his collars and cap can just be made out.


Female staff
Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 15 and crew
The crew of Tramcar No 15 pose for the camera at the terminus at Eastbourne — photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 15 and crew
A blow-up of the above photo showing the conductress and the motorman (Harry Auckland, later an inspector). Both the subjects are wearing a small round badge, the conductress on her right lapel and the motorman on his cap; these may signify that they were on War Service, though this is pure conjecture. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.


Darlington Corporation Light Railways Tram No 17 and female crew Great War
A DCLR conductress, and possibly a motorwoman, with Tramcar No 17 at the Harrowgate Hill terminus — photo undated, but certainly taken during the Great War or shortly thereafter. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Lockwood Collection.