Glasgow Works 1 cable laying tram

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Photo: Paul Abell

Glasgow Corporation Tramways Mains no. 1 is a good example of the type of vehicle that was developed in order to assist in the construction and maintenance of the early electric tramways around the country.  It was built by the Corporation’s own workshops at Coplawhill in 1905, and incorporated parts from the Room and Kitchen single-deckers which were being scrapped at the time. An imposing vehicle, No.1 is essentially a large electrically powered van that was designed to house and transport the very large electrical cable drums that were needed in order to lay, and subsequently maintain, the extensive networks of underground electric cable that enabled the system to operate.  It was officially described as a Cable Laying and Withdrawing Car.

Glasgow works 1 in operation. Photo courtesy of Crich TMS photo archive.




Type of tram
Works car – Mains Dept Cable Layer and Withdrawer
Brown. Originally crimson lake or dark brown, fully lined out in yellow edged with red with fine inner white lining and yellow lettering. [The lining was omitted after the 1930s and ultimately the lettering was omitted also].
Seating capacity
Date built
Manufacturer of body
Glasgow Corporation Tramways
Manufacturer of truck
Originally Brill 21E (the tramcar arrived at Crich on a specially made temporary accommodation truck).
Original: 4’ 7¾” Current: 4’ 8½”
Originally fitted with 2x Westinghouse 49B at 30hp each but no longer has these.
Current collector
Fischer bow collector

Retained its original number during renumbering of the works fleet following the acquisition of the Airdrie and Paisley systems in the early 1920s.
The illuminated ‘CABLE CAR’ destination box is a later addition.

Withdrawn from service

1962 after a period spent in storage

Subsequent history

Sold by GCT, October 1962

Restoration history

Partially restored while in Aberdeen; some damage to a canopy was sustained while in transit to Crich

Current status
Partly-restored; non-operational.
Date started operating at Crich
Total mileage covered at Crich
Current location
Off-site storage facility
  • 1905 – 1949Operational on original tramway
  • 1949 – 1962In storage for part of this period
  • 1962 – 1965In storage at a site near Aberdeen
  • 1965 – 1982Mostly in storage at the main museum site in Crich
  • 1982 – In long-term storage

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.