Saturday, 12 September 2015

Who mourned the passing of the trolley bus?

I was too young to have caught one of those old Corporation trams.

Even so I have  a soft spot for these tall stately vehicles which dominated our towns and cities for over half a century.

But I have less time for the trolley bus which began replacing them in Manchester in 1938.

They were quieter and smoother than either the old tram or the motor bus but I never took to them.

Even a short distance on one was likely to make me feel ill and even now I can vividly remember the smell of the warm leather seats mixed with the disinfectant and the low hum.

So I have to admit that I have struggled with Peter’s fine picture of a Huddersfield trolley bus.

But I can put prejudice aside and record that the trolley bus has long since joined the Corporation tram as part of our transport history.

The first in the UK were being run in Leeds and Bradford as early as 1911 and Bradford has the distinction of seeing the last in 1972.

London began operating them from 1931 and finished them 31 years later.
Here in Manchester our last ran in 1966 having operated over nine routes with a fleet of 189 vehicles for nearly 30 years.

All of which leads me finally to Huddersfield which having started their service in 1933 continued till 1968.

And for those that revel in trolley bus facts, Huddersfield had one of only four trolley bus turntables in the UK.  It was manually operated and the Longwood trolley bus turntable survived well into the 1980s, although it had ceased doing its job of turning Huddersfield trolley buses terminating at Dod-Lea in 1940.

At which point I cannot believe I am about to enter the wonderful world of trolley buses but that is what Peter’s painting has done for me.

There are three former Huddersfield trolleybuses preserved at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft,* the British Trolleybus Society has a full list of all surviving trolleybuses,** and a list and description of UK trolleybus systems List of trolleybus systems in the United Kingdom which has a heap of interesting information.***

Painting; Huddersfield trolley bus  © 2014 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,
Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk Facebook:  Paintings from Pictures

*The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, Lincolnshire, http://www.sandtoft.org.uk/

**British Trolleybus Society, http://www.britishtrolley.org.uk/preserved-trolleybuses

***List of trolleybus systems in the United Kingdom, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trolleybus_systems_in_the_United_Kingdom

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