05 September 2011
Roger Bailey turns back the clock and takes a fascinating and in-depth look at the UK’s trolleybuses, with examples from Oxford Diecast’s new 1/148 scale diecast releases. ...
Trolleybuses tend to be seen as half way between a tram and a bus, now rarely seen in this country. They became an ideal replacement for trams, costing less to buy and needing only wires for the electricity to operate them.
They first saw service in Britain in 1911, starting in Bradford and Leeds. But, they eventually fell out of fashion and the last one to run in public service was in Bradford in 1972. Except for a brief experiment in the 1980s with a trial vehicle based on a Dennis Dominator with Alexander body, the only place you can ride on such vehicles since they ceased operation is at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft (which has the world’s largest collection), the Black Country Museum in the West Midlands and the East Anglia Transport Museum.
There has been much talk about building a new system in Leeds, but this has yet to happen. Lack of money from the government could be an issue even if it has their support. If it goes ahead, it would be the first new trolleybus scheme since Bradford closed down in 1972. There are claims that it would help to create 4,000 new jobs locally as well as generating a £160 million per annum boost for the city region’s economy according to Metro, West Yorkshire’s publicly-funded passenger transport authority.
For the near 50 systems that once existed in this country, a total of 8,441 vehicles were operated and a further 2,144 built in this country were exported.
Oxford Diecast has released a good number of models recently, especially in its popular 1/148 scale range. Oxford’s variety of transport-related items continues to excite collectors, with recent releases of the trolleybus being a welcome surprise.
It’s amazing how much detail you can get in a model that is 2½in long, including interior detail like seating, plus an extensive range of outside decoration. In actual fact, you need a magnifying glass to read most of the wording, which cannot be faulted...