A LONDON TROLLEYBUS EXPERIENCE
What is a Trolleybus? In essence it is a bus that runs on rubber tyres (as a normal road vehicle) but is powered by electricity collected from overhead wires by way of a pair of poles (correct term being booms). It is not like a tram where the power is collected by a single collector and the return of the current is through steel wheels running on steel rails laid into the roadway. The trolleybus gives slightly more flexibility than a fixed tram route in that it can overtake or negotiate normal road vehicles but is still limited to the route of the overhead wiring. Of course, unless on a separate ‘track’, they cannot overtake each other - thus the old saying, “another convoy on its way”.
London had one of the largest fleets of trolleybuses in the world and at its peak had about 1,800 such vehicles. They were introduced to give longevity to the then existing infrastructure of the earlier tram systems. The last London trolleybus ran in May 1962. Except for a few original and earlier models, the London trolleybuses were six-wheeled, unlike in the provinces where four-wheelers were more common. Again most British vehicles were double-deck whereas those in the rest of the world were and still are single-deck.
For the casual observer all London trolleybuses looked the same, but there were some subtle differences. For example, the class N2 had much thicker corner pillars to the upper deck. Class L2 No.954 had a cream band below the driver’s cab windows. (I was lucky to get a photo of this ‘one off’ on Route 621 at Holborn Circus.
76 Pages both colour and black & white photographs SOFTBACK