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Remember When: All aboard ...for a trolley trip down memory lane.

Byline: Compiled by Paul Delplanque

THE TROLLEY bus was a form of transport inextricably linked with urban life in the 1950s and 1960s.

Their lifespan was short - just over 20 years, in the interlude between the departure of the last tram and the arrival of the colour telly. But trolley buses and the wires they ran on left an indelible mark on the post war period, and Teesside was no exception.

The impact of the double deckers on our streets was considerable.

The trolleys were powered by electricity that had to be collected from overhead wires that crisscrossed the sky in a complicated matrix.

But they didn't reach every quarter of Teesside - in fact, its trolley bus network was only around ten miles long and confined to a small area.

Starting from North Ormesby, they ran in a circular route to South Bank and Grangetown, then to Eston where they turned right towards Normanby. Once at Normanby the trolley buses would return to North Ormesby or terminate at the South Bank Depot of the Tees-side Railless Traction Board, later Teesside Municipal Transport.

It was an efficient solution to affordable public transport and there were a number of other advantages: one was the ability to climb long inclines without straining the engine. There were no emissions, carbon or otherwise, and, of course, trolley buses were very quiet. They purred along the highway and starting and stopping was much smoother than ordinary buses.

The demise of the trolley buses was linked to the price of diesel.

Back then, oil was relatively cheap and running ordinary buses didn't involve the extra expense of maintaining overhead wires and other infrastructure. Teesside's buses might have hung on longer, but with so many towns and cities abandoning trolleys, the supply of spare parts began to run out.

The very last trolley bus set off from North Ormesby on April 4, 1971, with a handful of regular fare-paying passengers and a gang of trolley bus enthusiasts armed with cameras to record the event.

There were, of course, much larger trolley bus networks in other cities - Newcastle for one - but we were proud of what we had.

Do you remember travelling on the Teesside trolley buses? Where did you go and what was it like? We'd love to hear your memories. Why not drop us a line?

To view more pictures and memories click on to rememberwhen And if you have memories to share with us, click on to the rememberwhen blog


DING DING: A trolley bus on its way to North Ormesby in the 1960s and, top left, the South Bank to Normanby service from the same era trundles past the South Bank Citizens Social Club
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2008
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