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TROLLEY GOOD SHOW! Piece of bus history brought back to its former glory.


LOW-EMISSION electric-powered public transport - it's the stuff of environmentalists' dreams.

They were a reality, but unfortunately in Huddersfield we got rid of the trolleybuses - as anyone who was around in the 1960s will remember.

Now one piece of transport history, trolleybus number 541, has been saved and restored to working order by a group of enthusiasts.

Robin Helliar-Symons, chairman of the National Trolleybus Association, said: "It's ironic that the last trolleybuses operated in 1972 and the first oil crisis was in 1973.

"They ran off overhead wires but were different to trams as a tram travels on rails, a trolleybus is on rubber tyres.

The "There has to be two overhead wires for power supply and return but trams don't need that because the earth return is through the rails. With rubber tyres there's no earth return so you have to provide it with the second wire.

"In the 1960s it was a dying form of transport so there was an immediate interest from specialist groups.

"They got together with the intention of saving them. . 541 was purchased. It had a manufactured. The Metropolitan motors of. Park square-upper saloon. 541. The three-window "As a result there are over 100 trolleybuses and quite a large number of these have been well restored."

Ordered in September 1945, Huddersfield 541 was in service in the '60s and replaced older vehicles which had suffered a lack of maintenance in the war.

It went out of service in February 1964 and 541's last journey was to Crosland Hill, when route 60 was converted to normal bus operation.

It was kindly donated by the then Huddersfield Corporation to the association.

Huddersfield 541 languished in the open air at various holding sites until 16 years ago when it became the recipient of a Herculean repair job by expert Brian Maguire.

The task, which utilised the upholstery skills of volunteers among others, cost just over pounds 52,000. Although public electric transportation is a dream of the environmental lobby, the massive costs of the infrastructure of the machines puts off many investors.

Faced with a de-regulated bus and train service, they could face competition which would hit their profits.

The general infrastructure to operate the classic trolleybuses no longer exists on the streets, but three museums, including the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, have overhead systems which allow the public to get on board.

The experts hope that after a few minor outstanding jobs the machine

will be taking passengers in the summer.

For Robin Helliar-Symons the appeal is clear.

He said: "I suppose it's a question of what was around and what was disappearing in your youth.

"When I was in my teens and 20s the trams had already gone.

"We have a very strong desire to preserve things and this is a symptom of that.

"It's fascinating to learn the basic, straightforward techniques that would have been used as fixes when these machines were running.

"Plus, of course, the difference between men and boys is the size of their toys."

Anyone looking for more information can find it at The top deck specs...

. 541 was the first post-war trolleybus purchased by Huddersfield.. It had a Sunbeam MS2 chassis manufactured in Wolverhampton.. The electrical equipment was provided by Metropolitan Vickers, with powerful 210BY1 motors of 125 horsepower.. Park Royal was again selected to produce the square-looking bodies, which seated 40 in the upper saloon and 30 in the lower.

. 541 weighed in at just over nine tonnes.. The bodywork incorporated an unusual, three-window layout at the front of the upper deck.


RESTORATION: The restored bus at Sandtoft (above) and (left top) before restoration
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2010
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