50 years since last trolleys

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Nick Larkin reports on events to mark the closure of Britain’s penultimate trolleybus system

An official commemoration marking 50 years since the end of Britain’s second-last trolleybus system has sadly not been able to take place due to Covid restrictions – but all has not been lost. The Teesside Municipal Transport system ended on 4 April 1971, leaving only Bradford to fly the trolley flag until the following year.

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The Teesside 500 Group owns seven buses with local connections. Chairman Bill Woodward said: “In the absence of being able to hold any physical events to commemorate the closure we though the next best thing would be to dedicate the latest issue of our newsletter to the subject.”

Articles include a history of the system, which opened under the auspices of the Tees-side Railless Traction Board (TRTB) on 8 November 1919, from North Ormesby to Eston.

There’s also a look at the fleet in service, scenes from the last day, and a feature on the replacement one-person-operated Daimler Fleetlines. We’re also taken back to 1991 when two of the three surviving trolleys that had worked on the Teesside system, GAJ 15, a 1950 Sunbeam F4 rebodied by Roe in 1965, and 1960 Sunbeam F4A VRD 186, bought secondhand from Reading in 1969 were towed around their former routes and made short runs under battery power.

The former Reading vehicle, which in 1971 wore a commemorative livery marking the end of Teesside trolleys, is shortly to begin a new career at Beamish Museum.


Now preserved Leyland Royal Tiger E50 TYG, new to West Riding in 1988, is seen against the background of Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge. TEESSIDE 500 GROUP

Transporter star
Teesside’s most famous mode of public transport, the historic Transporter Bridge, is starring in a new film paying tribute to similar structures across the world to celebrate the International Day of Monuments and Sites on 18 May.

Transporter Bridges of the World, produced by Buenos Aires-based Silvana Canziani, celebrates the art and heritage of the structures, which are basically a suspended platform hauled across a river.

Another example is at Newport in South Wales, as well as others in France, Germany and Argentina. There is also an inactive bridge at Warrington.

The Teesside bridge was opened in 1911, spanning the River Tees from Middlesbrough to Port Clarence. The video can be viewed via YouTube or the link on Middlesbrough Council’s Facebook page at facebook.com/MiddlesbroughCouncil, while more information on the Tees Transporter Bridge can be found at teestransporterbridge.com