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British Trolleybus Systems - Lancashire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern England (Hardback)

An Historic Overview

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Transport > Railway Modelling World History > UK & Ireland > England World History > UK & Ireland > Northern Ireland World History > UK & Ireland > Scotland

By Peter Waller
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: British Trolleybus Systems
Pages: 136
ISBN: 9781399022521
Published: 4th October 2022



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Although there had been experiments with the use of a new form of transport - the ‘trackless tram’ (better known as the trolleybus) - during the first decade of the 20th century, it was in June 1911 that Bradford and Leeds became the country’s pioneering operators of trolleybuses. Some of the earliest operators were in Lancashire, northern England and Scotland; indeed Scotland can lay claim to having both the first system in Britain to close – Dundee in 1914 – and the last to open – Glasgow in 1949. This volume – one of four that examines the history of all trolleybus operators in the British Isles – focuses on Lancashire, Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As featured by

Light Rail Transit Association

A distinctly Northern technology, being pioneered in Bradford and Leeds, early operators of Trolleybuses were often in Lancashire, northern England and Scotland. Peter Waller’s latest publication with Pen & Sword is one of four that examines the history of all trolleybus operators in the British Isles. It focuses on Lancashire, Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That Lancashire is first should not surprise readers. The contents discuss systems in towns ranging from Ashton-under-Lyne to Wigan, via Manchester, Oldham, Ramsbottom, South Lancashire (Farnworth to St Helens, Bolton to Leigh, centred on Atherton), and Stockport. The counties Palatine were full of these fascinating networks, together with their complementing contemporary tramlines, bus routes, and branch railways. This is a well-illustrated and lovingly organised tome that will please all ranging from the intrigued to the expert. There is a lot of information included and the photographic collection is superb. Once again, Pen & Sword have delivered a wonderful volume, that sits alongside Peter Waller’s three companion volumes. A well-written and interesting work that should be on the bookshelf of any public transport enthusiast!

Dr M Collinson, Bangor University Book Reviews Editor, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

As featured in

SAHB Times (published by the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain) Issue 112, Spring 2023

"Highly recommended."

Society of Automotive Historians in Britain Journal, No.118 June 2023

This is the latest volume in the author’s four part series which will eventually cover each of the UK’s trolleybus systems in sufficient detail to meet the requirements of most enthusiasts. By far the majority of the systems in this work are situated in England, with Northern Ireland represented by its sole example of Belfast, and Scotland mainly by the major system in Glasgow, together with an early and short-lived operation in Dundee.

As previously, this volume contains tables giving a summary of the vehicles owned by each operator, together with the services on which they ran, plus a narrative section describing the origins and growth of each system, its run down and eventual abandonment. For many, the real gems in the book will be the illustrations, which originate with the Online Transport Archive. Some of the earlier vehicles can hardly be described as attractive and appear quite primitive and flimsy with their solid tyred wheels, but the classic lines of the MCW London Q type as operated by Glasgow and Newcastle, resulted in impressive and well-proportioned vehicles. The same can certainly be said of the small batch of Burlingham-bodied single deckers operated by Glasgow Corporation. South Lancashire Transport was unusual in being company- owned, and even operating vehicles owned by one of its neighbouring municipalities, and seems to have had a habit of rebuilding the front end of some of its elderly double deckers, resulting in some oddly-proportioned yet distinctive vehicles which mostly sported lights protruding from their bodies. We are very fortunate that some early colour views of several interesting vehicles were captured and could be included here, thanks to the foresight of Harry Luff and C Carter, the latter using colour film as early as 1950.

This is another fine addition to Pen & Sword’s growing library of road transport books.

West Somerset Railway Association

"The volumes are well illustrated with high quality photographs, and contain a wealth of information about the various systems, with comprehensive fleet and route lists as well as extensive historical detail. Recommended."

Ffestiniog Railway Magazine - Spring 2023

Once a glory of northern cities and towns trolleybuses were quiet, non polluting and surprisingly fast. Here we have pictures from Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne, Belfast, Manchester and several other Lancashire towns. They have distinctive liveries - Newcastle’s yellow really stands out.

They are well recorded here by an acknowledged enthusiast known for expert writings on transport systems. Several photos are in colour and bring back memories of long vanished town centres so worth buying for nostalgia alone.

The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers - York Model Engineers Newsletter, March 2023

Tramfare readers will be familiar with author Peter Waller as he has compiled many ‘picture books’ on trams. He now brings us a new series of four books from publishers Pen & Sword.

The books are well produced, quite a useful addition to the tram enthusiast’s library, to acquire at a modest cost some brief details of these sister vehicles.

Tramfare magazine 330 (January-February 2023) - Tramway and Light Railway Society

About Peter Waller

Brought up in Bradford, PETER WALLER grew up as the city’s trolleybus network gradually declined. In 1986 he commenced a career in publishing working for a number of years as Ian Allan Ltd publishing books, where he oversaw the commissioning and publication of a wide range of books. The first book he wrote was British and Irish Tramway Systems since 1945, in 1992. Since then he has written a number of transport books, moving to Shropshire where he is a director and secretary of the Online Transport Archive, vice-chairman of the West Shropshire Talking Newspaper, a committee member of the National Railway Heritage Awards and a past president of Rotary Club of Shrewsbury. He became a Council member of the National Transport Trust in 2020.

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