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British Trolleybus Systems - Yorkshire (Hardback)

An Historic Overview

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By Peter Waller
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: British Trolleybus Systems
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 250 colour & black and white illustrations & system maps
ISBN: 9781526770608
Published: 30th May 2022

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This is one of four volumes covering the history of British Trolleybus systems. This book looks at the networks in Yorkshire. Bradford and Leeds were the pioneering systems in the country and, more than six decades later, it was Bradford that was to the final bastion of this once important form of transport.

The author is an authority on tram and trolleybus systems, with a series of books already published on the history of British and Irish tram networks.

This volume covers the history and background surrounding the networks looking at the reasons why they were opened and why they eventually closed down.

"British trolleybus systems – Yorkshire: An historic overview, presents a well-structured large format survey divided into an introduction followed by a regional analysis focussing on each of the following localities: namely Bradford; Doncaster; Halifax; Huddersfield; Keighley; Kingston-upon-Hull; Leeds; Mexborough and Swinton; Rotherham; South Yorkshire PTE; Teeside Railless Traction Board; and York. The author’s introduction explains that the volume under review is one of a series of four volumes that will ‘examine the history of all of the trolleybus operators in the British Isles. The volume under review examines ‘those operators based in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland."

Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, 31(2023)

"This is a well composed and informative work which is well recommended."

West Somerset Railway Association

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

One of four volumes covering the UK, this book covers 12 trolleybus systems in the county, including Bradford, of course, some better-known and more successful than others. The rise and fall of these electric-powered public transport networks is documented, with plenty of good pictures of the vehicles operated over the years.

Vintage Road Scene

One of four volumes in reference to the subject of the Trolley bus from the first to the last this book covers 12 city and surrounding networks all over Yorkshire. Although the term trolleybus has been used the author has stated in his introduction (authors note) that the vehicles were known by other names e.g., trackless trams but for the sake of consistency has used the term trolleybus. Although not a subject of mine I found this book extremely interesting referring to something I have never really thought about and particularly towns which I regularly visit – I live in Skipton incidentally. Full of both colour and black and white photographs, service life of individual vehicles, certainly a book to revive nostalgia!

IPMS Keighley

I found this book to be a most enlightening insight into a form of transport I know very little about. I did grow up in Wibsey alongside the No. 45 trolleybus route, and have many memories of these buses in service until they disappeared from Bradford and indeed Britain in 1972, I was 12 at the time and by this had moved to Odsal. I do recall them descending St. Enoch’s Road into town at very high speeds. I noted at Sandtoft a while ago that the speedometers only went to 30mph which did surprise me!

The book following a slightly shaky start where in the introduction it describes this book to be covering “Northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland” (Another book in the series of possibly 5), then continues to give excellent coverage of the many systems that were operated in Yorkshire. Some I had no idea ever existed!

The systems are listed in alphabetical order commencing with of course Bradford. A good place to start as Bradford was the first and last system and probably the largest in our area. Throughout the book we are told that major changes would often be implemented at the whim of new managers who when taking charge liked to stamp their authority. We know this was the case in Bradford and also in many other locations. Without doubt, along with not joining the two rail lines in the city centre, getting rid of our trolleybus system was an equally farcical and unforgivable decision by the powers that be in our city.

It is clear that the author is also a huge fan of tram systems, however he does in this work point out the clear benefits the trolleybus has over the tram.

Following a very well researched history of each system the author goes on to include a full fleet list of all trolleybuses owned and operated in each area and lists all routes with introduction and withdrawal dates also included. It is fascinating to read about the movement of trolleybuses between areas, especially when closures took place.

Some cities and towns clearly only dipped their toes in the waters of trolleybus operation as an experiment, Halifax with only one short route was an example. (I had no idea Halifax had trolleybuses).

Area systems listed alphabetically: - Bradford, Doncaster, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Leeds, Mexborough & Swinton, Rotherham, South Yorkshire PTE (never ran!!), Teesside Railless Traction Board and York.

All in all, an excellent book which is well worth a read. An enlightening view into yet one more British tragedy, in which given our present situation re global warming and so on we in Bradford can look back and say “If only we had listened to Stanley King!!

Bradford Railway Circle

This book covers systems in Bradford, Doncaster, Keighley, Huddersfield, Leeds, Hull, Rotherham and Mexborough and Swinton. Plus the strangely named Teesside Railless Traction Board.

An excellent book by a true transport enthusiast.

Reviewer: Roger Black

York Model Engineers, September 2022

As Featured In

The Yorkshire Reporter, August 2022

Featured by

Light Rail Transit Association - Tramways & Urban Transit

As featured in the article: 'BOOK EXPLORES COUNTY'S MANY TROLLEYBUS SYSTEMS'

Telegraph and Argus (Bradford)

Review as featured in

Buses

As featured in

The Bookseller

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.

Perfect Partner

British Trolleybus Systems - London and South-East England An Historic Overview (Hardback)

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. There had been earlier experimental users – in places like Hove and London – and as the tide turned against the tram in many towns and cities, the trolleybus became a popular alternative with London becoming, for a period, the world’s largest operator of trolleybuses. This volume – one of four that examines…

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