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Trolleybus Twilight (Hardback)

Britain's Last Trolleybus Systems

British History Transport Photographic Books 20th Century Trams Buses London Transport

By Jim Blake
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 112
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473861466
Published: 30th May 2017

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In this new photographic album from Pen & Sword, transport historian and photographer Jim Blake presents a fascinating selection of pictures of a form of public transport now sadly missing from Britain's streets trolleybuses.

Most British trolleybus systems flourished in the inter-war years, particularly the 1930s. The biggest fleet was that of London Transport. But for the Second World War, it would have been bigger still if South London's trams had been replaced by trolleybuses, as intended. London, however, replaced these with motor-buses instead, influencing other operators to abandon their trolleybuses, too. By the 1960s, their demise was well under way.

Fortunately, during that decade, Jim traveled throughout England and Wales, photographing buses, coaches, steam locomotives and trolleybuses. This book features the latter, beginning with their final weeks in London, then continuing to places as diverse as Bournemouth and Cardiff, Bradford and Maidstone.

Most pictures have never been published before. Taken between 1962 and 1968, they transport the reader back to a wonderful land with many quaint forms of public transport, particularly trolleybuses! What will strike readers is their variety of liveries, manufacturers and so on.

Britain's last trolleybuses ran in 1972. Despite many other world cities having modern trolleybus systems today, it will be a long time before they return to our streets, if ever! How sad when our cities are polluted by vehicles powered by internal combustion engines: trolleybuses are completely pollution-free!

A curious and interesting book for our visual enjoyment that envelops us in the past as we run our fingers over its pages.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

Fortunately, Jim Blake traveled through the UK taking photos of doomed trolleybus systems between 1962 and 1968. It is from this collection of mostly previously unpublished pictures of systems including Bradford, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Glasgow and Reading that this nostalgic pictorial volume benefits, plus the knowledgeable captions provided by the author.

Best of British, August 2017 – reviewed by David Brown

This marvellous book tells the sad story of the demise of the trolleybus but revels in their glory with some fascinating and beautiful photos. Superb.

Read the full review here.

Books Monthly
 Jim Blake

About Jim Blake

Jim Blake was born in December 1947, just before the nationalisation of Britain's railways and London Transport, born and brought up in Canonbury in today's London Borough of Islington, he lived in the heart of London's legendary trolleybus system and also had North London's last trams, which served Kingsway Subway, on his doorstep.


This ensured a life long interest in buses, trolleybuses and trams, as well as railways, which most young lads had in the 1950s.


He begun transport photography in 1961, subsequently taking over 100,000 still pictures and went on to cover transport subjects with his cine camera in colour during the late 1960s and 1970s.


Since 1977 he has had a considerable number of books published covering bus and railway subjects across the country, looking at a wide number of fleets and operations.


Much of his work encapsulates a time of great change in the world of transport, with many types of vehicle and chassis types diminishing owing to standardisation.


The operators were in themselves also changing and his books reflect the changing transport scene of this interesting period, showing the social changes as well as that of the corporate.

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