Tag Archives: Wolverhampton Transport Department

Trolley Bus No.3 (Not counting Godfrey’s)

More Trolley Bus Stuff – Mercian Jan-Feb 1967 Vol.6 No.1

The Odd Man Out at Hednesford – Part Three  – J. Hughes.

Although the RPS had asked for a trolley bus, this request was unknown to the Wolverhampton Trolley Bus Group.  It was the Transport Department who informed us of the RPS and as a result of this, two of our Group went along to see Mr. D. A. Ives, RPS Secretary – and this incidentally was the beginning of a happy relationship with the RPS – which resulted in some of our group members joining the RPS.

As has previously been mentioned, No. 616 was the choice – and incidentally Wolverhampton Corporation Transport Department towed this vehicle to Hednesford as well as supplying paint and a number of useful spare parts.  It was the original intention to use the vehicle as a cinema but this was found to be impracticable due to the restricted width.

However, restoration commenced and the first task was to give the vehicle a thorough clean and to touch up the paintwork.  It is amazing how much dust and dirt the interior of a trolley bus collects, the cleaning went on for weeks.  Notes were made of all the parts requiring replacement or repair and these parts were salvaged from other scrap trolleys.  It was decided to do the inside first, starting with the upper saloon although the outside is kept in condition by ‘touching up’ regularly.

The seats were removed and all the panelling dismantled.  This was followed by another clean then the entire framework was given a good coating of wood preserver.  The interior panels were similarly treated before being refitted.  The biggest job upstairs was one which we were not prepared for.  That was the rebuilding of the destination box!  The framework of this was completely rotten and with the awkward shaping of the frame, this operation took four months to complete.

Work continued for weeks and weeks with very little to show for our efforts.  However, with the commencement of painting, the whole scene was transformed and within a few weeks the job seemed to be nearly finished.  In fact the whole job will have taken nearly 15 months when it is completed.

The next job is the cab, this will be followed by the lower saloon and finally the platform.  Then we can start on the outside!!

To return to the second vehicle – the one to be exhibited in the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham, this vehicle has been the subject of much discussion, and negotiations mainly made by Dr. E. Clark, one of the original members of the Wolverhampton Group, and the next part of this article will deal with this project when the final details are known.  At the time of writing there are only 28 trolley buses on the road – serving the one remaining route from Wolverhampton to Dudley.  However, these were due for conversion to motor buses during last December.Heanor & District Local History Society


Trolley Bus Mercian May-June 1966 5.3

More Trolley Bus Stuff – Mercian May-June 1966 Vol.5 No.3

The Odd Man Out at Hednesford – Part Two  – J. Hughes.

At the time of the ‘Scrap the Trolleys’ announcement, there were about half-a-dozen local enthusiasts.  The matter was discussed and only two of the number showed any real interest in keeping a vehicle, so a fund was started between us.   At this stage it was not known how long the conversion would take or when it would start.  Little did we know that scrapping had already begun.  Four trolley buses were already off due to a subway scheme at the Retail Market.  Birmingham motor buses were being used as replacements while this work was carried out.

When the trolleys resumed operation one route did not go back, this was Oxbarn Avenue.  This route was the one we had never photographed, as is often the case, and even now only a few views exist of vehicles on this section.  Two trolleys (459 and 647) were written off after accident damage, the rush was now on to write off the whole fleet.

Early in 1962 a certain Councillor made statements demanding the ‘removal of these vehicles as quickly as possible’.  This promoted another spate of letters in the local press and as a result of these letters a meeting was arranged between the writers and other enthusiasts.  This time the discussion ranged from trying to stop conversion and saving a trolley or two for museum purposes.  We all knew what chances small groups have against ‘them’; this was agreed by all those at the meeting.  Ever tried to persuade BR to keep a branch line open??  We had seen it all happen before in other towns, first with trams and now trolleys.  The same old arguments of ‘more mobile buses’, ‘can run anywhere’, ‘don’t get held up in traffic’ and so on, being trotted out.

To return to the museum theme, a list of vehicles suitable for preservation was drawn up and discussed.  It was decided to try for two vehicles, one for ourselves and one for the Birmingham Science Museum if they would accept one.  This latter was the idea of Mr. J. C. Brown, one of the two original persons supporting preservation, and Dr. E. R. Clark, who agreed to negotiate with the Museum and the Wolverhampton Transport Department for this vehicle.  Coming to our own vehicle we had to find a suitable site and weeks were spent searching without success, for trolleys are big things and not easily stored.


At this juncture Ald. F. Mansell, Chairman of the Transport Committee, said he would be happy to give away the entire trolley fleet.  The Transport Dept had over 200 applications, one gentleman said he would take the lot; needless to say he was a scrap dealer, as were many of the others.  The RPS applied for one and along with our request received favourable consideration.