firbeck

Nottingham Trolleybus Group

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I'm bringing this one up as things were mentioned in the Railways thread and I'm interested to know whether anyone knows what happened to some of the individuals concerned.

When we were youths in the mid 60's we tended not to lurk on street corners drinking illicitly obtained White Lightning, we were always off hiking, walking, cycling and generally observing our dissapearing heritage.

One sunday in 1965 we arranged a hike from Wollaton, up through Ruddington, investigated the abandoned graveyard near Tollerton and found ourselves at the trolleybus museum at Plumptree, whether it was by accident or design, I can't recall, but probably we knew about the place.

This is a picture taken that day, if you look carefully you can see Melvyn (Fanny) Hill, Tim Allen, and Derrick Kent going mental in the cab of a Derby Trolleybus.

pl1.jpg

There were members about doing a bit of restoration work and we were invited to join. Well Fanny and I did on the spot. We then had to attend a meeting with the Chairman, Ted Farnsworth, round at his house, a really lovely bloke. Now, with respect, most of the members were pretty dour keen types as you might expect, but Fanny and I were very much into normal teenage things as well, such as the Rolling Stones, fashion and girls, well, it was the 60's, a brilliant time to be a teenager and be alive, we took advantage of it, Ok we could talk the backside off an elephant about what the Beatles were up to but we knew how to drive an 8F as well, we'd done it, we'd worked the signal box at Ilkeston Station, but we'd strutted down Kings Road, Chelsea as well, Fanny's brother lived off Sloane Square and we'd kipped on his settee. Trains, trolleybuses, Mary Quant and Carnaby Street, what a combination. I think that this endeared us to Ted, I know we may have rubbed some of the more traditional members up the wrong way, as was to prove, but we had a laugh all the same.

Anyway, we got very much involved in the group, I can't remember the names of most of them. The secretary was Brian Dominique, we had a meeting every week round at his house in West Bridgeford, he lived a few doors away from Peter Grummit. I recall another kid called Parks, similar age to us but he lived on another planet as far as we were concerned, he actually owned a Manchester Trolleybus that his father had paid £200 pounds for, it was kept on site at Plumptree.

The group owned several Nottingham trolleybuses, one from Derby, one from Manchester and one from Ashton under Lyme

pl2.jpg

The biggest mistake was aquiring a so called steam bus. In a moment of madness, this thing, a Skegness Toastrack Bedford with a bloody great steam roller boiler shoved in the middle of it, was delivered to Tollerton garage.

We got a local farmer to pretend to tow it to the site with a landrover, while Brian steered and I operated the gears and shoved in the coal.

pl3.jpg

It was taken off to Rempstone Traction Engine Rally by low loader, I had to crawl into the firebox to get it going, it was a nightmare, but attracted a lot of attention.

pl4.jpg

Parks is the one in the tank top with his back to us, I think it's Brian next to him, no doubt worrying about my gear settings and two other members are hanging on either side at the back, it looks as if they were about to attempt to reverse it without running over anyone.

Eventually it succombed in the main ring and we had to be towed out by a proper steam tractor.

I wonder what happened to this beast.

We had a lovely 1936 Barton double decker, non of the companies who's adverts appeared all over it were prepared to sponsor it, they ended up with free adverts, mean gits.

We took it rallying to North Hykeham once and left someone behind having a pee alongside the Fosse Way near Newark, I noticed this near Bingham and we turned back and wound this thing up to 65 mph, only to find a police car coming the other way with the victim inside, it was like a scene out of 'On the Buses', hilarious.

We also aquired a genuine Notts and Derby Trolleybus from Bradford, they had been aquired by Bradford Corp and operated to the end, theres one on the left of this shot but not the one purchased, that was stored in an old shed.

pl5.jpg

I got into big trouble on the day of that trip, while they were running about taking bus and train numbers, I was saving things for posterity, the brass gauge glasses that found their way onto the bus from a MR tank on the scrapline at Canklow was nearly the end for me, I still have them, beautifully restored, rather than be melted down.

The day of the last Nottingham Trolleybus was quite an event and I can't find my pictures of it, some in colour.

We hired a trolley to follow the last 36, so we were the last but one EVER, we had special tickets printed and sang Auld Lang Syne in Parliament Street Depot at midnight, the conducter and driver were in tears, I have their autographs on my ticket, when I can find it.

The very last trolley the next day was a very complicated story, but there is so much to say about a lot of things and lots of tales, but I'll leave it for now.

So who's out there who were also involved.

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I know we may have rubbed some of the more traditional members up the wrong way,

Quelle Suprise

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Phew, It sounds like a 1960s Enid Blyton story complete with a bit of fanny

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Just come across this thread.

The Barton double decker referred to was their no. 816, a Leyland Titan TD4 dating from 1936 with 1949 ECW bodywork, acquired by Barton in 1959 from Cumberland Motor Services. There's a picture of it here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23207961@N07/3652055102/

According to my diary it was Sunday 17th April 1966 when it was used on a trip to Huddersfield for the members of the Nottingham Trolleybus Group
to go on an organised tour of the Huddersfield Trolleybus system. I went on it because I knew the driver who lived nearby (can’t remember his name).

I’ve written on another thread about summer Saturday bus spotting days at Huntingdon Street bus station, and I remember an occasional participant
called Keith Turner who was a member of the Nottingham Trolleybus Group and we’d hear all about it from him. Apparently the idea was to eventually run the trolleybuses from the station yard down the driveway to the main road, where a turning circle would be provided. I visited there on at least one occasion, which would have been in the 1965/66 period. I’m not sure if the railway was still in use for very occasional freight traffic, but didn’t see any trains. A year or so later I lost touch with what was going on there, so I don’t know why the museum idea fell through. Not many years later the trolleybus museum was established at Sandtoft near Doncaster, and I believe some of the vehicles from Plumtree went there.



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In the second picture of KTV578 it appears to be on route 10 to Valley Road and Mansfield Road. I know the original idea was to run trolleybuses on all the old tram routes but this vehicle was one of the last built for Nottingham which suggests that extensions to the system were being contemplated certainly in 1950.

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In the second picture of KTV578 it appears to be on route 10 to Valley Road and Mansfield Road. I know the original idea was to run trolleybuses on all the old tram routes but this vehicle was one of the last built for Nottingham which suggests that extensions to the system were being contemplated certainly in 1950.

I'm no expert on Nottingham's Trolleybus system but another explanation could be that they had the same destination blind rolls as the motorbuses.

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I was just pondering on this too. For what it's worth, I think it was just fitted with a motorbus destination blind - probably because its original trolleybus blind was damaged or lost.

From memory, Nottingham abandoned trolleybus conversion even before the first plans had been fully implemented - largely because a new transport General Manager, J L Gunn, recruited in 1934 from Aberdeen, was not a fan of trolleybuses. The only routes introduced after his arrival were those where the work was already advanced. I believe Colwick Road was the last tram to trolleybus conversion (June 1935). So I doubt whether there were any serious plans to extend the system by the 1950s.

Bamber's suggestion that it was a standard item common to trolley and motorbuses is a possibility, but there was a limit to how long a destination blind could be. They were quite heavy items, and the material was liable to tear under the tension, as they were wound to and fro many times a day. The format adopted during 1950s (shown on the picture) used a separate display for each route, including route number, destination and in some cases "via", - which adds up to more than 80 different displays. I have one from a Derby trolleybus, and it only has 37 displays. I wonder if each depot had different blinds covering only the routes which it covered. Is there anybody out there who worked for NCT and can remember?

It is interesting, because Valley Road/Mansfield Road had ceased to be the no.10 terminus in the 1940s, though there might have been a few rush-hour extras that turned back there. Certainly by 1948 the terminus was Thackerays Lane/Buckingham Road, and some time in the mid to late 50s it was further extended to Arno-Vale Estate/Saville Road. If you look closely at the tops of the letters on the next display, they appear to read Arno Vale.

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Related to this subject, with regard to the end of trolleybus services in turn, I always understood it was said to be due to the number of road improvement and alteration schemes that were planned for the 1960s and which would have meant costly work on altering the trolleybus routes to fit the new road layouts.

I have a book, 'Nottingham City Transport' by F. P. Groves, published by Transport Publishing Company in 1978, and all it says on the subject is: 'During the financial year 1961/62 the gradual abandonment of the trolleybus system was approved by the City Council'. This book does support what Stephen Ford says in his second paragraph above about the ending of tram to trolleybus conversion.

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I was just pondering on this too. For what it's worth, I think it was just fitted with a motorbus destination blind - probably because its original trolleybus blind was damaged or lost.

From memory, Nottingham abandoned trolleybus conversion even before the first plans had been fully implemented - largely because a new transport General Manager, J L Gunn, recruited in 1934 from Aberdeen, was not a fan of trolleybuses. The only routes introduced after his arrival were those where the work was already advanced. I believe Colwick Road was the last tram to trolleybus conversion (June 1935). So I doubt whether there were any serious plans to extend the system by the 1950s.

Bamber's suggestion that it was a standard item common to trolley and motorbuses is a possibility, but there was a limit to how long a destination blind could be. They were quite heavy items, and the material was liable to tear under the tension, as they were wound to and fro many times a day. The format adopted during 1950s (shown on the picture) used a separate display for each route, including route number, destination and in some cases "via", - which adds up to more than 80 different displays. I have one from a Derby trolleybus, and it only has 37 displays. I wonder if each depot had different blinds covering only the routes which it covered. Is there anybody out there who worked for NCT and can remember?

It is interesting, because Valley Road/Mansfield Road had ceased to be the no.10 terminus in the 1940s, though there might have been a few rush-hour extras that turned back there. Certainly by 1948 the terminus was Thackerays Lane/Buckingham Road, and some time in the mid to late 50s it was further extended to Arno-Vale Estate/Saville Road. If you look closely at the tops of the letters on the next display, they appear to read Arno Vale.

Thank you, I suspect you are right!

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Just come across this thread.

The Barton double decker referred to was their no. 816, a Leyland Titan TD4 dating from 1936 with 1949 ECW bodywork, acquired by Barton in 1959 from Cumberland Motor Services. There's a picture of it here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23207961@N07/3652055102/

According to my diary it was Sunday 17th April 1966 when it was used on a trip to Huddersfield for the members of the Nottingham Trolleybus Group

to go on an organised tour of the Huddersfield Trolleybus system. I went on it because I knew the driver who lived nearby (can’t remember his name).

We must have bumped into each other as I recall going on a NTG trip at about the same time, it was definitely around about Easter 1966, but we didn't use the double decker, we hired a coach from Camms.

The trip consisted of initially visiting various engine sheds, Sheffield Darnall, Normanton, Wakefield, Leeds Holbeck, Neville Hill, Farnley then over to the Bradford Corporation Depot to see our recently purchased and stored ex Notts and Derby trolleybus, we were going to be treated to a ride in the yard on their preserved tram but it had a traction motor problem. We then went over to Halifax for a tour of the Halifax Bus Depot, if you recall that company, they had some wonderful orange and green liveried old buses, a bit like the Bartons of the North. We then went on to Huddersfield and caught a trolleybus from the centre of the town out to the engine sheds, which we visited. I don't recall that we went round the bus depot as time was getting short. On the way back we called in at a large bus depot near Wakefield, I can't remember which one, it may well have been the Yorkshire traction depot.

I’ve written on another thread about summer Saturday bus spotting days at Huntingdon Street bus station, and I remember an occasional participant

called Keith Turner who was a member of the Nottingham Trolleybus Group and we’d hear all about it from him. Apparently the idea was to eventually run the trolleybuses from the station yard down the driveway to the main road, where a turning circle would be provided. I visited there on at least one occasion, which would have been in the 1965/66 period. I’m not sure if the railway was still in use for very occasional freight traffic, but didn’t see any trains. A year or so later I lost touch with what was going on there, so I don’t know why the museum idea fell through. Not many years later the trolleybus museum was established at Sandtoft near Doncaster, and I believe some of the vehicles from Plumtree went there.

The original idea at Plumtree, knowing that the Melton line was to be closed, was to run the overhead wire eastward along the trackbed to the tunnel. A start was made and some poles and cable were installed in the goods yard, I think that one of the trolleybuses was actually persuaded to run.

I tended to go up there quite a lot during 1965 and 1966 and initially 1967, which was when the railway closed to passenger trains on May 1st 1967. Certainly when I was working up there in 65/66 passenger trains were running through the old station and passenger excursion stock was stored in the sidings, somewhere comfy to sit and eat yer butties.

The goods yard site was rented off BR and when they required the line as a test track a notice was issued to NTG asking them to move out as soon as possible. As you can imagine, moving all the vehicles and kit was quite difficult and I don't think that BR were very sympathetic, I heard a story that the baillifs arrived on the last day and that some items were lost, including a 1950's Humber ambulance.

The collection was spread all over the place, some at Sandtoft, some in an old army depot in North Notts ( where it's still stored ) and some to members houses.

I've heard somewhere that 816 is still about, but painted back in it's Cumberland livery, shame. I remember all those years ago when we were trying to keep it going, we contacted the companies that were advertising on the bus for a small sponsorship donation and not a single one was forthcoming.

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I remember the Trolley Bus Museum well, having become good friends with the people who lived in the old station masters house (Albert and Dot Spencer). They used to let me keep my motorbike there-i was only around 12 or 13 at the time,and i would ride it up and down the access road,sometimes going as far as the entrance to Stanton Tunnel,which was perhaps not the wisest thing to do.

There was other activity on the site too, a Nissen Hut there was rented by Jack Chasteneuf who was restoring a Triumph Roadster car,and his mate was doing the same with a Triumph TR3

The Spencers were bike mad,with son Tony road racing. They formed their own club with regular meetings there for a time. I remember Barry Sheene turning up on one occasion.

Can also remember going on the last train from Plumtree station,i think it was a day excursion to Skegness.

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I may have seen you at Plumtree, Firbeck, but that Huddersfield trip was the only one I went on myself - quite a long journey in a 30-year-old vehicle, but I don't remember any mechanical difficulty. I do remember the seats were past their best - i.e. the padding had gone a bit thin!

You're right about Halifax Corporation - below is a photo I have to hand (i.e. already on the computer). It's their no. 8, a Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster, which was a type mainly produced for export - and I don't think even Barton had any of those! (they had just about everything else).

Perhaps the bus depot you visited in Wakefield was West Riding's? It was their main base of operations. My friend Terry Walker from the Huntingdon Street days later went to work for them.

Halifax8atHalifax1960s_zpsce763472.jpg

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I remember as a kid in the early 1960's how quiet they were (and clean) but I also remember them coming of the wire and the guys having to use that big pole to hook them back up to the power

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I understand that on a trolley bus overhead supply one wire was positive & the other negative: was this a free floating system or was one wire earthed at the substation? If so was the bus itself earthed through that wire?

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I was the guy with Firbeck on those sorties. We did a few bike rides to Plumtree to do our stuff including blocking the doorway to the station goods shed with massive planks held in place by 6 inch nails. This was because the above mentioned TD4 was stored in there. I believe there may have been a Burton and Ashby tram in on the equation. It was a long while ago but great days. I was fortunate to be able to drive some of the old Leyland and Daimler back-enders less than 10 years later in Glasgow. But I digress. I was with Firbeck on that last Trolleybus (in service), but my granddad did better. He was among the Civic party on the official last one the next day.

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Thanks for your welcome. I don't need to tell you I am new to this. If I do anything wrong be gentle with me. I have 2 oversized left feet which always end up in the wrong place.

Me and Firbeck were schoolmates and went everywhere together. I remember one of the poles which supported the Trolleybus wires was situated at the bottom of James's Street in Nottm Market Square. It also had a stirrup device at the bottom of a long cable which was used to change the overhead trolley wire points in an emergency. When the 43 came from Bulwell and turned towards Trent Bridge, the points automatically changed for the 44 coming from the same direction to safely go towards Colwick. They had put the stirrup well out of reach of little sh---s like me and Firbeck. However, it was easy enough for us to wait for the points to change automatically then one sit on the others shoulders and change them back again. Then we would stand out of the way and watch the trolley booms come off the wires and listen to the driver and conductor swearing. Does it make me cringe? Well my wife says I am still the big kid she met in the 60s.

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From memory, Nottingham abandoned trolleybus conversion even before the first plans had been fully implemented - largely because a new transport General Manager, J L Gunn, recruited in 1934 from Aberdeen, was not a fan of trolleybuses. The only routes introduced after his arrival were those where the work was already advanced. I believe Colwick Road was the last tram to trolleybus conversion (June 1935). So I doubt whether there were any serious plans to extend the system by the 1950s.

One of the major reasons for the switch from electric to diesel traction was the nationalization of electricity supply after WW2. There was no longer a cross benefit from the transport undertaking being a customer of another municipal department.

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I remember the later Trolley buses (or tracklesses as me mum used to call 'em) had six wheels - four at the back. I remember me mam come back from town one day and told us about a wheel that came off the back of a trolley bus and overtook them going down Chapel Bar into Long Row. I bet that would hurt if it hit you.

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On the subject of the 43 trolleybus turning for Trent bridge, I thought from memory that the 44 going towards Colwick went down parliament Street not through the Market Square.

The point about the handles on the standards for changing the wires over, I remember the conductors having to get off and hold the handle down for the driver to pass to the other route.

In later days I think they made the routing at junctions semi-automatic, with a senser pad just before the junction, and the driver having to drive over it with power on or off according to where they were going. Don't know when the change took place.. Took a far skill on the part of the driver to achieve proficiency.

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My Burrows Nottingham Official Handbook shows the 44 on Parliament St and in Market Square. It must have gone up Market Street or Queen Street. Rush hour diversions or whatever. And we were still pulling that stirrup in the early to mid 60s.

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My Burrows Nottingham Official Handbook shows the 44 on Parliament St and in Market Square. It must have gone up Market Street or Queen Street. Rush hour diversions or whatever. And we were still pulling that stirrup in the early to mid 60s.

44 went via upper parliament st, bath st etc to colwick rd. Return route george st into the square then up market st left upper parliament st back to bulwell hall.

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That explains it then. I just used them to go to Bulwell.

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Re #23, I think the 44 route was changed some time in the late 50s or early 60s. Until then I am pretty sure it was Parliament Street in both directions. After the change it still went along Parliament Street heading to Colwick Road, but in the other direction it was diverted down King Street, Old Market Square (i.e. south side of Long Row) to join the 43 route at the Bell. I would hazard a guess that the reason was Bulwell traffic from the OMS outstripping the capacity even of the 43 at its 2-3 minute headway (yes, that is 24 x 70-seater trolleybuses an hour!) It might also have reduced the need to supplement the service with the 42 short working that turned back at Basford Northern Baths.

I don't recall the 44 ever going via George Street - they didn't like 6-wheelers taking that sharp left turn, which is why they were never used on the 40 until the very end. I don't think there was a connection in the wiring allowing a right turn from South Parade into Beastmarket Hill, though I stand to be corrected on that.

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