top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Blackpool Trolleybuses - well almost

Whilst unsubstantiated stories of Blackpool experimenting with a trolleybus on Lytham Road in the late 1920s (using a trailing skate) surface from time to time - the only proven occasion on which a trolleybus actually operated in Blackpool was during the management tenure of Tony Depledge. A transport conference held at the Pembroke/Hilton Hotel on the Promenade prompted one enterprising consortia to bring over a dual powered trolleybus from Nancy to Rigby Road. Electrical crews erected a stretch of trolleybus wiring along Blundell Street and over the sidings track behind the Workshop buildings. For a very brief two days - the Nancy vehicle was put on display with trolleybooms on the wiring - and also travelled to the Conference venue using its alternate power source.

However Blackpool's famous coachbuilding firm, HV Burlingham, also produced a series of trolleybuses to varying designs for four UK municipal operators in the postwar era. The first being a batch of double deck vehicles for Portsmouth - built alongside Blackpool's own centre entrance postwar buses (201-300) and featuring the same deep front dome roof style of Blackpool's design. One classic example is preserved (313) at the East Anglia Transport Museum near Lowestoft.

Glasgow's transport operation purchased an unusual batch of single deck trolleybuses with dispensation for an additional five feet length in the bodywork. One example (13) is a prized member of the city's transport collection (seen in store in 2012). Manchester also bought a substantial number of more traditional open rear platform trolleybuses from Burlingham in the mid 1950s, whilst Reading's pro-trolleybus management took delivery of front entrance examples in a final phase of that town's trolleybus development. Some would find second lives on the Teesside system before final closure there. Blackpool acquired powers to operate trolleybuses in the late 1930s when the future of the Marton tram service was under considerable scrutiny. The war intervened to defer any decision and the rest as they say is history.

Featured Posts
bottom of page