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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Trolleybuses From Blackpool Anyone ?

Whilst Blackpool's transport system never operated trolleybuses (although there were credible proposals considered by the Transport Department in the 1940s) the town did in fact supply four UK systems in the postwar period. Naturally the builder was HV Burlingham on Preston New Road. The first contract came from Portsmouth who received a delivery of double deck vehicles with bodywork styling similar to the buses then being delivered to Blackpool in the early 1950s. Although they were of course to a rear platform format. An example is now part of the trolleybus collection at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft where trolleybuses and trams are seen in operation.

Glasgow Corporation was the next customer requiring special single deck buses to a special length which needed Ministry of Transport approval at the time. They were for tram replacement services and one example was fortunately retained by the city for its transport museum.

Manchester placed a large order in the 1950s for double deck trolleybuses to Burlingham's then standard design whilst the final customer was Reading Corporation which had previously taken delivery of front entrance single deck buses from the Blackpool company. Reading was one of the final operators of trolleybuses in the UK and several of the Burlingham vehicles were bought by the Teesside system in what must have been a bargain deal. The National Trolleybus Museum has two examples of the Burlingham order for Reading; one in Reading CT colours and the other in the subsequent Teesside branding. Both being operating vehicles.

In the Glasgow Museum Store TBS 13 is kept in pristine condition as seen by the Author some years ago. A delightful special 'trolleybus' logo is retained on the bus (below). The chrome embellishment is very much a 1950's fixation more appropriate to the coaches built for tour operators.

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