Twilight Trolleybuses (14 Nov 2010)   Leave a comment

There is currently only one day a year when the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft opens beyond the hours of daylight.  Fittingly, this event is known as Twilight Trolleybuses – and as the light fades both interior and running lights are switched on, to recreate scenes not seen on the streets of Britain since the last trolleybus ran in Bradford in 1972.

When I first arrived it was still daylight, and only two trolleybuses were in operation – Huddersfield 541 and Bradford 792.

Although there were others stood in readiness.  Here the Bradford trolleybus passes Maidstone 56  and Newcastle 501.



Newcastle 501 was on loan from the North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish

It’s five past one, and going to be light for about 3 hours yet.

Although Newcastle 501 is soon being brought into service.  (Note the use of the pole to switch the trolley poles to the adjacent set of wires, so that it can pass the Maidstone trolleybus standing in front of it)

Maidstone 56 is on loan from the Black Country Museum

And is soon having  a run too.

Meanwhile. Newcastle 501 has joined the Bradford and Huddersfield trolleybuses already in service

Bradford 792 on a passenger carrying run through the museum.

The overhead wire layout includes a circle, so that trolleybuses can  run round the museum in both directions.

However, with the trolley buses all being pretty old, reliability can be a problem.  Sadly, Bradford 792 had to be withdrawn from service, and here is Huddersfield 631 being pulled out of the shed  to take its place.

Although it is business as usual as Huddersfield 541 passes by on its journey – with it’s internal lights on now.

(I’d had an hour or so off from taking pictures while I went and had lunch at the nice little café at the museum.  It’s run by volunteers and all the food is cooked to order.  Bacon or sausage sandwiches, assorted cold sandwiches, chips and cakes are usually on offer – along with hot drinks and daily specials.  It always seems to be busy, which is a good recommendation in itself)

Huddersfield 541 navigates the circle, while passengers board Newcastle 501 at the bus stop and Huddersfield 631 stands under the wires with its trolley poles down.

Huddersfield 631’s trolley poles are raised and aligned with the overhead.  And Huddersfield 541 completes a circuit of the museum.

Old signs on display inside the shed.  The 72 still runs from Bradford to Leeds, although the X72 is not on the timetables any more.  I’m guessing that BCT stand for Bradford City Transport.  It could also be Bradford Corporation Transport – but only if the sign pre-dates March 1952.  According to this source The official title of the undertaking was changed to Bradford City Transport in March 1952

The collection held at Sandtoft continues to expand.  Here is the latest addition.

And here is the vehicle itself.  It obviously needs a lot of work and materials, hence the appeal for donations.

Here comes Newcastle 501, at the end of another passenger carrying  trip around the museum.

A general view of the shed, showing some of the other vehicles at the museum.  Note the different types of doors on the shed.  This is because it has been extended a number of times, the oldest section has wooden doors.

Time for  a break from photography for me, I’m going for a ride on a few trolleybuses.  Not that they are much warmer than being outside – British trolleybuses never had heating apparently!  I didn’t get to ride Bradford 792 today, but I did ride all the others at least once.  And then off to the café for a warming cup of coffee and a chip butty.

The day was deserving of its name now – it was twilight, and all the trolleybuses had their interior lights on.  Running lights seemed to be at the discretion of the driver though.

Newcastle 501 stands behind one of the Huddersfield trolleybuses, lit up and waiting for its turn to load up with passengers.

I had an enjoyable day out, and it was great to be able to see (and ride) a variety of trolleybuses into the evening. You have probably realised by now what I think of the café.   But it seems like I am not the only one, because they are looking at extending it as it is almost always full.

I will let the rest of the photos talk for themselves, except to say that they lined up the three trolleybuses in operation after dark for a photoshoot – not every museum is so considerate.

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