Thursday, 7 May 2015

8th May

With today being the 70th anniversary of VE Day (WWII victory in Europe) and the TV likely to be awash with celebrations of this monumental date (and of course they’ll be going on and on and on…. about the General Election as well), I thought I’d look for something slightly different.

Restored London Trolleybus (pictured in 2014)
On this day in 1962, after a reasonably short existence it has to be said, London Trolleybuses went out of service. A trolleybus was a bus that drew its electricity from overhead wires.

The first fleet of 60 trolleybuses, operated by London United Tramways, started operating in May 1931 and went by the nickname of “Diddlers”. 

It wasn’t long before it was decided to replace all trams in the capital with “Diddlers” and by the outbreak of war, nearly all trams running north of the river had been replaced. However this was not the case in South London where 1100 trams were still in service.

In service

At the end of hostilities, it was decided to replace all remaining trams with diesel buses as opposed to trolleybuses, mainly because of their greater versatility. But there was still money being invested into the trolleybus network and in 1948 a new fleet of 77 vehicles took the place of the old “Diddlers”, along with a further 50 new vehicles that went into service in 1952.

In 1954 however it was announced that trolleybuses were to be gradually phased out in favour of diesel powered buses (such as the infamous Routemaster model) and in 1962 the last routes were converted, with much of the remaining fleet being sold off to Spain.

London’s Last Trolleybuses - Click HERE for a slideshow of the final month of trolleybus operation from the Fulwell depot.

Birthdays for today:

Stephen Furst
World Cup winner and former Republic of Ireland football manager Jack Charlton (80)

US singer/songwriter Toni Tennille, best remembered being one half of the duo Captain and Tennille (75)

US actor and director Stephen Furst – remembered from amongst others, TV’s St Elsewhere and Babylon 5 (60)

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