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Trolleybuses

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I've never heard mention of them on here but I remember them on City Road for a "very" short time. Maybe some sort of experiment or trial?

This, I think, would have been in the 50's.

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I've never heard mention of them on here but I remember them on City Road for a "very" short time. Maybe some sort of experiment or trial?

This, I think, would have been in the 50's.

I served my apprenticeship in electrical traction and something that puzzles me is that trolley buses require a double catenary system for the power feed and return. Trams of course operate with a single catenary and a return via the rails.

If there was a trial it would have been necessary to provide a new overhead system. Trolley buses could of course run on batteries but only for a short time and really only for depot parking and to get them back under the catenary if they ran off it for any reason.

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I served my apprenticeship in electrical traction and something that puzzles me is that trolley buses require a double catenary system for the power feed and return. Trams of course operate with a single catenary and a return via the rails.

If there was a trial it would have been necessary to provide a new overhead system. Trolley buses could of course run on batteries but only for a short time and really only for depot parking and to get them back under the catenary if they ran off it for any reason.

DaveH made a comment in another topic, about Trolley buses using tram tracks for their electrical return.

http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/i...ost&p=51543

Is this possible?

Did this actually happen? Anywhere

Did this happen in Sheffield as a trial?

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I served my apprenticeship in electrical traction and something that puzzles me is that trolley buses require a double catenary system for the power feed and return. Trams of course operate with a single catenary and a return via the rails.

If there was a trial it would have been necessary to provide a new overhead system. Trolley buses could of course run on batteries but only for a short time and really only for depot parking and to get them back under the catenary if they ran off it for any reason.

It is possible to run a trolleybus on tramway overhead by using one trolley pole and a trailing skate. This runs behind the vehicle in one of the tramtracks, as shown in this photograph. This is in Groningen, but the same technique was used in this country. The disadvantage of this is that the trolleybus can't stray from the tramtracks.

As to trolleybuses in Sheffield, I have never read of any. It is possible that trials using a trailing skate were undertaken, but none seems to have been noted for posterity, at least not in the books I have.

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It is possible to run a trolleybus on tramway overhead by using one trolley pole and a trailing skate. This runs behind the vehicle in one of the tramtracks, as shown in this photograph. This is in Groningen, but the same technique was used in this country. The disadvantage of this is that the trolleybus can't stray from the tramtracks.

As to trolleybuses in Sheffield, I have never read of any. It is possible that trials using a trailing skate were undertaken, but none seems to have been noted for posterity, at least not in the books I have.

In his book `Sheffield Transport` Chas. C. Hall mentions this ~ Trolley-buses were considered in 1951, but it was noted that comparative costs were now in favour of the diesel engined bus.

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In his book `Sheffield Transport` Chas. C. Hall mentions this ~ Trolley-buses were considered in 1951, but it was noted that comparative costs were now in favour of the diesel engined bus.

So that makes it just possible that I saw one if they did trials.

In 51 I would only have been 3 but I do have quite a few memories from a very young age, and perhaps seeing something like that would have been a big enough event to stick in my mind.

In my memory we were driving on City Road and my Dad pointed it out and told me what it was.

Before you mentioned a date WE I would have had a stab at it being 1953ish.

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So that makes it just possible that I saw one if they did trials.

In 51 I would only have been 3 but I do have quite a few memories from a very young age, and perhaps seeing something like that would have been a big enough event to stick in my mind.

In my memory we were driving on City Road and my Dad pointed it out and told me what it was.

Before you mentioned a date WE I would have had a stab at it being 1953ish.

I was born in 1944 and remember moving to Parkwood Springs in 1947 as though it was yesterday, mind you, what I did yesterday is another story. Anyway this post of yours is a breath of fresh air as anyone who is anyone on Sheffield Transport will be beavering away like mad now to prove you wrong. W/E. And no, the Merc never ran in Sheffield, or did it ?

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It is possible to run a trolleybus on tramway overhead by using one trolley pole and a trailing skate. This runs behind the vehicle in one of the tramtracks, as shown in this photograph. This is in Groningen, but the same technique was used in this country. The disadvantage of this is that the trolleybus can't stray from the tramtracks.

As to trolleybuses in Sheffield, I have never read of any. It is possible that trials using a trailing skate were undertaken, but none seems to have been noted for posterity, at least not in the books I have.

Using a trailing skate would entail all sorts of electrical safety problems. The traction circuit would have to be completely isolated from the trolley bus body, otherwise if the skate left the rail for any reason the bus body would stand at 650 volts DC with respect to earth; not a good thing if you were getting on or off the bus.

Because traction equipment has inherently high leakage and is exposed to damp it would be very difficult to keep leakage currents down to safe levels. In modern trams and trains multi-wheel contact with the rails keeps the problem under control.

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Using a trailing skate would entail all sorts of electrical safety problems. The traction circuit would have to be completely isolated from the trolley bus body, otherwise if the skate left the rail for any reason the bus body would stand at 650 volts DC with respect to earth; not a good thing if you were getting on or off the bus.

Because traction equipment has inherently high leakage and is exposed to damp it would be very difficult to keep leakage currents down to safe levels. In modern trams and trains multi-wheel contact with the rails keeps the problem under control.

Thanks hilldweller, I have just mentioned this particular safety problem in the other thread that Stuart has put a link to in post #3.

I had also thought that this particular safety aspect may have been the reason for not adopting this system.

After all, the overhead and tramline skate was the cheapest option as the tram lines and electrics were already in place

Proper trolley buses would have been expensive as they would entail installing the "double catenary" electrics along the entire route.

On balance then, the Diesel engined bus probably did have the advantage.

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If you look at Charles Hall's book again you will notice that SHEFFIELD COUNCIL had authority to run trolley buses to dronfield and on abbey lane , but this was in the early 20s - This is factual as there are various records of the act .

The choice of Dronfield is intresting as it was deep into derbyshire at the time

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From what's been said it's looking like it may be my imagination. Strange though. I can picture it quite clearly and it's an odd thing to "think" you remember. :)

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From what's been said it's looking like it may be my imagination. Strange though. I can picture it quite clearly and it's an odd thing to "think" you remember. :)

What might be the key to this is that phrase "trolleybuses were considered in 1951" from C C Hall's book on Sheffield Transport. Does it mean considered from the financial aspect only, or was some kind of trial actually carried out using a trolleybus (presumably using a trailing skate - would the council have gone to the expense of rewiring a stretch of road for trolleybuses?).

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Mr Moore`s report on Tramway replacement was submitted on 28th March, 1951. The position had now been reached when within the city area there were only 17 tram routes and 26 full-day bus routes being operated,although the trams still carried 64% of the passengers concerned. Taking the basis of a 30 year life for the trams, between 1951 and 1956 48 new cars would be needed, followed by 120 and 125 in each of the following five year periods. It was agreed that the required tram fleet, then 410 cars, could be replaced by an equal number of buses. Trolley-buses were considered, it being noted that comparative costs were now in favour of diesel buses. The report was accepted,with a changeover period which would not be completed until 1st April 1966, with the closure of the route from Wadsley Bridge to city. It was proposed that the first route to be converted, on 1st October, 1951, should be that from Fulwood via Hunters Bar to Malin Bridge, leaving the section along Holme Lane to the depot in use. `Sheffield Transport` by Chas. C Hall, page 261.

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Mr Moore`s report on Tramway replacement was submitted on 28th March, 1951. The position had now been reached when within the city area there were only 17 tram routes and 26 full-day bus routes being operated,although the trams still carried 64% of the passengers concerned. Taking the basis of a 30 year life for the trams, between 1951 and 1956 48 new cars would be needed, followed by 120 and 125 in each of the following five year periods. It was agreed that the required tram fleet, then 410 cars, could be replaced by an equal number of buses. Trolley-buses were considered, it being noted that comparative costs were now in favour of diesel buses. The report was accepted,with a changeover period which would not be completed until 1st April 1966, with the closure of the route from Wadsley Bridge to city. It was proposed that the first route to be converted, on 1st October, 1951, should be that from Fulwood via Hunters Bar to Malin Bridge, leaving the section along Holme Lane to the depot in use. `Sheffield Transport` by Chas. C Hall, page 261.

Sure there was another line at the end of my previous post abour the report. Perhaps I am truly Mad :unsure:

What it said (or didn't) was that what was needed was Mr R C Moore's report of 1951, which might shed some light on the trolleybus "consideration". I have a feeling it was a foregone conclusion that buses would be the replacement for the trams, as trolleybuses were already falling out of favour in many places in Britain and the cost of rewiring the overhead for twin booms would be considerable.

Any trial running would have been rather pointless, in this case, and if the City Fathers wanted to see the benefits of trolleybus operation all they had to do was travel to Bradford or Huddersfield.

I would like vox to be right, because I find it hard to believe that Sheffield, with what was supposed to be a progressive attitude towards public transport, never ran trolleybuses, even for a short trial period. There just doesn't seem to be any other evidence out there.

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There was an ealier report which done by fernley

At the beginning of 1909 a party of three¬Mr Fearnley, the deputy chairman of the Tramways Committee. and a member, Mr Baily, went to visit Vienna and Mulhausen to see trolley-buses in operation. The party returned very much impressed with the trolley omnibus system, considering the buses far superior to the ordinary petrol buses they had tried out in spring 1908. At this stage it was not certain whether the powers they already held to operate buses under the 1907 act covered the operation of trolley-buses also, but it was considered that a first trial of the new system should be on the route between Woodseats tram terminus and Dronfield. Thanks to Chas. C Hall. P. S. Nothing ever came of this, and by 1912 due to the rapid improvement of petrol buses, the trolley-bus became a dead duck.

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The 1909 report still exsists a copy is held by Mr Fearnleys Grandson

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Sure there was another line at the end of my previous post abour the report. Perhaps I am truly Mad :unsure:

What it said (or didn't) was that what was needed was Mr R C Moore's report of 1951, which might shed some light on the trolleybus "consideration". I have a feeling it was a foregone conclusion that buses would be the replacement for the trams, as trolleybuses were already falling out of favour in many places in Britain and the cost of rewiring the overhead for twin booms would be considerable.

Any trial running would have been rather pointless, in this case, and if the City Fathers wanted to see the benefits of trolleybus operation all they had to do was travel to Bradford or Huddersfield.

I would like vox to be right, because I find it hard to believe that Sheffield, with what was supposed to be a progressive attitude towards public transport, never ran trolleybuses, even for a short trial period. There just doesn't seem to be any other evidence out there.

I'd like to think I'm right as well Maddanie. I know I saw a trollybus, I'm sure of that, the question then is - where and when.

Maybe we'd gone to Rotherham or somewhere but I don't remember it as having seen lots of them, just the one, and wherever it was looked like (now, in my minds eye) City Road.

Because of my age, 1951 is unlikely. More likely '53 -'54 which would put me at 4 or 5 yrs old.

Like I said before, it's an odd thing to have remembered for all these years without some foundation.

I'm glad this has caused some interest anyway.

.

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I have asked the people who will know if sheffield tried a trolley bus in the 1950s however Ive never heard any referance to this and Giles Fearnley didnt mention if when he was giving the talk which included the Fearnley report. And city road was an odd place to do it I would have through patternoster row as that was little used

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I have asked the people who will know if sheffield tried a trolley bus in the 1950s however Ive never heard any referance to this and Giles Fearnley didnt mention if when he was giving the talk which included the Fearnley report. And city road was an odd place to do it I would have through patternoster row as that was little used

I have just been reading a very interesting book from the library it shows a picture that answers part of this question. It shows a Rotherham trolleybus in Haymarket dated 1912. The front wheels look like they are flanged and a skate is shown running in the rail. The book is called Sheffield Pictorial and is by David Richardson. As the picture is not attributed to a photographer I have scanned it, if this breaks copyright then I will remove it ASAP.

jiginc

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I have just been reading a very interesting book from the library it shows a picture that answers part of this question. It shows a Rotherham trolleybus in Haymarket dated 1912. The front wheels look like they are flanged and a skate is shown running in the rail. The book is called Sheffield Pictorial and is by David Richardson. As the picture is not attributed to a photographer I have scanned it, if this breaks copyright then I will remove it ASAP.

jiginc

If it has a skate running in the rail then the trolley bus is taking its power from the tram syastem. This works and has been discussed elsewhere on this site somewhere (LINK FAIRY, Trolleybuses) but the skate partially over rides the advantage of a trolley bus over a tram by limiting its movement to being very close to the rails.

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On odd occasions in the 60s I would get to drive on route 77 and the castle in the background of the photo gives a clue to its location. I never remember seeing Trolley buses up there though. Who did they belong to, where did they go, and what year did they stop running? W/E.

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Mexborough & Swinton Traction Company was the operator. They ran trolleybuses from Rotherham to Conisbrough until 1961 and continued to run buses until 1969 when it was absorbed by Yorkshire Traction.

http://www.petergould.co.uk/local_transport_history/fleetlists/mexboro1.htm

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Mexborough & Swinton Traction Company was the operator. They ran trolleybuses from Rotherham to Conisbrough until 1961 and continued to run buses until 1969 when it was absorbed by Yorkshire Traction.

http://www.petergould.co.uk/local_transport_history/fleetlists/mexboro1.htm

Thanks "madannie". Just out of interest, 852 another of the 1957 batch of PD2s was the only back loader we had at Herries Road that was allowed to work the Motorway express [39MPH] service 573. This was due to the fact that it had twin stop and tail lights unlike the rest of our PD2s. W/E.

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Could it be you saw one of the single ended Rotherham trams?

They ran into Sheffield and were described as a trolley bus on flanged wheels.

I think they only came in as far as the bottom. End of town though and would be unlikely to have been seen on City Rd.

Also...I can't remember in what year the link between Rotherham and Sheffield was cut.

Read somewhere that it was to do with bridge repairs down near Tinsley.

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