Walsall Corporation Trolley Buses.

Trolley buses were electrically powered road vehicles using a 550 volt supply from two parallel overhead cables via two spring-loaded poles fixed to the roof of the bus.

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Walsall Corporation was one of 50 operators of trolley buses in this country. Their first route was the No 28 from Walsall to Willenall, which commenced on the 22nd of July 1931 with an initial purchase of four trolley buses.

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Wolverhampton also operated a fleet of trolley buses with one route No 5 from Wolverhampton to Willenall. On 16th November 1931 both systems were connected together, and a joint service was operated with both companies terminating in their neighbouring town centres. This route became No 29 which eventually had a turning circle around the Savoy Cinema in Walsall, and St James square in Wolverhampton.

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The next Walsall route was the No 30 to Bloxwich, which came into service on October 1st 1933 along with a purchase of 15 new Sunbeam vehicles.

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The fleet gradually increased to 25 by March 1940. In June R Edgley Cox became Walsall Corporation’s general manager, and during his term of office, more routes were added in the Bloxwich and Blakenall areas. Over this period he also increased the fleet to its maximum of 69 vehicles.

On 31st October 1965, due to the building of the M6 motorway, and the construction of the junction 10 interchange at Bentley, the trolley bus route 29 to Wolverhampton was discontinued.

junction 10

On March 10th 1968, all Sunday operating of trolley buses in the Walsall area was ceased, and on 1st October 1969, West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, took over all services run by Walsall Corporation. From this day trolley buses were gradually replaced by diesel-powered ones, until on Friday 2nd October 1970 all trolley bus services were withdrawn.

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The following day. a special last day service was operated, using 3 trolley buses, No’s 862, 864, & 872.

walsall872 last one

During the Walsall trolley bus era, they operated a total of 9 routes, covering 18.86 miles.

They used land rover’s for towing and recovery purposes.

land rover

They also operated a fleet of tower wagons for overhead repairs and maintenance.

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All trolley buses were required to be tilt tested to a minimum angle of 28 degrees for safety purposes.

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Bus No 862 is preserved and operating in the Black Country Living museum at Dudley.

trolly bus 2

Information and photographs have been taken from the book entitled, Walsall Trolley Buses 1931-1970 by David Harvey, published by Amberley Publishing.

walsall trolleybuses.indd

A very interesting and informative book, which is available locally or on-line from the publishers.

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5 Responses to “Walsall Corporation Trolley Buses.”

  1. kevin morris Says:

    Walsall had great affection for its trolleybuses, and had not the Labour Government announced the establishment of passenger transport authorities, leading to Walsall’s loss of independence as operator of public transport in the area, it is likely that Walsall would have continued to operate trolleybuses for many more years.

    Not long before the abandonment, Bournemouth had put on the market a number of very modern trolleybuses that were similar in design to the rear engined diesel buses that had appeared in recent years. The General Manager of Walsall Transport had planned to buy these and add auxilliary diesel engines. A couple of trolleybuses had engines fitted experimentally, but in effect Birmingham’s takeover of public transport in Walsall scuppered the plans.

  2. Richard Perry Says:

    When did the Walsall trolley buses cease in West Bromwich (Carter’s Green)?

    • oakparkrunner Says:

      AS far as I know, Walsall trolley buses did not go to West Bromwich. They only went to areas around Bloxwich, and a joint service with Wolverhampton trolley buses, to Wolverhampton via Willenhall.

  3. DavidMG Says:

    Regarding West Bromwich, Walsall trolleybuses never reached that far south.
    West Bromwich Corporation are said to have been interested in running trolleybuses so much so that the Oak Lane bus garage had a roof line high enough to accomodate trolleybus wires, however Birmingham City Transport were unwilling to have trolleybuses on the busy joint services through West Bromwich into Birmingham.

  4. Em Says:

    I was a conductor on Walsall trolley’s, passed my green badge test on them, Happy days. They never ran on West Brom . West Brom had different colour buses to

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