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.


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.


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.


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.


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buses were gradually replaced by diesel-powered ones, until on Friday 2nd October 1970 all trolley bus services were withdrawn.


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.


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


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.

9 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

  5. tim Says:

    a friend of mine Malcolm Arblaster used to drive the walsall trolley busses

  6. Kevin Springford Says:

    I still remember as a youth catching the trolley bus from Walsall to Blakenall. Many was the time when the bus conductor leant out to change the over head points in Stafford street so that the bus could turn right into Proffit street to head for Blakenall. As the bus turned right the trolley bus poles would disconnect from the overhead cables. This happened because the conductor was supposed to alight the bus to make sure that the overhead points had in fact worked, but it was no fun for a conductor when it was pelting down with rain( hence trying to do the job without leaving the bus ). We would then have to wait while the conductor would try to reconnect the poles to the overhead cables ( using a long rod which I think was stored under the subframe of the bus ). Another lasting memory was the amazing acceleration of the trolley buses, even on steep gradients. Happy days, sadly missed.

  7. Chaz Says:

    Hi Oak park Blogger (I’m also an Oak park regular – but of the wetter variety)! Enjoyed your blog and as quite an old fart I used to use the trolley buses several times a day between 1968 and the last run in 1970. I went to school in Leamore so it was three halfpence (Half fare) from Hospital Street to Leamore Bus depot. My reason for contacting you is in the way of a question. When I commenced secondary school in September 1968 I recall passing over the canal at Pratts Bridge in North Walsall and noted the presence of what I assume was the entire Wolverhampton Trollybus fleet (which ceased operation in March 1967) still awaiting disposal on garage land between the Canal and Carl Street. Over the years I have told people about this but have never found any supportive evidence – until now. You appear to have obtained a photograph of at least four of the Wolverhampton fleet, taken (I assume) from the opposite side of the canal. Although it is only in black and white I am pretty sure (by the tones apparent and the style of the letters used for numbering) that these are Wolverhampton vehicles. I just wondered where you sourced the image as I would like to obtain a copy if I can. Best wishes, Chaz

  8. Ian Thompson Says:

    My parents and I went on these Walsall trolley busses just for a ride around Walsall, inside the bus it sounded a bit quiet going around the streets, but it was a shame they have been withdrawn in the later years of the 1970’s. Sadly my dad passed away in 2004 with Parkinson’s disease, but I’m glad we had a ride on them.

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