David's guide to the many reminders
IT is nearly 40 years ago that the Huddersfield district said goodbye to its fleet of trolleybuses.
The system actually closed on July 13, 1968, so the big anniversary will occur next year.
But fond references to the era still crop up on a regular basis in the Examiner - most recently in the Ducks and Skates film, in the article on former conductress Mona Lockwood and in letters.
David J Smithies, of New Hey Road, Huddersfield, is a frequent Examiner contributor and keen to pass on his knowledge of the many reminders of trolleybuses that can still be seen locally.
Sadly, you have to go out of town to see the vehicles themselves. There are three trolleybuses (and a fourth that exists as a chassis only) at the Sandtofts Transport Museum, near Doncaster.
There trolleybuses 619 and 631 (KVH 219 and PVH 931) give regular rides - and both have been back to Huddersfield for special occasions, 619 at the 2001 transport rally in Greenhead Park.
And tower wagon MVH 388 (used to maintain overhead wires) is at the Keighley Bus Museum.
In our district there are are nine different categories of reminders.
First there is the old Longroyd Bridge trolleybus depot itself - built in 1937-39 to house the entire fleet of 140 trolleybuses. Designed by the borough architect and built in local stone, it is now a joinery works.
Then there are the poles once used to support overhead trolley wires. Many were kept for street lighting use but over the years they have been largely replaced.
See them in town in Westgate, John William Street and Oldgate; out in the districts in Newsome Road South; on the Manchester Road between Slaithwaite and Marsden and in Fall Lane; on Longwood Gate and Thornhill Road between St Mark's Church and Quarmby Clough; and at Long Wall, Elland.
David says there are 21 surviving electricity supply sub-stations adjacent to the former trolleybus routes. They were later taken over by the YEB and absorbed into the general electricity network.
Most are tucked away unobtrusively but some at the Mount, Longroyd Bridge, Fartown Bar and at the Salendine Nook schools site are easily seen.
The only brick-built example in the area was the one at Salendine Nook, commissioned in 1959 and designed by the later discredited architect John Poulson.
A curiousity was the sub station in Stockwell Hill, Berry Brow, says David - built in 1936 in anticipation of the Honley trolleybuses which never materialised.
Then there are the turning circles to let trolleybuses turn round. Only two (at Almondbury and at the Salendine Nook schools) still help buses turn. Most notable out-of-use ones are at Lockwood Church and Slaithwaite.
There is a now-disused turning circle at Colne Hurst, Keldregate which was laid out for trolleybus use but that too never happened.
Have you noticed the dip in John William Street under the railway viaduct? That is the result of 1937 excavations to let Birkby trolleybuses use the road.
At the Gooder Lane bridge over the railway at Brighouse station, twin trolley poles were cut down and used to support the bridge in 1940- at the insistence of the Ministry of Transport.
These bridge supports can be seen from the new Brighouse station platforms. Apparently, Huddersfield transport manager, Mr Godsmark, sent a bill for the poles to Mr Sneezum, the Brighouse borough engineer!
In Edgerton Road stands a passenger shelter that was used by passengers on the West Vale route between 1939 and 1961.
And then, of course, in the town centre the fine Victorian offices in John William Street still stand facing St George's Square - nerve-centre of trolleybus operations from 1933 until 1968.
But perhaps the best story of all concerns the roundabout in Balmoral Avenue at Crosland Moor.
In 1959 Parliamentary permission (always needed for trolleybus routes) was granted for a 660-yard extension along Balmoral Avenue, from Blackmoorfoot Road to Sutherland Drive.
Says David: "When a trolleybus on tow-test had difficulties negotiating the roundabout, MoT permission was given for a private, trolleybus-only road across the island."
But the promised spectacle never arrived. The trolleybus scheme was aborted and motorbuses were used instead. Shame!