Trolleybuses

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deltabravo

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-18724776
Can someone explain to me in what way trolleys are superior to trams, especially if given dedicated tracks.
Trolleybus infrastructure is much cheaper than tram infrastructure. With trams, you have to divert utility’s, which causes a lot of disruption and is expensive.

Modern trolleybuses can divert away from their wires for a short while, so if a trolleybus breaks down, the one behind it can overtake it.

Like trams, trolleybuses are quiet and have quick acceleration.
 

Pen Mill

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I can remember them in Manchester in the early 60s .This was one of the larger systmes in the UK.
Does anyone know why they closed the system down in 1966?
 

4SRKT

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I can remember them in Manchester in the early 60s .This was one of the larger systmes in the UK.
Does anyone know why they closed the system down in 1966?

The same reason as they were closed everywhere else I would guess, although I don't know what that was!

I've got a Bradford trolleybus blind, which is nice.
 

AndyHudds

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Would have preferred a light rail system over the trolley buses especially with what its going to cost. Just think the money would have been better spent on starting off a Tram network in West Yorkshire especially given there is no rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport,White Rose shopping centre,Otley,Wetherby and the Spen Valley. Just think the money could have been better spent on that.
 
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martin2345uk

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The same reason as they were closed everywhere else I would guess, although I don't know what that was!.
wasn't it a case of people at the time thinking they were old fashioned compared to swanky new diesel buses that didn't have to rely on overhead wires? They didn't really have the same environment awareness that we have nowadays...
 

tbtc

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It'll be interesting in a few years time to compare how the Leeds Trolleybus and the Cambridgeshire/ Gosport Busways compare to heavy rail schemes in terms of development.

At the moment the arguments for one scheme in favour of another is fairly hypthetical - hopefully we'll soon have enough evidence to show what works well in the UK.

Would have preferred a light rail system over the trolley buses especially with what its going to cost. Just think the money would have been better spent on starting off a Tram network in West Yorkshire especially given there is no rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport,White Rose shopping centre,Otley,Wetherby and the Spen Valley. Just think the money could have been better spent on that.
That'd be a long way to expect people to sit on a tram though.
 
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I've always thought that the introduction of trams everywhere is not such a good idea as the re-introduction of trolleys. With a trolley service all that has to be done is the erection of the power supply and a means of turning the bus at the destination. When I lived in Boscombe in the early sixties the trolleys worked 'round a loop in Bournemouth and were turned on a turntable in Christchurch. There were no rails to be laid nor signalling provided.
Then someone decided that busses were better and the trolleys went off to trolley heaven and a fleet of Leyland Atlanteans took over.
The only real advantage of the diesel bus is it's ability to be diverted off route.
 

4SRKT

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Worth pointing out that Edinburgh could have had Trolleybuses up and running for some time now, in the time its taken them to half build a tram route...
Although TBF they could probably have successfully launched a mission to Mars with Uncle Alex at the helm in that time and for less money.
 

Mojo

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Unfortunately the poor project management, compared with the poor economies of scale of light rail (trams) mean that their initial installation costs are sky high. In the long-term they work out cheaper on routes where adequate public transport demand exists, but at the current sky-high prices I doubt if that is still true.

It says something that in 2012 it costs £250 Mill to build a trolleybus in Leeds, yet within the past 15 years we only paid £200 Mill for a much better quality and more attractive tramway in Nottingham. Compare that to the recent costs of extending Metrolink in Manchester!

Trolleybus is far more advantageous than a misguided busway, bus rapid transit or some other bus improvement scheme.
 

aylesbury

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I always preferd a ride on a trolleybus in London they were quiet, clean and speedy,rushing across Wanstead Flats in the fog was fantastic.They were cold in winter(no heating)and watching the different routes at the Bakers Arms seperating with no cock ups was terrific. LT got rid of them because local councils got awkward over the poles and wires and of course the percieved view of them being old fashioned.You can ride on a trolley at the Black Country Museum and also at Sandtoft plus the museum at Ipswich.I hope that some day they can be brought back to the UK but knowing the way things happen here it probably wont happen.
 

bb21

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It says something that in 2012 it costs £250 Mill to build a trolleybus in Leeds, yet within the past 15 years we only paid £200 Mill for a much better quality and more attractive tramway in Nottingham. Compare that to the recent costs of extending Metrolink in Manchester!
I wonder how much of that 250 million was down to unnecessary "consultancy". :roll:

Seriously, what do they think they are building?
 

WatcherZero

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I can remember them in Manchester in the early 60s .This was one of the larger systmes in the UK.
Does anyone know why they closed the system down in 1966?
Faff and expense of maintaining wires and expensive electricity compared to cheap diesel.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It says something that in 2012 it costs £250 Mill to build a trolleybus in Leeds, yet within the past 15 years we only paid £200 Mill for a much better quality and more attractive tramway in Nottingham. Compare that to the recent costs of extending Metrolink in Manchester!
Its about £10m/km in Manchester, though obviously more where expensive structures such as a bridge across the motorway are required and less where your just relaying in a former train allignment. About a third the cost is the vehicles. Street embedded is about double the cost, around £20m/km
 
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Its success will depend on how quick a journey time it can give, it cant spend too much of the routes sharing the same road as other traffic. Im not holding my breath yet anyway, 2016 as a start date and not finished til 2018, a lot can happen before then.
 

Welshman

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Faff and expense of maintaining wires and expensive electricity compared to cheap diesel.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Another reason which precipitated their withdrawal, especially in Bradford and Huddersfield, was that large parts of the towns were being redeveloped, with new ring roads, etc. A lot of older roads were being closed and temporary thoroughfares were made until the new roads were completed, and both undertakings considered it not worth moving the catenary, and then having to move it again in six months or so.

And diesel was cheap in those days. Ironically, the Bradford system closed in 1972, just one year before the first real Middle East Oil Crisis, when the price of oil increased threefold.

In a sense, they were before their time. For example, the Huddersfield system used regenerative braking on the long downhill section into Elland known as the Ainleys, to feed power into the wires for buses returning up the hill. Standard practice on emus now, but this was 50 years ago!
 

WatcherZero

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Technology had a lot to do with it really as well, the main reason it was more efficent to have the wires was because engines before then were big, heavy and not very powerful meaning it was far more efficent to generate the power elsewhere. Post war Engines rapidly advanced for military vehicles were far more powerful, lighter and more practical means of generating onboard power. Your right, if they had lasted another decade and the oil crisis and mass rollout of nuclear power stations the economics may well have been very different.
 

BestWestern

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Would have preferred a light rail system over the trolley buses especially with what its going to cost. Just think the money would have been better spent on starting off a Tram network in West Yorkshire especially given there is no rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport,White Rose shopping centre,Otley,Wetherby and the Spen Valley. Just think the money could have been better spent on that.
This is sort of the problem; the belief that, for reasons never properly explained by anybody who shares it, trams are just somehow 'better'. Why?! They cost the earth, are completely inflexible, take decades to break even and continue to cost far more in maintenance forever more.

Put simply, trams have had their day; they went out of fashion decades ago, then became a novelty after Manchester took the plunge and built the Metrolink, and now we've ended up with systems in places that can't really justify them (the rebuilding of Blackpool's network was perhaps the best example yet of unjustified corporation vanity). Now, just as with the last time around, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that trolleybuses can do exactly the same job but at a fraction of the cost and hassle. Give it time, and we'll see our first 'new generation' trolley network going up, and people will stop building tramways. Today's bus builders can put together some very impressive vehicles - First's 'FTR' being a good example (even if First have demonstrated how not to operate them) - which have the same 'wow factor' as a tram, and the trolleybus concept will have the same novelty value as the first trams did, being a new concept to many in the UK. The grief and massive public embarrassment caused by Edinburgh's farce may very well speed this process up. Once trolleys are up and running, unlike last time around there is a good chance that there won't be a later switch to diesel buses, as we now have green credentials to think about, which didn't apply before.
 
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starrymarkb

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This is sort of the problem; the belief that, for reasons never properly explained by anybody who shares it, trams are just somehow 'better'. Why?! They cost the earth, are completely inflexible, take decades to break even and continue to cost far more in maintenance forever more.

Put simply, trams have had their day; they went out of fashion decades ago, then became a novelty after Manchester took the plunge and built the Metrolink, and now we've ended up with systems in places that can't really justify them (the rebuilding of Blackpool's network was perhaps the best example yet of unjustified corporation vanity). Now, just as with the last time around, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that trolleybuses can do exactly the same job but at a fraction of the cost and hassle. Give it time, and we'll see our first 'new generation' trolley network going up, and people will stop building tramways. Today's bus builders can put together some very impressive vehicles - First's 'FTR' being a good example (even if First have demonstrated how not to operate them) - which have the same 'wow factor' as a tram, and the trolleybus concept will have the same novelty value as the first trams did, being a new concept to many in the UK. The grief and massive public embarrassment caused by Edinburgh's farce may very well speed this process up. Once trolleys are up and running, unlike last time around there is a good chance that there won't be a later switch to diesel buses, as we now have green credentials to think about, which didn't apply before.
One factor would be that Trams and Trolleybuses have permanent infrastructure, they are not going to be rerouted or withdrawn with 6 weeks notice!

Trams are very good at soaking up crowds on the busiest flows. But on lighter flows trolleybuses would probably be more suitable
 

BestWestern

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One factor would be that Trams and Trolleybuses have permanent infrastructure, they are not going to be rerouted or withdrawn with 6 weeks notice!

Trams are very good at soaking up crowds on the busiest flows. But on lighter flows trolleybuses would probably be more suitable
Two very good points! I would argue though that articulated trolleys ought to be able to swallow a crowd just as well, particularly now that there are some truly monster artics available! This is the comparison that needs to be made really; rather than building a tram system there is no reason why you can't have trolleys with three or even four section artics running over the same route at far less expense.
 

Pen Mill

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wasn't it a case of people at the time thinking they were old fashioned compared to swanky new diesel buses that didn't have to rely on overhead wires? They didn't really have the same environment awareness that we have nowadays...
That would have been my guess too.
So does this mean we are going to have mass Trolley bus fleets for environmental reasons ? I would like that !
 

tbtc

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does this mean we are going to have mass Trolley bus fleets for environmental reasons ?
It'll be interesting to see who is next to demand one.

Of the bigger "northern" cities there are some with trams (Sheffield and Manchester), light rail (Newcastle and Sunderland), intense heavy rail "metro" (Liverpool).

Whilst Leeds is the centre of WY Metro's attentions, it doesn't have as good a "city" rail service as some places (most stations within the city boundaries only get a couple of services an hour, compared to Merseyrail's "turn up and go" frequency) and tram plans have been turned down before.

So I can see why they have made the case for *some* kind of infrastructure scheme (they do already have a couple of Guided Busways in the city).

With Nottingham and Birmingham having trams (and Edinburgh to come, by the end of the centuary), plus Glasgow/Cardiff having a fairly intense heavy rail service does that leave Bristol as the biggest place without any of these arrangements?
 

WatcherZero

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Another issue is the complexity of the overheads, bus routes are rarely very straight, weaving their way though areas to create the maximum coverage. High frequency trunk routes are often made up of many different services who have slightly different routes.
 

34D

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Another issue is the complexity of the overheads, bus routes are rarely very straight, weaving their way though areas to create the maximum coverage. High frequency trunk routes are often made up of many different services who have slightly different routes.
It will be interesting to see whether NGT is one fixed route or whether there are a few route options. My understanding is just one.
 

Greybeard33

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As a kid in Nottingham in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I used to love the trolleybuses - green 6-wheelers made by Metro Cammell. They were much bigger, quicker, smoother, quieter and cleaner than the diesels, and had additional stops. However, I also remember traffic jams caused by the occasional "dewirement" incidents - the "points" at junctions were particularly troublesome. It was highly amusing watching the driver and conductor trying to snare errant trolley poles that were pointing skywards, using the long hooked pole that the bus carried for this purpose!

The reach of the trolley poles enabled the bus to manoeuvre around road works and other obstructions, and if one bus failed its trolley poles were quickly stowed to let others overtake - much more resilient than street-running trams, where one obstruction or failure can bring the whole system to a halt. They were even able to crawl short distances on battery power when necessary. At one time there was a trolleybus route all the way from Nottingham to Ripley via Ilkeston and Heanor, some 15 miles, although this was closed when I was very young.

Nottingham City Transport's argument for scrapping the trolleybuses, in the face of popular opposition, was the high and increasing labour cost of maintaining the wires and, especially, of rerouting them as the city centre was redeveloped and the roads improved. In contrast, diesel was dirt cheap at that time. Most of the network was already diesel, because the wires were never extended into the post-war housing estates. The replacements were "modern" rear-engined diesel buses (Leyland Atlanteans), which were claimed to match the trolleybuses for capacity, acceleration, noise and cleanliness (which, of course, they didn't, even when new).
 

martinsh

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It'll be interesting to see who is next to demand one
Well, the following medium / large cities don't have any rapid transit proviison

Bournemouth, Cardiff, Derby, Hull, Reading, Teesside

More knowledgeable and older readers might spot that these places have something else in common as well ...

I'd love there to be one for Crewe / Nantwich but I don't think there's a cat's chance in hell of that happenning ! And the Skoda 9Tr was never built in rhd format anyway

http://transphoto.ru/photo/313421/
 

WelshZ

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With Cardiff at the moment there is a three-way argument between the trolley, rail and tram lobbyists.
The tram/light rail supporters want to convert the city line to light rail and extend the bay branch as a tram extension and have talked about running a line around the castle and down queen street.
The rail lobby of course wants electrification as a way to improve service and have a "valleys metro" with St Fagans or Ely re-opening due to better braking/acceleration of EMU operation.
and the trolley supporters who want to simply electrify the busiest bus routes and replace the diesel buses with electric. This is being promoted as the cheap option compared to the previous two.

I myself would love to see trolleybuses return to the streets of Cardiff as in my view they are the better option than trams, and the connection between Cardiff and the rest of other large/medium cities is of course all USED to have a trolley system
 
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