There had been an intention to improve the tram service to Duckworth Lane, but highway reconstruction was going to lead to significant expenditure in laying new tram tracks. As a consequence this route was converted to trolleybus operation starting on 2nd October 1935.
It was always considered a money-spinner with very close headways. One of the restrictions on its revenue generation was the length of the route, which even when extended was only just over two miles, giving the conductor very little time to collect fares.
Originally the service terminated in a loop round the depot, the wiring for which was retained for depot access until the end. From 20th April 1936 it was extended along Duckworth Lane to the new Royal Infirmary. This was the first section to be built with the new standard 2'-0" wire spacing, compared to the 1'-6" previously used. After the war the whole system was converted to the new standard.
Surprisingly for such a short route, a turnback loop was provided about 1960 at Whitby Road, which was just where the loop serving the depot also turned off. This loop was provided to allow some service regulation as operation was starting to get seriously hampered by congestion.
A minor change was made in the City from 23rd June 1968 as part of a one-way system, when outbound workings were diverted via Barry Street.
Associated with the conversion of this route was the conversion of Duckworth Lane depot and this service was, unsurprisingly, always worked from there (except for very rare exceptions). It was a very frequent service, with buses leaving Sunbridge Road every two-and-a-half minutes at peak times.
Always given the route number 8, the Duckworth Lane service was one of the two to last until the very end, with 706 running the last trolleybus working on 24th March 1972.
© David Beilby