The 210 was the last new trolleybus service in Manchester and also the longest at 8.9 miles. It had been planned pre-war as a replacement for the 19 tram but the war prevented the conversion and then postwar supply shortages delayed delivery of trolleybuses, to the extent that an interim motorbus service (106) was introduced to replace the trams in 1948.
Trolleybus operation started on 16th January 1950, at which point the service was extended from Hyde town centre to Gee Cross. Initially it started in George Street which meant that trolleybuses did a circuit of Piccadilly but the terminus moved to Portland Street on 17th December 1956, along with the 218 and 219 services. Motorbuses started working the 210 from 20th January 1963 and the service was completely abandoned after the last day of trolleybus operation on 28th April the same year.
This service is always associated with the postwar Crossley trolleybuses, with the 4-wheel ‘Empire’ vehicles working the trunk service. The 6-wheel “Dominion” vehicles provided plenty of capacity but were in the main confined to short workings such as to Denton. This was largely due to union opposition for not only did they have a higher seating capacity but when new, at least, they had very heavy steering.
SHMD owned a lot of the wiring on this service, the boundary being at Broomstair Bridge. There is continuing uncertainty as to whether SHMD ever intended to operate trolleybuses, but that they did not is not in doubt. Given the relative distance of the SHMD depot in Stalybridge from the 210 service it is difficult to see how it would have worked in practice.
© David Beilby