English Electric had developed their own trolleybus design based on a Leyland Lion chassis in the form of the experimental vehicle which became 560 in the Bradford fleet and is the subject of a separate gallery. They were therefore in a strong position to help Bradford's pro-trolleybus manager convince the many doubters, whose opinions were based on the rather unsatisfactory tramcar-based early designs of which they had had plenty of experience.
The first Leyland/English Electric vehicles were supplied in two batches delivered in 1928 and 1929 and had English Electric centre-entrance bodies. They were:
544-553 (KW 2601-10)
554-559 (KW 4600-5)
These allowed Bradford to replace last of the venerable solid-tyred vehicles from 1914 which ended up having longer lives than the vehicles that replaced them! The second batch had slightly modified frontal styling, with a less bulbous appearance. Most of these were withdrawn in 1938; the few that survived into the Second World War (552-7) were given perimeter seating in 1939 but were withdrawn in 1940 with the closure of the Oakenshaw service. Two ran as grit wagons for a few years longer.
In March 1929 eleven further single-deckers (this time with front entrances) were ordered along with six six-wheel double-deckers, all from English Electric. The single-deckers were based again on Leyland chassis but the double-deckers were completely designed by English Electric using frames from Rubery Owen. The single-deckers, which were to be the last of the type bought new by Bradford, were:
561-571 (KW 6051-6061)
Although bought for general use, they were initially used on the Allerton route whilst teething problems were resolved on the double-deckers. They survived most of the war but were replaced in 1945 by the first deliveries of Karrier Ws.
The double-deckers were supplied in two batches with very different control systems. The first batch (two groups of six) shared the same system as the single-deckers and were known as 'Paddlers' as the ratchet arrangement on the power pedal to limit acceleration involved repeated pressing of that pedal, somewhat akin to pumping a deficient hydraulic brake. The second batch had an easier control system from the driver's point of view but it had an odd characteristic whereby the driver had to 'trip' a foot pedal after every brake application. They became known as 'Tripplers' and also had a slightly more curvaceous body style and several detail differences. New in 1929/30 and 1931, they were joined by an ex-demonstrator in 1932 which had a slightly different body style again and was also a 'Trippler'. It had been built immediately after the first batch. Fleet numbers and registrations were:
572-577 (KW 6062-67)
578-583 (KW 6654-59)
584-595 (KW 9453-64)
596 (KY 1360) - ex-demonstrator
No less than ten of these were sold to Newcastle C. T. at the end of 1942 by direction of the Ministry of War Transport, released by the arrival of the 'Jo'burgs'. Later, in 1945, one of each type plus the ex-demonstrator were sold to South Shields. The remainder were displaced in 1946 by the arrival of Karrier Ws.
© David Beilby