David Beilby | Bradford trolleybuses - the last one

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Preparation for the end of the trolleybuses had begun very early in 1972 and it had been intended to repaint a vehicle into the pre-war ultramarine livery. However, the miners' dispute and the interruption it caused to trolleybus operation rather disrupted these plans. Fortunately the dispute was resolved in time to avoid having to change the date, which might have been very difficult due to the ending of the electricity supply agreements on 31st March .

The vehicle plans changed and instead 844 was selected, having been the last trolleybus to be repainted. Following its tour for the BBC early in the last week it entered Thornbury workshops for final preparation. I was fortunate enough to visit the Thornbury workshops in the last week, a visit which I believe had been arranged before the closure schedule had been determined and would probably not have happened had it not been a pre-existing commitment. This enabled me to take the pictures of 844 having the final preparations made.

845's role should not be forgotten. It was prepared as a reserve vehicle and had the lower deck blue repainted and flags attached to the trolley booms and participated thus in the last weekend tours. Its role as a reserve vehicle was not a passive one, as it waited in the City on standby, returning before 844 and even dewiring one last time in the process!

The event started with 844 leaving Thornbury depot, accompanied by tower wagon 033 and a crowd of well-wishers, in time to arrive at City Hall for the 1500 departure with the Lord Mayor and council members, joined at the Odeon by other invited guests. The route taken was to Thornton, return to Four Lane Ends, Squire Lane, Duckworth Lane, City and Leeds Road into Thornbury depot. The run had been well-supported along the way but the majority had congregated at Thornbury depot where large numbers of people had congregated for the last arrival. They were rewarded by later being allowed into the workshops to hear the final speeches, a feature that was unplanned and happened apparently at the request of the Lord Mayor. Well done!

And that was it.