Trolley bus makes tracks to celebrate 50th anniversary

THIS month marks the 50th anniversary of the final run of Hobart’s last trolley bus (number 235) in Hobart.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Tasmanian Transport Museum will be holding ‘A Day in the Yard’ on Sunday 18 November from 11.30am to 3pm.

Tasmanian Transport Museum volunteer and treasurer Phil Lange said the 50th anniversary of the last trolley bus run was a great opportunity to remember the impact trolley buses had on public transport throughout the mid to late 1900s.

“We think it’s important to remember that Hobart had quite a substantial era of trolley buses,” he said.

“We want to get them out and showcase them, and also bring out some other Metropolitan Transport Trust (MTT)/Metro buses to illustrate street transport since the trolley buses.

“On the day when we bring them out in the yard to share stories, we will make sure they’re more accessible for members of the public to look at and celebrate.”

The 235 trolley bus was bodied in 1952 by City Bodyworks in Hobart.

It has a unique British United Traction chassis and was donated to the Tasmanian Transport Museum following its last run on 24 November 1968, where the public gathered on the streets of Hobart to wave goodbye.

Mr Lange said the trolley bus was a significant form of transport for Hobart throughout the past century as the electric traction technology worked well on Hobart’s hills.

“Trolley buses had their heyday in the 1950s, especially as reliable transport to the inner suburbs in an era of low car ownership,” he said.

“The frequency of trolley buses meant that people could go home for lunch each day, as there was a trolley bus every eight minutes from Hobart to Sandy Bay.

“The trolley buses use of electricity made them quite energy efficient, but also contributed to their downfall from 1967 – around the time of the infamous bushfires – as there was a shortage of rain in the state, meaning there was also a shortage of electricity.”

Mr Lange said the subsequent introduction of motor buses meant that trolley buses were retired and transport in the City of Hobart moved forward with newer technologies.

The Transport Museum is home to two trolley buses, numbers 74 and 235, formerly owned by the Hobart City Council and then the MTT.

Trolley bus 74, which will also be on display at the upcoming event, has a body constructed by the Hobart tramway workshops in 1942 and mounted onto a Leyland manufactured chassis.

Trolley bus 74 was donated to the Tasmanian Transport Museum in 1964 from the MTT.

Trolley buses 235 and 74, along with other older MTT buses, will be on display on Sunday 18 November from 11am to 3.30pm at the Tasmanian Transport Museum, located at 2b Anfield Street, Glenorchy.

Short heritage train rides will also be available on the day with admission prices of $12 for adults and $6 for children.

Caption: Tasmanian Transport Museum president Rod Prince and secretary Phil Lange in front of trolley bus 235, which will be out in the yard on Sunday 18 November.