Vehicles

Road vehicle; K2-class trolleybus No 1253 registration mark EXV253, 1939
A double-deck trolleybus painted red with advertising space between the decks and on either side of the destination sign
Simple name : Road vehicle
Date : 1939
Collection : Vehicles
Object location : Covent Garden
Reference number : 1981/528 part 0
Operated by : London Transport
Manufacturer : Leyland Motors : 1939
Mode : Trams and trolleybuses
Additional information : This trolleybus ran in north and northeast London from March 1939 to April 1961. Unlike buses, trolleybuses didn't have a front-mounted engine since power was supplied through long booms attached to the roof that latched onto electric wires suspended from above. The vehicles were known for their quiet and smooth ride, and the interiors were carefully designed to be inviting and comfortable. Many were fitted with their own designs of moquette seating covers. During the late 1950s and early 60s, trolleybuses were withdrawn from service. This was mainly due to the development of motorbuses, which were cheaper and more flexible to operate.
Vehicle caption : Trolleybus 1253 ran in north and northeast London from March 1939 to April 1961. It is a typical example of the K2 type trolleybus, of which over 150 were constructed by Leyland Motors Ltd. They were known for their quiet, smooth ride and the 70-seat interior was designed to be attractive and comfortable. Trolleybuses were withdrawn from service during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Number 1253 has been displayed at the Museum since 1980.
Colour : Red,Cream
Height : 15ft 7in
Length : 30ft 0in
Seating upper : 40
Seating lower : 30
Weight (unladen) : 9 tons
Chassis number : 300198
Fleet number : 1253
Registration number : EXV253
Lt type code : K2
First date in service : 03/1939
Last date in service : 04/1961
Record completeness :
Record 100% complete

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Visitor comments

As a boy, I used to travel from East Finchley on the 614 and 617 routes. I recall the noise the trolleys made in the wire channels under the series of rail bridges serving East Finchley station and for a long time after the trolleys were withdrawn, I was certain I could,still hear that noise. Only recently, I found out that my late father was a trolley us driver based in Finchley. Michael from York
I remember seeing this vehicle at Craven Park, where I used to live, working I think the 628 route from Craven Park to Clapham Junction. I used to catch the 660 or 666 trolleybus to school in Acton. One evening as I returned home a rather harrassed passenger enquired of one of the conductors,'How do the buses run round here?' She received the reply,'On wheels madam.' The conductor did then say, 'Seriously madam how can I help you?' The lost passenger went on her way happily realising the humour of the situation. Michael from Swindon
In the 1950s I travelled to school from South Tottenham to High Cross on 543,643 and 649 trolley bus routes. On the return journey, the conductors would hang off the platform to change the points at Seven Sisters Road by pulling on a handle hanging from a post supporting the wires. If he didn't make it in time, the bus and poles would head in different directions and he'd have get the bamboo pole out to reconnect as others have described earlier. One of the trolley buses on the 649 route to Enfield had its interior decorated with inlaid veneers and a plaque recorded that the bus had appeared at a Canadian exhibition. John from London
As a lad in the 50's, me and my mates used to use the 581 trolleybus to go to Whipps Cross to go boating and fishing, and also to go a bit further on to Woodford to get conkers. At the time I was living in Hackney. Ken from Scunthorpe
Aaah Trolleybuses! During the 60s we used to 'spot' at Turnpike Lane station, just around the corner from home. Regularly travelled by Trolleybus to relatives. Also my Dad, Fred (now 92), took us to the last Trolleybuses at Stamford Hill and Wood Green depots. Our Sunday School teacher gave us an outing to the last one of all at Fulwell and the Sunday School paid for the mini-cab ride home to Wood Green. alan from London
My Dad, Ernest KENT, worked for LTC at the Chiswick Depot and then, for a few years at Aldenham. I remember EVERY Christmas going to Chiswick as a kid for the LTC Christmas Party. What fun we had, even got to see Santa I seem to remember, AND a present too ! Also remember the Christmas photos being taken with our Christmas hats on. My Dad worked for LTC from about 1945 until his retirement about 1985. He would have worked, probably as an Engineer, in the Boiler Plant where, according to my Mum, he slept ALL the time. Does anyone remember him and/or are there any photo's of him? I live in Canada now so I really have to reach out for help with this. Also, I understand that alot of my HARRIS family worked at Chiswick. Does anyone know of these folks? Thanks for reading this and, if you are able to help me, MANY THANKS if you do. Rich from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
I was a Trolleybus Conductress in 1952, working from the North Finchley garage. At the time they had an all night service. My boyfriend ( later my husband) was a student. When I had finished my late shift the Driver of the next Trolley bus would allow us to put our cycles on the platform & give us a lift home. In the great Smog of 1952 I walked in front of the Trolley Bus holding a torch. A very memorable 10 months. from Oxford
I was too young to remember trolleys in their hayday, only getting interested in 1961. But I have got fond memories of the west London routes the snow in the winter of 1963 and the last day at Fulwell. Also sneaking into the rear yard at Colindale on a Saturday afternoon, which by then was 'Cohens' scrap yard and trying to remove parts as souvenirs before the security man came round. Think of the health and safety issues today! I still have a few happy reminders of those times Steve from London
I grew up in Harlesden NW10. The trolleybuses were a big part of my youth as we used them almost everyday. Routes 660,662,664,666,626 & 628 were the ones most used. Later I became a driver at Stamford Hill Depot working on the 543,643.647 routes that served that area. They were great days and I loved the smoothness and acceleration they had. I am looking forward to 2012 which will be the 50th Anniv of the closure of the London Trolleybus system ,when I could see 1201 & 1348 together, These were both Stamford Hill buses which I probably drove in service,. Nick from Buckingham
As a boy in the late 1950s early 1960s I lived on the Kenton Rd where the 230 RLH turned out from Northwick Park Stn. I went to school on the 140 RTs then the 645 & 666 from Burnt Oak to Spur Road. I was the envy of my Bus spotting mates as brand new RMs passed my house from AEC Southhall en route to Aldenham works. I cherish those Golden days! Denis from Hemel Hempstead
There's an old saying that goes 'you don't miss something until its gone'. In my case, this refers to the SA Trolleybuses on Routes 691 & 693 operating from the Ilford Depot. My Grandparents lived at Barking and as a very young lad, I would often visit them by travelling on a train to Ilford and then by trolleybus. My movement was controlled by older relatives so I could not spend time studying these vehicles. When I was old enough to, they had gone. After that, I would frequently visit the Ilford depot, hoping that one day, I'd find it open. One Saturday morning in 1970 my wish came true. With permission, I explored the building (downstairs only) and visualised 8ft wide SAs stabled neatly in rows instead of the dirty , smelly Council vehicles which had replaced them. The Trolleybus museum at Sandtoft has obtained a Johannesburg vehicle identical to the SA3s and is in the process of restoring it in London Transport livery. It expects it to be finished in 2012. My next trip will be to Doncaster where my now fading memories can be brought back to life by not only seeing but riding on this wonderful type of trolleybus. Gordon from Colchester
i remember vividly the trolley bus terminus in waltham cross .as you turned right in waltham cross it was on the right.ibelieve i remembered it so well as it was next door to the dentist,circa1955 roger
i lived at belmont circle near edgware and rode on 645,664,666 routes.during my bus spotting days i remember riding on my first rebodied vehicle 1543b one dark cold winter night at morgate in 1959. highgate was a difficult depot to get round the forman would tear up your list of numbers. the secret was to have a mate with a second sheet.i later worked as a conductor then passed driver at harrow weald garage. in 1969 and drove r l h low bridge buses on the 230 route. i still drive for arriva in luton and retire next year colin from luton beds
Until 1937, we lived in North Finchley a very short distance from the old tram/trolley/bus garage, alas now a DIY store. One of my earliest recollections, aged 5, was 2nd August, 1936, the day the trolleybus, either the 660 to Hammersmith or the 645 to Canons Park, replaced the trams. My Dad & I travelled from Christchurch Avenue to Church End Finchley on that morning. After the war, one evening during one of those real pea souper fogs, I, on my bike helped guide a trolleybus or two from Henley’s Corner up to higher ground at Finchley Central. Happy Days. Remember some northbound services were turned back by the A1 Dairy Farm, no wires just the battery to do a U turn. What a to do if the battery was flat! John from St Albans
I agree with David of Essex that the Trolly Bus is stood at the Nappier Arms, a pub I used a lot in the 1950's. The 661's also used to turn round here going to Algate via Whips Cross, Leytonstone, Stratford and Mile End. from Kent
Ivor of London must have travelled on a bus driven by my late Father who worked for L.T. for 45 yeays. His Garage was in Forest Gate where the 66's operated from running from Becontree or Hornchurch to the Green Man at Leytonstone and know to all the drivers as the convalesant run. His bus was once machine gunned by a German plane whilst on the stand at Becontree but no one was hurt as he and his conductor were in the cafe having a cup of tea at the time. from Kent
I used to travel to school by 630 trolleybus from Mitcham to West Croydon up to 1951. But I had a pet name for the 'Diddler' type trolleybuses that ran to Wimbledon calling them 'Monkeybuses' on account of their flat noses! Graham Graham from Penicuik Midlothian
I grew up in Finchley, and before I was 10 we lived just off East End Road, and would always catch the 143 (an RT). When I was 10 we moved to North Finchley, and travelled about in absolute luxery on the 517, 609, 617. Smooth ride, and quiet. I remember waiting at the bus stop near Summers Lane, and we would try to guess the route number of the trollybus as it left the Depot at North Finchley. Although the trollies were replaced by RM's (Route 17 replacing the 517/617) and RML's (Route 104 replacing the 609) my overwhelming memories was catching the trollybus, they will forever be part of my growing up. Of course, power cuts left you sitting on a non functioning bus, but who cared! life was so much more relaxed then. Howard from Chesterfield, Derbyshire
I remember the 630 trollybus from Crystal Palace to Mitchum. The driver had to come off the power if the green pole carrying the overhead wires has a white band around it, as this was where power came into the overhead cables. Brian from Maidenhead
I well remember the trolly's changing points in Cricklewood where the conductor pulled to a large pole from underneath the bus, and then remove the electric overhead runner and then pull a lever on the side of a post to change the points. The trolleybus numbers were 662, 664 645, 666. I also remember some buses having wooden seating after the war. The main one if I recall was the number 83 from Hayes to Golders Green. I used to live in West Hendon Lovely memories CLIFF from London
I can remember on more than one occasion being told off for sneaking into Hanwell garage to collect bus numbers Hanwell being trollybus Southall being diesel both now closed john from Reading
I well remember the trolleys running through Goodmayes and Seven Kings, Essex when I was a child in the late forties and early fifties. Two routes in particular were the 693 and 695. Of the 693, I remember the registrations started with GLB and this route contained the buses which were originally intended for export to South Africa, until the War intervened. These had tinted glass in the upper of the two panes which made up the window units. I also seem to recall that the route number window in front was square in shape. The 693s ran from Wangey Road, Chadwell Heath to Barking. The 695s had a slightly different front, with a rectangular route number window, registrations started with FXH, and they ran from Chadwell Heath to Bow. There was no trolley route east of Chadwell Heath, so the number 86 bus ran through to Romford and, I think, sometimes to Collier Row. On getting in to Ilford County High School for Boys at Barkingside, I would take the 691 trolley (destination Fairlop) from Ley Street / Arterial Road (which I reached on the 66 from the top end of Barley Lane). The bus stop for the westbound 66 on the Arterial Road was right by the Police Box (Tardis to most young and youngish folk today) with an air-raid siren set high up on a pole adjacent to it. Ivor from London
When I was young and in a place I did not know well, It was foggy, and suddenly a trolley bus came out of the fog.It scared me to death. silent not a diesel racket was heard. roger from ashby de la zouch
The Trolleybus was a wonderful vehicle and I always choose the Trolleybus over an RT. However I was witness to one of the drawbacks. I was waiting at a Bus Stop by James Street Station Walthamstow. A Trolleybus was at a Bus Stop on the opposite side of the road. He was obviously ahead of time and waiting for the right moment to pullaway. A second Trolleybus pulled up behind the first. The second was obviously behind time and wished to pass the first. A row developed between the two Bus Conductor that escalated into a fight when the Conductor of the second Bus attempted to disconnect the pick up poles. I never did know the outcome as my own bus came along. Derek from Benfleet Essex
when i first arrive here in 1956 i thought the trolly bus was one of the greatest invention i had ever seen. from london
I had never seen a trolly bus before apart from pictures so it was a big surprise coming face to face with one when I arrived in London from Dominica Clifton from London
I used to see the conductor using a pole to release the bus when it stuck on the lines in acton
I can remember the dear old 691 trolley from Barkingside (The State Stop) to Barking replaced by 169 rt then a O-M-O Bus. On one occasion at Ilford Broadway the two trolley poles crossed and the conductor pulled out a long bamboo pole with a hook to uncross them but the spring on them was to strong and he left the ground the driver had to get out and pull him and the pole down everyone stood around and roared with laughter, it was a cold winters day and it cheered everyone up, no one was hurt so it was just good old clean fun, I wish you where able to turn the clock back, they where very comfortable buses. David from Ilford
I used to travel to school on the trolly bus. From Tooting Bec to Tooting Broadway and then up Garratt Lane. They were very quiet and smooth running. I loved them, but during the winter months the pick up poles used to come off the overhead cables with regularity. Mike from East Sussex
The photo of the Trolley Bus certainly brought back some memories for me. I don’t know where the photo was taken, but it looks very much like the turn around at the Napier Arms, Woodford. As a child, some days I used to cycle there and meet my father, who was a Trolley Bus driver, with his sandwiches. Dad joined the London Transport in 1946, after leaving the R.A.F. He worked from the Walthamstow depot and drove the Trolley Bus until they were replaced by the Route master in the late fifties. David from Essex
The hum of the motors, the hiss of the wire, the click of the points, there was nothing like the electric 'monarch of the road.' I lived at the Angel, fortunate enough to experience the trams and trolleybuses. I live in the USA and I miss them. Roy from Wayland USA
The 698 service started on my 3rd birthday. I can remember the rapid acceleration, and quiet running. Just the swish of the tyres and singing of the wires. The first Trolleybuses had a seat next to the driver and it was very exciting to get so near the front john from Colchester
This brings back memories of when I was dragged along by a trolleybus in Acton. I was in a rush trying to get somewhere quickly in my lunch hour and I didn't get on the trolleybus properly. They were terribly fast things and I was pulled along and ended up in hospital. I learnt my lesson. Lola from London
K2-class trolleybus No 1253, registration mark EXV253, 1939 Trolleybuses are my earliest transport memory. When I first went to St Mary's primary school in Finchley my dad took me every morning on the 660 or 645. To a four year old those trolleys seemed huge. You had to hold on tight because it could take off like a rocket, but if the driver went too fast round Tally Ho Corner the poles would come off the wires! Oliver