Digatal Camera 1812 Returns
and a real picture it is too!

John Parkin <Trolleybus654@aol.com> writes:

LONDON TROLLEYBUS 1812 RE LAUNCHED INTO SERVICE AT SANDTOFT

I spent an enjoyable day at Sandtoft on Bank Holiday Monday. London Trolleybus 1812 - ex Spain - was re-launched into passenger service, following a full restoration. It was very good and a pleasure to ride on. Some of the pictures taken on that day are shown below.

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Click on any thumbnail for a larger image but wait until all thumbnails have downloaded

The famous London Trolleybus symbol
Picture JP1
1812 and the famous London Trolleybus symbol
Rear of 1812 with its poles down
Picture JP2
The rear of 1812 with its poles down
1812 re-enters service
Picture JP3
Gavin Booth [Editor Classic Bus] and Mike Dare [Chairman BTS] at the launching ceremony
1812 under the wires
Picture JP4
1812 under the wires alongside the period shops
1812 waits to pick up passengers
Picture JP5
1812 waits to pick up passengers with Glasgow 78 behind
1812 outside Axholme Stores
Picture JP6
With London RM 329 behind outside Axholme Stores

The captions to all the pictures on this page were written by John Parkin
who would welcome your observations and comments.

Some Background Notes

Ex-London Transport #1812 [registration number HYM 812], a double deck 70-seat 3-axle trolleybus of BUT manufacture, dates from 1948. It is one of just 127 trolleybuses bought by London Transport after the Second World War, designated the Q1 Class, to replace the capital's original 1931 trolleybuses and to replace vehicles destroyed during the blitz.

Along with the rest of the Q1 class, #1812 operated from Isleworth and Fulwell depots until 1961 [a year before London's trolleybuses were finally replaced by the world-famous Routemaster diesel buses], when they were prematurely withdrawn from service and 125 of them sold to various trolleybus operators in Spain. #1812 - which had been the last trolleybus ever to operate the old 607 service from Uxbridge - was one of six trolleybuses that were hand picked as the best in the London fleet to go to Santander in Northern Spain.

There, the vehicle was modified to suit the "drive on the right" rule of the road, by having the rear platform and stairs "reversed" and a new exit doorway cut in the side; the UK driving position was left unaltered. Now #8 in the Santander fleet, the trolleybus operated for a further 14 years until it was finally withdrawn in 1975 and eventually purchased for preservation by the British Trolleybus Society, returning to Britain in 1977.

Over the past two years the British Trolleybus Society, with concurrent fund-raising activities and appeals for the 1812 project, have been completely renovating the trolleybus to put it back into its London condition. In excess of 35,000 will have been spent getting #1812 pristine so that it can take pride of place in the British Trolleybus Society's collection and join the operational "fleet" at the Museum of the Trolleybus at Sandtoft.

The renovation work has entailed, amongst many other things, the reconstruction of the rear of the vehicle and the stairs to its London layout, removing the extra Spanish exit doorway, re-cabling, and refurbishment of some of the electrical components, the re-equipping of auxiliary traction batteries [as originally fitted for emergency maneuvering away from the overhead wires], a full mechanical overhaul, re-upholstering the seats in authentic moquette, trimming the interior panels in leather cloth and a full repaint inside and out, including lettering, lining out and period, sign-written advertisements.

Amazingly, in a test run early in May 2001 - the first operation under 550 volts DC since 1975 - #1812 operated near perfectly. Whilst the work itself may be complete, the 1812 project appeal is still short of its target and remains open for further donations.