Portsmouth Trolleybuses - Past and Present

Just 18 hours to go and then no more
Click on picture [313]
for an enlarged version

From: "Tim Runnacles" <timrunnacles@aol.com>

The picture shows No.313 about to leave Eastney Depot on its first trip of the day on Saturday 27 July 1963, at about 06.00 hrs. Some 18 hours later it would be the last Portsmouth trolleybus of all.

From: "Roger T" <rogertra@highspeedplus.com> in Victoria, BC

Great Pompey trolleybus site. Wish I'd found it before. Always was a great fan of the Pompey trolley system. It was a sad day when it closed.

The WEB pages brought back fond memories. 1963 was a bad year. The trolley's were abandoned as was the Hayling Island branch.

My route to work each day was via either the 148a or 148b, both were convenient to where I lived in Leigh Park.

I'd take the 148 to Cosham, Red Lion and change there to the Copnor Road bus, the 16?

Sadly I was unable to record on film these trolleybuses as I was just a poor apprentice in the 60's and couldn't afford a camera until I came to Canada in 1966. Now I'm a poor Manager/Technical director for a 302 seat community theatre.

I find it interesting that ridership was/is falling yet ridership on buses in car mad North America is rising. The city of Victoria purchased Dennis double-deckers last year and has more on order, yet double-deckers seem to be in decline in the UK.

From: "Tim Runnacles" <timrunnacles@aol.com>

Thanks for the kind comments. If you caught a trolley at the Red Lion in Cosham it would have been the 6, at least latterly, when the 5/6 was the only route running from there.

From: "The Aussie Gang" <malamute3@iinet.net.au>

A delightful site. Unfortunately like the old Portsmouth trolley buses many good things have come and gone. As a child growing up in Copnor I would catch a trolley bus opposite the Methodist Church on Copnor Road, which would take me to the Canoe Lake in Southsea where I would sail my red sailed catamaran. I have a number of diecast models of Portsmouth Corporation buses, unfortunately non appear to have been produced of the Portsmouth trolley buses.

David Vernon, Mt Helena, Western Australia

From: "Peter Hutchinson" <peterehutchinson@lineone.net>

I enjoyed your photos of Pompeys trollies. I remember them well as I child. I had an uncle killed by a trolley bus on the Guildhall square, knocked off his bike in the dockyard rush.

My folks used to live in Centuar St in North End by the Air Ballon pub which I believe still exists. You don't happen to have any images from that area do you. I can remember getting on the trolleys in Commercial Rd outside a chip shop called the Lighthouse.

From: "Ian Wilson" <wilsonian@optusnet.com.au>

I remember when copner road was first had the trolley wires put up. I lived in Paulsgrove and went down to Winter Road to pay the grocery bill, before that I lived near Goldsmith Avenue. Will a museum be set up for the buses?

From: "Baron Campbelltennant" <baron.campbelltennant@parliament.vic.gov.au>

Gday. I found your site while working the night shift, it brought back so many happy memories. I grew up in Portsmouth before leaving, age 21, for Australia. My aunt lived just across from the dockyard gate. I used to catch the bus from The Hard back down to Albert Road, Southsea and I remember Eastney bus depot very well; and at one time lived right opposite in Cromwell Road. Thanks for putting the site on the web.

From: "Phil Savin" <Philnivas89@aol.com>

Your site is very good. My dad was a driver at North End and Eastney we lived at the bottom of Locksway Road very near Jordens scrap yard and as a young boy I would play on the old trolleys park there.

My Dad later went over to Southdown and I became a driver with Southdown in 1970s. One of my dad's story was last trolley back to North End depot sometime in the 1950's, as it was the only trolley out he had all the power on the way back down Chichchester Road doing about 40+mph when a car pull out in front of him. The trolley had air brakes and stopped on it nose but both poles went forward, brought the lines down and lost his trolley heads which went down the road never to be see again. He said it had all road crew out all night to repair ready for next morning.

I remember 237 at Dundas Spur Hilsea, in 1970s; it is still there. Great site play up Pompey!

237 at Jordan's Scrapyard near Portsmouth Gasworks on 14 June 1963
237 at Jordan's Scrap yard near Portsmouth Gasworks
Photographed on 14 June 1963
Click on picture [237] for an enlarged version

From: "Tim Runnacles" <timrunnacles@aol.com>

I also recall watching the trolley wires go up in Copnor Road in 1951, and seeing them cut down in 1963. In their latter years I was a regular user of the Portsmouth trolleybuses, which used to pass right outside my school.

A museum was set up in Portsmouth several years ago; it was called the City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport Depot and was located in Broad Street. The depot housed several buses, two Horndean trams, a tower wagon and Portsmouth trolleybus 201 [the first of the 115 such vehicles that ran in the city]. Regrettably, the museum was evicted from its premises over three years ago, and its collection was dispersed. The trolleybus is now displayed at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, in North Hampshire. Another trolleybus, 313 [the last to run in the city], has been preserved and has recently been restored to operating condition at Carlton Colville museum, near Lowestoft in East Anglia.

Regarding 237, it survived at Dundas Lane until about 2000. Jordan's needed to clear space on its site, and the remains of the vehicle were demolished. At least one serious effort was made to save it [a Sheffield group, on behalf of the Cravens company that built the bodywork], but the vehicle was too far gone to make restoration a serious possibility.

Believe it or not, I only discovered these facts when attending the re-launch of trolley 313 at Carlton Colville.

From: "Keith Farrow" <keith.farrow@trolleybus.net>

Portsmouth 313 was brought back into service at the East Anglia Transport museum over the weekend of 28/29 April 2007, after several years of painstaking restoration.

Picture TR313
Picture by Tim Runnacles

Picture KFCIMG0307
Picture by Keith Farrow

From: "John Austin" <john@vectisrd.f9.co.uk>

I much enjoyed your picture gallery of the Portsmouth Trolleybuses - It took me back years when I used to travel on the buses to see my grandmother who lived in Preston Rd, North End back in the early sixties

All your hard work and research was appreciated, many thanks.