Trolleybuses began operating in Reading on the 18th July 1936. The system was operated for just 32 years, closing on the 3rd November 1968. We are fortunate in 2018 that six former Reading trolleybuses survive in preservation. Five of these fine vehicles can be found at ‘The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft’ in north Lincolnshire. Over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2018 the Museum held an event to mark 50 years since the closure of the Reading trolleybus system that took place in 1968. The independent transport videos cameras were on hand to record the event for all to see.
Filmed on the Saturday and Sunday our cameras filmed the action of the trolleybuses in service as well as three preserved motorbuses, two from Reading Corporation and one from Thames Valley - the ‘company’ fleet in the town. The trolleybuses you will see operating on this programme are: 113 (ARD 676) an AEC 661T with Park Royal H56R bodywork from 1938, 174 (ERD 145) and 181 (ERD 152) Sunbeam S7s with Park Royal H68RD bodywork from 1950 and 193 (VRD 193) a Sunbeam F4A with Burlingham H68F bodywork built in 1961. The motorbuses you will see are AEC Regents 47 (RD 7127) from 1935 and 3 (MRD 146) from 1957, both with Park Royal bodywork. The Thames Valley double-decker is Bristol K6A 446 (DBL 154) dating from 1946 with an ECW body. We see the trolleybuses working alongside the motorbuses evoking a scene from days gone by. We also take rides on all the trolleybuses in service as well as motorbus 47 around the Museum site. Trolleybus 144 (DRD 130) is a BUT 9611T with Park Royal H56RD bodywork from 1949 which has been undergoing major refurbishment and was not available to be seen during our visit. However, David Jukes kindly supplied some still photographs of 144 whilst it was doing a test drive around the site on the Bank Holiday Monday.
We conclude our programme with some excellent cine film from the camera of Richard Newman on one of his visits to the system during the 1960s. The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft is well worth a visit. They hold a number of events throughout the year. The subject of another event can be found on our DVD programme entitled ‘Reading Trolleybuses Preserved 2006’, when the anniversary of 80 years since the opening of the system was marked. Enjoy!
Produced by Independent Transport Videos
Running time - 62 minutes (approx)
Format - 16:9 Widescreen
Release date - October 2018