These are the 2 trolleybuses we are restoring
262 was one of a batch of trolleybuses that entered service in November 1949 & is unique in being the only Welsh built Trolleybus left in the world! A slight exaggeration perhaps but 262 has a BUT 9641T chassis with a body built by Bruce Coachworks of Cardiff on East Lancs frames. She is also one of four Bruce built buses left – the others being an ex-Eastbourne AEC Regent III in the care of the City of Portsmouth Preserved Passenger Depot (CPPD), a Bedwas & Machen AEC Regal and a Daimler (CVD6) new to Swansea Motor Services (SWAN).
As a double decker, 262 unlike 243, was not confined to one route & was used regularly all over the system when she ran the last trip on the route 8 between Victoria Park and the Royal Oak. After withdrawal at the end of April 1968 she was purchased for preservation by the Cardiff Trolleybus Society.
A restoration history of 262
Another special vehicle in our collection is 262, being designed to a special low height specification, was part of an order placed with East Lancs Coachbuilders in the late 1940’s for fifty vehicles. Due to excessive workload half the order was assigned to a Cardiff company Bruce Coachworks, one of which was 262. This has led to some unique facts which makes 262 special. As Bruce Coachworks only built these trolleybuses they are classed as “Welsh” trolleybuses, and as 262 is the only surviving vehicle it can rightly claim to be the only Bruce bodied trolleybus in the world.
It survived in service until 1968 when it was purchased by our predecessors, the Cardiff Trolleybus Society who ran it until the system closed on January 11th 1970, being the last trolleybus into Newport Road depot and so the last trolleybus to operate in the Principality. It then led a chequered life as trolleybus restoration hadn’t commenced and with no options it passed to another group before entering the local bus scrap yard of Bill Way. Within twelve months an enthusiast from Sussex purchased it and after a nomadic existence 262 relocated to Sandtoft near Doncaster where limited restoration ensued for a number of years.
With the formation of the project and local accommodation, the owner sold 262 for a statutory £1 in 1995, it was then moved first to Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan but with restrictions on restoration, a local farm to the East of its home city was located in late 2001, whence the projects collection was moved and since then 262’s fortunes have improved, but there are still many more “fascinating hours” of restoration work to which viewing can be arranged.
243’s story really beings in 1947 when Cardiff Corporation purchased seven ex 1930 English Electric single deckers from Pontypridd UDC, the reason for the purchase was the bridge under the Great Western Main line at Bute Street, the height of which precluded the use of anything but single deckers on the No 16 route from Mill Lane (Monument) to Pierhead just over 1 mile in length. Owing to their ponderous nature & the distinctive whine from their motors the English electric machines were soon nickanmed “Doodlebugs” – a name which stuck to their successors, of which 243 was one.
The Pontypridd buses were replaced in 1949 by 5 BUT 9641Ts with East Lancs Single Deck bodies, this early batch had twin entranced as per the Double deckers built at the same time. 243 entered service in May 1955, her chassis was the last one of a batch built for the new routes to Ely (see 262 for nore details) but unlike the previous 5 single deckers was built with a single rear entrance only. As a single Decker designed for the No 16 route (Later to be renumbered the 14) 243 spent her entire working life on this short (less than a mile) route taking the residents of Tiger Bay to work on the docks as well as into town. In fact she only has a useful working life of 9 years as she was withdrawn on the abandonment of route No 14 in January 1964.