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nostalgic incurabil
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Why did in Great Britan you quit trolleybuses

The United Kingdom of Great Britan and Northen Ireland had once trolleybus systems. The quited trams because they sayed that they are producing traffic jams (Blackpool reamined the only system for 30 years), but trollyebuses why? :?
 

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The United Kingdom of Great Britan and Northen Ireland had once trolleybus systems. The quited trams because they sayed that they are producing traffic jams (Blackpool reamined the only system for 30 years), but trollyebuses why? :?
Postwar; most big UK cities embarked on a large-scale programme of slum clearance; moving populations out of demolished inner suburbs into low-density overspill estates on the outskirts of the conuirbation. To serve these new estates by extending trolleybus lines would have involved disproportionate infrastructure costs in overhead power lines. So, once it was determined that street-running trams would have to go; the clear alternative public transport option was to provide stopping diesel-power buses.
 

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nostalgic incurabil
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
But all trolleybuses line runed to slums?
In Romania we extended the extended the extising network '60's.
 

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But all trolleybuses line runed to slums?
In Romania we extended the extended the extising network '60's.
Nope;

- for the most part, the slum housing was in areas formerly served by tram networks. Where big cities had introduced trolley-bus lines in the 1930s, these tended to serve new housing estates further out. Some smaller cities (Derby for example) phased out their trams entirely in the 1930s, and converted entirely to trolleybuses.

But the postwar overspill estates were a lot further out still - reaching them from the city centre with new trollybus lines would have been very expensive.

Moreover, in economic terms, the trolleybus power systems piggy-backed on those installed for trams. Before the National Grid, each city powered its trams from its own municipal power stations. These closed when the tram systems shut down; and the trolleybuses now needed to buy power from the Grid - which in peak periods was much more expensive.

And, of course, diesel buses of the 1950s were a great deal more cost-efficient than the petrol buses of the 1930s. Particularly in London, the new Routemaster was developed as the ultimate diesel double-decker; this was as big as a trolleybus, and as cheap to operarate. The economics of scale meant that London Transport bought as many Routemasters as they could; which spelled the death of the London trolleybuses; and with London gone, the national market for trolleybus kit disappeared.
 

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British trolleybuses and trams were really first generation buses, think of them that way. When efficient and cheap diesel double deckers came about to replace them they were an upgrade not a downgrade. It's only nowadays we're realising trolleybuses are a way to go again and modern trolleybuses and trams are nothing like early British ones. Almost a different mode of transport.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Most tram where, but there where some newer trolleybuses. In other countries they used 2nd generation trolleybuses without dismatling the systems.
I've read that some people preffered trolleybuses?

But the city power plants couldn't be use for trolleybuses exclusevely? Or:
1) It was uneconomic?;
2) They where forced to buy power from the national grid?
 

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Most tram where, but there where some newer trolleybuses. In other countries they used 2nd generation trolleybuses without dismatling the systems.
I've read that some people preffered trolleybuses?
But the city power plants couldn't be use for trolleybuses exclusevely? Or:
1) It was uneconomic?;
2) They where forced to buy power from the national grid?
Worldwide, trolleybuses are successful in dense cities where there are steep gradients in the road.
Most cities in Britain don't have steep gradients (there are exceptions eg Bradford). And as others have pointed out, postwar development funds mostly did not go into urban renewal but into suburbia and new towns.
That trolleybuses work well in San Francisco and in Crimea is no great surprise.
 

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But the city power plants couldn't be use for trolleybuses exclusevely? Or:
1) It was uneconomic?;
2) They where forced to buy power from the national grid?
All municipal electric power production was nationalised in 1948; and incorporated into the British Electricty Authority (later the Central Electricity Generating Board). The BEA then upgraded all these power generators and hooked them into the 275kv Grid. What this meant in practice, was that it ceased to be economic to run a power station simply to generate DC current for public transport (until the 1950s, most UK towns continued to light their streets with coal-gas lamps).
 

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They're still very much used in Switzerland, where they never really got dismantled, e.g. Geneva

Where it complements the tram network


But the main reason is that Switzerland's only resource is water and mountains, i.e. hydroelectricity. This means that this was the cheapest source of energy for the country throughout the mid-20th century - and also very reliable as it did not depend on foreign imports. But an energy that cannot be exported, unlike others.

I guess that the difference for Britain is that its main source of power in the 1950s was coal, and either the country used it to produce electricity or it sold it abroad, therefore there was no opportunity cost of ditching the trolley buses, whereas Switzerland would have wasted energy and on top of that it would have had to import even more oil.

With the expansion of lines to the suburbs there was no point in building the expensive infrastructure for trolley buses if there was no benefit to it.

Not much point in building trolley bus networks nowadays, the technology to make fully electric buses is developing very fast, e.g. this prototype that charges the battery at the stops:

Even trolley buses will probably get replaced as it costs money to maintain all those cables and every now and then they get disrupted because they only have a certain margin of manoeuvre if something blocks the road. When that happens they need to turn on very inefficient little combustion engines, avoid the obstacle, stop again and get the trolley bus branched again, which is quite time consuming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@ nerd : that natinolization bringed some bad things, not only in the area of city owned power plants.
The communists complained that in Bucharest we still had coal-gas lamps before W.W. 2 But oops, Great Britan, a more developed country had them too for a long time.

Sorry to ask agian, but still I'm not enterly understeanding the situation: o.k., there wasn't worthing extending trolleybus routes into suburbs, but all those cities that quited trolleybuses didn't had any more clients for them on the routes that existed?
 

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@ nerd : that natinolization bringed some bad things, not only in the area of city owned power plants.
The communists complained that in Bucharest we still had coal-gas lamps before W.W. 2 But oops, Great Britan, a more developed country had them too for a long time.

Sorry to ask agian, but still I'm not enterly understeanding the situation: o.k., there wasn't worthing extending trolleybus routes into suburbs, but all those cities that quited trolleybuses didn't had any more clients for them on the routes that existed?
Nowt wrong with nationalisation of electric power - or the National Grid. But it did change the economics of public transport; simply by opening up more potential markets for electric power - like street lighting.

Slum clearance removed high density housing in the areas formerly served by trams; so tram systems became uneconomic (although effectively the decision to remove tram networks had already been taken, on road traffic grounds). But the trams needed replacing; and everywhere this was done with diesel buses. The trolley bus networks became anomalous, and by around 1960, they had all been phased out in favour of diesel buses.

My main memory of trolley buses was in North London; where they had been introduced to serve expanded suburbs in the 1930s. North London never really developed a full tram network, as the City of London refused to allow any trams in the square mile of the City itself. But central South London hsd been almost entirely served by trams until the 1950s, when the whole lot was replaced by diesel buses.
 

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@ nerd : that natinolization bringed some bad things, not only in the area of city owned power plants.
The communists complained that in Bucharest we still had coal-gas lamps before W.W. 2 But oops, Great Britan, a more developed country had them too for a long time.

Sorry to ask agian, but still I'm not enterly understeanding the situation: o.k., there wasn't worthing extending trolleybus routes into suburbs, but all those cities that quited trolleybuses didn't had any more clients for them on the routes that existed?
Apologies for taking the liberty to answer as well. There's two situations:
1- bus lines that had to be extended in length towards the suburbs: in this case it clearly made more sense to purchase diesel buses instead of investing in expensive trolley bus network extensions.
2- once diesel buses had to be bought, you might as well start dismantling all the trolley bus network if there's no clear advantage to keeping it as network electricity was expensive and local power plants were closing - which was the case in the UK but not in a country like Switzerland, where they still had a major advantage and that's why they were kept despite the adoption of diesel buses (see my post above). This is an effect from the economies of scale achieved from bulk-buying large quantities of buses, and from unifying a fleet to lower the training and maintenance costs as well as the flexibility that diesel buses offer in terms of service.
 

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2- once diesel buses had to be bought, you might as well start dismantling all the trolley bus network if there's no clear advantage to keeping it as network electricity was expensive and local power plants were closing - which was the case in the UK but not in a country like Switzerland, ... .
Also Switzerland is pretty darned hilly.
Trolleybuses outperform diesel buses in stop-start conditions where there are steep gradients. Like San Francisco.
 

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nostalgic incurabil
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Can you recomand me a good book on British trolleybuses (an eventualy trams).
 
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