Glasgow Corporation operated
trolleybuses for 18 years from 1949 until 1967, and they were
truly magnificent machines. However, other than those fortunate
to live in those areas of the city where they could make use
of them and appreciate their superb riding qualities, they were
generally disliked by the majority of Glaswegians. The typical
Glasgow method of crossing the street at that time appeared to
rely on the use of the ears rather than the eyes as an indication
of whether it was safe to cross. Even a horse and cart would
be audible to the unwary, but a 10 ton monster painted in three
bright colours with only a dull whine as a warning of its approach
appeared to be an unfair hazard. The nickname “The Silent
Death” appears to have been the only term of “endearment” awarded
these vehicles by the people of Glasgow. I may be wrong, but
I have never seen any documentary proof that trolleybuses were
accountable for causing a greater percentage of injury or death
to the public than other forms of transport in the city. I therefore
must assume that they were afforded their nickname by the cynical
Glasgow public who appear to have been merely frightened of their
potential to cause an unannounced death.
The trams were notorious for accidents, and my paternal grandmother
died before I was born following a contretemps with a Glasgow tram.
She committed the cardinal sin of failing to let go of the handrail
whilst her feet were on the roadway and whilst the tram was in
motion, and sadly became one of many who subsequently found out
that a human being cannot hold back a tramcar. She died a short
time later following complications resulting from injuries received.
Why then, apart from their derogatory nickname,
were the trolleybuses so unpopular?
Glasgow was very much a tramway city, and the
locals got to know all of the relevant tram routes as they were
growing up. The tram routes did alter from time to time, but
the changes were seldom on a grand scale. When the tramways were
winding down the replacement buses were not at all well received,
as they often deviated considerably from the tram routes which
they replaced. The arrival of trolleybuses whilst the trams were
still very much to the fore, whilst regarded as a sensible and
practical approach by the Transport Department, seemed all too
much for the Glasgow public. Also, in every other city in the
UK where trolleybuses were operated, the trams were rapidly withdrawn
thereafter and the trolleybus systems expanded. In Glasgow, this
was definitely not the case, and the two modes of electrically
powered transport sat uneasily alongside each other. Or rather,
the trolleybuses sat uneasily in the shadow of the trams.
One other factor which made the trolleybuses
unpopular was that they were not used to any great degree in
the city centre, largely due to the difficulties associated with
running trams and trolleybuses together over the same section
of route. Where they were used in the city centre, their cross-city
routes tended to be along streets not exactly popular with the
travelling public. Also, there were no trolleybus termini in
the city centre, save for the Night Service route to Muirend.
Apart from the night service buses mentioned above, only two
of the services operated, namely the 105 and 107, graced the
main city centre streets. Glasgow’s decision to retain
the trams for so long did nothing for the popularity of the trolleybuses,
which many would argue were never used to their maximum potential
in Glasgow. It was as though that the Corporation had bought
them, realised that the Glasgow public didn’t like them,
then embarrassed by having wasted public money, deliberately
kept them out of the main thoroughfares as a concession to the
One notable exception to this general rule was
that the former very busy “goldmine” tram service
7 was replaced by trolleybus service 106, which although never
passing through the city centre, served various densely populated
areas on the south side of the city, most notably Bridgeton,
(the) Gorbals, and Govan. The service ran from Riddrie, on the
city’s eastern side, to Bellahouston Park, west of Govan.
The High Street routes or “services” as
they were always known in Glasgow, comprised Services 101 and
102 throughout most of the life of the system. Service 103 was
a short lived variation of the 102, and the 104 from Cathedral
Street to Muirend also had a fairly short life of about 10 years.
I have no real recollection of the 103 or 104, although I have
studied various photographs of the buses on all of the High Street
services, particularly when stationary at the Cathedral Street
terminus of service 104, and also a short turning point, which
seemed a popular spot for photographers, but not for most other
people! Cathedral Street could in no way be described as a location
likely to attract much custom, and the buses would sit in the
shadow of the rather forbidding looking 1920s style tenement
buildings looking rather sorry for themselves. The majority of
trolleybuses used on the High Street services were almost identical
in appearance to the London Q1 class, and were mainly three axle
monsters capable of seating 70. There were 64 of these, numbered
TB 1-34, and TD 1-30. The “B” denoted that the chassis
was manufactured by British United Traction, and the “D” indicated
those with Daimler chassis.
The 101 ran between Riddrie, a housing estate
or “scheme” in the north east of the city, and Rutherglen,
an independent Burgh situated in the county of Lanarkshire, on
the south east side of Glasgow. Rutherglen has been effectively
swallowed up by Glasgow, but still retains to this day a degree
of local independence. Certain 101 journeys terminated “short” at
Shawfield, which was also situated just over the border into
the county of Lanarkshire.
The other principal service that served the
High Street was the 102, which was a sort of truncated version
of the 101. It ran along the same route from Royston Road, in
a district known as the Garngad, where my mother went to school.
The Garngad had a reputation as a bit of a rough area, although
some of it was flattened and “improved” after they
knew my mother and her sisters had left! The other terminus was
in Polmadie (pronounced Pole-mah-dee, with the stress falling
on the last syllable), which was near the site of Pinkston power
station in the south side of the city, owned and used by the
Corporation to supply power for the trolleybuses.
These services were very busy indeed and were
the stronghold of the Glasgow “Q1” types throughout.
There were also 20 smaller “four wheelers”, numbered
TG 1-20, including a unique batch of 5 bodied by Walter Alexander
(the only trolleybuses ever bodied by the famous bodybuilder).
The chassis were manufactured by Sunbeam which was a subsidiary
of Guy Motors, and that explains the use of “TG”.
These trolleybuses were also regular performers on the High Street
services, although they were rather eclipsed by their larger
3 axled brethren. I should perhaps state here that the Q1s and
TGs were used on other services as well, but towards the end
of the system it was the High Street where they tended to be
found. For instance I never saw a Q1 type on the 106, but that
may have been just by chance.
Although I never travelled on the trolleybuses
to any great degree, it was on the 101/102 that I did most of
my travelling on the very short journey between Castle Street
and Glasgow Cross, or when my mother took me to visit one of
her old school friends in Royston Road. The Garngad couldn’t
have been that tough by the early 60s, as I can only remember
receiving one punch on the nose whilst playing football in the
street, by a schoolboy of similar age to myself. They say that
Glaswegians are friendly towards visitors, and that was indeed
the case here, as the guy had advised me well in advance that
I was likely “tae get wan oan the coupon” if I tackled
him in such a manner again.
We also visited my grandparents in the south
west side of Glasgow on alternating Saturdays, and on those relatively
rare occasions when my father announced that we were to go part
way by trolleybus, my sister and I would be overcome by fear,
but not of the trolleybus journey, so please read on.
Our prelude to trolleybus travel meant that
we boarded an Eastern Scottish bus in our home village, which
at various times has been described as being anything between
7 and 9 miles from Glasgow city centre. 7 miles is probably correct,
but George Graham, the former Arsenal manager, referred to his
home village of Bargeddie as being “about 9 miles east
of the city” in his autobiography. Other than George, whom
I have never met, I can only think of one other person from there
who made it “big time”. His name was Hugh Blackwood,
a local dairy farmer, who made his fortune importing huge earthmoving
vehicles from the USA in the days when motorway construction
was beginning in earnest. He once threatened to boot my arse
for climbing on one of his haystacks. People said I would be
famous one day, but I now cannot remember when that day was,
as I was only about 10 or 11. In any case he only threatened
to do it, so I suppose I wasn’t that famous.
Transport wise, Bargeddie suffered greatly from
its location, being just outside the boundaries of both Glasgow
and Coatbridge, and although it was once served by the Corporation’s
tramway system, it eventually became exclusively served by green
Eastern Scottish buses. I use the word “served” with
reservation, as it wasn’t much of a service at all. Eastern
Scottish ran buses out of the company’s Clarkston (Airdrie),
Bathgate, Broxburn, and Edinburgh garages along the A89 road
through Bargeddie to Glasgow. However, most of these on journeys
into Glasgow would be full to capacity at busy times by the time
they reached Bargeddie. As we lived in an area of Bargeddie known
as Drumpark, we therefore usually boarded our local “Drumpark” bus
which, being a “Glasgow Local” service was operated
out of nearby Baillieston garage. The bus would usually be a
scruffy Park Royal bodied Leyland PD2, with an upper deck very
similar in style to the last delivered Glasgow Trolleybuses.
The journey to the city took just under 30 minutes.
We would normally have remained on our Eastern
Scottish bus until the stop before Buchanan Street Bus Station,
but when we used the trolleybus we alighted in the Townhead district
of Glasgow, in the interestingly named Martyr Street. It was
tempting to think that the street had been so named in memory
of those who had martyred themselves whilst attempting to alight
from the green Eastern Scottish buses there!
It was necessary to make sure that you gave
the Eastern Scottish conductor early warning of your intent to
alight at the relatively rarely used stop in Martyr Street, as
the driver would have typically been held for what seemed like
an age at the traffic lights in Alexandra Parade, at the junction
with Castle Street, and he would be determined to get onto the
dead straight Parliamentary Road to the bus station as soon as
he could. A stop in Martyr Street meant that he should pull into
the side of the road to let following traffic pass, but not many
drivers could be bothered, and they merely brought the bus to
a rolling crawl in second gear, to allow what they hoped was
a single male passenger “tae drap aff” the back platform.
This meant that we were expected to alight from the bus very
quickly in the middle of the road, and sprint to the pavement
Having survived the ordeal of daring to alight
at an unpopular stop, we would then go and stand in Castle Street
to await a monster trolleybus. The first thing that casual trolleybus
travellers experienced was that, despite their size, they were
often full to capacity when they approached the stop. The announcement
of “First two” or “First three” by the
conductor/conductress meant that we, as a family of four, were
obliged to wait for the next one, which could usually be seen
in the distance.
When a trolleybus finally arrived that wasn’t
full to capacity, the second aspect of trolleybus travel would
become apparent. The passenger had to fight to get to a seat
against the phenomenal acceleration of the trolleybus, always
driven in the Glasgow style, so that the bus behind never caught
up! The seats on the “Q1” types themselves were fairly
narrow as befits a 7’6’’ wide bus, and resulted
in many a sore ear when standing passengers were propelled into
seated passengers in the outside rows of seats. Also, the fact
they were so busy meant we often had to fight our way upstairs,
and if we had to split up it would be my father and I who had
to climb to the top deck. Depending on the driver, a climb to
the top of Mount Everest may have been considered an easier option
for a boy of tender years.
I was a fervent collector of Glasgow Corporation
bus tickets in those days and it was often the case that I was
disappointed. The trolleybuses were so busy that sometimes the
conductor never had time to collect all of the short distance
fares. This was usually due to the requirement for the conductor
to be on the platform at almost every stop to prevent overcrowding.
Years later as a motorbus conductor, I was obliged to do precisely
the same thing. We had to keep the buses moving at the expense
of the odd “missed fare”. This scarcely troubled
us as, particularly on Saturdays, we knew we had put in a fair
day’s work. However, it was not tolerated by the roving
Inspectors, some of whom, dressed in plain clothes, were known
to us as the “Gestapo”. A missed fare would almost
always result in the conductor being “booked”, with
possible further disciplinary action. I have touched on this
matter elsewhere, so I won’t bother repeating myself by
way of further explanation.
On alighting from the vehicle it was also necessary
to utilise all of one’s faculties to get to the rear platform
against the same acceleration that made getting to one’s
seat difficult in the first place. I am convinced that the acceleration
of the vehicles, whilst an asset to the crews, was a contributory
factor to them being unpopular with the travelling public. The
only saving grace was that, unlike the motorbuses, the drivers
were obliged to respond to bell signals, as the trolleybuses
never had interior driving mirrors.
So, what else made trolleybuses different?
To those few of us possessed of the desire to
study the workings of the vehicles, the first anomaly was the
foot pedal configuration. There were two foot pedals, and it
was the left pedal which was used to control the power of the
buses. The pedal could be completely depressed to the floor from
a standing start, as the acceleration on Glasgow trolleybuses
was automatically controlled. Releasing the pedal would instigate
a form of rheostatic braking, and the bus was finally brought
to a halt by the footbrake pedal. The right pedal was the brake,
and the pedals were never, at least to my knowledge, used with
the same foot, as in the automatic vehicles of modern times.
The driver would depress the left pedal to obtain some power,
and then release the handbrake to move off. Failure to apply
some degree of power prior to release of the handbrake could
cause the bus to roll back out of control. Although some other
undertakings employed the use of “runback brakes” to
prevent involuntary backward movement, and “coasting brakes” to
limit acceleration on steep downhill descents to about 18 mph,
Glasgow appeared to have no use for either, and the buses really
flew when traffic conditions (and the configuration of the overhead
The theory behind the left foot power pedal
was that tram drivers used their left hands to apply and reduce
power and their right for braking, so that the positioning of
the trolleybus pedals was meant to replicate that, and make “conversion” from
tram to trolleybus easier for tram drivers. The left pedal was
not simply an “accelerator”, as it also generated
a preliminary braking facility when released. Another feature
of Glasgow Trolleybuses, not universally used in the UK, was
the use of traction batteries. The batteries allowed movement
of the vehicle under its own power at a maximum speed of 4mph
during temporary disruptions caused by dewirement, or where roadworks
interrupted the normal route. I can remember at least one occasion
where our trolleybus had to lower its booms and traverse a short
Sunday, January 12, 2014 1:04 PM
was due to an accident involving the trolleybus in front
at a road junction.
Drivers had to be aware of the various power
switch settings necessary to run on batteries, and the need to
use a reverser, similar to those fitted to the trams, in order
to move backwards. Many people panicked when they saw a trolleybus
travelling in reverse as they never believed it was possible.
The fact that Glasgow utilised terminal loops rather than the
triangular reverser system tended to reinforce the belief that
Glasgow trolleybuses were incapable of voluntary backward movement.
Driving a trolleybus was not simply a case of “left
to go and right to stop”, as the drivers had an awful lot
more to think about. Various buzzers and lights in the cab had
to be acted upon, as well as light signals usually mounted on
the overhead itself, to indicate which way point frogs were set
at junctions. At various points they would have to look out for
the maximum permitted speed for trolleybuses passing that point,
on a disc suspended from the overhead. If the circuit breakers
were activated then the driver would be startled by an accompanying
loud bang, and would have to calmly bring the vehicle to a halt
and investigate. When driving at prolonged slow speed care had
to be taken that the motors didn’t burn out. Marker studs
on the road had to be observed so that the power could be applied
or released at just the correct moment. Parked vehicles were
a hazard, as drivers had to be careful not to drive outwith the
boom tolerance (nominally 17 ½ feet) for fear of dewirement.
They also had to remember not to attempt to overtake the trolleybus
in front, although motorbuses were fair game, as was everything
else! Perhaps the traffic conditions, even in the late 60s, made
driving a trolleybus a bit too stressful, but technology has
become available which has ensured that these graceful vehicles
continue to serve the streets of several of the world’s
cities to this day.
Glasgow was notorious for large warehouse fires,
and whilst all other traffic was diverted, the trolleybuses were
normally allowed to continue along their designated route. Special
wooden ramps were placed over any hoses that lay in the path
of the trolleybuses.
The lowering and raising of booms, whilst only
required occasionally, was another perhaps undesirable feature
of trolleybus operation. Where booms had to be lowered or raised,
use had to be made of a long bamboo pole which was stored in
a metal tube welded to the chassis of the bus. Unfortunately,
these poles were often missing or had been replaced after having
been broken, and many a crew would have dewired only to find
that the pole stored under the vehicle only amounted to a stump,
having been broken by a previous crew. The positioning of a boom
back onto a trolley wire was a skill difficult to master, especially
in the pitch black of a late Glasgow winter evening. The most
common cause of involuntary dewirement was excessive speed or
wrong positioning of the vehicle on bends, or where the point
frogs were incorrectly set at road junctions.
At some road junctions with automatic points
drivers had to coast (build up forward speed then remove all
pressure from the power pedal) between markings on the road to
proceed straight over the junction, or apply power to activate
the overhead point frogs to make a turn. In heavy traffic this
could be quite a feat to achieve, and any mistake would usually
result in a dewirement. At other junctions there were point “boxes” operated
by the conductor, but the local children got to know about these
and often caused havoc to unsuspecting trolleybus crews. Eventually
locks had to be fitted and operation carried out by use of a
special pole carried on the trolleybus. Once this system had
been established then it was used in favour of the automatic
system which Glasgow drivers never seemed to be at one with.
A disadvantage of the manual system was that it was often necessary
for a trolleybus approaching a green light to stop so that the
conductor could alight and throw the switch. Impatient drivers
behind ran the risk of colliding with the rear of the trolleybus
if they weren’t familiar with the system.
One unfortunate result of dewirement meant that
the trolley-head could become detached and if the bus was travelling
at speed these had a tendency to find the nearest first floor
window through which to explore, to the obvious alarm of any
occupants! Dewirement could also cause considerable damage to
the overhead wiring, and emergency repair crews would have to
undertake immediate repairs, whatever the weather, to the inconvenience
of other road users. Much use of battery traction would then
have to be made with the resultant lowering and raising of trolleybooms
creating merry hell.
In icy conditions “ghost” trolleybuses
had to be sent out in the wee small hours to free the ice from
the overhead wires before normal service could commence.
Each trolleybus had to pass a daily “leakage” test
before entering service. Precisely what that entailed is beyond
my knowledge although the purpose was to ensure that the trolleybus
hadn’t become “live” to the obvious danger
of passengers and crew.
Glasgow trolleybuses originally carried a red
and white “TB” sticker on the rear platform window
to identify them as such to following traffic. However, after
a copyright protest from London Transport, these had to be removed!
Glasgow trolleybus destination blinds originally
featured white letters on a green background. This could make
them difficult to read after a while, due to wear.
Whilst it is common knowledge that most of the
trolleybuses were housed in the purpose built Hampden Garage,
a fair number were housed at Govan Garage along with motorbuses
there. Govan supplied most, and later all, of the buses required
on the 106, as well as the many specials required to serve the
docks at Linthouse and Shieldhall. There was a short term facility
to “out-station” up to 18 buses at Dennistoun Depot
to save dead mileage from Govan on the 106, but the facility
was withdrawn after only two years or so.
The concrete apron at the front of Hampden Garage
featured a ramp inclined so that buses could be moved by gravity
Glasgow pioneered the use of 35 foot long single
deck trolleybuses (TBS12-21) which carried very smart bodies
built by Burlingham of Blackpool. These superb trolleybuses,
unique to the city, ran exclusively on the suburban service 108
between Ballogie Road and Paisley Road Toll, where casual visitors
to Glasgow would never have found them in a month of Sundays.
Glasgow also experimented with “continental
style” crush loading Pay As You Enter single deck trolleybuses
(TBS 1-11), mainly used on service 104. I should mention that
TBS1 originally carried the fleet number TB35. A seated conductor
took fares from passengers who entered by a door at the rear
of the bus, and exited by a door in the centre of the vehicle.
The buses were also trialled by Nottingham City Transport, and
elsewhere, but proved to be a resounding failure in all places.
They were eventually converted to centre door only with a conventional
Glasgow was the third largest operator of trolleybuses
in the UK, yet a fair percentage of Glaswegians would have had
no cause to ever travel on a trolleybus in their lifetime. My
grandmother (the one who never met an untimely death as a result
of a tramcar) lived in Glasgow for her entire 84 years and never
had occasion to venture aboard a trolleybus, even although she
visited her many relatives in various other parts of the city.
She never deliberately avoided travelling on them, it was just
that most of the city wasn’t served by trolleybuses.
The last 90 double deck trolleybuses to be delivered
to Glasgow (TB35-124) were magnificent 30 foot two axle buses
with 8 foot wide bodywork unique to Glasgow. These buses seated
71 passengers in glorious comfort. Yet, such was the lack of
attention given to their documentation that opinions differ as
to whether they were bodied by Crossley or Park Royal? The drivers’ doors
were undoubtedly of Crossley design, but the rest of the bus
looked like a Park Royal effort. It has therefore been stated
in one publication that the buses may have been built by Park
Royal to a Crossley specification. Official records state they
are Crossley bodies, but to those familiar with Park Royal’s
styling it may be wiser to think again. The Park Royal and Crossley
companies had merged and this appears to have caused the confusion.
The order had been placed with Park Royal, but it is rather uncertain
who actually built them. If anyone knows the real truth and nothing
but the truth then I’d be delighted to know. Similar buses
were supplied to other undertakings, most noticeably forward
entrance versions of the “ Glasgow” style supplied
toWalsall, so the answer may lie there.
However, regardless of who built them and where,
these were the unique and typical “Glesca trolleybus”,
the mainstay of services 105, 106, and 107, and ran to the end.
TB78, one of the Crossley/Park Royal buses,
is preserved in full running order at Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum
near Doncaster. I visited the museum last year (2004) and took
more than one trip on TB78. Pure nostalgia!! I asked the driver
what he thought of it and he said it was the best trolleybus
they had on the site. Considering there were a few rebuilt front
entrance Bradford machines that ran into the 70s, I think his
comment said it all. His only complaint was that he couldn’t
get the bus up to full speed because the running circuit wasn’t
long enough, and was waiting for the site to be extended so that
he could make the bus move in the manner in which it was intended.
Is it worth visiting Sandtoft to see the auld Glesca trolleybus?
Frankly, if you are in the area then I reckon it is, but I wouldn’t
drive for half a day to get there, unless trolleybuses are your
main interest in life.
Regrettably, the trolleybuses had died their
silent death before I realised they had gone, and I had very
little experience of travelling on them. However the little experience
I had will remain forever as a fond memory of a means of transport
that I felt wasn’t given a fair chance. Granted, none of
the other UK systems really lasted very long either, but the
Glasgow system, such as it was allowed to develop, was still
one of the best in the country, and in my opinion did not deserve
its unpopularity. The trolleybus was a clean, fast (OK maybe
a bit too fast), means of transport that combined the qualities
of both the tramcar and the motorbus. Maybe that was the problem,
as traditionally Glaswegians tend not to be at ease with things,
and people, that don’t quite fit into one category or another.
In Glasgow even a Buddhist monk is likely to be asked what school
he went to, in an effort to ascertain his real faith. Only the
Roman Catholic and Protestant religions tend to be understood,
and in days gone by people of other faiths were usually asked
to sympathise with one of those religions or the other before
they would be accepted. The trolleybus then, being neither a
tram nor a motorbus, was possibly a victim of that same philosophy.
I was the product of a Protestant father and a Roman Catholic
mother, and at times that made me also feel like a trolleybus!
The trams often ran to areas well outside of
the city boundary, so why wasn’t this facility also extended
to the trolleybuses and the motorbuses?
The answer appears to be what I shall refer
to as the “Glasgow Factor”. This is a rather difficult
concept to describe, but basically it is, or possibly rather
was, the willingness of the city to accept certain districts
outside the boundary as being honorary parts of Glasgow, whilst
rejecting others as being unfashionable and not worthy of being
associated with the city. The nearby towns of Paisley, Coatbridge,
and Airdrie were unfortunate examples of how fickle the “Glasgow
Factor” could be. Glasgow Corporation purchased the tramway
system of Paisley and the combined system of Airdrie and Coatbridge,
which it linked to its own system, and no doubt earned significant
revenue from them both. Unfortunately it appears that when the
revenue on those systems began to fall, coupled with increasing
maintenance costs, they were dropped like hot potatoes leaving
the local people high and dry. There may have been underlying
politics involved, but to non-political types like me, that was
exactly how it appeared.
In 1957 Glasgow Corporation simply withdrew
the tram service to our area without replacement. The theory
apparently was, as we weren’t citizens of the City of Glasgow,
then we weren’t entitled to the services of its transport
system, which it had nevertheless provided us whilst the going
was good for the preceding 34 years. Yet, schoolchildren from
the adjacent pit village of Cuilhill (now demolished), which
was totally within the City of Glasgow, attended our local primary
school, due to it being the closest, and indeed only, local school
available. I shudder to think what would have happened if, following
the withdrawal of our tram service, their parents had received
letters which stated, “As your children are not residents
of the County of Lanarkshire then they are no longer entitled
to an education”.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, when postcodes
were introduced, we became part of Glasgow whether we wanted
to be or not, and similarly were allocated Glasgow telephone
numbers. However, we received no corresponding allocation of
Glasgow Corporation buses.
Places like Millerston and Rutherglen in Lanarkshire,
Clydebank in Dunbartonshire, and Clarkston in Renfrewshire, all
of which were outwith the city boundary, much in the same manner
as we were, continued to enjoy the services of the Corporation
Transport system until its takeover in 1973. Many people from
Airdrie, Coatbridge, and Bargeddie (including myself) gave valuable
service to the City’s Corporation Transport department
until it was no more. Yet all we were offered was an early morning
and late evening “staff bus” from Parkhead Garage.
This was to ensure that we could get to and from our work and
serve the “citizens of Glasgow”, and those privileged
areas outside the city, when our Eastern Scottish buses were
not on the road. When travelling to and from work on normal Eastern
Scottish service buses we were obliged to tender the full fare,
and were thus denied the free travel afforded our colleagues
also resident outwith the city boundary, but in areas served
by Corporation buses. Our families had to be content with no
service at all from the Corporation, and that was it.
I do not believe that greenstaff resident in
Paisley were even catered for by staff buses, so perhaps I shouldn’t
shout too loudly.
Nevertheless, despite the obvious bitterness
I have shown, I am proud to have worked, albeit very briefly,
on the Corporation transport system. The way of life and “faur
too coarse tae be Glesca” language of the coalmining areas
on its periphery was perhaps not always understood by our Glasgow
cousins, who possibly felt we were a race apart and not worthy
of the benefits of their transport system, but neither could
we always understand their city logic. That logic appeared to
be that, unless you lived in one of the chosen adjacent districts
referred to above, then you weren’t entitled to being associated
with Glasgow at all, but were still expected to state your allegiance
to Rangers or Celtic! My parents, and three out of four of my
grandparents before them, I was born in the city. I also often
worked in the city, and still feel a certain affinity with it.
I have now finished moaning, so can you still
remember that I was talking about the trolleybuses? If you want
to find out more about these fascinating vehicles, then you shouldn’t
have far to look, both on this site, and on other sites linked
to it. Having had little or no “hands-on” experience
of these vehicles, I apologise in advance for any errors, and
would be delighted to hear from any former trolleybus crews,
or indeed anyone else, who can assist with any such inaccuracies
What about detailed lists of the buses and the
services they operated?
I always aim to adopt a fairly laid-back attitude
(well most of the time) and prefer to keep technical details
to a minimum, in the name of readability. The technical stuff
has been covered in various out of print publications which can
still occasionally be obtained. There is also some further information
on this, and other linked websites, and it was never my intention
to duplicate what has been achieved by people who have put many
hours of effort into their work. There are some excellent photos
on this website supplied by Tony Wilson, and as they say, a picture
is worth a thousand words.
If there is sufficient demand I will
submit a list of trolleybuses operated along with some technical
details, to Ian Semple, the webmaster, but it all depends on
whether the need arises. I am still not convinced, even today,
that memories of the trolleybuses will generate much interest.
So this is the end (at least for the time being) of a very personal
and fond memory of “thae big stupit buses wi’ poles
oan thur roofs thit ye cannae hear comin’ tae thu’ve
jist aboot ran ower the tap ae ye.”