Trolleybuses Around Manchester

Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Stockport Ramsbottom and Wigan all operated 'Trackless' vehicles at various times and with varying degrees of success. Indeed Ashton and Oldham jointly converted the through tram route between the two towns to 'Trackless' operation. However Oldham fairly quickly reverted to using trams on its section between the Hathershaw boundary and Oldham town centre leaving Ashton to continue with the trolleybuses. Eventually the Ashton section was used as a proving ground for new trolleybuses for Manchester and Ashton when they converted the tram routes between Stalybridge, Ashton and Manchester to trolleybus operation in the mid 1930s. 

 

A rare view of Ramsbottom 'Trackless' No. 2 at Edenfield showing the simple chassis frame
 and tram type body. (MTMS Archive)
 

 

Ashton 'Trackless' no 51 on trial at Hathershaw with an Oldham tram behind. In later years Ashton trolleybuses would terminate here and connect with reinstated Oldham trams. (G.Hyde collection) 

 

Ashton 'Trackless'  No.50 at the Tramways Bureau at Ashton Market Place
 bound for Hathershaw. (G.Hyde collection)
 

 

Ashton 'Trackless' No. 56 passes Manchester Crossley 1006 on Oldham Road Ashton
 during trials of the new Manchester trolleybuses on the Hathershaw route.
 The Manchester trolleybus shows the distinctive streamlined livery and styling
 adopted by the operator for its 'Mancunian' buses at the time. (G.Hyde collection)
 

 

Ashton Crossley No 58 outside the Ashton depot on Mossley Road.
 This was Crossley's first trolleybus and was used alongside the 'Trackless' trolleybuses
 on the Hathershaw route at first. (G.Hyde collection)
 

For some time trams and trolleybuses operated side by side particularly in the City Centre. This could lead to some complex overhead arrangements to ensure electrical isolation of positve and negative wires at crossings. 

 

The view above shows section insulators and crossings at the junction of
 Newton Street and Great Ancoats Street with a Crossley 4 wheel trolleybus
 on the 216 route to Ashton via Clayton. (MTMS Archive)
 

 

Piccadilly with trams, buses and a trolleybus on the 219 route to Ashton via Audenshaw. (MTMS Archive) 

 

Ashton Crossley trolleybus No. 80 on the 219 to Manchester seen in Audenshaw. (MTMS Archive) 

 

Manchester and Ashton Trolleybuses of both Crossley and BUT types at Chester Square Ashton in the late 1950s on the jointly operated 217 and 219 routes to Manchester and Haughton Green via Guide Bridge. (MTMS Archive)

Manchester commenced a programme of conversions to trolleybus operation in the 1930s and even built a new depot on Rochdale Road to house the new fleet. Routes reached out to  Greenheys (near to Manchester City's ground at Maine Road), Moston, Stalybridge, Haughton Green and Gee Cross near Hyde. 

 

Trolleybus 1176 and Leyland PD1 3370 at Moston on the 212 route from High Street. (MTMS Archive) 

 

The Hyde Road routes were the preserve of the Crossley 6 wheelers. Trolleybus 1251 is seen here on Portland Street on a 210 route short working to Denton. The short working is denoted by the 'X' suffix on the route number. (MTMS Archive)





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