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More Information

 

Walsall 342 - Click for a larger photo

Walsall 342
(NDH 959)

Chassis: Sunbeam F4 (2 axle)
Chassis No. 50740
Motor : British Thomson Houston Type 209 (95 hp)
Bodywork (until 1965) : Brush H30/26R
Bodywork (from 1965) : Brush H34/31R
Entered Service : 1 November 1951
Withdrawn : 3 October 1970

Brief History

342 was one of a batch of 10 Sunbeam F4s that entered service between October and December 1951 which replaced the 10 Sunbeam MS2s (155 -164) dating from 1933. Between 1951 and 1959 these vehicles predominantly worked Walsall’s share of the joint service to Wolverhampton. However, in 1959 they were ousted from this route by eight second-hand trolleybuses purchased from Hastings.

342 was originally a conventional rear-entrance double-deck trolleybus but she was used in an experiment that was completed in 1965 whereby the chassis was lengthened using motorbus components and the body was suitably adapted to become a 65-seat capacity vehicle. This was the only vehicle in this batch so treated.

Walsall Corporation Transport were amongst a number of municipal fleets amalgamated into the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority in the early autumn of 1969. The future of 46 trolleybuses amidst a fleet of 2,000 motorbuses looked bleak and it was no surprise when the WMPTE announced plans to abandon the system. 342 survived in service until the last day of trolleybus operation on 3 October 1970.

On withdrawal 342 was purchased by the Reading Transport Society and eventually taken to the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft on 13 June 1971.

Once trolleybus operations got underway at Sandtoft, 342 was a regular service vehicle in the early days. She was suitably decorated for the Queens Silver Jubilee for the 1977 season. However, in the mid-1980s it became necessary to take 342 out of service due to requiring some bodywork and mechanical attention.

In May 2006 342 was taken to undercover storage at a local farm and remained there until 2011 when she returned to Sandtoft to take part in the BTSs 50th anniversary celebrations.

342 remained at Sandtoft until 2016 when under cover accommodation was at a premium, which resulted in its return to the local farm, where it remains. It is now awaiting its turn to be restored to operational condition.

Content  Management System - Peter Short

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