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Walsall 872 - Click for more information

Walsall 872
(XDH 72)

Chassis: Sunbeam F4A (2 axle)
Chassis No. 9043
Motor : British Thomson Houston Type 209 (95 hp)
Bodywork : Willowbrook H36/34RD
Entered Service : 14 October 1956
Withdrawn : 3 October 1970

Brief History

In preparation for the opening of a new trolleybus service to Blakenall in 1955, Walsall purchased 15 F4 trolleybuses with Willowbrook bodywork which entered service between November 1954 and June 1955. A second batch of 7 similar trolleybuses entered service between June and October 1956 for the opening of a new trolleybus service to Beechdale and also to replace some of the early three axle trolleybuses. 872 was the highest numbered vehicle in the second batch and on the 14 October 1956 was the last new trolleybus of all to enter service with Walsall.

Special permission had to be obtained to operate these vehicles because they were 30 feet long on a two-axle chassis and therefore the first trolleybuses to be built to these specifications. They were also equipped with automatic acceleration equipment.

These type of vehicles were often referred to as ‘gold fish bowls’ owing to their unusual bodywork design. The design was an attempt to produce a streamlined appearance whilst at the same time keeping down both the costs and weight.

872 saw 14 years service and was decorated as Walsall’s last official trolleybus in 1970. Along with sister vehicles 862 and 864 she was purchased for preservation. 872 was a regular runner at Sandtoft in the early years but mechanical problems began to occur and it was taken out of service. In 1993 872 was transferred to the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum to be used in their static display. in June 1994 872 took part in the Trolleybuses Galore event at the Black Country Museum (on demonstartion runs only) along with resident vehicle Walsall 862. In recent years Roy Pearce, Colin Page and Neil Preston have restored 872s interior on both decks. The only internal job outstanding is to re-upholster all the seats which should be completed in the near future.

872 returned to Sandtoft on 22 May 2011 to take part in the BTSs 50th anniversary celebrations following which on 20 December 2011 it was then taken to Swindon where a full restoration job was carried out. It returned to Sandtoft on 10 January 2013 and is due to have a major mechanical overhaul. It was the intention to re-commission 872 into serrvice at Sandtoft over the 2013 August Bank Holiday but due to a problem with the brakes which has proved difficult to solve, she operated on demonstration runs only. 872 is scehduled to return to service later in 2014.

Content  Management System - Peter Short

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