Photo: Rotherham Trolleybus Group

So far as is known, there are currently four surviving Rotherham Trolleybuses. The oldest is a 1942 Sunbeam single-decker, number 73, and is currently being restored. A second single-decker, a 1949 Daimler, was exported to Spain after use in Rotherham and had a period of use in service there. It is now privately owned and restoration is pending.

There are also two ex-Rotherham double-deckers. These are both based on 1949 Daimler chassis and were re-bodied during their time in Rotherham with new Roe 70-seat bodies. These are based at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft and one is currently in service there.

As with all preserved vehicles, continuing restoration and maintenance are needed and we are fortunate that a number of dedicated volunteers have come forward to carry out this work. If you would like to join them, please get in touch with the Group via the contact link on this web site.

1942 Sunbeam single-decker

 
Photo: Rotherham Trolleybus Group

This trolleybus is one of a fleet of 16 similar vehicles supplied to Rotherham between 1940 and 1943. These 39-seat 6-wheel single-deckers were fitted with bodies built by East Lancashire Coachbuilders of Blackburn. The preserved vehicle started out as number 88 and was renumbered 73 in the late 1940s. It was the subject of a major rebuild and further renumbering in 1950 and was finally withdrawn in 1954.

After Rotherham service, 73 was stripped of all valuable parts and then used as a meeting room for the Rotherham Chantry Pistol and Rifle Club. In the late 1970s, the bus was saved for preservation and moved to Sandtoft. It changed hands again in 2001 and restoration to pre-1950 condition then began.

On starting the restoration, a major search was begun to source the missing parts of the trolleybus. Thanks to help from many individuals and the established trolleybus museums, it has been possible to find most of the missing pieces needed. Many of these have had to be refurbished before they could be fitted.

Since 2001, steady progress has been maintained in the restoration of this vehicle. Many steel parts of the body structure had become very corroded over the years and have had to be replaced. Some of the timber parts of the frame have also needed renewal and following this work interior body restoration has continued.

New construction has been needed for some items and these include the trolley gantry and trolleygear, the roof mounted resistor-case and contactor panels. The body frame has also been reconstructed to reflect the vehicle in its pre-1950 condition. At the present time, restoration continues and it is hoped the completed trolleybus will be fit for use within the next few years.

1949 Daimler single-decker

 
Photo: Rotherham Trolleybus Group

This trolleybus is one of a large fleet of trolleybuses bought by Rotherham in 1949 and 1950. The bodies were built by East Lancashire Coachbuilders of Blackburn and the fleet effectively became the ‘standard’ post-war Rotherham trolleybus. The Daimler chassis were equipped with one of two makes of electrical equipment, Crompton-Parkinson and English Electric. In due course, as fewer vehicles were needed for service, a number of these single-deck vehicles were withdrawn and sold for further use in service in Spain. On arrival there, the passenger doorway position was altered to suit ‘right-hand’ running, two doorway positions being provided, one at the front and another at the rear. The right-hand side driving position was retained.

After withdrawal from service, the Daimler was consigned to the scrapyard, from where a private collector in northern Spain was able to purchase it. Some body damage had occurred whilst in the hands of the scrap merchant and efforts have been made to restore the bodywork to reasonable condition. The trolleybus is stored under cover and it is hoped that at some time in the future it will be possible to complete the restoration to running order in its Spanish condition.

1949 Daimler/Roe double-deckers

 
Photo: Rotherham Trolleybus Group

During the 1950s, a decision was made to start to introduce double-deck vehicles into the Rotherham trolleybus fleet. Twenty of the 1949 Daimler single-deckers were selected for re-bodying and new 70-seat double-deck bodies were built by Roe of Leeds. These re-entered service between 1956 and 1958 and became the mainstay of Rotherham operation from then onwards until the system closed.

Upon closure, most of the fleet was withdrawn and sold for scrap. However, the two double-deckers which currently exist were, at the time of closure, presented to local enthusiast groups.

No 44 is now in the ownership of the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft and is currently in store, waiting restoration to operational condition. The other double-decker, No 37, is in the hands of the ‘Rotherham 37 Group’ and over a number of years has been restored to fully operational condition. It can regularly be seen in service at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft.

As with all preserved vehicles, continuing restoration and maintenance are needed and we are fortunate that a number of dedicated volunteers have come forward to carry out this work. If you would like to join them, please get in touch with the Group via the contact link on this web site.


Other Restoration Photos