The terrific times of the Trolley Bus

No. 34 Trolley Bus undergoing restoration

Many Brisbane residents do not know that the city had a Trolley Bus system operating from 1951 until 13th March 1969, just one month before the last tram operated.

Initially, the trolley buses took over from the small trams that ran from Queen Street to the Gardens and from Queen Street to Gregory Terrace (please see The Hills Echo June 2019 edition). However, the system was extended to provide services from Prospect Terrace to Carina, Seven Hills and Cavendish Road via the Story Bridge, and through the city via Elizabeth Street. A special trolley bus depot was established on Milton Road and this site has now been absorbed into Suncorp Stadium. The buses used electricity, therefore it was a natural match for them to become part of the Tramway system. They were licensed to carry 78 passengers.

Trolley Bus – Photo courtesy of Richard Jones

The first trolley bus was built in Brisbane by a company specialising in domestic goods (such as refrigerators) called Charles Hope and was built on an imported Sunbeam chassis. A new style seat was trailed with the design allowing for the aisle seat to be set back from the window seat. The theory being that it was easier for the window passenger to pass the aisle passenger, however, it didn’t make a scrap of difference! This firm subsequently built a number of trolley buses for Brisbane City Council (BCC). The buses underwent several changes of colour, originally being painted in BCC silver and finally in a pale apple green colour.

An example of the new seating style trailed on the Trolley bus that did not have much success!

Ultimately a total of 36 trolley buses were in service. Today, only 2 remain in the museum – No. 1 and No. 34 which is currently under restoration particularly in respect of bodywork. No. 34 was one of a number built by another well – known Brisbane Bus Body-Builder – Athol Hedges. 

The museum takes this opportunity to wish all readers avery Merry Chirstmas and Happy New Year! Please remember the museum will be open on Sundays during the school holidays which makes out for a great day for the kids!

The Brisbane Tramway Museum is proudly supported by The Brisbane City Council.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get news in your inbox every week!

Newsletter SignupDon't miss any of our latest local news again.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest news or an exclusive offer.