Letter: Trams predated the trolleybus

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THE recent letter from Dan Laythorpe is misleding and contains several factual inaccuracies (YEP 29.10.12).

He claims that Leeds abandoned trolleybuses in 1928 in favour of trams. This is wrong. The Leeds tram system predated the trolleybus system by 20 years. Trolleybuses were abandoned in 1928 in favour of the more versatile and cheaper to run diesel buses.

Mr Laythorpe claims that trolleybuses are “superior in many ways” to diesel buses. They actually have just one advantage. Because they use electrcity, they transfer pollution from the street to the countryside, where the power station is located. And whilst they’re quieter than diesel buses, this is why they were nicknamed “silent death”.

My Laythorpe names several foreign cities in support of his argument for trolleybuses, but fails to point out that in addition to trolleybuses, each of these cities has rail based rapid transit systems. Lyon and San Francisco also have underground systems. And Vancouver has its skytrain.

Mr Laythorpe goes on to claim that overhead wires “encourage assurance in the performance and reliability of a system”. This is nothing more than advertising hype put out by Metro. It has no basis in fact. The reality is that trolleybuses can’t compete with other buses. They’re only viable where the operator is given a monopoly, which is precisely what Metro proposes for Leeds.

CS MCQUILLAN, Hyde Park, Leeds 6