First outing for city's 'trackless cars'

It looks like going back to the future for transport in Leeds as the city considers asking the Government to fund trolley buses to ease the traffic jams.

Delving in our library the other day I came across this snap of the first trolley buses to run in Leeds – only they were officially known as trackless cars to distinguish it from the trams that ran on fixed tracks.

The great and the good were invited to see two of Leeds's four trolley buses take to the city's roads on June 20, 1911. The service was launched from Thirsk Row, off Wellington Street, and as the destination board reveals Farnley was journey's end 4? miles away. It took 45 minutes to complete the round trip and the fare was 3d.

The driver for the first journey was the Lord Mayor, Mr William Middlebrook, who was also the Leeds MP, and at the wheel of the second trolley bus was Alde FJ Kitson, the deputy Lord Mayor.

It was a case of Leeds leading because this was the inauguration of the first British trackless car system and transport big-wigs from around the country were in the city to witness the event. Alas, Leeds decided in 1928 the motor bus was preferred to the trolley bus and the system was abandoned.

Yorkshire Diary

John Thorpe MBE