On 1st April 1928 the inaugural Trolley bus ran in Hastings signalling the imminent end of Trams. In total, 58 three axle Trolleybuses were ordered; 50 single decker and 8 open top double decker. The trams would continue running on certain routes until 13th March 1929. The first route to be converted to trolleybuses was the Fishmarket to Hollington and the last, the Circular route. The Open Top Double deck trolleybuses were the first fleet of such a type to operate in the entire country. In total there were ten routes around the town and by 1929, it was reportedly the largest trolleybus network in the world
The fleet were replaced by 20 A.E.C Double deckers in 1940 and 25 Sunbeam Double deckers in 1947. In 1952 one of the original 1928 trolleybuses was restored to working order and a diesel engine installed to be used as a visitor attraction.
A 1948 film exists showing a number of the vehicles in and around the town.
Although there was a large amount of local sentiment for the trolleybuses, diesel-powered vehicles were more cost-effective to run, not requiring maintenance on the large amount of overhead cabling.
A group was set up to petition for the retention of the services, the "Save our Trolleys" group, the circular route, in particular, being popular with tourists. The council wished to improve street lighting which was made difficult by the number of wires that were affixed to the trolleybus standards, whereas the bus company, Maidstone & District wished to seek the economy of the internal combustion engine. After a large amount of debate, which culminated in a private members bill placed before the House of Commons on the 11th of July 1957, the council and bus company finally won the day. The last trolleybus ran in Hastings on the 13th of May 1959 after which Leyland Atlanteans took over the routes. One of the trolleybuses was however saved and still tours the town on special occasions.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trolleybuses in Hastings.|
- Hastings Trolleybus Restoration Group
- SCT'61 website - photos and descriptions of Hastings and District trolleybuses
References & Notes
- Joyce, J; Newman, A G (August 1970). "Buses: Ian Allen 1970". Buses: Ian Allan: 295–99.
- The Commercial Motor Archive: End of Hastings Trolleybuses | 6th March 1959 | The Commercial Motor Archive, accessdate: 16 January 2020
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 13 July 1957