Rare trolleybus comes home after 95 years ready for restoration

The Leiston Long Shop Museum volunteer restoration and conservation team

The Leiston Long Shop Museum volunteer restoration and conservation team ready to start work on their next project - Credit: Paul Chandler/Long Shop Museum

One of the last surviving trolleybuses of its kind has been returned to place where it was built 95 years ago ready for restoration to its former glory.

The Garrett ‘O’ type trolleybus DX 5629 was withdrawn from public transport service at the end of the Second World War and for some time served as a summerhouse at Pin Mill.

Trolleybus No 26 in its heyday - after being retired from service it was used as a summerhouse

Trolleybus No 26 in its heyday - after being retired from service it was used as a summerhouse - Credit: Ipswich Transport Museum

Initially rescued by the Leiston Long Shop Museum, it has been on loan to the Ipswich Transport Museum since 1995, stored outside under sheeting whilst awaiting restoration/conservation by the skilled team of ITM volunteers.

Now though it has been decided the work will be carried out by volunteers at the Long Shop Museum - and the vehicle has now been safely delivered by transporter to the team there.

Paul Chandler, collections team volunteer, said the trolleybus was one of 101 trolleybuses built between 1927 and 1930 at the Long Shop premises when it was Richard Garrett and Sons.

The trolleybus arrives at Leiston Long Shop Museum

The trolleybus arrives at Leiston Long Shop Museum after being transported from Ipswich by Derek and Robert Spall - Credit: Paul Chandler / Long Shop Museum


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The company sold 15 ‘O’ type trolleybuses, Works Nos 273 to 287, to Ipswich Corporation in 1926 for daily service in the Ipswich town area with some continuing to operate up to 1963 when the fleet was retired from service.

Mr Chandler said the trolleybus brought back to Leiston is fleet No 26, and has a Strachans & Brown 31-seat bodywork. It was refurbished just prior to the war and then withdrawn from service in 1945, becoming a summerhouse at Pin Mill. 

The trolleybus is manoeuvred into the Leiston Long Shop in Main Street

The trolleybus is manoeuvred into the Leiston Long Shop in Main Street, where volunteers will restore it to its former glory - Credit: Paul Chandler / Long Shop Museum

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He said: "The Long Shop Museum are very grateful to the Ipswich Transport Museum for stewardship of No 26 for the past 25 years but with their current workload and limited spare capacity for additional restoration, it would be some time before No 26 could receive attention.

"Following discussions with Ipswich Transport Museum trustees, and the emergence of a volunteer team at Long Shop Museum, the return of No 26 to Leiston was agreed."

Trolleybuses on the Cornhill in Ipswich

Trolleybuses on the Cornhill in Ipswich - Credit: Ipswich Transport Museum

The team at the Long Shop are part way through the successful restoration of a 1937 McLaughlin Buick car originally owned by Garrett Engineering and are keen to  take on the task of preserving one of very few surviving Garrett trolleybuses in the UK, which will be carried out alongside.

Both vehicles are open to view by museum visitors with close-up inspections available when the team is working in the Museum and it is safe to do so.

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