Ipswich: Trolleybus gets new lease of life

How the number 105 trolleybus looked in the early 60s

How the number 105 trolleybus looked in the early 60s

For 40 years they were the kings of the road in Ipswich but none has been in service for half a century.

The restored Trolleybus 105 at Ipswich Transport Museum.

The restored Trolleybus 105 at Ipswich Transport Museum. - Credit: Archant

But one of the last trolleybuses in town has now been restored – and could eventually go back on the road.

The refurbished trolleybus, which was new in 1948, carried its last passengers in 1963 when the town’s overhead wires were switched off for the last time.

It became a mobile canteen, before being bought by Ipswich Transport Museum in 1971. It has been restored by a dedicated team over the last 10 years.

Work has included rebuilding the structure, rewiring, overhauling the electric motor and replacing the brakes.


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A complete set of wooden slatted seats also had to be assembled and constructed. The trolleybus is now resplendent in Ipswich green and cream with authentic period adverts – including one for The Evening Star – and distinctive mottled aluminium panels.

Ken Watson, a retired coach driver who has masterminded the project for the museum, said: “I’m pleased we’ve done it at last. It’s been a major effort, but worth it.

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“Our dedicated team have been helped enormously by the various grants and donations that have helped fund the restoration.

“We’ve raised all the money and done most of the work ourselves. The Science Museum chipped in with £10,000 which helped enormously.”

Mr Watson said the team spent an estimated 50,000 hours working on the restoration, which cost more than £25,000.

Ken Hammond, 69, who travelled on the very last Ipswich trolleybus in 1963, said: “This brings back memories for me.

“The team have done an amazing job – this is just how I remember our ‘trolleys’. The green and cream always looked smart with those unique silver panels.”

The trolleybus will be displayed at the Electric Vehicle Spectacular event on Sunday alongside a range of other electric powered vehicles new and old including the “New Bus for London” – also known as the Borismaster.

The ‘Electric Vehicle Spectacular’ takes place at the Ipswich Transport Museum from 10.30am until 4pm on Sunday. Admission is £6.50 with reductions for children, concessions and families. Bus rides are free. A timetable is available on the museum’s website.

What are your memories of the town’s trolleybuses? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email starletters@archant.co.uk

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