Friday, July 20, 2012

Portsmouth Corporation 1937 AEC 661T / English Electric Craven H26/26R

Portsmouth Corporation 1937 AEC 661T / English Electric  Craven H26/26R
Portsmouth Corporation had 115 trolleybuses in its fleet.
The first 15 (1934) were a motley collection of chassis/electrical equipment and bodies, four and six wheelers, bought for evaluation.

The next nine (1935/36) were, to me, the most handsome of them all, were AEC/EE ones with English Electric bodies. Unable to move under their own power, they lived a shadowy life, latterly neglected and shabby. See here for a ‘smart’ photo of one.
The last 15 (301-315), BUT9611T, with Burlingham bodies, were the last delivered, in 1951, for a route extension.

294, from the third order, in the range (225-300), was the largest group delivered, in 1936/37. Amazingly, with not a Craven body appearing previously, these wore those bodies! They bore the brunt of the services and proved to be sound vehicles all round, although the ash bodies needed rebuilding during their 26/27 year lives.

In this rare colour photograph, 294 (like the Leyland PD1A/Weymann bus I recently posted), is also crossing Guildhall Square on tennis racquet-shaped route 17/18 from Eastney to the Dockyard, 17 anti-clockwise and 18 clockwise. The destination would be changed at Dockyard and Eastney. This photo was taken on an early Summer’s evening in 1963, on the cusp of the system’s demise on 27th July 1963. 294 lasted to the end.
Two trolleybuses have survived, but neither of them represents this range; a loss really, for I’m not aware of Craven using this body design for any other vehicles.


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