SCT '61
Southend Corporation Trolleybus Fleet Details 101-103
Thumbnail photo 101-102
Railless with Short B37C body, new 1925/6

101 HJ5065 102 HJ5389


Thumbnail photo 103
AEC 603 with Strachan and Brown B30F body new in 1925, to Southend in 1927

103 NW9583


Southend's first trackless trolley, was 101, HJ 5065. It had a centre entrance 29 seat body built by Shorts and had a distinct tramway air about it - the driver had an open cab and was probably worse off than his tramway counterpart, who could at least stand up and move about a little! Solid tyres were still the order of the day (by contrast with 103 which was fitted with pneumatics).
101 was initially on hire from Railless from May 1927 and used for driver training prior to public service starting in October that year. 102 followed in March 1928. They had originally been numbered 1 & 2 (again duplicating tram numbers, as the 1914 motor buses had) but they were renumbered 101/2 in 1927, starting a separate series for the trolleys.
The next trolley to arrive, also a single decker, was 103 (NW 9583), an early AEC 603 trolleybus which entered service in September 1927, initially on loan from the Associated Daimler Co. The 30 seat body had its entrance ahead of the front axle, anticipating the style which was not to become common until the 1950's for single deck buses. Built in 1925, it had operated in Leeds (where it was registered) and then as a demonstrator at Oldham and Ashton before coming to Southend. Some records show the body as being built by Garrett, but it bears a remarkable resemblance to the Strachan & Brown bodied demonstrator illustrated in Alan Townsin's history of AEC, 'Blue Triangle'.
101 and 102 were both withdrawn in 1933 while 103 lasted four more years until 1937; there were no more single deck trolleybuses in the fleet until 1946.

Many thanks to Richard Delahoy for his kind permission to include extracts from his book in this page.

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