SCT '61
Southend Corporation Trolleybus Fleet Details 112-121
Thumbnail photo 112-115
AEC 661T with English Electric L24/24R body, new in 1932

112 JN2112 113 JN2113 114 JN2114 115 JN2115

 

116
AEC 663T with English Electric L31/24D body, new in 1930, bought by Southend in 1932

116 JN2086

 

Thumbnail photo 117-121
AEC 661T with English Electric L24/24R body, new in 1933, similar to 112-115

117 JN2817 118 JN2818 119 JN2819 120 JN2820
121 JN2821      

 

Southend turned to AEC again in 1932 for more trolleybuses, taking the first examples of the 661T model for the home market. Numbered 112-5, JN2112-5, they had lowbridge 48 seat bodies by English Electric, who also supplied the electrical equipment. Both this batch and the five similar vehicles delivered in 1933 (117-121, JN2817-21) had very bulbous fronts complete with a dummy radiator.
 
116 was the very first 663T to be built, the 3-axle version of the 661T's. Registered JN 2086 when acquired by Southend, it had a particularly interesting history. It was new in 1930 as an AEC demonstrator with a lowbridge body, and was originally registered HX1460. It was then rebodied by English Electric with a highbridge body and it operated for Nottingham City and London United Tramways (who subsequently ordered 60 - the famous 'Diddlers') before being exhibited at the Commercial Motor Show of November 1931. When bought by Southend in 1932 it not only had a dummy radiator but also a motor bus style half cab, front and rear entrances and twin staircases; unusually, the front window on the top deck was used as an emergency exit. It was later rebuilt with a full front, minus ‘radiator', and the front stairs and doorway were removed.
 
Thumbnail photo In the 1930s, one of the 661Ts heads north across Victoria Circus towards Victoria Avenue while to the left heading in the opposite direction is the lone Gloucester trolley,122.
In the background a tram crosses into London Road headed towards Leigh
Postwar, a number of these were rebuilt with the dummy radiator removed and a larger windscreen and destination screen. The first to be converted were the 1933 batch,117-121, in 1945, followed by two of the 1932 batch, 113 and 114, in 1948
 
Thumbnail photo 113 seen in Southchurch Road postwar before the dummy radiator was removedThumbnail photo 113 and, behind 120, at the London Road depot after modifications.
116 had an unusual fate after withdrawal in 1950 - it was converted into mobile ladies toilet number 1! There was also a mobile toilet number 2, based on a similar AEC 663T, ex Bournemouth Corporation LJ7702. That vehicle had had an equally interesting career - it was built in 1933 as a trolleybus, but when in 1936 Bournemouth decided to standardise on Sunbeams for their electric fleet, LJ7702 was fitted with a petrol engine and gearbox and thus became a motorbus. Like 116, it was converted to a mobile convenience by Southend in 1951; both these WC's on wheels were sold to a breaker in 1967.
 
Click for full size photo 116 in use as a mobile toilet with ex-Bournemouth LJ7702 behindClick for full size photo Another photo of LJ7702
Four of the AEC 661T's were withdrawn in 1950 (112/5/7/8) but the others lasted until the end of the trolleybus system in 1954; all went for scrap. 113, one of the 1932 AEC's, which lasted until March 1954 had covered nearly 574,000 miles, albeit heavily rebuilt from its original condition.
 

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

 
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