From trams to trolleys and on to diesel motor buses in Portsmouth

A trolley bus on The Hard, Portsea, on the last day of service PPP-150218-134241001
A trolley bus on The Hard, Portsea, on the last day of service PPP-150218-134241001
Passchendaele. Picture: Imperial War Museum

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Transport through the ages has always been a case of dog eat dog.

The early days of coaching were swallowed by the coming of the railway, which to some extent was affected by the arrival of electric trams, which in turn were superseded by electric trolleybuses and motor buses.

Trolley buses on the last day of service at the Spur Road, Cosham, terminus PPP-150218-134252001

Trolley buses on the last day of service at the Spur Road, Cosham, terminus PPP-150218-134252001

The motor bus stayed to dominate our roads, surviving so far despite threats to bring back the eco-friendly electric trolleybus.

These four pictures were sent to me by Michael Cooper.

The one on the right was taken at The Hard, Portsea, while the other three show Spur Road, Cosham, a terminus for these buses.

All four were taken on their final day of service in the city. The last one entered Eastney depot on July 27, 1963.

The system had opened on August 4, 1934, and gradually replaced the city’s tramway network. The first trolleybus ran on the South Parade Pier to Cosham route. The last trams ran on November 10, 1936.

It was a medium-sized network with a total of nine routes and a maximum fleet of 100 trolleybuses.

After the demise of the trolleys, Portsmouth Corporation Transport continued as a bus operator until 1988 when it was privatised. It had been formed with an act of parliament in 1898 allowing Portsmouth Corporation to take over the existing horse-drawn tramways in the city.