The mystery of Walsall 342


Can any of your readers solve the mystery surrounding a rebuilt Walsall Corporation trolleybus? When he became the undertaking’s general manager and engineer in 1953, R. Edgley Cox experimented with chassis and body designs to improve efficiency, and approached Dennis early in 1958 to discuss building a forward entrance version of its Loline chassis, which was a Bristol Lodekka built under licence for operators outside the state-owned sector.

He wanted single-step entry to speed loading and unloading, with the driver controlling the doors so conductors could concentrate on collecting fares. Dennis discussed the enquiry with Bristol, which sent drawings of the proposed Lodekka FLF model that it had offered to the Tilling companies without generating much interest. 

After seeing the drawings, Edgley Cox bought the prototype chassis, which appeared at the 1958 Commercial Motor Show with a Gardner 6LW engine and 70-seat Willowbrook body. Because of the interest it generated, Dennis and Bristol improved the original design and added air suspension on the rear axle to give a smoother and more stable ride. Walsall ordered 16 production Loline II chassis, but cancelled a further order when Dennis increased the price by 10%.

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