DAVE HALL looks back 50 years to the closure of the last trolleybus system within striking distance of London, finds several significant traces that survive today — as the bus world rediscovers electric traction — and previews some events that will commemorate what happened in November 1968

Just under a year before the Reading trolleybus system closed, Burlingham-bodied Sunbeam F4A 193 (VRD 193) — which survives in preservation — descends Station Hill on 8 November 1967. These 12 were the last double-deckers that Burlingham bodied at its Blackpool factory. Thames Valley Bristol Lodekka FLFs and an LD are on the left while farther up the road a Reading Corporation Dennis Loline III awaits its departure time.

The timing of Reading Buses’ recent trial of a Yutong E12 battery electric single-decker (see Fleet News this month) could hardly be more significant, for 50 years ago Reading Corporation was preparing to close Britain’s sixth last trolleybus system. Saturday 3 November is the actual anniversary of the closure and various events are being planned to mark the occasion.

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