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Llanelly Trolleybuses

By Geoff Griffiths

Sorry, sold out.......

This soft-bound 88-page A4-sized book with full-colour laminated card cover traces the 20 year history of a trolleybus system in west Wales, in operation between 1932 and 1952. The first interesting point is that it was a company system rather than one operated by a local authority - which makes it far more difficult to research because the information just isn?t so readily available. But it also makes study of it far more interesting for all the odd quirks not to be found on a typical British municipal system. It was inaugurated using what might be regarded as some of the first examples of 1930s ?modern-style? British double-deckers ? and they were certainly a bit ?plush? by contemporary municipal standards. As a ?modern? system, it was also rather an early abandonment casualty - and, in 1952, there were still only a few British trolleybus enthusiasts active outside of London, so only a few outside enthusiasts ever saw the Llanelly system first-hand and in operation.

Without having a detailed knowledge of the system and an ability to source all available illustrations, any researcher would soon realise that to write the history of the Llanelly trolleybus was somewhat daunting. Fortunately, there was Geoff Griffiths. Without him the story would probably have never have been told! He happened to grow up in the town during the trolleybus era and became quite well-known to the crews as a boy who was evidently very interested in the working of the town's trolleybuses. He was soon quite familiar with all the little quirks the system had as a private undertaking, from tickets to timetables; from official (and unofficial) operating practices to repairs and maintenance. Now, with a rekindled interest which has been brought on as a result of being able to get hands on experience at Sandtoft Transport Centre of the very type denied to him as a child, he has now been able to comb the local press and the trade press, too, and has also been granted access to company records.

Just reflect, too, on what the author has derived for the local community as a result of writing this book. Firstly, and most importantly, there is far more than the six pages, or so, anyone else had ever managed to write on the subject. And there are pictures of an era of local social history, both graphically and photographically, which would never otherwise have been seen, perched somewhat perilously amongst other period recollections of the town of tinplate works, premier rugby, enamelled saucepans, spare wheels for early automobiles and a well-known local brewery. And while the book was at an advanced stage of preparation, we chanced on a London enthusiast who had made encouraging use of fairly early Dufay colour slide photography - several atmospheric shots of Llanelly trolleybuses taken just before abandonment 40 years previously just about put the icing on the cake! We used them all - and so we introduced an inside colour section to our fleet histories! Every one of those colour views was really too good to leave out! There are also no less than 70 monotone photographs, several line drawings and a fully-detailed pull-out overhead map.

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