Keighley Trolleybus

Keighley Corporation's First Trackless Car

The tramways of Keighley in West Yorkshire, England have previously been described in our Postcard on a decorated car there, q.v..

This postcard was published by local photographer F.Smith of Haworth in 1913. The caption says "The first Cede's (sic) car run in England". The card sent was from Emma to her friends in America and states "This is one of our new Trackless Cars. It is far better than the old buses. It seems much lighter and more steady". In fact, it is the former West Ham Cedes-Stoll demonstrator after its transfer to Keighley for trials in April 1913 on a three-month free loan. It was later purchased by Keighley and became number 0 in their fleet (renumbered 50 from around 1921, when it probably received registration number WR 8164).

The Cedes-Stoll system was an early trolleybus method, at the time known as trackless or rail-less cars, and which used an over-running trolley and patent hub motors. Originating in Austria, it was first demonstrated on 25th to 27th September 1912 in Green Street, West Ham, outside the annual conference of the Municipal Tramways Association, which was hosted by West Ham Corporation Tramways. Full technical details can be found in our article on Cedes-Stoll

Installed by Trackless Trolley Ltd, Keighley operated ten Cedes-Stoll cars supplementing the tramway until 1926, by when they had gradually been replaced by the more conventional Straker-Clough trackless cars, a final total of eighteen. In 1924 the tramway had closed and been replaced by Straker-Clough cars, of which the first four had bodies from Cedes-Stoll vehicles fitted with new Straker chassis, making Keighley the first local authority to abandon its electric trams and also the first to replace them by trolleybuses. The Straker-Cloughs did not do much better and only lasted until 31st August 1932, after which the motor bus ruled supreme.

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