WT 7101

Part of the KBMT Collection Not for Hire

1924 Straker Clough

Brush H26/24RO


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The Story


Although trolleybuses ran in Keighley for a relatively short period of time (from 1913 to 1932), there were two separate and quite different systems. The original 1913 installation comprised of three separate routes acting as extensions to the tramway system. These were Ingrow to Oxenhope, Keighley to Oakworth, and Utley to Sutton. These routes used the unsuccessful Cedes- Stoll system, whereby 4- wheeled trolleys ran on top of a pair of overhead wires and were towed by a cable connected to the trolleybus itself. On single track installations (such as Keighley), trolleybuses had to stop and exchange trolleys when they met. Due to the pioneering nature of the system, and the difficulty of obtaining spares after the outbreak of the Great War (Cedes had Austrian origins) –  the system operated intermittently and finally expired in 1921.

In 1924 trolleybuses returned to Keighley when Straker Clough, (and in some cases second hand Dodson bodied vehicles), were used to replace trams primarily on the Utley, Stockbridge and Ingrow routes. However due to strong competition from inter- urban bus operators, the re- emergence was short lived, and just eight years later (in August 1932), the Keighley trolleybus system was abandoned. Within a month from that date the Keighley Corporation services (who also ran motor buses) was absorbed into the Keighley- West Yorkshire company.

Due to the relatively short careers of some of these vehicles, certain examples could later be found in the Keighley and the Yorkshire Dales areas. These were often used as sheds, stores or in some cases (as in the case of no; 5), caravans in the Grassington area. Local transport historian J. S. King obtained the vehicle and subsequently presented it to the Keighley Corporation. It was conserved as a static exhibition, displayed at the Victoria Hall, and later entered the Peter Black collection. After government re- organisation absorbed Keighley into the Bradford District in 1974, it was in store at the Bradford Industrial Museum from 1994 under the ownership of Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council.

In early 2000 it was placed in the custodianship of Keighley Bus Museum Trust bringing it full circle back to its home town for display. WT 7101 is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving double- deck trolleybus.

Work has begun by a group of dedicated volunteers to restore the vehicle as a static exhibition (including interior) for the 2020 Festival of Transport in Keighley.