Huddersfield 541 was the first trolleybus acquired by the NTA after its
formation in autumn 1963. At a small ceremony at the undertaking's Longroyd
Bridge depot in 1964, the vehicle was formally presented to the NTA on behalf
of the Huddersfield County Borough Council free of charge by its Transport
Committee's long-serving Chairman and staunch trolleybus advocate, Ald.
H.A. Bennie Gray. The Huddersfield Council was fiercely proud of its trolleybus
system and the Alderman was visibly moved at the prospect that one of its
vehicles should be preserved for posterity, following the very contentious
and ill-received decision taken in October 1962 to effect a full change
to motor bus operation.
- Huddersfield 541, a Sunbeam MS2 of 1947 with a body by Park
Royal. She was the first privately preserved trolleybus in the UK to operate
on another trolleybus system when in 1966 she toured the Wolverhampton
- (Photo David Pearson)
541 is a Sunbeam MS2 three-axle trolleybus chassis (badged as a Karrier
in deference to Huddersfield's pre-war purchasing policy of Karrier chassis)
with double-deck rear-entrance 70-seat bodywork by Park Royal, delivered
in July 1947. It was the undertaking's first trolleybus of the post-war
delivery, having been part of a planned order in 1941 that was frustrated
by wartime conditions, and retained the distinctive layout of three upper-deck
front windows that had been a feature of the pre-war fleet. 52 vehicles
of this type were delivered between 1947 and 1950 but most were later fitted
with new bodies or had their original bodywork heavily rebuilt in the Corporation's
Great Northern Street workshops. 541, however, had been subject only to
lesser rebuilding and retained the original three-piece front destination
and route number boxes fitted when new. The vehicle was withdrawn from service
in February 1964 on conversion of the Birkby - Crosland Hill trolleybus
route to motor bus operation and was selected as the most appropriate vehicle
to start the NTA's collection.
- A highlight of 541's time in NTA ownership was its return
to its home town for a farewell tour on the last day of operation, Saturday
13 July 1968. It is here seen negotiating the short-working loop at Marsh.
- (Photo Michael Russell)
On 22 May 1966, Huddersfield 541 made history by becoming the first privately-preserved
British trolleybus to be allowed to operate a tour on another system, in
this case Wolverhampton. In doing so, it inaugurated what was to become
a feature of the NTA's early years, namely the operation of members of its
preserved fleet under the wiring of sympathetic surviving trolleybus systems.
A highlight was its return to its home system during the final week of trolleybus
service in Huddersfield, when on the last day, 13 July 1968, it made a comprehensive
tour of the last routes.
- On Sunday 29th August 2010, 541 returned to service at the
Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, following 17 years of restoration work.
541 runs at the St.Leger Rally on 17th October and the Twilight Running
Day on Sunday 14th November.
- (Photo John Zebedee)
541 has subsequently been stored in a number of locations, most recently
at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, where restoration work was undertaken
by Brian Maguire. It was returned to service there in August 2010 and, despite
a subsequent period out of use with bodywork and mechanical defects that
have since been rectified, has been in regular use there ever since. In
September 2013 it paid a brief visit to the East Anglia Transport Museum
at Carlton Colville, where it was operated alongside the NTA's open-top
Bournemouth trolleybus 202 over a weekend to mark the Golden Jubilee of
- In a special event in June 2018 to mark fifty years from
closure of the fine Huddersfield system, 541 leads the trio of surviving
Huddersfield trolleybuses at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft.
- (Photo Michael Russell)
- Huddersfield 541 was restored at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft in the early years of this century. This sequence shows the various stages in the process.
The current Agreement sees Huddersfield 541 stored and available for
service at Sandtoft until the end of 2022.