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From: "Jose A. Tartajo" <>

I am Spanish trolleybus historian who has studied the real impact of these second hand trolleybuses in Spain. Of the 125 Q1 trolleybuses imported, 112 entered service. In summary I would say that the import of 142 cheap second-hand trolleybuses from the UK in 1960-61 [125 Q1's from London and 17 Daimler from Rotherham] killed the industry of trolleybus manufacturing in Spain. Even the prototype of the second generation of Pegaso trolleybuses [1961] was never sold.

Perhaps the Q1's were not built to last. They were designed with a limited life in sight, designed to last until the end of trolleybuses in London, in 1968-69. The last Q1 was retired from service in Spain in 1979.

The Q1's were built to use the streets of London. Here in Spain they used poor quality roads - some of them literally disintegrated.

The Q1's were not good for suburban use. The same person who bought 12 Q1's for urban routes in Zaragoza bought the 17 Daimler [with electrical equipment equivalent to that used in the Q1's] for his two suburban routes [San Sebastian -Tolosa and Cadiz-San Fernando]. This person had previous experience with the BUT 9641T chassis both in urban and suburban routes. A wise man.

Limited capacity. Some operators provided extra capacity for standing passengers in the lower deck.

Adaption for One-Man-Operation. This was a major drawback and accelerated the end of the Q1's in some cities, where older trolleybuses adapted for OMO survived them.

The last trolleybuses that rode in Pontevedra, with some parts of British origin, were certainly not Q1's. They were, one part, the old Leyland's [modified for OMO], the other part being a number of third-hand trolleybuses, built on BUT 9651T chassis, with a curious history; originally double-deckers, they were re bodied by the first owner as single deckers. The first electrical equipment was made in Spain [Maquitrans with motors of Westinghouse design]. At the time of re bodying they were converted into Vetras. The third owner used some motors from Q1's.

Perhaps the Q1's were good trolleybuses when running in London. Their second life in Spain was unfortunate. What if they were never imported? For sure, the history of the trolleybus in Spain would have been quite different.

From: "Ashley Bruce" <>

Q1's were built to last 20 years weren't they? So that's 1968-72. Didn't most last longer than that? As they were regarded in the UK as the 'Rolls-Royce' of trolleybuses it's a little sad to hear they weren't perhaps quite that. Moscow BTW was/is bigger than London, before you [or I] get too anglophile!

From: "Hugh N McAulay" <>

Both Glasgow and Newcastle-upon-Tyne had vehicles that were to all intents and purposes, Q1's. Glasgow lasted until 1967 while Newcastle's lasted until 1966.

From: "Julian Sadler" <>

I am not sure if you know that trolleybus operation and the vestigial remaining street tramway operations ended in Spain in 1977 since the Franco government enacted a law making electric street transport illegal. I believe this situation to be unique in history.

We can only speculate on their motives, but remember that the Fascist regime was heavily subsidising the SEAT motor manufacturer at the time [echoes of Marples, perhaps].

From: David Bradley

I put to Jose A. Tartajo a number of observations [shown in blue] for his comment. Here are his responses:

Sure at the end, the vehicles were in a poor state but I would suggest that they gave value for money to the purchaser.

Certainly, they gave value for money to the purchaser. I can not blame the purchaser for obtaining cheap trolleybuses. But, in the end, this was not a good bargain both for the operators and the manufacturing industry: later on, the operators wanted cheap trolleybuses that the industry could not supply.

The build quality of these vehicles was such that their revenue earning period on Spanish soil was in some cases much longer than their service time in London.

No one could refute this assertion, because the comparison should be made against the expected working life in London, or even the 20 years working life cited by Ashley.

The story of the arrival of the 125 Q.1 is almost complete in the British side, thanks to those people that searched and preserved that information. I try to search the Spanish side, and some information is appearing. For instance, I do not know yet the detail of the changes of ownership between Vigo, Pontevedra and Coruna, but I know that Vigo bought two batches, 10 + 11 trolleys. The well-known picture of derelict trolleybuses inside a shed in Vigo could be referred to as ten or nine trolleybuses, according to the date; I knew that place with ten and afterwards with nine trolleybuses.

I was under the impression that the demise of the trolleybus in Spain was more a government edict to remove electric traction from the streets [by 1970?], if so, there would not have been a long term future for a manufacturing industry to supply local needs.

I have read this almost incorrect statement very frequently, the last one being in the book World Trolleybus Encyclopedia. The fact is that in 1973 a Law was approved giving the operators the possibility to transform trolleybus concessions into bus concessions, with no reference to tramways. Let me explain the legal part of the trolleybuses in Spain.

As for tramways and buses, the exploitation of trolleybus routes was made under the legal regime of concessions. A Law for Trolleybuses was approved in October 5th 1940 some months after the start of trolleybuses in Bilbao. This law facilitated the conversion of tramways services into trolleybuses, as well as the introduction of new trolleybus services. Another Law [June 16th 1954] facilitated the conversion of tramway services into buses. Finally, Law 26/1973 facilitated the conversion of trolleybus services into buses. But neither of these Laws were compulsory: the concessionaires were not obliged to transform their exploitations. Merely, they were given the opportunity to change, obtaining a lengthening in the period of their concessions and other economic advantages. The trolleybuses of Pontevedra disappeared in application of another Law [16/1987] that repeated the advantages of the 1973 Law.

There were different reasons for the trolleybus failure, the simultaneous concurrence of some of them giving way for the removal of each trolleybus system. We could study which of these causes acted in each city and even in each route. The main reasons were:

Concerning the manufacturing industry, Pegaso delivered their last first generation trolleybuses in 1955. In 1957, as part of the delivery of 67 French-built Vetra VA3-B2, four similar trolleybuses were built in Spain, an intent to kept open a new manufacturing line. In 1961 Pegaso presented the prototype of their second generation of trolleybuses, a Vetra-Pegaso, as the electric version of the Pegaso 5020A bus, then being delivered. Later on, in the 1970s, another Company designs a new trolleybus but the lack of interest of operators prevented the construction of even a prototype.

From: "Robert Alan" <>

First, let me thank you for a really nostalgic site. I am old enough to remember the trolleybuses running through Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, etc. From where I lived I could hear the singing of the tyres on a Sunday morning as they flew along Seven Kings High Road towards Goodmayes [and vice-versa].

Referring to the pictures BR1-4, I seriously doubt if they were taken at Dagenham Dock. They are far more likely to have been taken in one of the 'Royal' group docks. To the best of my recollection there never was an 'IN' at Dagenham [and if there was it CERTAINLY wasn't anything like on the scale shown in the pictures], it was just a few riverside jetties. The pictures clearly show 'still water' docks with ships moored stem to stern along wharves. It [just] could be Tilbury but it looks to have too many cranes for there. I vote 'Royals' simply because they could have been driven almost to the dockside.

I am [pretty] sure there was a trolleybus route that ran from Manor Park/East Ham down through 'pre-fab town' to the docks and turned at Cyprus Place [there used to be a row of small, grotty shops there], being unable to go further because of the bridges over the dock entrances. You appear not to mention this route. There was also was a single decker motor bus [101 comes to mind] that covered part of the trolleybus route and continued from Cyprus, over the bridges to North Woolwich, turning at the [old] ferry terminal and tunnel head. They used to drop their passengers on the riverbank, turn round and wait/pick up outside the tunnel/station.

Your comments would be appreciated. Thanks again for a GREAT site.

From: "Ray Wilkinson" <>

Just enlarging on Robert Alan's comments on bus route 101:-

This started at Wanstead (where I lived for 28 years) and continued on through Manor Park down to Royal Albert Dock and on to North Woolwich much as Robert says. However, it was generally run in two overlapping stages because of the frequent hold-ups by the bridges over the lock entrances. One section was Wanstead (Woodbine Place) to Royal Albert Dock and the other section was from Manor Park to North Woolwich. I remember occasionally we had a trip out to Woolwich [using the marvellous old ferry paddle steamers] and we used to have to change at Manor Park to get the bus through to North Woolwich.

I never remember the 101 as a single deck route [perhaps it was in its latter years]. In the 1940s utility Guys from Upton Park [U)] depot ran the route with, I think, RTs taking over in the 1950s. On summer Sundays the 101 was extended at its northern end out to Lambourne End near Chigwell.

Hope this is of interest.