The Museum is rather like Beamish, which tends to be much better known. The BCM is an open air museum of the life of the Black Country [Wolverhampton, Walsall, etc.]. It features buildings, etc., which have been re-located from elsewhere. Special features are a coal mine and a canal tunnel trip [strictly the latter is provided by an independent trust, but to the general public, it is all part of one package].
The museum site is large enough to benefit from internal transport and this is provided by trams and trolleybuses. The trolleybus route is about 1200 yards the round trip and features one short but steep gradient [about one in eleven I believe]. The museum has two resident trolleybuses, one from Wolverhampton and the other from Walsall. The tram(s) work mostly all week all year. The trolleybuses usually only on Sundays and Public Holidays from about Easter to Christmas. During the week, the tram[s] are usually crewed by museum employees, but on Sundays and Public Holidays, the tram(s) and trolleybuses are crewed by volunteers, of which Irvine Bell is one. Other circumstances permitting, Irvine likes to spend a lot of his Summer Sundays driving/conducting the trolleybuses.
The Museum is unique amongst British museums that operate trolleybuses in that the trolleybuses do provide a genuine public service to move crowds from A to B.
About every two years, the Museum runs a trolleybus event and invites other trolleybuses to visit. The number of visiting trolleybuses tend to vary a lot from perhaps only a couple to ten or so. During the events, they try to run the trolleybuses all week, but it does depend on the availability of volunteer crews. It is interesting to hear the comments of visitors when they experience the trolleybuses - usually along the lines of "why don't they bring them back" from those old enough to remember them to "what a good idea" from those who are younger.
|London 1201, Walsall 862,
Reading 174, Derby 237 and Maidstone 56
The Black Country Museum Transport
Group [BCMTG] operate the restored trolleybuses and carry out much of the restoration work on the vehicles at the
museum. Their WEB site contains up-to-minute position of the guest vehicles expected to visit the Museum in the near future.
The adjacent picture shows some of the visiting trolleybuses during 1998.
This article was written by Irvine Bell who has kindly supplied the pictures of 1201 visiting the Black Country Museum at Dudley during June 1998. They pictures chosen were to give an idea of the condition of 1201 at the time together with views of the Museum.
Click on any thumbnail for a larger image but wait until all thumbnails have downloaded
1201 before preservation
London 1201 overtakes, booms at full stretch, Bradford 735, by the tram depot.
London 1201 on the turning circle outside the trolleybus depot with Bradford 735 and
London 1201 stands outside the trolleybus depot.
Internal lower deck view of London 1201.
1201 has just arrived at the Village terminus
[by the tram depot]
The Black Country Museum is at Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4SQ
The green pin on the map below shows its location
There are several pages to this section [ Picture Gallery | Museum Information | Museum Map ]