London Trolleybuses Busch Corner, London Road, Isleworth
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From: "John Rowe" <email@example.com>
I was brought up in Hounslow, and spent my first year at Spring Grove Grammar School (1958-59) on the London
Road at Isleworth, not far from the Depot. As schoolboys we would let the 37s go past and wait for the 657
instead - certain buses would change crews at the Depot, and the conductor would have to leave without
collecting the fares; we would then pick up a ticket from the floor and hope that the new conductor would think
that we had paid! I cannot recall anyone ever being caught out. In 1959 the school moved to new premises on the
Great West Road at Hounslow, and for the first year school times were constantly being changed as it was
impossible for the diesel buses to get us all to school on time!
The photos of the 696 and 698 were also interesting to me as we had relations living at Abbey Wood on the 698 route, and I have many happy memories of days out there from 1956 to when the trolleys were taken off in 1959. On day trips we always went from Hounslow to Abbey Wood by bus using Red Rover tickets, as we did to visit other relatives and family friends all over South and East London - I'm sure that we had greater endurance in those days!
I also went to Croydon several times with friends on Saturday Red Rover outings and remember going on the 630 from Hammersmith very well - we always went by trolleys in preference to diesel. How many parents these days would let their 12-year old sons gallivant all over London? My son is living in Croydon at the moment, so I cannot wait for the trams to start - last summer I spent a few days there and drove along the route to New Addington to see what progress was being made.
From: "Alan Buckland" <BUCKLAND72@aol.com>
I was a conductor on the 657 from about 1959 until the depot closed and we had a choice of going to Hounslow bus station or I think Hanwell which was ex 607 trolleybus route. I used to live in Layton Road, Brentford, and my sister used to live in Isleworth, but now lives in Lalelam. The picture of bus the bus in London Rd brings back a lot of memories. The wall behind the bus is Syon House isn't not. and the bus behind is 667 to Hampton court. Also opposite are a parade of shops I used to by fish and chips on my way home. I do have a photograph taken outside the depot, I will find it and send it to you if you are interested; you may recognise me!
From: "DAVID GOURLEY" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The foregoing reference to Red Rovers prompts me to recall my own journeys around London during
the final year or so of trolleybus operation. As well as the Red Rovers, I also used the Twin Rovers, which entitled
one to use the London Underground as well. My journeys were in the opposite direction to John Rowe as I lived at
that time in Bexleyheath and travelled over to places like Hounslow to see the trolleybuses! Alas the trolleybuses
in the Bexleyheath area had by then been replaced, the first to go in the 14 stage "buses for trolleybuses"
In those days I was fascinated by the Underground, living as I did in an area that was many miles from it. As a child the only encounter I recall is travelling on the Northern Line from Waterloo to Camden Town on trips to the Zoo. I well recall my first Twin Rover, staying on the Northern Line and going all the way out to Edgware, which was still trolleybus territory. I was quite surprised when the train came out into the open north of Hampstead as I'd assumed the entire Underground was subterranean! As another of your correspondents has commented, it was perfectly safe for a 14-year old to travel all over London on his own. One didn't even think about it. Also I don't recall the weekend closures which nowadays seem to be a regular occurrence on the Underground. The Victoria line didn't then exist nor did the Jubilee, the line to Stanmore being part of the Bakerloo Line. The Underground should have expanded more since then but our politicians have over the years had a parsimonious attitude towards expenditure on public transport.
On that same trip I discovered the Piccadilly and Central Lines, using the former to go out to Hounslow, then getting the 657 trolleybus back to Shepherds Bush where I get the Central Line to Stratford, returning home via the 69 bus [ex-trolleybus 669, which I 'd travelled on in earlier times] to North Woolwich. I was impressed that the Piccadilly and Central had brand new aluminum trains with fluorescent lighting whereas the Northern still had the old-fashioned red ones, lit by ordinary light bulbs.
I used the Underground on the very last day of trolleybus operation, though a Twin Rover was not an option as this was a weekday. I got the District to Wimbledon, making my way via Kingston, Hampton Court and Twickenham to Busch Corner. From there I walked along the 657 trolleybus route to the Hounslow terminus. My last trolleybus ride of all was on a 657, going the entire route from Hounslow to Shepherds Bush. I stood outside the Tube Station and watched my vehicle make its way round the Green, ready for its journey back to Hounslow. There were tears in my eyes as I descended to the Central Line. Many years later I used that line on my journey to work in the City and sometimes I wondered if the train I was travelling on was the one that had taken me away from the London trolleybuses for ever.