Reading Trolleybus using Whitley Wood reverser

 Whitley Wood overhead reverser
Click on picture [800] for an enlarged version

From: "Stephen" <>

I used to live in Reading, near the southern end of route 16 [Whitley Wood] where there was a reverser. I had a traumatic experience when I was about 3 and the booms from two buses met on the crossover. There were sparks and booms flying everywhere, and I ran home screaming.

As a bus reversed the conductor had to watch it round, blowing a whistle when it was safe for the driver to move off. Later on one man motor buses [both single and double decker] were allowed to reverse without the driver receiving any help, though on single deckers he could open the emergency door to improve his rear view.

When I was about 7 I worried my parents silly on Saturday afternoon and evening by riding over most of the Reading system without telling anyone I had gone. In those days a child's fare for most journeys was 3d (about 1.5p).

The Sunbeam F4As which were bought in 1961 had front entrances, and by kneeling on the back seat upstairs I could watch the booms on the wire.

On a more melancholy note after the closure of each route the overhead wire was cut down, when it would lie on the road in 60 feet lengths and be cut up and loaded into the back of a truck. I have a section of overhead about a foot long which one of the workers gave me.

The last day of revenue earning service was 2nd November 1968, and I spent the afternoon with my cousin taking a last look. The next day [a Sunday] the trolleybuses were out for special trips, and I got a last ride. Back at the Mill Land depot the last procession set off, and when it was on its trip the public filled the depot looking round. Some of the overhead in the depot must never have been used, for there was one exit route which had a 45 degree curve with a radius of only about four inches.

Eventually the procession came back and went into the depot. Then it was over.

From: "Steve Bromley" <>

Great to see those photos of Reading's trolleybuses again.

I lived in the cafe in Basingstoke Road on routes 15 and 16 and as a kid spent hours travelling around on the trolleys. I knew several conductors that gave me free rides and sometimes I would spend a whole day riding around. I witnessed the last day of operations and have some 8mm film of it. I recall in the pull in outside our cafe a trolleybus lost control and veered into the pull in off the wires and killed a lady right outside our cafe. We were right opposite Gowrings near Elgar Road.