Wednesday, October 1, 2008

#488 ... Lines (Theme Day)

"Wellington Lines" ... could be poorly enunciated kiwi slang for our winning rugby team the Wellington Lions

... but lines that give Wellington some of its uniqueness would have to be the trolley bus lines that grace the city ... and in todays eco-conscious world, the visual pollution is more acceptable that the carbon pollution !!

Trolley buses in Wellington form part of the Wellington public transport system, with the current system having operated since 1949. Wellington's trolley bus system is the only one still operating in Oceania, one of the few in the English-speaking world.

The first trolleybus route in Wellington operated between 1924 and 1932. It used a single AEC 602, and ran from Thorndon along Hutt Road to Kaiwharawhara. A trolleybus was chosen over an extension to the Wellington tramway system because a large watermain on the route precluded tram track construction. The service was replaced with diesel buses.

A second and more extensive trolleybus system was approved in 1945, when it was decided to gradually replace the city's trams with trolleybuses. Trolleybuses were preferred over trams for being more manoeuverable and "more modern", and were preferred over diesel or petrol buses due to better traction on steep slopes.

At its maximum extent the trolleybus network stretched for around 50 kilometres — in addition to current services, trolleybuses also went to Oriental Bay, Northland and Wadestown, and routes in the central city were more extensive. The trolleybus fleet peaked at 119 vehicles, including Crossley Empire, British United Traction RETB1 (in various forms) and Volvo B10M and B58 models.

The trolleybus system has been threatened with closure over the years, mainly on grounds of cost. The growing emphasis on environmentally-friendly transport has however prompted campaigns to keep the buses, and in 2007 it was announced that a new generation of trolleybuses would be funded. The new buses are being built by Designline in Ashburton, using some components from the current fleet. They have a greater passenger capacity than current buses, and incorporate other improvements — they are expected to de-wire less frequently, and will be able to operate for short distances off-wire from batteries. Delivery of the buses began in late 2007.

10 May 2007
Nnew 49-seat buses, costing $460,000 each, not only provide environmental benefits but were a significant step up in terms of passenger comfort and reliability. The new buses will have 20% more capacity than the old trolley buses, and this will enable significant growth in the number of passengers without increasing the number of buses on the road. The contract was officially signed at a celebration held on one of Wellington’s existing 26-year-old trolley buses and was formally witnessed by the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Annette King. Ms King said at the launch: “Anything we can do as a country to reduce CO2 emissions, to move toward renewable energy sources, and to increase the use of public transport is to be applauded. That’s why today is such a great day, and why Wellington and NZ Bus should be congratulated for their enterprise and initiative.
Trolley buses have been part of the Wellington’s landscape since 1924. The oldest of the current fleet was introduced in 1980. Designline will manufacture the new buses in Ashburton.


Hyde DP said...

I consider posting a picture of trolley-bus wires on my Old Hyde blog for the theme but the ones I have are already published and I had something else for theme day. No trolleys left in the UK now although there are some trams still.


trolley buses feature in athens, but not where i live in hania. i remember the clanking bars of the trolleys derailing regularly in wellington - once, one of them crashed down and broke a bus window, entering the passenger area, from which a schoolboy narrowly escpaed injury

Denton said...

Normally I curse power lines when they obstruct a photo opportunity. However, you are right visual pollution, from trolley lines, is much better than carbon pollution ... congratulations to the Wellington Lions.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for your comments ... apparently trolley buses are not so common these days ... cheers,

Harry Makertia said...

We don't have this trolley bus system in Indonesia. It's always nice to walk through the history. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tanya said...

I don't know if they have trolleys here where I live in Virginia, I'm new but we had them in San Diego. I rode once or twice. Nice theme day photo with a great informative post!

Malcolm said...

There were very few days that i rode in one of these buses