The Last Trolley Buses of Llanelli

The last Llanelly Trolley Bus tickets 8th. November 1952 showing two tickets with different numbers and the obverse.Some time ago Llanelli Community Heritage received an envelope containing two tickets along with an accompanying letter.

To whom it may concern,
Letter from Mrs Susan MorganThese two tickets consecutively numbered, were purchased on 8 November 1952 the same day that the trolley buses ceased operation in Llanelli. They were purchased by Mr Brinley & Valerie Morgan who will be remembered by many as the licensees of the Butcher's Arms in Bynea. Indeed it was on the trolley bus route which ran as far as Loughor Bridge as the tickets indicate. They retired as landlord/landlady approximately 1963 moving to live in Bryncoch Penceilogi until they passed away in 1973and 1977 respectively. The tickets are donated to Llanelli Community Heritage by their only surviving son Darrel Morgan who now resides in Fishguard.
Yours sincerely,
Susan Morgan (LCH Member)

The electric trolley buses of Llanelli commenced operating in the town at the end of 1932, for it was reported that they were seen undergoing trials on the Bynea Route in December of that year. These electrically powered buses were delivered to the town from Preston, Lancashire and had undergone a four day journey under tow, travelling the long distance to avoid low bridges and obstacles which included the cutting down of trees that overhung the roads.

Trolley Bus (left) along side a tram by Greenfield ChapelTrolley Bus outside Llanelli Town HallThese double-decker buses, fitted with rubber tyres, replaced the older and noisier trams which 'clattered' along on their iron wheels and rails. The change over meant the installation of over thirty two miles of wiring all supported by no fewer than 500 'standards' or posts. The whole of the work was completed by Messrs Balfour Beatty under the management of Captain H.G. Merrick of the Llanelly Electric Supply Company.
It was reported in the Llanelly & County Guardian of 29 December 1932, that the service officially commenced operating at 10am on Boxing Day and that it was 'well patronised' throughout the day. Friday February 13th of 1933 saw the final completion of the transfer from 'tram' to 'trolley' when the Pwll and Felinfoel section commenced running. The old trams were purchased and removed by the well-known company Messrs Zammit, who detached the wheels from their chassis and lifted them on to lorries to be moved to Zammit's yard. These were to be sold off or scrapped.

Evidence still exists today of the old tram lines at the bus station in Robinson St. The Llanelly Electric Supply CompanyNorth Dock Power Station.  Demolished 1971. Photo by N Tonge.There was still a question of the removal of the old tram rails which were often a safety hazard to the public. These rails had been installed below the level of the road surface forming 'deep grooves' and were a danger to cyclists and pedestrians alike. A matter that was brought home to the local authority with some urgency shortly after the new trolley bus service commenced operating, when 14 year old George Brown, of Park Crescent was run over and killed by a trolley bus just opposite the Midland Bank. The wheels of young George's bicycle had become entrapped in the now redundant tram rail 'gutter' causing him to be thrown to his death in front of a trolley bus.

Recounting his career with this transport service in the Llanelli Star of 1961 Mr Edgar Jones stated that:

the trolleys first started running on Boxing Day 1933. The first route they covered was from Llanelly Station to Loughor. Fares for the four mile journey was five pence and for a return eight pence.
Gradually the other routes were converted from tram to trolley, from the Station to Felinfoel and to Pwll Tram Terminus. Power for the buses was supplied from the North Dock Power Station and there was also a supply point at the depot in Robinson Street. They were cheaper to run than the petrol buses, but there was one drawback – renewals to the overhead copper cables and equipment that provided the power were expensive. This had a restrictive effect on the buses all over the country.
The routes have now altered somewhat. For instance, the Pwll route only used to run to the Pwll Post Office, whereas it now runs to the Talbot Inn, about a mile further.
The Felinfoel route has altered very little since it was taken over by the South Wales Transport Company Limited. On the outward journey it used to go through Stepney Street, Market Street and up Thomas Street. Nowadays it goes through Broadway, Vaughan Street, Bridge Street and then Thomas Street.

The trolley buses gave the town good service throughout the next two decades including the Second World War. There are many people in the town who remember with affection the trolley buses, but their time too came to an end in 1952 and according to Mr Jones...
"They had been bought by J P Zammit Ltd.", and according to another eyewitness C F Walklet ...The buses were purchased by Bradford Corporation Transport Dept., Yorkshire and they were fitted with new bodies in 1956, made by East Lancashire Coach Builders Ltd of Blackburn".

Llanelli Community Heritage has passed the 'Last Trolley Bus Tickets' to the National Museum Wales (Department of Industry) for safe keeping.

Our grateful thanks again go to the staff of Llanelli library for their assistance in finding information for this article.