Trolleybus: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Solaris trolleybus in Landskrona, Sweden
Hess-built trolleybus in Lucerne, Switzerland
A double-deck trolleybus in Reading, England, 1966
Van Hool trolleybus in Genoa, Italy
Busscar trolleybus in São Paulo, Brazil
Gent trolleybus.ogg
Trolleybus in Ghent

A trolleybus (also known as trolley bus, trolley coach, trackless trolley, trackless tram or trolley) is an electric bus that draws its electricity from overhead wires (generally suspended from roadside posts) using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit, unlike a tram or streetcar, which normally uses the track as part of the electrical path and thus needs only one wire and pole.



The "Elektromote", the world's first trolleybus, in Berlin, Germany, 1882
A new MBTA trolleybus near Harvard Square, Cambridge, USA. The "offside" door (on the left-hand side of the bus, despite the right-hand traffic) is particular to buses using the Harvard Square station in Cambridge
Changjiang-Flxible CJWG110K trolleybus No.156 on the rainy streets of Hangzhou, China

The history of the trolleybus dates back to 29 April 1882, when Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens ran his "Elektromote" in a Berlin suburb. This experimental demonstration continued until 13 June 1882, after which there was little progress in Europe, although separate experiments were conducted in the USA. The next development was when Lombard Gérin operated an experimental line at the Paris Exhibition of 1900 after four years of trials. Max Schiemann made the biggest step when on 10 July 1901 the world's first passenger-carrying trolleybus operated at Bielathal (near Dresden), in Germany. Schiemann built and operated the Bielathal system, and is credited with developing the under-running trolley current collection system, with two horizontally parallel overhead wires and rigid trolleypoles spring-loaded to hold them up to the wires. Although the Bielathal system operated only until 1904, Schiemann had developed what is now the standard trolleybus current collection system. In the early days there were a few different methods of current collection. The Cedes-Stoll system, designed by Carl Stoll, operated near Dresden between 1902 and 1904, and in Vienna. The Lloyd-Köhler or Bremen system was tried out in Bremen, and the Filovia was demonstrated near Milan.

Leeds and Bradford became the first cities to operate trolleybuses in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1911. Bradford was the last to operate trolleybuses in the UK, the system closing on 26 March 1972. The last rear-entrance trolleybus in Britain was also in Bradford and is now owned by the Bradford Trolleybus Association. Birmingham was the first to replace a tram route with trolleybuses, while Wolverhampton under the direction of Charles Owen Silvers turned the "trackless tram" into the trolleybus. There were 50 trolleybus systems in the UK, London's being the largest. By the time trolleybuses arrived in Britain in 1911, the Schiemann system was well-established and was the most common, although the short-lived Stockport operation used the Lloyd-Kölher system and Keighley used the Cedes-Stoll system.

In the United States, some cities, led by the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT—New York), subscribed to the all-four concept of using buses, trolleybuses, trams (in US called streetcars or trolleys) and rapid transit subway and/or elevated lines (metros), as appropriate, for routes ranging from lightly-used to the heaviest trunk line. Buses and trolleybuses in particular were seen as entry systems that could later be upgraded to rail as appropriate. Although the BMT in Brooklyn built only one trolleybus line, other cities, notably San Francisco, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, built larger systems and still maintain "all-four".

A number of trolleybus lines in the United States came into existence when a tracked trolley/tram route did not have sufficient ridership to warrant track maintenance or reconstruction. In a similar manner, a proposed tram scheme in Leeds, United Kingdom, was changed to a trolleybus scheme to cut costs.[1]

Trolleybuses are uncommon today in North America, but they remain common in many European countries, and in Russia and China, generally occupying the niche between street railways (trams) and diesel buses. Worldwide, around 340 cities or metropolitan areas are served by trolleybuses today.[2] (Further detail under Use and preservation, below.)


Diagram of a 1947 built Pullman Standard model 800 trolleybus, still running in Valparaíso (Chile).
  1. Electrified line
  2. Destination or route sign
  3. Rear view mirror
  4. Headlights
  5. Boarding (entry) doors
  6. Direction (turning) wheels
  7. Exit doors
  8. Traction wheels
  9. Decorative elements
  10. Retractors/retrievers
  11. Puller rope
  12. Shoes
  13. Trolley pole(s)
  14. Pole storage hooks
  15. Trolley pole base and fairing/shroud
  16. Bus Number


A San Francisco Muni trolleybus climbing Nob Hill
Irisbus Cristalis trolleybus in Limoges, France

Trolleybuses are advantageous on hilly routes, as electric motors are more effective than diesel engines for climbing steep hills. Unlike combustion engines, electric motors draw power from a central plant and can be overloaded for several minutes without damage. San Francisco and Seattle, both hilly United States cities, use trolleybuses partly for this reason, another being improved air quality. Given this acceleration and braking performance, trolleybuses easily outperform diesel buses on flat stretches as well.

Trolleybuses' rubber tires have better adhesion than trams' steel wheels on steel rails, giving them better hill-climbing capability and braking. Unlike rail vehicles (where side tracks are not available), an out-of-service vehicle can be moved to the side of the road and its trolley poles disconnected, allowing other vehicles to pass. Additionally, because they are not tracked, trolleybuses can pull over to the curb as a diesel bus does, eliminating boarding islands in the street.

A Derby Corporation trolleybus in Victoria Street, 30 July 1967. The system closed on 9 September 1967, and this vehicle is preserved in running order at the Black Country Living Museum.

Like other electric vehicles, trolleybuses are more environmentally friendly than fossil-fuel or hydrocarbon-based vehicles (petrol/gasoline, diesel, alcohol, etc.). However the power is not free, having to be produced at centralised power plants, with attendant transmission losses.

On the other hand, centrally-produced power is produced more efficiently, not bound to a specific fuel source and more amenable to pollution control as a single-source supply than are individual vehicles with their own engines that exhaust noxious gases and particulates at street level. Moreover, some cities, like Calgary, Alberta, run their light rail networks using wind energy,[3] which is effectively emission-free once the turbines are built and installed. Other cities like Vancouver, B.C. use hydroelectricity to provide power for trolley buses. A further advantage of trolleybuses is that they can generate electricity from kinetic energy while braking, a process known as regenerative braking.

Unlike buses or trams, trolleybuses are almost silent, lacking the noise of a diesel engine or wheels on rails. Such noise as there is tends to emanate from auxiliary systems such as power steering pumps and air conditioning. Early trolleybuses without these systems were even quieter, and in the UK at least were often referred to as the "Silent Service". The quietness did have its disadvantages though, with quite a number of pedestrians falling victim to what was also known as "the Silent Death".

Trolleybuses are specially favoured where electricity is abundant and cheap. Examples are the extensive systems in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, USA, both of which draw hydroelectric power from the Columbia River and other Pacific river systems. Seattle benefits doubly, with steep gradients near the Downtown waterfront and on Queen Anne, First, and Capitol Hills. San Francisco operates its system using hydro power from the city-owned Hetch Hetchy generating plant.

Trolleybuses are used extensively in large European cities such as Athens, Belgrade, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Kiev, Lyon, Milan, Minsk, Moscow, Naples, Riga, Saint Petersburg and Sofia, as well as smaller ones such as Arnhem, Bergen, Brasov, Brest (Belarus), Coimbra, Gdynia, Lausanne, Limoges, Luzern, Parma, Piatra Neamţ, Plzeň, Prešov, Salzburg, Solingen, Szeged, Tallinn and Yalta.

Realising the advantages of these zero-emission vehicles, some other European cities have started to expand their systems again. Other cities such as Lecce will introduce new trolleybus systems.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the trolleybus system has survived because Harvard Station has a tunnel that was once used for trams that requires left-side doors and has fume concerns. Buses also use the tunnel, but the trolleybuses remain due to popular support.

Trolleybus wire switch
Indicator for a wire switch[4]
Pole headworks with springs and dampers
Insulated poles, contactors, and pull–ropes


Re-routings, temporary or permanent, are not usually readily available outside of "downtown" areas where the buses may be re-routed via adjacent business area streets where other trolleybus routes operate. This problem was highlighted in Vancouver in early 2008 when an explosion closed Broadway, a heavily-used trolley route. Because of the closure, trolleys were forced to detour several kilometers off their route in order to stay on the wires, leaving major portions of their routes unserved and trolleys well off schedule.

Some trolleybus systems have been criticised for aesthetic reasons, with city residents complaining that the jumble of overhead wires was unsightly.[5] Intersections often have a "webbed ceiling" appearance, due to multiple crossing and converging sets of line wires.

Dewirements sometimes occur, leaving the bus stranded without power, although this is relatively rare on systems with well-maintained overhead wire, hangers, fittings and "contact shoes".

Trolleybuses cannot overtake one another in regular service unless two separate sets of wires with a switch are provided or the vehicles are equipped with off-wire capability, but the latter is an increasingly common feature of new trolleybuses.

Recent power developments

With the introduction of hybrid designs, trolleybuses are no longer tied to overhead wires. Since the 1980s, trolleybus systems such as Muni in San Francisco, TransLink in Vancouver and Beijing, among others, have purchased trolleybuses equipped with batteries to allow the vehicles to operate short to considerably long distances away from the wires. Supercapacitors may be also used to move short distances.

Trolleybuses can optionally be equipped either with limited off-wire capability—a small diesel engine or battery pack—for auxiliary or emergency use only, or full dual-mode capability. A simple auxiliary power unit can allow a trolleybus to get around a route blockage or can reduce the amount (or complexity) of overhead wiring needed at operating garages (depots). This capability has become increasingly common in newer trolleybuses, particularly in North America and Western Europe, where the vast majority of new trolleybuses delivered since the 1990s are fitted with at least limited off-wire capability. These have gradually replaced older trolleybuses which lacked such capability. In Philadelphia, new trolleybuses (known as "trackless trolleys" there) that were placed in service by SEPTA in 2008 are equipped with small hybrid diesel-electric power units for operating short distances off-wire, instead of using a conventional diesel drive train or battery-only system for their off-wire movement.[6]

King County Metro in Seattle, Washington and MBTA in Boston use or have used dual-mode buses that run on electric power from overhead wires on a fixed right-of-way and on diesel power on city streets. Metro used special-order articulated Breda buses with the center axle driven electrically and the rear (third) axle driven using a conventional power pack, with electricity used for clean operation in the downtown transit tunnel. They were introduced in 1990 and retired in 2005, replaced with cleaner hybrid buses, although 59 of 236 had their diesel propulsion equipment removed and continue (as of 2010) in trolley bus service on non-tunnel routes. MBTA uses dual-mode buses on its new (2004-opened) Silver Line (Waterfront).

Other considerations

With increasing diesel fuel costs and particulate matter and NOx emissions problems in many cities, trolleybuses may be seen as the best option, either as the primary transit mode or as a supplement to rapid transit and commuter rail networks.

Some have suggested that the trolleybus will become obsolete in a future hydrogen economy, but direct electric transmission is far more efficient (by a factor of two or more) than conversion of energy into hydrogen, transportation and storage of the hydrogen and its conversion back into electricity by fuel cells.

As trolleybuses are electric, they produce very little noise compared with a diesel- or petrol-engined vehicle. While this is mainly seen as a benefit, it does also make it is easier for unobservant pedestrians and other motorists to miss hearing a trolleybus when crossing a street, and risk being struck. For this reason, in Australia trolleybuses were sometimes known as "whispering death".

Trolleybuses can share overhead wires and other electrical infrastructure (such as substations) with tramways. This can result in cost savings when trolleybuses are added to a transport system that already has trams, though this refers only to potential savings over the cost of installing and operating trolleybuses alone.

Trolleybus wire switch

Trolleybus wire switches (referred to as "frogs" in some countries) are used where a trolleybus line branches into two. A switch may be either in a "straight through" or "turnout" position; it normally remains in the "straight through" position unless it has been triggered, and reverts to it after a few seconds. Triggering is often caused by a pair of contacts or electromagnets, with one attached to each trolleybus wire, close to but before the switch itself.

Multiple branches may be handled by installing more than one switch. For example, to provide straight-through, left-turn or right-turn branches at an intersection, one switch is installed some distance from the intersection to choose a line over the left-turn lane, and another switch is mounted close to the intersection to choose between straight through and a right turn.[7] (This would be the arrangement in countries such as the US, where traffic directionality is right-handed; in left-handed traffic countries such as Britain and New Zealand, the switch some distance from the intersection would be used to access the right-turn lanes, and the switch close to the intersection would be for the left-turn fork instead.)

Three common types of switch[7] exist: Power-on/Power-off (the picture of a switch above is of this type), Selectric, and Fahslabend.

A Power-on/Power-off switch is triggered if the trolleybus is drawing power from the overhead wires, usually by accelerating, when the poles pass over the contacts. (The contacts are lined up on the wires in this case.) If the trolleybus "coasts" through the switch it will not activate. Some trolleybuses, such as those in Philadelphia, have a "power-coast" toggle switch that turns the power on or off. This allows a switch to be triggered in situations that would otherwise be impossible, such as activating a switch while braking or accelerating through a switch without activating it.

A Selectric switch has a similar design, but the contacts on the wires are skewed, often at a 45-degree angle, rather than being lined up. This skew means that a bus going straight through will not trigger the switch, but a trolleybus attempting a sharp turn (usually a right turn in countries with right-handed traffic) will cause its poles to meet the wires in a matching skew with one pole ahead of the other, which will trigger the switch.

For a Fahslabend switch, the trolleybus's turn indicator (or a separate driver-controlled switch) causes a coded radio signal to be sent from a transmitter, often attached to a trolley pole. The receiver is attached to the switch, and causes it to trigger if the correct code is received. This has the advantage that the driver does not need to be accelerating the bus (as with a Power-on/Power-off switch) or trying to make a sharp turn (as with a Selectric switch).

Trolleybus makers


Trolleybus garage (depot) in San Francisco, USA, with a range of Muni's trolleybuses dating from 1976 to 2003. On the left is an ETI (Skoda/AAI) 14TrSF trolleybus, which type replaced the non-accessible Flyer trolleybuses in the center. On the right is an articulated New Flyer trolleybus, one of 60 articulated ETBs built by New Flyer for Muni in 1993-94

Defunct or no longer making trolleybuses

Preserved vintage trolleybus made by FIAT for the Piraeus-Kastella line in Greece (1939)
1954 CCF-Brill trolleybus in Edmonton

List of Low-floor trolleybuses

Double-decker trolleybuses

Since the end of 1997, no double-decker trolleybuses have been in service anywhere in the world, but in the past several manufacturers made such vehicles. Most builders of double-deck trolleybuses were in the United Kingdom, but there were a few, usually solitary, instances of such trolleybuses being built in other countries, including in Germany by Henschel (for Hamburg); in Italy by Lancia (for Porto, Portugal); in Russia by the Yaroslavl motor plant (for Moscow) and in Spain by Maquitrans (for Barcelona).[8] British manufacturers of double-deck trolleybuses included AEC, BUT, Crossley, Guy, Leyland, Karrier, Sunbeam and others.[8]

In 2001, Citybus (Hong Kong) converted a Dennis Dragon (#701) into a double-decker trolleybus,[9] and it was tested on a 300-metre track in Wong Chuk Hang in that year.[9] Hong Kong decided not to build a trolleybus system, and the testing of this prototype did not lead to any further production of vehicles.

Use and preservation

There are currently around 340 cities or metropolitan areas where trolleybuses are operated,[2] and almost 500 additional trolleybus systems have existed in the past.[8] For complete lists of trolleybus systems by location, with dates of opening and (where applicable) closure, see List of trolleybus systems and the related lists indexed there.

The following are summary notes about current and past trolleybus operation in some countries.


Trolleybuses are currently in use in Mendoza, Rosario and Córdoba. See also List of trolleybus systems


Trolleybus lines run in Yerevan, Armenia.


Australia has no remaining operating trolleybuses. Trolleybuses are preserved in the Brisbane Tramway Museum, Sydney Tramway Museum, Powerhouse Museum (Sydney), the Australian Electric Transport Museum at Adelaide (South Australia), the Perth Electric Tramway Society Museum, and at the Tasmanian Transport Museum in Hobart. Some of these trolleybuses are in operating condition, but there are no wired roadways to operate them on.


The largest trolleybus system in Austria is in Salzburg, with nine routes and 80 trolleybuses, operating from 0600 to midnight. The system was introduced in 1940 and has been expanded during recent years. Linz has four routes and 19 vehicles: after years of uncertainty the continued existence of the system is guaranteed by the operator. The trolleybuses in Innsbruck went out of service in 2007 because of an expected expansion of the light rail system. A trolleybus system with two routes existed in Kapfenberg until 2002. The towns of Klagenfurt and Graz closed their trolleybus systems in the 1960s.


Belkommunmash AKSM-420 in Minsk in 2007

The trolleybus system in Minsk (since 1952) is the second largest in the world. Trolleybuses also work in Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev and Babruysk (since 1978).


No trolleybus systems remain in operation in Belgium, but in the past, trolleybuses provided a portion of the local transport service in Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Ghent.[8] The last system, that of Ghent, which ceased operation in June 2009,[10] had opened much later than all of the other Belgian trolleybus systems, in 1989. Government funds to build the Ghent system were provided, in part, for the purpose of improving the prospects for the export of Belgian-built trolleybuses,[8] and the Ghent system's fleet was made up entirely of trolleybuses built by Van Hool, a Belgian company. The Brussels system comprised only a single route, in contrast to that city's large tram system. Liège had two independent trolleybus systems. One of them, a small system connecting Liège to the suburb of Seraing, operated the world's only double-ended (bi-directional) trolleybuses; the vehicles were eventually rebuilt to conventional (single-ended) configuration.[8] One of those unique vehicles, restored to double-ended configuration, is preserved at the Musée des Transports en commun du Pays le Liège.[11] Trolleybuses from the other Liège system and from Brussels and Ghent are preserved at various museums, including 1932-built Liège 425 at the Sandtoft museum, in England.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trolleybuses are currently used only in the capital city Sarajevo. Operation and maintenance is done by GRAS (City transportation). There are seven routes (101-107): the route to the suburb of Vogošća will be reconstructed in the near future.


EMTU's Modern Trolleybus in São Paulo
See also: List of trolleybus systems in Brazil

Trolleybuses are in use only in Santos and in systems in São Paulo: SPTrans, in central and eastern areas, and EMTU, in the suburbs and the cities of Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, Mauá and Diadema. Two trolleybuses are preserved and exhibited at the SPTrans (São Paulo Transportation Authority) Museum Gaetano Ferrola. Another five trolleybuses built by CMTC and Villares between 1958 and 1965 are awaiting restoration in the SPTrans garage at Santa Rita. A trolleybus built in the United States by ACF Brill in 1948 was restored in 1999 and operates at special celebrations, such as the city's 454th anniversary celebration on 25 January 2008.


Trolleybus networks operate in Sofia (since 1941), Plovdiv (1955), Pleven (1985), Varna (1986), Stara Zagora (1988), Ruse (1988), Sliven (1988), Vratsa (1988), Dobrich (1988), Pernik (1989), Gabrovo (1990), Haskovo (1990), Veliko Tarnovo (1990), Burgas (1991) and Pazardzhik (1993). The most developed system in terms of density is in Pleven (population 120,000), with 14 trolleybus routes, totalling 75 kilometres (47 mi), and one bus route. The largest system is in Sofia (population 1.5 million): 105 kilometres (65 mi).


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Canada

Trolleybuses now are used in Vancouver only, where TransLink operates a fleet of about 250 vehicles, locally known as "trolleys".[12] Despite stubborn opposition from local citizens, Edmonton ended trolleybus service in May 2009.[13] Vancouver's aging trolley fleet was recently replaced with newer models, one of which was loaned to the Edmonton Transit System in 2007/08. In Laval, Quebec, the transit system operator, Société de transport de Laval (STL), launched a study in spring 2009 into the possible construction of a new, four-route trolleybus system.[14] Funded jointly by STL and Hydro-Québec, the study is expected to be completed around march of 2010.[15] In discussing the Laval study, some provincial officials indicated they would like to see transport agencies in other major Québec cities also consider installing trolleybus networks.[14]

Several other Canadian cities have operated trolleybus systems in the past. In Hamilton, where they were referred to as "trolley coaches", they were used from 1951 until the end of 1992. Toronto initially had an experimental fleet of 4 trolleybuses from 1922 through 1927, but later maintained a fleet of about 150 vehicles from 1947 through 1992. Another forty trolleybuses leased from Edmonton continued operation in Toronto until the lease expired and the buses were returned to Edmonton in July 1993. Most of Canada's other trolleybus systems were abandoned during the 1960s and 1970s; the last two to disappear at that time (Saskatoon and Calgary) closed down in 1974 and 1975, respectively.[16]


Various trolleybuses in Valparaíso, Chile

Valparaíso, one of the largest cities of Chile, has the only trolleybus service, managed by a private company, Trolebuses de Chile S.A. (formerly Empresa de Transportes Colectivos Eléctricos). The two routes have the 8- prefix of Valparaíso's new metropolitan mass transit system as routes 801 and 802, but since September 2007 only route 802 has operated. The fleet is a remarkable mix of old American, Swiss and Chinese vehicles, making an attractive appeal for tourism. The most famous vehicles are the Pullman-Standards, built in 1946-52, which are the oldest trolleybuses still in service in the world. They were declared national monuments in 2003.[17] The company has faced fierce competition from bus operators, and has almost faced bankruptcy several times, but many Valparaíso inhabitants feel an emotional link to the service, and vigorously defend the trolleybuses.


See also: List of trolleybus systems and Transportation in China

Trolleybuses are in use in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Qingdao, Hangzhou and other locations. Beijing's trolleybus system, the most extensive in China, is served by trolleybuses that can run for considerable distances on battery power. In Shanghai, new electric buses have been ordered to replace certain trolleybus routes. These buses charge at terminals and stops and run from the electric power stored in supercapacitors.


Trolleybuses systems were operated in Medellín from 1929 to 1951 and in Bogotá (where the service was managed by the district government) from 1948 until 1991.[8] Among the problems leading to the closure of the Bogotá system were the difficulty of obtaining spare parts for the Russian-built ZIU and Romanian-built DAC trolleybuses that comprised the entire fleet in the system's last several years of operation.[citation needed]

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has 13 trolleybus systems, in towns both large and small, and in the past trolleybuses also operated in three other cities. See List of trolleybus systems for details.

There also was a line between Ostrov nad Ohří and Jáchymov, taking advantage of steep gradients between these towns, used only for testing trolleybuses made at the Škoda factory in Ostrov. The line was dismantled in 2004, following the cessation of production.


A distinctive and heavily used trolleybus system opened in Quito in stages in 1995-96. The single-corridor Quito trolleybus system, named "El Trole", is a high-capacity design, featuring dedicated trolleybus-only lanes over almost its entire length and with boarding taking place exclusively at high-platform stations, through all three vehicle doorways simultaneously, akin to modern-day light-rail transit systems. The initial fleet of 54 articulated trolleybuses was expanded to 113 vehicles in 1999-2000. The headway is as short as 90 seconds in peak periods, and average daily patronage exceeds 250,000 passengers. Extensions to the route were opened in 2000 and 2008, and it is now 18.7 kilometres (11.6 mi) in length. Five different overlapping trolleybus services are operated along the corridor. The system inspired the design of a new trolleybus system in Mérida, Venezuela, the first stage of which opened in 2007.


Solaris T18AC in Tallinn

Trolleybuses are in use in Tallinn. The first trolleybus route opened on 6 July 1965. There were nine routes, but one closed on 31 March 2000 - the overhead wires remain in place. There has been talk about a tenth line but this has never been brought to reality.

Old Skoda 14Tr and 15Tr trolleybuses are being replaced with newer low-floor Solaris/Ganz T12 and T18 articulated models.


Tampere and Helsinki have had trolleybus systems.

In Tampere trolleybus operations begun in 1948 and ended in 1976. At its most extensive seven trolleybus routes lines operated. Two trolleybuses have been preserved, in the collection of Tampereen kaupungin liikennelaitos.[18] In Helsinki a single trolleybus line was operated 1949–1974.[19] An attempt to restore trolleybus operation in Helsinki was made in the late 1970s; this resulted in the acquisition of a prototype trolleybus that was used between 1979 and 1985.[20] Three Helsinki trolleybuses have been preserved. Of these, number 605 is on display at the Helsinki tram museum.[21][22][23]


See also: List of trolleybus systems in France

Trolleybuses are used in Limoges, Lyon, Nancy and Saint-Étienne, which have expanded their use. Lyon is using Cristalis trolleybuses to build a "strong network" at small cost. Preserved trolleybuses are at the Musée des Transports (AMTUIR) in Colombes.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Germany

Trolleybuses operate in Eberswalde (near Berlin), Esslingen (near Stuttgart) and Solingen (near Düsseldorf). There were over 60 trolleybus systems in the late 1950s, many having replaced under-used tram services.[24]


See also: ILPAP

Trolleybuses are in use in Athens. The network, which also serves Piraeus, is one of the largest in Europe, with more than 350 trolleybuses. The entire fleet was replaced with new Neoplan and Van Hool trolleybuses from 2001 onward. The system is operated by ILPAP.


Trolleybuses are used in Budapest, Szeged and Debrecen. In Budapest the fleet is operated by Budapesti Közlekedési Vállalat Zrt.


A small trolleybus system operated in Delhi from 1935 until about 1962. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport of Mumbai operated trolleybuses from 1962 to 1971.[25]


A trolleybus in Naples
See also: List of trolleybus systems in Italy

Trolleybuses are in use in Ancona, Bologna, Cagliari, Chieti, Genoa, La Spezia, Milan, Modena, Naples, Parma, Rimini, Rome and San Remo. The largest systems are in Milan (about 150 vehicles, serving four routes) and Naples (100 vehicles, eight routes), the latter being divided between two separate transport authorities (ANM and CTP). New systems are under construction in Avellino and Lecce. A new system has also been approved, and construction is to begin in 2009, in Pescara. Work is under way to reopen the system in Bari.


Trolleybuses have been used in Tateyama Tunnel Trolleybus line and Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus line. There are 2 trolleybus lines. They are used for the conservation of natural environment of the sightseeing spot.


Trolleybuses have been used in Riga since 1947. There are 20 trolleybus lines.


Trolleybuses have been used in Vilnius since 1956 (20 routes) and Kaunas (16 routes) since 1965.


Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos (STE) of Mexico City is one of the largest systems in North America. Trolleybuses from cities including Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Dallas, Little Rock, Cleveland, New Orleans, Shreveport, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco found their way to Mexico City in the 1960s. Since 1981 more than 500 trolleybuses have been purchased from Mexicana de Autobuses S.A. (MASA), fitted with electrical equipment by various suppliers (including Hitachi, Toshiba, Kiepe and Mitsubishi) for batches of vehicles ordered at different times.[26] The size of the fleet in 2008 was around 400.[27]

Guadalajara opened a trolleybus system in 1976 using ex-Chicago trolleybuses dating from 1951-52. The last of these were withdrawn in 1993, and since then the service has been provided by MASA trolleybuses, most of which had been acquired new in 1982-85.


Chinese-built trolleybuses operated on a route from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur between 1975 and 2001. A limited trolleybus service was restarted in 2003, and there were plans to expand it,[28] but these have not come to fruition. Trolleybus operation appears to have ended in 2008, but it is not known whether this cessation will be permanent.

The Netherlands

Trolleybuses are in use in Arnhem since 1949. The nearby city of Nijmegen had trolleybuses until 1969.

New Zealand

A new-model Designline trolleybus operating in Wellington in December 2008.

Wellington has the only public trolleybus system in Australasia. GO Wellington operates 61 Designline trolleybuses on nine suburban routes south, east and west of the city centre.

In Foxton and at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch preserved trolleybuses operate. The Ferrymead system has trolleybuses from every New Zealand city that operated trolleybuses: Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

A trolleybus near Pyongyang Railway Station (2007)
See also: Trams and Trolleybuses in North Korea

Trolleybuses have operated in Pyongyang since 1962, with a large fleet serving several routes. Due to the closed nature of North Korea, the existence of trolleybus networks in other North Korean cities was generally unknown outside the country for many years, but it is now known that around 12 to 15 other cities also possess trolleybus systems, among them Chongjin and Nampho.[29] A few other places have private, very small (in some cases only one or two vehicles) systems for transporting workers from a housing area to a nearby coal mine or other industrial site—or at least did at some time within recent years.[29] Trolleybuses include both imported and locally made vehicles. Imported buses are from Europe and copied versions from China. There are a few local manufacturers of trolleybuses.


In Bergen, Norway, trolleybuses have been in use since 1950.

In 1909, Drammen had the first trolleybus system in Scandinavia, running until 1967.


Three cities operate trolleybuses: Lublin, Tychy and Gdynia.


Coimbra trolleybuses are operated by SMTUC, a municipal service. The fleet consists of about 20 trolleybuses built by Salvador Caetano/EFACEC. A new Solaris trolleybus has joined the fleet recently.

Sociedade dos Transportes Colectivos do Porto operated trolleybuses in Porto from 1959 to 1997 and has some historic trolleybuses preserved. The fleet was composed by 26 trolleybuses built by British United Traction, 75 built by Lancia (25 standard and 50 double-decker) and 25 built by Salvador Caetano/EFACEC (15 standard and 10 articulated), in a total of 126 trolleybuses. When the trolleybus system closed, the remaining vehicles were sold to Almaty, in Kazakhstan.

In Braga, trolleybuses were used from 1963 to 1979.


Trolleybus in Baia Mare

In addition to Bucharest (1949), with more than 300 vehicles and serving 20 routes, the larger trolleybuses systems opened in 1959: Braşov (shrunk considerably in the 2000s), Cluj (1959), Constanta (1959; shrunk considerably in the 2000s). An exception is Timişoara (1942) built with Italian equipment and vehicles. Most smaller systems were opened through a government program in the 1980s and 1990s, though only about half survive: Sibiu (1983; closed 2009)[30], Iaşi (1985; closed 2006), Suceava (1987; closed 2006), Brăila (1989; closed 1999), Galaţi (1989), Mediaş (1989), Satu Mare (1994; closed 2005), Vaslui (1994), Piatra Neamt (1995), Târgu Jiu (1995), Târgovişte (1995; closed 2005), Baia Mare (1996), Slatina (1996; closed 2005), Ploieşti (1997). A "DAC 117 E" (1987) is preserved by the TRANSIRA Association.[31]

Russian Federation

See also: List of trolleybus systems in Russia and Trolleybus in former Soviet Union countries

Trolleybus systems operate in 87 cities, including the largest network in the world, in Moscow. In Moscow vintage trolleybuses are available to the public only at transport-dedicated exhibitions and at parades on celebration days. In Saint Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod museum trolleybuses may be hired for city excursions and parties.


Trolleybus Belkommunmash AKSM-321 in Belgrade

There are eight trolleybus routes in Belgrade. Three of them are variations of the original line established shortly after World War II with Russian-made vehicles, with the same terminus in the heart of old downtown next to the Kalemegdan fortress. The fourth is a completely independent line built perpendicular to the other three in the early 1980s.


The first trolleybus system connected Poprad with Starý Smokovec from 1904 to 1906. The second trolleybus system was built in 1909 in Bratislava, but served only until 1915. The route led to the hilly recreational area of Železná studienka and the trolleybuses' motors were fed by a four-wheel bogie running on top of the wires and connected to the vehicle by a cable. Trolleybuses in Bratislava were reintroduced in 1943, with standard trolley poles. In 1962 trolleybuses were introduced in Prešov. Banská Bystrica introduced trolleybuses in 1989, Košice in 1993 and Žilina in 1994. All trolleybuses were made by Škoda.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Spain

Trolleybuses ran from 1962 to 1969 in Castellón de la Plana and until 1989 in Pontevedra.[32][33] They returned to Castellón de la Plana in 2007, with a new line opened on 25 June 2008.[34][35] The Irisbus Civis vehicles are optically guided and are capable of switching to diesel power for turning in front of the Parque Ribalto.[33][36] From 1952 to 1973 a line run from Reus to Tarragona. In the 60's, many double-decker second hand british cars ran here.


In Landskrona, a single trolleybus route connects the railway station and the wharf area. The system opened in 2003 and employs three trolleybuses, making it one of the world's smallest systems. Forty years earlier trolleybus systems existed in Göteborg and Stockholm, the latter a large system with 12 routes.[8]


A double-articulated Carrosserie Hess lighTram 3 in Zurich (24.7 m)
See also: List of trolleybus systems in Switzerland

Trolleybuses are in use in cities including Lausanne (10 lines), Lucerne (7 lines), Geneva (6 lines), Zurich (6 lines), Berne (5 lines), St. Gallen (4 lines), Neuchâtel (4 lines), Winterthur (4 lines), Fribourg (3 lines), La Chaux-de-Fonds (3 lines), Biel (2 lines), Schaffhausen (1 line), Vevey-Montreux (1 line). The last trolleybus ran in Basel on 30 June 2008.[37]

In Lausanne, the Association RétroBus preserves old trolleybuses (from 1932) and operates them, especially on summer weekends.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Ukraine

Trolleybus systems run in more than 25 cities, including the interurban Crimean network connecting Simferopol with Alushta and Yalta on the coast. The Crimean trolleybus network includes the longest trolleybus route in the world,[8] the 86-km (54 mi.) route from Yalta to Simferopol.[38]

United Kingdom

See also: List of trolleybus systems in the United Kingdom

The Leeds Trolleybus is a proposed system: no trolleybus systems operate, but more than 50 systems existed in the past, and a large number of trolleybuses have been preserved at British museums. The world's largest collection of preserved trolleybuses is at The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft in England. Examples are also preserved at the East Anglia Transport Museum and the Black Country Living Museum in England. The Bradford Trolleybus Association is restoring Bradford trolleybus 758, the last rear-entrance trolleybus in Britain, which is kept at Sandtoft. The last trolleybuses ran in Bradford in 1972.

United States of America

See also: List of trolleybus systems in the United States

Current operations:

SEPTA Route 66 trackless trolley on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia, PA, January, 2010


A trolleybus system opened in Mérida in June 2007.[39][40] Like the 1995-opened Quito trolleybus system, the new Mérida system is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, using dedicated trolleybus-only lanes over the entire length of the route, with signals giving priority over other traffic, and with all boarding and alighting taking place at enclosed "stations". A fleet of 45 articulated trolleybuses built in Spain by Mercedes-Benz and Hispano Carrocera provides the service.[40] A similar new trolleybus BRT system is under construction in Barquisimeto,[41] and for this system 80 articulated trolleybuses have been purchased from Neoplan, in Germany. Many years earlier, a small trolleybus system (using only 11 vehicles) operated in Caracas from 1937 until about 1949.

See also


  1. ^ "Plan for city trolleybus comeback". BBC News. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  2. ^ a b Webb, Mary (ed.) (2008), Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2008-2009. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2860-2.
  3. ^ Wind Energy Background
  4. ^ Greenfleet
  5. ^ Overhead
  6. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 267 (May-June 2006), p. 71. National Trolleybus Assn. (UK).
  7. ^ a b Electric Vehicle Technologies. Transport 2000 BC. Archived from the original on 2006-03-03.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Murray, Alan (2000). World Trolleybus Encyclopaedia. Yateley, Hampshire, UK: Trolleybooks. ISBN 0-904235-18-1.
  9. ^ a b Trolleybus Magazine No. 238 (July-August 2001), pp. 73 and 88.
  10. ^ Isgar, Carl. "Farewell to Gent's Trolleybuses". Trolleybus Magazine No. 288 (November-December 2009), pp. 126-131. National Trolleybus Assn. (UK).
  11. ^ Corteil, A. and Roubinet, J.-M. "Le trolleybus de Seraing (1936-1963)" (in French). Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  12. ^ TransLink (August 16, 2008). "Trolley service begins the next 60 years". Press release. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  13. ^ City of Edmonton - Last Day of Trolley Operations Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  14. ^ a b LeBlanc, Benoit (March 18, 2009). "Trolleybuses in Laval? STL and Hydro-Québec launch feasibility study". Courrier Laval. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  15. ^ STL (March 16, 2009). "Trolleybus in Laval?". Press release. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  16. ^ [1] [2]
  17. ^ La Estrella (Chilean newspaper), 29 July 2003 "Quince troles porteños son monumentos históricos (in Spanish), among other sources.
  18. ^ Alameri, Mikko (1987). "Johdinautokaupunki Tampere 1948-1976" (in Finnish). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  19. ^ "Helsingin Johdinautot" (in Finnish). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  20. ^ Alameri, Mikko (1987). "Johdinautoliikenteen elvytyspyrkimykset ja Koejohdinautoprojekti" (in Finnish) (PDF). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  21. ^ "HKL Trolleybuses 604 - 608" (in Finnish/English). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  22. ^ "HKL Trolleybuses 624 - 626" (in Finnish/English). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  23. ^ "HKL Trolleybus 1" (in Finnish/English). Finnish Tramway Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  24. ^ Groneck, Christoph; Lohkemper, Paul (2007). Wuppertal Schwebebahn Album. Berlin: Robert Schwandl. pp. 58. 
  25. ^ BEST, BEST (1962). "BEST Landmarks". BEST Undertaking. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  26. ^ Trolleybus Magazine, November-December 1990 and May-June 2005 issues.
  27. ^ Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2008-2009, p. 244.
  28. ^ Feasibility Report, 2004
  29. ^ a b Tarkhov, Sergei; and Merzlov, Dmitriy. "North Korean Surprises". Trolleybus Magazine Nos. 244-6 (July, September and November 2002).
  30. ^ "14 noiembrie, ultima zi cu troleibuzul prin Sibiu", Evenimentul Zilei, October 20, 2009
  31. ^ TRANSIRA :: Vizualizare subiect - DAC 117 E -Meditur MEDIAS 330
  32. ^ "Castellón". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  33. ^ a b "Castllón de la play notes". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  34. ^ Dave Chick. "Castellon". British Trolleybus Society. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  35. ^ "Castellón-de-la-Playa (sic) Trolleybus Photos". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  36. ^ "A First in Spain: Optiguide for Castellon’s Trolleybus Line". Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  37. ^ Basler Verkehrsbetriebe: Adieu Trolleybus, Press statement dated 23 June 2008
  38. ^ Makewell, Roy. "Trolleybuses Over the Yaila Mountains". Trolleybus Magazine No. 193 (January-February 1994), pp. 2-16. National Trolleybus Assn. (UK).
  39. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 275 (September-October 2007), p. 119.
  40. ^ a b Morrison, Allen (5 January 2009). The Trolleybuses of Mérida, Venezuela Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  41. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 272 (March-April 2007), p. 47.


  • Sebree, Mac; and Ward, Paul (1973). Transit’s Stepchild, The Trolley Coach (Interurbans Special 58). Los Angeles: Interurbans. LCCN 73-84356
  • Sebree, Mac; and Ward, Paul (1974). The Trolley Coach in North America (Interurbans Special 59). Los Angeles: Interurbans. LCCN 74-20367
  • Porter, Harry; and Worris, Stanley F.X. (1979). Trolleybus Bulletin No. 109: Databook II. North American Trackless Trolley Association (defunct)
  • Murray, Alan (2000). World Trolleybus Encyclopaedia. Trolleybooks (UK). ISBN 0-904235-18-1
  • Mick Leak (2006). The Story Of Britain's Last Rear Entrance Trolleybus In Public Service - Bradford 758. Published By The Bradford Trolleybus Association. Bradford. United Kingdom


  • Trolleybus Magazine (ISSN 0266-7452). National Trolleybus Association (UK), bi-monthly
  • Trackless, Bradford Trolleybus Association, quarterly
  • Trolleybus, British Trolleybus Society (UK), monthly

Other sources

External links

Simple English

A trolleybus (also known as trolley bus, trolley coach, trackless trolley, trackless tram or simply trolley) is a bus, which get its power for the electric engine from a pair of powerlines, which is above the street. Trolleybuses get the power though 2 poles called "trolley poles".

Solaris trolleybus in Landskrona, Sweden.]]

A trolleybus does not have a normal engine which uses oil. So trolleybuses are much clearner and quiter than "normal" buses. Trolleybues do not use tracks, so they are more flexible than trams. There are not many companies which built such types of buses. Some of these companies are:

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has images, video, and/or sound related to:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address