Gallery: Ipswich Trolleybus moves under its own power for first time in 51 years

Ipswich Corporation Trolleybus that has been restored to full working order operating at the East An

Ipswich Corporation Trolleybus that has been restored to full working order operating at the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft. - Credit: contributed

It was something many Ipswich people thought they would never see again – one of the town’s trolleybuses moving under its own power for the first time in more than half a century.

When the town’s trolleybus network was dismantled in 1963, the fleet of vehicles that ran from the town to Priory Heath and Gainsborough were sold off, scrapped, or found other uses.

Two were preserved by the Ipswich Transport Museum, and now trolleybus 105 has been restored to full working order.

The 1948-built trolleybus was shown off in its restored state for the first time at the museum last year. Now it has been taken to the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft and has run for the first time in preservation under that museum’s wires.

It had to be fully accredited by a qualified engineer – and will now be able to give visitors to the museum rides during the summer.

The trolleybus will be formally unveiled to the public on May 10 and 11 as part of a special “Made and Used in Suffolk” event and will remain there until the autumn, when it will return to Ipswich for static display.

Ipswich Transport Museum chairman Mark Smith, 43, was born eight years after the last trolleybus ran. He said: “I’ve only ever seen cine footage of these vehicles moving – to watch and hear it for real is a dream come true.”

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Museum trustee Owen Phillips, 24, has been co-ordinating the testing and commissioning work. He said: “No.105 was a derelict wreck when we started.

“The restoration is a shining testament to everyone who worked so hard on it during the last 11 years. It shows just what can be achieved with passion, skill, hard work and dedication.”

At present there are no wires to allow the bus to move under its own power in Ipswich – but Mr Phillips has not ruled out the possibility of it running again in the town.

He said: “Never say never. It may not be possible now – but who’s to say where we’ll be in 10 years time?”