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B1320 Trolley bus No.1 and seat covers, metal / rubber / leather / vinyl / glass, body made by Park Royal Coachworks Ltd, London, England, No. 3376, chassis made by Associated Equipment Co Ltd, Southwell, Middlesex, England, No. 663071, 1933, used in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1936-1956. Click to enlarge.

Sydney trolley bus No 1, 1933

Made by Park Royal Coachworks Ltd in Rugby, England, 1933.

No.1 trolley bus was the first trolley bus to operate in Sydney, in 1934. Trolley buses are a cross between a conventional bus and a tram. They look like an ordinary motor bus on rubber wheels except that, like trams, they operated on electricity and were connected to overhead wires by a pair of trolley poles. Unlike trams they were quiet, not confined to tracks, could move from lane to lane in traffic, and picked up passengers from the kerb rather than the middle of the road. Nevertheless, trol...


Object No.


Object Statement

Trolley bus No.1 and seat covers, metal / rubber / leather / vinyl / glass, body made by Park Royal Coachworks Ltd, London, England, No. 3376, chassis made by Associated Equipment Co Ltd, Southwell, Middlesex, England, No. 663071, 1933, used in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1936-1956

Physical Description

Trolley bus No.1 and seat covers, metal / rubber / leather / vinyl / glass, body made by Park Royal Coachworks Ltd, London, England, No. 3376, chassis made by Associated Equipment Co Ltd, Southwell, Middlesex, England, No. 663071, 1933, used in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1936-1956

No.1 trolley bus with three-axle chassis. Two overhead trolley wires connect to the bus by 20 foot (6.1m) long trolley poles with insulated covers and trolley wheels carried by swivel heads. These were replaced by trolley shoes in 1949. The bus contains a 90 horsepower 600 volt electric motor which was driven by a foot-operated controller. The foot brake with Lockheed hydraulic mechanism acted on the outside four wheels. Within the bus are such technological features as an electric speedometer, pair of pneumatic windscreen wipers, electric horn and two gauges registering the booster air cylinder pressure and air reservoir compressor. The bus is also fitted with a pneumatically operated front door, pull-down windows and a mechanical hand for indicating stopping and starting.

The interior of the bus comprises brown leather-covered rubber seating for thirty four passengers. Brown linoleum covers the floors, later replaced with malthoid because of wear and tear, and an original air press-bell system has since been replaced (in 1940) by an electric buzzer with communication cord. The exterior of the body is two-toned in green and cream with a grey roof. The lettering detail has been applied in gold and the rear number contains a white background.

When built: 1933
Type: 663T, three axles
Weight: 7.1 tons
Length: 30 feet (9.1m)
Width: 8 feet (2.4m)
Height: (with poles under hooks) 11 ft 6 inches (3.5m)



3600 mm


2400 mm


7100 kg



This No.1 trolley bus was built at a cost of £2,845. The chassis was built by Associated Equipment Company (AEC), of Southall, Middlesex, England, (chassis No: 663071); the body was by Park Royal Coachworks Ltd, London, England, (body No. 3376); the trolley gear was by Brecknell-Willis and the electric motor by British Thompson Houston Co. Ltd, of Rugby, England, (type BTH 201-A2).



Trolley bus No.1 was imported complete from England and arrived in Sydney on board the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line's T.S.S. Jervis Bay from London on the 23rd October 1933. The AEC-built chassis for trolley bus No.2 had arrived on board the Oronsay in August 1933 and a local body was made for it by H. McKenzie of White Bay. In December 1933 the two single deck trolley buses (No's 1 and 2) were tested on the driver training circle inside the former Kensington Racecourse, now the site of the University of New South Wales.

No.1 and 2 trolley buses were introduced for a 12 month trial period on the Wylde Street service from Potts Point to Elizabeth Street and began operation on the 22 January 1934. The two trolley buses were ceremoniously driven out of the Rushcutters Bay depot after the then Minister for Transport, Colonel Bruxner, turned on the power. The trolley bus depot was in the former cable tram winding engine house alongside the Rushcutters Bay tram depot. On the first day of operation the driver of No.1 was Ernest Clark, and Charles Bauder drove No. 2. Some what embarrassingly, one of the trolley buses dewired during the day and passengers were transferred to trams! This was not a good start as the Government was looking into replacing some tram lines with trolley buses.

The Potts Point route began on the corner of St Neot and Challis Avenues in Potts Point, proceeded up Macleay Street, along Darlinghurst Road, through Kings Cross, into Liverpool Street and then into the city via William, Park and Elizabeth Streets. Encircling the southern half of Hyde Park in an anti-clockwise direction, the trolley buses then turned from Liverpool Street, into College Street and then William Street for the return journey. Liverpool Street was regarded as the terminus outside the then relatively new underground Museum railway station. The route mileage for a round trip was 2 miles and 78 chains. Fares varied from 2 pence to 4 pence for adults and 1 penny for children. Newspapers, parcels, prams and bicycles were not to be carried; however, in later years, newspapers were carried, but not on Sundays. The maximum speed for trolley bus operation was 20 miles per hour (32.2 kph) while 10 miles per hour (16.1 kph) was required through overhead line junctions and curves. Steady acceleration allowed for a smooth ride. The correct driving position was directly under the wires which were 2 feet (0.6 m) apart. Passengers were picked up and set down from authorised stopping places, and the trolley buses pulled into the curb. If a trolley bus broke down the conductor would telephone "trouble" from one of the trackside telephones along the route. Drivers of trolley buses had to have a special trolley bus drivers' ticket. Some drivers had tram, motor bus and trolley bus tickets.

For maintenance purposes trolley buses were regarded as trams and Randwick Tramway Workshops carried out maintenance on the fleet. They did not carry registration plates and were not required to pay road tax.

Both conductors and conductresses worked on the trolley buses as the the tram and trolley bus rosters in the Rushcutters depot were joined.

Unfortunately, dewiring problems were numerous on the Potts Point line, due to the large number of tramway crossings. Also, during the late 1930s and early war years, the line was sometimes operated by motor buses due to long-running road works and shortages of spare parts for the trolley buses. Just after the war nearly a million passengers were being carried on the line, the busier timetable could not be totally met by the trolley buses, and motor buses were used to boost the service. Finally on 12 April 1948, a temporary bus substitution service appeared; it eventually became permanent and the trolley bus service quietly disappeared. No.1 trolley bus had received its last overhaul in December 1944 and in March 1949 was transferred to the Kogarah trolley bus system, which had begun in July 1937. It operated on the short Kogarah to Ramsgate route and was stabled at the Ritchie Street Depot at Ramsgate. In about 1952 No.1 trolley bus was decommissioned, and on 11 June 1956 the Commissioner for Tramways gave approval for it to be handed to the Museum for preservation. It was officially presented on 18 July 1956.

The distance covered each month by the trolley bus while in operation was about 2,700 miles (4,345 km) and the scheduled speed was 10.98 miles per hour (17.7 kph) which included stops but not standing time. By the time the Museum had acquired the trolley bus its approximate total mileage was 300,000 miles (482,790 km).


Credit Line

Gift of New South Wales Department of Tramways, 1956

Acquisition Date

5 November 1956

Cite this Object


Sydney trolley bus No 1, 1933 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 March 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Sydney trolley bus No 1, 1933 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 March 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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