Trollybus Transport History
from the pages of

 Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture.
More trolleybus pictures can be found on David Bradley Online These are mostly trolleybuses of the Croydon area,
but there are others of this area plus provincial services. To see these click on the graphic above.

403 - Bexleyheat depot
402 - Bexleyheath depot
401 - Dartford
409 - Crayford
400 - Parsons Hill, Woolwich
398 - Woolwich High Street/Powis Street
404 - Market Street, Dartford
406 - Plumstead High Street/Wickham Lane
407 - Walnut Tree Road, Erith
397 - Erith, Wheatley Hotel
405 - Erith, West Street
ph1 - No enlargement available yet
cr103 - Woolwich High Street, Free Ferry
cr185 - Bexleyheat depot
bxd - Bexleyheath depot
dl1 - No enlargement available yet
 To find the location of these pictures see map at bottom of page.

The 696 and 698 trolleybus routes were a little island of the operations in SE London. There were routes nearby in North Woolwich, but that was north of the river, a ferry journey away. The other nearest routes were in the Croydon and Crystal Palace area. No overhead connected these two routes, and briefly a third (694 sharing the wires of the other two services) to any other part of the London network. The central trolleybus repair depot was about a mile from Woolwich in Feltram Way, off Woolwich Road Charlton. No overhead went to here either. 

The pictures (DB403 DB402 CR185 and BXD) are of the purpose built trolleybus depot built for the new services which replaced the old 96 and 98 trams. the 96 tram went to Horns Cross on the far side of Dartford. Recently the 96 bus which replaced the 696 was extended to nearly this same place to cater for the new Bluewater shopping complex. The service on route 698 was introduced on 10 November 1935 and route 696 on 24 November 1935 Both routes were withdrawn on 3 March 1959. and replaced with motor buses. There were only three trolleybus reversers on the London system. Two of them in this little corner, one at Griffin Road, Plumstead, and the other at Princes Road, Crayford. The only other one was at Madaline Road, near Crystal Palace. 

(DB401) Is in Dartford High Street/Spital Street, and (DL1) is outside the Dartford library, on service 696. (DB404) shows Market Street Dartford, At one time the buses worked anti-clockwise around the terminus, but this was changed. Between Dartford and Bexleyheath stands the town of Crayford. (Dartford was on the Darenth and Crayford on the Cray). (DB409) is on the hill from Crayford to Bexleyheath, part of the Roman Road, Watling Street. 

(DB401) is in Walnut Tree Road outside the Erith council offices. at the bottom of this road on the other side is the old Erith Corporation Tramway depot, trams ran from here on part of the 698 route. In the background can be seen shipping on the Thames. This bus is showing Woolwich on the blind, but it is facing the wrong way. It may be ready to turn on a short working, but the tuning circle is at the bottom of this hill. The conductor may have just forgotten to alter the blind. Just around the corner is the Wheatley Hotel, a 698 can be seen outside  (DB397). This was at one time a busy tramway crossover. The hotel is named after the Wheatley's, a local family, the road is Bexley Road. The Parish Church of Erith is over a mile from the town centre, as the town migrated its way from one end of West Street to the other in the 16th-17th century. West Street was a busy industrial area at the time (DB405) was taken. This is about halfway along the road. Just behind the bus an industrial line crossed the road on a leval crossing, which took ballast from a nearby sand quarry to the river front. There was another level crossing a short way off near Station Road Erith. 

(DB400, DB406, PH1) These pictures are at the Parsons Hill terminus, outside the Odeon Cinema, looking from this point now the new terminus for the Woolwich Free Ferry can be seen. In (DB398) The bus is just turning into the end of Powis Street, before turning into Parsons Hill. These shops have now been demolished, as has the Enon Chapel and other buildings. The building with the two shutters was the ambulance station. When the road was widened in the 60s for the new ferry approach this was left in the middle of the new roundabout until the new one adjacent to the ferry buildings was completed. There is still a pedestrian crossing at this point. Parsons Hill terminus opened on 14 July 1943. Previous to this the trolleybuses terminated at Woolwich Free Ferry. The buses turning circle was at Market Hill, Woolwich High Street outside the power station. (CR103). Up to this point prior to the withdrawal of the trams, trollybuses shared the positive wires of the tramway system. A new double set of wires had to be installed between Market Hill and Parsons Hill as Market Hill was the point where the tramway changed from overhead to the underground conduit system used in the central London area.

(DB406) is at Plumstead Corner, the junction of Plumstead High Street with Wickham Lane. It is here that routes 696 and 698 diverged. The 698 went straight on to Belvedere, Erith and Bexleyheath, while the 696 turned into Wickham Lane to go to Welling and Bexleheath. The 696 then went onto Dartford. Behind the Trolley can be seen a 177 bus, This service replaced the trams on routes 36 and 38 in 1952. 

For more on these Trollybus routes, the trams they replaced and the buses which followed click here

The 694 service went from Woolwich to Erith via Welling and Bexleyheath. It ran on Sundays and Bank Holiday from May 1937 - January 1940. It also ran in an unoffical capacity for the Summers of 1940 - 1944.
If anyone out there has a photograph of this bus in service please let us know.

 All black and white pictures on this page were taken by David Bradley on a very quiet Sunday afternoon.
All coloured trolleybus pictures on this page are from the Robert Harley collection
and were taken by Alan Watkins. Reproduced with the kind permission of Ann Watkins.

This page was designed and is maintained by Toby and John King, I would accept any comments or questions  See Index Page

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