Trolleybuses for Trams

With thanks for photograph to Carlton Blaxill

This may be Hendon depot, the tram, car No 2239 has Hendon on the front. The trolleybus second from the left, the one behind the post has North Finchley. Trolleybus route 645 was operated by Hendon, and Finchley depot from 2 August 1936. Later records do not show Hendon trolleybus depot, but Colindale. It seems Hendon change its name to save confusion with Hendon bus garage after the end of tram operation. 

Is this the picture of a trolleybus for trams change over? Or were trams and trolleybuses run from the depot together for a while, just like Holloway, and Wandsworth? Was this a trolleybus for trams conversion day? Was it a depot that ran trams and trolleybuses for a while like Holloway and Wandsworth? Is it Hendon, Colindale or somewhere else? If you have answers to any of these questions or other information please contact

Some information on the vehicles in the photograph are, from left to right:-

Ex MET 'F' class tram 2259. The F class was just five cars. The last of the C/1 class were built with fully enclosed top decks to make the class F cars. The blind display reads HENDON

Trolleybus 229. CUL 229. The blind display reads EXTRA on one line and SPECIAL on the next..

Trolleybus 209. CUL 209. The blind reads NORTH FINCHLEY.

The next trolleybus standing outside looks like 302.

The four wheel trolleybus, the only one on the fleet is number 63. On the window looking out on the platform the registration plate can be seen. AXU 189. The side blind which is wound up until the white at the end can be seen is displaying ISLEWORTH SPRING GROVE. The rear blind is showing SPECIAL.

Hendon was one of six depots which were renamed when the trolleybus departmet came into Central Buses the name change taking effect from 12 July 1950.

Depots involved were:-

Sutton to Carshalton
Hackney to Clapton
Hendon to Colindale
Holloway to Highgate
Hounslow to Isleworth
Leyton to Lea Bridge

Geoff Bannister says:-
I suspect that there was a period of joint operation at Hendon. The 66/68 trams were replaced by the 666 working from Acton/Hendon/Stonebridge on 05/07/36 and the 45/60 came off on 02/08/36. Hendon is noted as being involved with the 645. Again the 64 was converted on 23/08/36. So it would seem that the depot was dual running between these dates.

The first trolleybuses in London were introduced by London United Tramways (LUT) on 16 May 1931 to replace trams on some of their lightly used routes. They did not however plan to give up tram operation altogether for they were about to introduce a new up to date luxury tram known as the Feltham, named after where it was built.

When London Transport took over they decided to replace all trams with trolleybuses. By 1940 the whole of North London trams had been converted except for the routes through the Kingsway subway. The war interrupted the conversion of South London tram routes, which after the war were converted to motor bus instead of the intended trolleybuses.

The only South East London trolleybuses were two routes 696/698 in Woolwich - Bexleyheath which were separated from all other routes. The nearest were in the Croydon, Crystal Palace area which were joined to the rest of the network. Three routes also visited North Woolwich, but that counted as East London.

Hendon Tram Depot was converted to Trolleybuses in 1936, which dates your picture. It was renamed to Colindale (CE) as I said to avoid confusion with Hendon Bus Garage (AE). Interestingly both Colindale and Hendon were associated with the Metropolitan Electric Tramways Co since Hendon Bus Garage was the base of the Tramways (M E T) Omnibus Company. and Colindale was the major depot of the MET (Of course they were all owned by London and Suburban Transport which also owned L U T, the LGOC and the District Railway)

Colindale was the scene of the first trolleybus experiments in London, I think in 1909. And. in an ironic twist, it was closed in the trolleybus replacement scheme and used as the trolleybus scrapyard, much as Penhall Rd had been used for the trams. 

Information with thank to:- (Chris 'fufas' Grace)

Your writer about trolley buses in the Hendon area is almost certainly 
As some one who was born in 1936 & lived in west Hendon I remember 
the trolley buses well. as far as I recall there were two No s  the 645 
was one that we used quite a lot & the other one went to willsden but 
not exactly sure of its No. The picture of the garage is almost certainly at 
colindale it is as I remember it. it stood opposite the Fridgedare factory. 
drivers would try & beat the factory hooter to avoid stopping, although I 
don't recall a tram  on the Edgware road . I do remember as a young 
man seeing where the tram lines used to be still visible after some 
years. I do have a photo of a No 202 tram passing west Hendon 
Broadway in 1912.
With regard to scrapping the trolley buses he's right again as I was one 
of the people who bought some plywood & a couple of seats from 
colindale depot.
Their only short coming was that they always came in convoy as they 
could.nt overtake each other
We would catch a 645 in west Hendon to Barnet church however I don't 
remember if it was a special service or if we changed at Tallyho Corner 
in Finchley as this was one place where a lot of trolleys terminated.
The interesting thing was at Barnet church the conductor had to get out 
the long pole from under the trolley to detach the supply arm the trolley 
would then drive around the church on its batteries and hook it up again 
no mean feat when you consider the height of a trolleybus.
one thing most people have forgot is how fast they could go
Hendon bus garage was in babington road old Hendon buses & green 
lines only. one garage that still exists of course is crickelwood & that's 
been there ever since I can remember maybe they had the trams.

More information on SE London trolleybuses

Follow this link to find out what could have been in South London if the war hadn't interrupted

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