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Bournemouth 202 Belfast 168 Hastings 45 Wolverhampton 654 NTA Depot

Huddersfield 541
Huddersfield 541

Huddersfield 541 was the first trolleybus acquired by the NTA after its formation in autumn 1963. At a small ceremony at the undertaking's Longroyd Bridge depot in 1964, the vehicle was formally presented to the NTA on behalf of the Huddersfield County Borough Council free of charge by its Transport Committee's long-serving Chairman and staunch trolleybus advocate, Ald. H.A. Bennie Gray. The Huddersfield Council was fiercely proud of its trolleybus system and the Alderman was visibly moved at the prospect that one of its vehicles should be preserved for posterity, following the very contentious and ill-received decision taken in October 1962 to effect a full change to motor bus operation.

Huddersfield 541
Huddersfield 541, a Sunbeam MS2 of 1947 with a body by Park Royal. She was the first privately preserved trolleybus in the UK to operate on another trolleybus system when in 1966 she toured the Wolverhampton system.
(Photo David Pearson)

541 is a Sunbeam MS2 three-axle trolleybus chassis (badged as a Karrier in deference to Huddersfield's pre-war purchasing policy of Karrier chassis) with double-deck rear-entrance 70-seat bodywork by Park Royal, delivered in July 1947. It was the undertaking's first trolleybus of the post-war delivery, having been part of a planned order in 1941 that was frustrated by wartime conditions, and retained the distinctive layout of three upper-deck front windows that had been a feature of the pre-war fleet. 52 vehicles of this type were delivered between 1947 and 1950 but most were later fitted with new bodies or had their original bodywork heavily rebuilt in the Corporation's Great Northern Street workshops. 541, however, had been subject only to lesser rebuilding and retained the original three-piece front destination and route number boxes fitted when new. The vehicle was withdrawn from service in February 1964 on conversion of the Birkby - Crosland Hill trolleybus route to motor bus operation and was selected as the most appropriate vehicle to start the NTA's collection.

Huddersfield 541
A highlight of 541's time in NTA ownership was its return to its home town for a farewell tour on the last day of operation, Saturday 13 July 1968. It is here seen negotiating the short-working loop at Marsh.
(Photo Michael Russell)

On 22 May 1966, Huddersfield 541 made history by becoming the first privately-preserved British trolleybus to be allowed to operate a tour on another system, in this case Wolverhampton. In doing so, it inaugurated what was to become a feature of the NTA's early years, namely the operation of members of its preserved fleet under the wiring of sympathetic surviving trolleybus systems. A highlight was its return to its home system during the final week of trolleybus service in Huddersfield, when on the last day, 13 July 1968, it made a comprehensive tour of the last routes.

Huddersfield 541
On Sunday 29th August 2010, 541 returned to service at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, following 17 years of restoration work. 541 runs at the St.Leger Rally on 17th October and the Twilight Running Day on Sunday 14th November.
(Photo John Zebedee)

541 has subsequently been stored in a number of locations, most recently at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft, where restoration work was undertaken by Brian Maguire. It was returned to service there in August 2010 and, despite a subsequent period out of use with bodywork and mechanical defects that have since been rectified, has been in regular use there ever since. In September 2013 it paid a brief visit to the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville, where it was operated alongside the NTA's open-top Bournemouth trolleybus 202 over a weekend to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Association.

Huddersfield 541
In a special event in June 2018 to mark fifty years from closure of the fine Huddersfield system, 541 leads the trio of surviving Huddersfield trolleybuses at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft.
(Photo Michael Russell)

Restoration 541
Huddersfield 541 was restored at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft in the early years of this century. This sequence shows the various stages in the process.

The current Agreement sees Huddersfield 541 stored and available for service at Sandtoft until the end of 2022.

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