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Hastings 45
Hastings 45

Hastings 45 is the oldest vehicle in the NTA fleet and a rare example of a British single-deck trolleybus. Single-deck trolleybuses were uncommon in Britain, except in the earliest days, unlike examples overseas where - outside the sphere of British colonial influence - they were and remain the norm.

Hastings 45
45 used as a ticket office after service retirement by Maidstone and District.
(Photo L. Rowe)

The vehicle is a Guy BTX three-axle trolleybus, fitted with a 32-seat centre-entrance body built by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies of Ipswich. A fleet of fifty such trolleybuses was ordered by the Hastings Tramways Company to replace its tramway system in 1928/9 and this example is believed to have entered service in 1929. After the populations of south-coast seaside towns were evacuated during the 1939-45 war and tourism dried up, many of these vehicles were sold to hard-pressed operators in industrial towns and cities in the Midlands and North, but 45 (latterly renumbered 46) stayed in Hastings and remained in service until 1950. Three years later the vehicle was taken to the Maidstone & District Motor Services Bus and Coach Station in Queen's Road to act as a booking office and intending passenger waiting room, a role it continued to fulfil until 1972. Following representations by the NTA, the Company kindly made the vehicle available to the Association in 1972 for eventual restoration.

Hastings 45

Hastings 45
Assistance from the armed forces with loading and transport was obtained when
Hastings 45 was transferred between sites in the south of England in April 1977

After periods of storage elsewhere in the south of England, 45 returned to Hastings in the mid-1980s for restoration work to begin under the auspices of the Hastings Trolleybus Group. Its aim had originally been to fit the restored vehicle with a diesel engine so as to operate alongside the preserved open-top double-deck vehicle 3A (Happy Harold). Later, however, it was necessary to remove 45 from the premises in St Leonard's where it had been worked on and it was eventually transferred to coverage storage at Raunds, Northamptonshire, before becoming the first NTA vehicle to take up residence in the Association's own new storage depot in East Anglia, opened in 2018.

Restoration Hastings 45
This sequence shows Hastings 45 about to leave storage at Raunds in July 2018, showing the restoration work carried out on the bodywork in recent years.
(Photos David Lawrence)

The present intention is that 45 will ultimately be restored as a working trolleybus and to this end, a quantity of mechanical components and electrical equipment was salvaged from another trolleybus (Bradford City Transport Sunbeam W no. 711) for eventual fitment to 45.

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