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A trolleybus (also known as trolley bus, trolley coach, trackless trolley, trackless tram or trolley) is an electric bus that draws its electricity from overhead wires (generally suspended from roadside posts) using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit, unlike a tram or streetcar, which normally uses the track as part of the electrical path and thus needs only one wire and pole.


The history of the trolleybus dates back to 29 April 1882, when Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens ran his "Elektromote" in a Berlin suburb. This experimental demonstration continued until 13 June 1882, after which there was little progress in Europe, although separate experiments were conducted in the USA. The next development was when Lombard Gérin operated an experimental line at the Paris Exhibition of 1900 after four years of trials. Max Schiemann made the biggest step when on 10 July 1901 the world's first passenger-carrying trolleybus operated at Bielathal (near Dresdenmarker), in Germany. Schiemann built and operated the Bielathal system, and is credited with developing the under-running trolley current collection system, with two horizontally parallel overhead wires and rigid trolleypoles spring-loaded to hold them up to the wires. Although the Bielathal system operated only until 1904, Schiemann had developed what is now the standard trolleybus current collection system. In the early days there were a few different methods of current collection. The Cedes-Stoll system, designed by Carl Stoll, operated near Dresden between 1902 and 1904, and in Viennamarker. The Lloyd-Köhler or Bremen system was tried out in Bremenmarker, and the Filovia was demonstrated near Milanmarker.

Leedsmarker and Bradfordmarker became the first cities to operate trolleybuses in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1911. Bradford was the last to operate trolleybuses in the UK, the system closing on 26 March 1972. The last rear-entrance trolleybus in Britain was also in Bradford and is now owned by the Bradford Trolleybus Association. Birminghammarker was the first to replace a tram route with trolleybuses, while Wolverhamptonmarker under the direction of Charles Owen Silvers turned the "trackless tram" into the trolleybus. There were 50 trolleybus systems in the UK, Londonmarker's being the largest. By the time trolleybuses arrived in Britain in 1911, the Schiemann system was well-established and was the most common, although the short-lived Stockportmarker operation used the Lloyd-Kölher system and Keighleymarker used the Cedes-Stoll system.

In the United States, some cities, led by the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT—New York), subscribed to the all-four concept of using buses, trolleybuses, trams (in US called streetcars or trolleys) and rapid transit subway and/or elevated lines (metros), as appropriate, for routes ranging from lightly-used to the heaviest trunk line. Buses and trolleybuses in particular were seen as entry systems that could later be upgraded to rail as appropriate. Although the BMT in Brooklynmarker built only one trolleybus line, other cities, notably San Francisco, Californiamarker and Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, built larger systems and still maintain "all-four".

A number of trolleybus lines in the United States came into existence when a tracked trolley/tram route did not have sufficient ridership to warrant track maintenance or reconstruction. In a similar manner, a proposed tram scheme in Leeds, United Kingdom, was changed to a trolleybus scheme to cut costs.

Trolleybuses are uncommon today in North America, but they remain common in many European countries, and in Russia and China, generally occupying the niche between street railways (trams) and diesel buses. Worldwide, around 340 cities or metropolitan areas are served by trolleybuses today.Webb, Mary (ed.) (2008), Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2008-2009. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2860-2. (Further detail under Use and preservation, below.)


  1. Electrified line
  2. Destination or route sign
  3. Rear view mirror
  4. Headlights
  5. Boarding (entry) doors
  6. Direction (turning) wheels
  7. Exit doors
  8. Traction wheels
  9. Decorative elements
  10. Retractors/retrievers
  11. Puller rope
  12. Shoes
  13. Trolley pole(s)
  14. Pole storage hooks
  15. Trolley pole base and fairing/shroud
  16. Bus Number


Trolleybuses are advantageous on hilly routes, as electric motors are more effective than diesel engines for climbing steep hills. Unlike combustion engines, electric motors draw power from a central plant and can be overloaded for several minutes without damage. San Franciscomarker and Seattlemarker, USA, both hilly, use trolleybuses partly for this reason, another being improved air quality. Given this acceleration and braking performance, trolleybuses easily outperform diesel buses on flat stretches as well.

Trolleybuses' rubber tires have better adhesion than trams' steel wheels on steel rails, giving them better hill-climbing capability and braking. Unlike rail vehicles (where side tracks are not available), an out-of-service vehicle can be moved to the side of the road and its trolley poles disconnected, allowing other vehicles to pass. Additionally, because they are not tracked, trolleybuses can pull over to the curb as a diesel bus does, eliminating boarding islands in the street.
A Derby Corporation trolleybus in Victoria Street, 30 July 1967.
The system closed on 9 September 1967, and this vehicle is preserved in running order at the Black Country Living Museum
Like other electric vehicles, trolleybuses are more environmentally friendly than fossil-fuel or hydrocarbon-based vehicles (petrol/gasoline, diesel, alcohol, etc.). However the power is not free, having to be produced at centralised power plants, with attendant transmission losses.

On the other hand, centrally-produced power is produced more efficiently, not bound to a specific fuel source and more amenable to pollution control as a single-source supply than are individual vehicles with their own engines that exhaust noxious gases and particulates at street level. Moreover, some cities, like Calgary, Albertamarker, run their light rail networks using wind energy, which is effectively emission-free once the turbines are built and installed. Other cities like Vancouver, B.C.marker use hydroelectricity to provide power for trolley buses. A further advantage of trolleybuses is that they can generate electricity from kinetic energy while braking, a process known as regenerative braking.

Unlike buses or trams, trolleybuses are almost silent, lacking the noise of a diesel engine or wheels on rails. Such noise as there is tends to emanate from auxiliary systems such as power steering pumps and air conditioning. Early trolleybuses without these systems were even quieter, and in the UK at least were often referred to as the "Silent Service". The quietness did have its disadvantages though, with quite a number of pedestrians falling victim to what was also known as "the Silent Death".

Trolleybuses are specially favoured where electricity is abundant and cheap. Examples are the extensive systems in Vancouver, Canada and Seattlemarker, USA, both of which draw hydroelectric power from the Columbia River and other Pacific river systems. Seattle benefits doubly, with steep gradients near the Downtownmarker waterfront and on Queen Annemarker, First, and Capitol Hillmarker. San Francisco operates its system using hydro power from the city-owned Hetch Hetchymarker generating plant.

Trolleybuses are used extensively in large European cities such as Athensmarker, Belgrademarker, Bratislavamarker, Bucharestmarker, Budapestmarker, Kievmarker, Lyonmarker, Milanmarker, Minskmarker, Moscowmarker, Naplesmarker, Rigamarker, Saint Petersburgmarker and Sofiamarker, as well as smaller ones such as Arnhem, Bergenmarker, Brasovmarker, Brest , Coimbra, Gdyniamarker, Lausannemarker, Limogesmarker, Luzernmarker, Parmamarker, Piatra Neamţmarker, Plzeňmarker, Prešovmarker, Salzburgmarker, Solingenmarker, Szegedmarker, Tallinnmarker and Yaltamarker.

Realising the advantages of these zero-emission vehicles, some other European cities have started to expand their systems again. Other cities such as Leccemarker will introduce new trolleybus systems.

In Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker, the trolleybus system has survived because Harvard Stationmarker has a tunnel that was once used for trams that requires left-side doors and has fume concerns. Buses also use the tunnel, but the trolleybuses remain due to popular support.

Trolleybus wire switch
Indicator for a wire switch
Pole headworks with springs and dampers
Insulated poles, contactors, and pull–ropes


Re-routings, temporary or permanent, are not usually readily available outside of "downtown" areas where the buses may be re-routed via adjacent business area streets where other trolleybus routes operate. This problem was highlighted in Vancouver in early 2008 when an explosion closed Broadway, a heavily-used trolley route. Because of the closure, trolleys were forced to detour several kilometers off their route in order to stay on the wires, leaving major portions of their routes unserved and trolleys well off schedule.

Some trolleybus systems have been criticised for aesthetic reasons, with city residents complaining that the jumble of overhead wires was unsightly. Intersections often have a "webbed ceiling" appearance, due to multiple crossing and converging sets of line wires.

Dewirements sometimes occur, leaving the bus stranded without power, although this is relatively rare on systems with well-maintained overhead wire, hangers, fittings and "contact shoes".

Trolleybuses cannot overtake one another in regular service unless two separate sets of wires with a switch are provided or the vehicles are equipped with off-wire capability, but the latter is an increasingly common feature of new trolleybuses.

Recent power developments

With the introduction of hybrid designs, trolleybuses are no longer tied to overhead wires. Systems such as Muni in San Francisco, TransLink in Vancouver and Beijing have circumvented this problem by installing batteries to allow trolleys to drive short to considerably long distances away from the wires. Supercapacitors may be also used to drive short distances.

Trolleybuses can optionally be equipped with limited off-wire capability—a small diesel engine or battery pack—for auxiliary or emergency use only, or full dual-mode capability. A simple auxiliary power unit can allow a trolleybus to get around a route blockage or can reduce the amount (or complexity) of overhead wiring needed at operating garages (depots). This capability has become increasingly common in newer trolleybuses, particularly in North America and Western Europe, where the vast majority of new trolleybuses delivered since the 1990s are fitted with at least limited off-wire capability. These have gradually replaced older trolleybuses which lacked such capability.

MBTA in Bostonmarker is using dual-mode buses on its new (2004-opened) Silver Line ; the vehicles run on electric power from overhead wires on a fixed right-of-way and also along city streets using diesel power. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, new trolleybuses (known as "trackless trolleys" there) that were placed in service by SEPTA in 2008 are equipped with small hybrid diesel-electric power units for operating short distances off-wire.

Other considerations

With increasing diesel fuel costs and particulate matter and NOx emissions problems in many cities, trolleybuses may be seen as the best option, either as the primary transit mode or as a supplement to rapid transit and commuter rail networks.

Some have suggested that the trolleybus will become obsolete in a future hydrogen economy, but direct electric transmission is far more efficient (by a factor of two or more) than conversion of energy into hydrogen, transportation and storage of the hydrogen and its conversion back into electricity by fuel cells.

As trolleybuses are electric, they produce very little noise compared with a diesel- or petrol-engined vehicle. While this is mainly seen as a benefit, it does also make it is easier for unobservant pedestrians and other motorists to miss hearing a trolleybus when crossing a street, and risk being struck. For this reason, in Australia trolleybuses were sometimes known as "whispering death".

Trolleybuses can share overhead wires and other electrical infrastructure (such as substations) with tramways. This can result in cost savings when trolleybuses are added to a transport system that already has trams, though this refers only to potential savings over the cost of installing and operating trolleybuses alone.

Trolleybus wire switch

Trolleybus wire switches (referred to as "frogs" in some countries) are used where a trolleybus line branches into two. A switch may be either in a "straight through" or "turnout" position; it normally remains in the "straight through" position unless it has been triggered, and reverts to it after a few seconds. Triggering is often caused by a pair of contacts or electromagnets, with one attached to each trolleybus wire, close to but before the switch itself.

Multiple branches may be handled by installing more than one switch. For example, to provide straight-through, left-turn or right-turn branches at an intersection, one switch is installed some distance from the intersection to choose a line over the left-turn lane, and another switch is mounted close to the intersection to choose between straight through and a right turn. [This would be the arrangement in countries such as the US, where traffic directionality is right-handed; in left-handed traffic countries such as Britain and New Zealand, the switch some distance from the intersection would be used to access the right-turn lanes, and the switch close to the intersection would be for the left-turn fork instead.]

Three common types of switch exist: Power-on/Power-off (the picture of a switch above is of this type), Selectric, and Fahslabend.

A Power-on/Power-off switch is triggered if the trolleybus is drawing power from the overhead wires, usually by accelerating, when the poles pass over the contacts. (The contacts are lined up on the wires in this case.) If the trolleybus "coasts" through the switch it will not activate. Some trolleybuses, such as those in Vancouver, Canada, have a "power-coast" toggle switch that turns the power on or off. This allows a switch to be triggered in situations that would otherwise be impossible, such as activating a switch while braking or accelerating through a switch without activating it.

A Selectric switch has a similar design, but the contacts on the wires are skewed, often at a 45-degree angle, rather than being lined up. This skew means that a bus going straight through will not trigger the switch, but a trolleybus attempting a sharp turn (usually a right turn in countries with right-handed traffic) will cause its poles to meet the wires in a matching skew with one pole ahead of the other, which will trigger the switch.

For a Fahslabend switch, the trolleybus's turn indicator (or a separate driver-controlled switch) causes a coded radio signal to be sent from a transmitter, often attached to a trolley pole. The receiver is attached to the switch, and causes it to trigger if the correct code is received. This has the advantage that the driver does not need to be accelerating the bus (as with a Power-on/Power-off switch) or trying to make a sharp turn (as with a Selectric switch).

Trolleybus makers


Defunct or no longer making trolleybuses

Preseved vintage trolleybus made by FIAT for the Piraeus-Kastella line in Greece (1939)

List of Low-floor trolleybuses

Double Decker Trolleybus

  • Citybus converted a Dennis Dragon (#701) into a double decker electric trolleybus; tested on 600 metre track in Wong Chuk Hang in 2000.

Use and preservation

There are currently around 340 cities or metropolitan areas where trolleybuses are operated, and almost 500 additional trolleybus systems have existed in the past. For complete lists of trolleybus systems by location, with dates of opening and (where applicable) closure, see List of trolleybus systems and the related lists indexed there.

The following are summary notes about current and past trolleybus operation in some countries.


Trolleybuses are currently in use in Mendozamarker, Rosariomarker and Córdobamarker. See also List of trolleybus systems


Trolleybus lines run in Yerevanmarker, Armenia.


Australia has no remaining operating trolleybuses. Trolleybuses are preserved in the Brisbane Tramway Museum, Sydney Tramway Museummarker, Powerhouse Museummarker (Sydney), the Australian Electric Transport Museum at Adelaide (South Australia), the Perth Electric Tramway Society Museum, and at the Tasmanian Transport Museum in Hobart. Some of these trolleybuses are in operating condition, but there are no wired roadways to operate them on.


The largest trolleybus system in Austria is in Salzburgmarker, with eight routes (seven during school holidays) and 80 trolleybuses, operating from 0600 to midnight. The system was introduced in 1940 and has been expanded during recent years. Linzmarker has four routes and 19 vehicles: after years of uncertainty the continued existence of the system is guaranteed by the operator. The trolleybuses in Innsbruckmarker went out of service in 2007 because of an expected expansion of the light rail system. A trolleybus system with two routes existed in Kapfenbergmarker until 2002. Towns like Klagenfurtmarker and Grazmarker closed their trolleybus systems in the 1960s.


The trolleybus system in Minskmarker (since 1952) is the second largest in the world. Trolleybuses also work in Brest, Vitebskmarker, Gomelmarker, Grodnomarker, Mogilevmarker and Babruyskmarker (since 1978).


The only trolleybus service is in Ghentmarker, the capital of the province of East Flandersmarker. Articulated trolleybuses operate line 3, which crosses the city from east to west, passing through the historic Korenmarkt and past St Bavo's cathedral. The system was originally built as a demonstrator to promote exports, which were subsequently, due to colonial ties, made to Kinshasamarker, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congomarker. After a period of closure due to roadworks in the early 21st century, Flemish public transport undertaking De Lijn announced in February 2008 that the system is to be closed. The intention is to replace the trolleybuses with hybrid diesel-electric buses, but there may be an interim period of operation by conventional diesel buses. In the long term De Lijn would like to see trams on the route.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trolleybuses are currently used only in the capital city Sarajevomarker. Operation and maintenance is done by GRAS (City transportation). There are seven routes (101-107): the route to the suburb of Vogošćamarker will be reconstructed in the near future.


EMTU's Modern Trolleybus in São Paulo
See also: List of trolleybus systems in Brazil

Trolleybuses are in use only in Santosmarker and in systems in São Paulomarker: SPTrans, in central and eastern areas, and EMTU, in the suburbs and the cities of Santo Andrémarker, São Bernardo do Campomarker, Mauámarker and Diademamarker. Two trolleybuses are preserved and exhibited at the SPTrans (São Paulo Transportation Authority) Museum Gaetano Ferrola. Another five trolleybuses built by CMTC and Villares between 1958 and 1965 are awaiting restoration in the SPTrans garage at Santa Rita. A trolleybus built in the United Statesmarker by ACF Brill in 1948 was restored in 1999 and operates at special celebrations, such as the city's 454th anniversary celebration on 25 January 2008.


Trolleybus networks operate in Sofiamarker (since 1941), Plovdivmarker (1955), Plevenmarker (1985), Varnamarker (1986), Stara Zagoramarker (1988), Ruse (1988), Slivenmarker (1988), Vratsamarker (1988), Pernikmarker (1989), Gabrovomarker (1990), Haskovomarker (1990), Veliko Tarnovomarker (1990), Burgasmarker (1991) and Pazardzhikmarker (1993). The most developed system in terms of density is in Pleven (population 120,000), with 14 trolleybus routes, totalling , and one bus route. The largest system is in Sofia (population 1.5 million): .


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Canada
Trolleybuses now are used in Vancouvermarker only, where TransLink operates a fleet of about 250 vehicles, locally known as "trolleys". Despite stubborn opposition from local citizens, Edmontonmarker ended trolleybus service in May 2009. Vancouver's aging trolley fleet was recently replaced with newer models, one of which was loaned to the Edmonton Transit System in 2007/08. In Laval, Quebecmarker, the transit system operator, Société de transport de Laval (STL), launched a study in spring 2009 into the possible construction of a new, four-route trolleybus system. Funded jointly by STL and Hydro-Québec, the study is expected to be completed around march of 2010. In discussing the Laval study, some provincial officials indicated they would like to see transport agencies in other major Québec cities also consider installing trolleybus networks.

Several other Canadian cities have operated trolleybus systems in the past. In Hamilton, where they were referred to as "trolley coaches", they were used from 1951 until the end of 1992. Toronto initially had an experimental fleet of 4 trolleybuses from 1922 through 1927, but later maintained a fleet of about 150 vehicles from 1947 through 1992. Another forty trolleybuses leased from Edmonton continued operation in Toronto until the lease expired and the buses were returned to Edmonton in July 1993. Most of Canada's other trolleybus systems were abandoned during the 1960s and 1970s; the last two to disappear at that time (Saskatoon and Calgary) closed down in 1974 and 1975, respectively.


Valparaísomarker, one of the largest cities of Chile, has the only trolleybus service, managed by a private company, Trolebuses de Chile S.A. (formerly Empresa de Transportes Colectivos Eléctricos). The two routes have the 8- prefix of Valparaíso's new metropolitan mass transit system as routes 801 and 802, but since September 2007 only route 802 has operated. The fleet is a remarkable mix of old American, Swiss and Chinese vehicles, making an attractive appeal for tourism. The most famous vehicles are the Pullman-Standard, built in 1946-52, which are the oldest trolleybuses still in service in the world. They were declared national monuments in 2003. The company has faced fierce competition from bus operators, and has almost faced bankruptcy several times, but many Valparaíso inhabitants feel an emotional link to the service, and vigorously defend the trolleybuses.


See also: List of trolleybus systems and Transportation in China
Trolleybuses are in use in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhoumarker, Wuhanmarker, Qingdaomarker and other locations. Beijing's trolleybus system, the most extensive in China, is served by trolleybuses that can run for considerable distances on battery power. In Shanghai, new electric buses have been ordered to replace certain trolleybus routes. These buses charge at terminals and stops and run from the electric power stored in supercapacitors.


In the city of Bogotámarker, since the decade of 70´s until the end of the 80´s decade/start of the 90´s, the trolleybuses was in service as solution for the problem of mass transportation, with a form of organized transport and routes system; and managed by the district government, due the insignificant number of routes in service operated by private transport companies. That buses operated a large number of services, but two problems became the stone in the shoe of the system: first, serious administrative and economical problems, and second the incoming problems due to the end of the sovietmarker government in Russiamarker and Ukrainemarker, and the end of the manufacturing by the romanian brand DAC of that class of vehicles, becoming to the end of spare parts for these vehicles, later, that buses was decommissioned and scraped after, some many units remains in some stock places near to the city, remaining to be auctioned like scrap steel, and was replaced by Transmileniomarker, in the way of a district transport system, but these was the only one who work in a ecological way; without smog.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has 13 trolleybus systems, in towns both large and small, and in the past trolleybuses also operated in three other cities. See List of trolleybus systems for details.

There also was a line between Ostrov nad Ohřímarker and Jáchymovmarker, taking advantage of steep gradients between these towns, used only for testing trolleybuses made at the Škoda factory in Ostrov. The line was dismantled in 2004, following the cessation of production.


A distinctive and heavily used trolleybus system opened in Quitomarker in stages in 1995-96. The single-corridor Quito trolleybus system, named "El Trole", is a high-capacity design, featuring dedicated trolleybus-only lanes over almost its entire length and with boarding taking place exclusively at high-platform stations, through all three vehicle doorways simultaneously, akin to modern-day light-rail transit systems. The initial fleet of 54 articulated trolleybuses was expanded to 113 vehicles in 1999-2000. The headway is as short as 90 seconds in peak periods, and average daily patronage exceeds 250,000 passengers. Extensions to the route were opened in 2000 and 2008, and it is now in length. Five different overlapping trolleybus services are operated along the corridor. The system inspired the design of a new trolleybus system in Mérida, Venezuela, the first stage of which opened in 2007.


Solaris T18AC in Tallinn
Trolleybuses are in use in Tallinnmarker. The first trolleybus route opened on 6 July 1965. There were nine routes, but one closed on 31 March 2000 - the overhead wires remain in place. There has been talk about a tenth line but this has never been brought to reality.

Old Skoda 14Tr and 15Tr trolleybuses are being replaced with newer low-floor Solaris/Ganz T12 and T18 articulated models.


Tamperemarker and Helsinkimarker have had trolleybus systems.

In Tampere trolleybus operations begun in 1948 and ended in 1976. At its most extensive seven trolleybus routes lines operated. Two trolleybuses have been preserved, in the collection of Tampereen kaupungin liikennelaitos. In Helsinki a single trolleybus line was operated 1949–1974. An attempt to restore trolleybus operation in Helsinki was made in the late 1970s; this resulted in the acquisition of a prototype trolleybus that was used between 1979 and 1985. Three Helsinki trolleybuses have been preserved. Of these, number 605 is on display at the Helsinki tram museum.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in France
Trolleybuses are used in Limogesmarker, Lyonmarker, Nancymarker and Saint-Étiennemarker, which have expanded their use. Lyon is using Cristalis trolleybuses to build a "strong network" at small cost.Preserved trolleybuses are at the Musée des Transports (AMTUIR) in Colombes.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Germany
Trolleybuses operate in Eberswaldemarker (near Berlin), Esslingenmarker (near Stuttgart) and Solingenmarker (near Düsseldorf). There were over 60 trolleybus systems in the late 1950s, many having replaced under-used tram services.


See also: ILPAP
Trolleybuses are in use in Athensmarker. The network, which also serves Piraeusmarker, is one of the largest in Europe, with more than 350 trolleybuses. The entire fleet was replaced with new Neoplan and Van Hool trolleybuses from 2001 onward. The system is operated by ILPAP.


Trolleybuses are used in Budapestmarker, Szegedmarker and Debrecenmarker. In Budapestmarker the fleet is operated by Budapesti Közlekedési Vállalat Zrt.


A small trolleybus system operated in Delhimarker from 1935 until about 1962. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport of Mumbaimarker operated trolleybuses from 1962 to 1971.


A trolleybus in Parma
See also: List of trolleybus systems in Italy
Trolleybuses are in use in Anconamarker, Bolognamarker, Cagliarimarker, Genoamarker, La Speziamarker, Milanmarker, Modenamarker, Naplesmarker, Parmamarker, Riminimarker, Romemarker and San Remomarker. New systems are under construction in Avellinomarker and Leccemarker. A new system has also been approved, and construction is to begin in 2009, in Pescaramarker. Work is under way to reopen the systems in Barimarker and Chietimarker.


Trolleybuses have been used in Rigamarker since 1947. There are 20 trolleybus lines.


Trolleybuses have been used in Vilniusmarker since 1956 (20 routes) and Kaunasmarker (17 routes) since 1965.


Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos (STE) of Mexico City is one of the largest systems in North America. Trolleybuses from cities including Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Dallas, Little Rock, Cleveland, New Orleans, Shreveport, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco found their way to Mexico City in the 1960s. Since 1981 more than 500 trolleybuses have been purchased from Mexicana de Autobuses S.A. (MASA), fitted with electrical equipment by various suppliers (including Hitachi, Toshiba, Kiepe and Mitsubishi) for batches of vehicles ordered at different times. The size of the fleet in 2008 was around 400.

Guadalajaramarker opened a trolleybus system in 1976 using ex-Chicago trolleybuses dating from 1951-52. The last of these were withdrawn in 1993, and since then the service has been provided by MASA trolleybuses, most of which had been acquired new in 1982-85.


Chinese-built trolleybuses operated on a route from Kathmandumarker to Bhaktapurmarker between 1975 and 2001. A limited trolleybus service was restarted in 2003, and there were plans to expand it, but these have not come to fruition. Trolleybus operation appears to have ended in 2008, but it is not known whether this cessation will be permanent.

The Netherlands

Trolleybuses are in use in Arnhem since 1949. The nearby city of Nijmegenmarker had trolleybuses until 1969.

New Zealand

A new-model Designline trolleybus operating in Wellington in December 2008.
Wellingtonmarker has the only public trolleybus system in Australasia. GO Wellington operates 61 Designline trolleybuses on nine suburban routes south, east and west of the city centre.

In Foxtonmarker and at Ferrymead Heritage Parkmarker in Christchurchmarker preserved trolleybuses operate. The Ferrymead system has trolleybuses from every New Zealand city that operated trolleybuses: Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

A trolleybus near Pyongyang Railway Station (2007)
See also: Trams and Trolleybuses in North Korea
Trolleybuses have operated in Pyongyangmarker since 1962, with a large fleet serving several routes. Due to the closed nature of North Korea, the existence of trolleybus networks in other North Korean cities was generally unknown outside the country for many years, but it is now known that around 12 to 15 other cities also possess trolleybus systems, among them Chongjinmarker and Namphomarker. A few other places have private, very small (in some cases only one or two vehicles) systems for transporting workers from a housing area to a nearby coal mine or other industrial site—or at least did at some time within recent years. Trolleybuses include both imported and locally made vehicles. Imported buses are from Europe (and Eastern Europe) and copied versions from China. There are a few local manufacturers of trolleybuses.


In Bergenmarker, Norway, trolleybuses have been in use since 1950.

In 1909, Drammenmarker had the first trolleybus system in Scandinavia, running until 1967.


Three cities operate trolleybuses: Lublinmarker, Tychymarker and Gdyniamarker.


Coimbra trolleybuses are operated by SMTUC, a municipal service. The fleet consists of about 20 trolleybuses built by Salvador Caetano/EFACEC. A new Solaris trolleybus has joined the fleet recently.

Sociedade dos Transportes Colectivos do Porto operated trolleybuses in Portomarker from 1959 to 1997 and has some historic trolleybuses preserved. The fleet was composed by 26 trolleybuses built by British United Traction, 75 built by Lancia (25 standard and 50 double-decker) and 25 built by Salvador Caetano/EFACEC (15 standard and 10 articulated), in a total of 126 trolleybuses.When the trolleybus system closed, the remaining vehicles were sold to Almatymarker, in Kazakhstanmarker.

In Braga, trolleybuses were used from 1963 to 1979.


In addition to Bucharestmarker (1949), with more than 300 vehicles and serving 20 routes, the larger trolleybuses systems opened in 1959: Braşovmarker (shrunk considerably in the 2000s), Clujmarker (1959), Constantamarker (1959; shrunk considerably in the 2000s). An exception is Timişoaramarker (1942) built with Italian equipment and vehicles. Most smaller systems were opened through a government program in the 1980s and 1990s, though only about half survive: Sibiumarker (1983; closed 2009), Iaşimarker (1985; closed 2006), Suceavamarker (1987; closed 2006), Brăilamarker (1989; closed 1999), Galaţimarker (1989), Mediaşmarker (1989), Satu Maremarker (1994; closed 2005), Vasluimarker (1994), Piatra Neamtmarker (1995), Târgu Jiumarker (1995), Târgoviştemarker (1995; closed 2005), Baia Maremarker (1996), Slatinamarker (1996; closed 2005), Ploieştimarker (1997). A "DAC 117 E" (1987) is preserved by the TRANSIRA Association.

Russian Federation

See also: List of trolleybus systems in Russia and Trolleybus in former Soviet Union countries
Trolleybus systems operate in 87 cities, including the largest network in the world, in Moscowmarker.In Moscow vintage trolleybuses are available to the public only at transport-dedicated exhibitions and at parades on celebration days. In Saint Petersburgmarker and Nizhny Novgorodmarker museum trolleybuses may be hired for city excursions and parties.


There are four trolleybus routes in Belgrademarker. Three of them are variations of the original line established shortly after World War II with Russian-made vehicles, with the same terminus in the heart of old downtown next to the Kalemegdanmarker fortress. The fourth is a completely independent line built perpendicular to the other three in the early 1980s.


The first trolleybus system connected Poprad with Starý Smokovec from 1904 to 1906. The second trolleybus system was built in 1909 in Bratislavamarker, but served only until 1915. The route led to the hilly recreational area of Železná studienka and the trolleybuses' motors were fed by a four-wheel bogie running on top of the wires and connected to the vehicle by a cable. Trolleybuses in Bratislava were reintroduced in 1943, with standard trolley poles. In 1962 trolleybuses were introduced in Prešovmarker. Banská Bystricamarker introduced trolleybuses in 1989, Košicemarker in 1993 and Žilinamarker in 1994. All trolleybuses were made by Škoda.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Spain
Trolleybuses ran from 1962 to 1969 in Castellón de la Planamarker and until 1989 in Pontevedramarker. They returned to Castellón de la Plana in 2007, with a new line opened on 25 June 2008. The Irisbus Civis vehicles are optically guided and are capable of switching to diesel power for turning in front of the Parque Ribalto.


In Landskronamarker, a single trolleybus route connects the railway station and the wharf area. The system opened in 2003 and employs three trolleybuses, making it one of the world's smallest systems. Forty years earlier trolleybus systems existed in Göteborgmarker and Stockholmmarker, the latter a large system with 12 routes.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Switzerland
Trolleybuses are in use in cities including Lausannemarker (10 lines), Lucernemarker (7 lines), Genevamarker (6 lines), Zurich (6 lines), Bernemarker (5 lines), St. Gallenmarker (4 lines), Neuchâtelmarker (4 lines), Winterthurmarker (4 lines), Fribourgmarker (3 lines), La Chaux-de-Fondsmarker (3 lines), Bielmarker (2 lines), Schaffhausenmarker (1 line), Veveymarker-Montreuxmarker (1 line). The last trolleybus ran in Baselmarker on 30 June 2008.

In Lausanne, the Association RétroBus preserves old trolleybuses (from 1932) and operates them, especially on summer weekends.


See also: List of trolleybus systems in Ukraine
Trolleybus systems run in more than 25 cities, including the inter-ity Crimeanmarker network connecting Simferopolmarker with Alushtamarker and Yaltamarker on the coast. The Crimean trolleybus network includes the longest trolleybus route in the world, the route from Yalta to Simferopol, over 85 kilometers.

United Kingdom

See also: List of trolleybus systems in the United Kingdom

The Leeds Trolleybus is a proposed system: no trolleybus systems operate, but more than 50 systems existed in the past, and a large number of trolleybuses have been preserved at British museums. The world's largest collection of preserved trolleybuses is at The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoftmarker in England. Examples are also preserved at the East Anglia Transport Museummarker and the Black Country Living Museummarker in England. The Bradford Trolleybus Association is restoring Bradford trolleybus 758, the last rear-entrance trolleybus in Britain, which is kept at Sandtoftmarker. The last trolleybuses ran in Bradford in 1972.

United States of America

See also: List of trolleybus systems in the United States
Current operations:

See also


  1. Wind Energy Background
  2. Greenfleet
  3. Overhead
  4. Transport 2000's BC website:
  5. Murray, Alan (2000). World Trolleybus Encyclopaedia. Yateley, Hampshire, UK: Trolleybooks. ISBN 0-904235-18-1.
  6. Tram 2000, March 2008
  7. City of Edmonton - Last Day of Trolley Operations Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  8. [1] [2]
  9. La Estrella (Chilean newspaper), 29 July 2003 "Quince troles porteños son monumentos históricos (in Spanish), among other sources.
  10. Trolleybus Magazine, November-December 1990 and May-June 2005 issues.
  11. Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2008-2009, p. 244.
  12. Feasibility Report, 2004
  13. Tarkhov, Sergei; and Merzlov, Dmitriy. "North Korean Surprises". Trolleybus Magazine Nos. 244-6 (July, September and November 2002).
  14. "14 noiembrie, ultima zi cu troleibuzul prin Sibiu", Evenimentul Zilei, October 20, 2009
  15. TRANSIRA :: Vizualizare subiect - DAC 117 E -Meditur MEDIAS 330
  16. Basler Verkehrsbetriebe: Adieu Trolleybus, Press statement dated 23 June 2008


  • Sebree, Mac; and Ward, Paul (1973). Transit’s Stepchild, The Trolley Coach (Interurbans Special 58). Los Angeles: Interurbans. LCCN 73-84356
  • Sebree, Mac; and Ward, Paul (1974). The Trolley Coach in North America (Interurbans Special 59). Los Angeles: Interurbans. LCCN 74-20367
  • Porter, Harry; and Worris, Stanley F.X. (1979). Trolleybus Bulletin No. 109: Databook II. North American Trackless Trolley Association (defunct)
  • Murray, Alan (2000). World Trolleybus Encyclopaedia. Trolleybooks (UK). ISBN 0-904235-18-1
  • Mick Leak (2006). The Story Of Britain's Last Rear Entrance Trolleybus In Public Service - Bradford 758. Published By The Bradford Trolleybus Association. Bradford. United Kingdom


  • Trolleybus Magazine (ISSN 0266-7452). National Trolleybus Association (UK), bi-monthly
  • Trackless, Bradford Trolleybus Association, quarterly
  • Trolleybus, British Trolleybus Society (UK), monthly

Other sources

External links

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