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City-News Archive

Johannesburg [ZA] - British built trolleybus returns

J. Lehmann - 25.05.09

The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft is home to the world’s largest collection of preserved trolleybuses. Along with a wide selection of historic British based trolleybuses are a handful of European examples but is now expanding its activities now globally. On Friday 24 April a trolleybus from Johannesburg, South Africa arrived by ship at Southampton and continued its long way to join The Museum collection by a low loader to its temporary home near Reading.

“Number 589” was withdrawn from service in 1974 and was subsequently earmarked for preservation and repatriation, a plan that never materialised. Subsequently, “number 589” became an exhibit at Midmar National Park on Natal, South Africa and, more recently, at a transport museum in Durban. However, late in 2008 the Durban Transport Museum was not granted a renewal of their lease by local authorities and “number 589” looked destined for the scrap yard. British trolleybus preservationists became aware of this news and with support from The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft a rescue attempt was launched.

Before “number 589” is transferred to the Sandtoft Transport Centre, it will undergo a major restoration costing circa £100,000 and likely to take upwards of 18 months. A fundraising campaign and dedicated website has been launched at

Last trolleybus service operated in Johannesburg in 1986.

Photo: Trolleybus 589 on its last day in Durban, Photo by: Francis Whitehead

Text: Press Release by Sandtoft Transport Centre Limited / Dirk Budach

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