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Keighley Tramways Centenary 1904 - 2004 


Keighley Bus Museum Trust (KBMT) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the start of electric tramways in Keighley with a double decker bus in a unique branded livery not seen for 72 years.

A KBMT spokesman said, "The summer of 1904 was an exceptionally busy one in Keighley as contractors for the Borough Council ripped up the old single track horse tramway and laid down a spanking new double track electric tramway with new street columns and overhead wiring. Keighley Corporation had bought out the bankrupt horse tramway company in 1901 and decided to modernise the Ingrow to Utley tram route using power from the new Corporation Electricity Plant in Coney Lane, and adding a branch route to serve the Railway Station and Victoria Park.

"We have decided to mark this important milestone of municipal achievement in the town by arranging tours of the tram routes with a knowledgeable guide who can point out the few remaining features, such as the original Horse Tram Depot in South Street, and tell the story of the way Corporation Transport developed in Keighley."


The bus a Leyland Atlantean built in 1962, has operated open top tours in Scarborough, Whitby and York before being purchased by KBMT Chairman Graham Mitchell in September 2003. A team of KBMT members has spent the last 12 months painstakingly refurbished the 42 year-old double decker, which is now to be operated as "Keighley Corporation Tramways No. 59"

"Keighley Borough Council was a great pioneer in early public transport development" said Graham; "operating horse trams, then electric trams, 2 different systems of tracklesses (trolleybuses) and finally motor omnibuses before being taken over by the West Yorkshire Road Car Company in 1932. The Council bought their motor buses (the last one being No. 58) from Leyland Motors Ltd and it is entirely logical that, had KCT survived into the 1960s, it would eventually have purchased front-entrance Atlanteans like this one. So this vehicle has been professionally painted in the livery of Keighley Corporation Tramways with an exact reproduction of the style of "branding" introduced by the Borough Council’s General Manager Ronald Fearnley in 1925. This is a unique livery which has not been seen on the streets of Keighley for 72 years. Interestingly Ronald Fearnley’s nephew is Giles Fearnley, Chairman of the present Keighley & District Travel, which is also renowned for very strong route branding of its buses."

Photographs of Keighley Tramways Centenary 1904 - 2004 here...

About The Tykes London Bus Gathering here...
Photographs of The Tykes London Bus Gathering here...
About Keighley Historic Vehicle Rally here...
360 degree view on open top bus here...
360 degree view inside Keighley Bus Museum here...

More information on www.kbmt.org.uk website (opens in a new window)



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