1968: The End of a Transit Era in Northern Ireland

May 12, 1968

After three decades of service, the trolleybus system in Northern Ireland’s capital city of Belfast officially ceased operations. (Belfast also has the distinction of being the largest city in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.) The original trolleybuses for this system made their first runs on March 28, 1938, on a single route. Those vehicles specifically operated out of Falls Park depot on the Falls Road in the western section of Belfast.

“People didn’t have cars then and the trolleybuses were widely used,” noted Belfast resident and historian Mike Maybin while recounting the early days of the Belfast trolleybus system in a 2015 interview with the Irish Times. “There were no doors on them, only an open back door that you jumped up on even when the trolley was moving.”

Over time, the Belfast trolleybus system covered a total of 37.5 miles (60.4 kilometers) throughout the city and encompassed 17 routes and a fleet of 245 trolleybuses altogether. This trolleybus system was second only to the one in London as the largest transit network of its kind in the United Kingdom. The final trolleybus to operate in Belfast was vehicle #202 GZ8566 (pictured above in a 1968 photo).

Photo Credit: Wilson Adams (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

For more information on the Belfast trolleybus system, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybuses_in_Belfast

Additional information on Belfast’s transportation infrastructure is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_in_Belfast

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