Friday, 13 July 2018

Remaining Rainbow Revised (3)

It began with a grand plan; to build tramways all over the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coalfield. The first (and only) line would run from Ripley to Cinderhill (Nottingham) where trams eventually ran on to Nottingham Corporation tracks and thus into the town centre.

Construction started in February 1913 and all along the route buildings were demolished, trees felled, streams diverted, bridges reinforced and gardens destroyed in order to give the tramway its legally demanded width for a gauge of 4ft 8½in. The whole route consisted of a single track with 316 passing loops all on the same side so that the journey from Nottingham was a succession of swings and loops as the cars rattled along.

The first tram arrived in Ripley in July 1913 ...
... amid much jubilation. The route followed what is now the A610, serving a series of small mining communities that, today, have mostly merged into a long urban sprawl.
Some parts of the system have changed little in 105 years. Here is Heanor then ...
... and more recently!
The A610 is now a wider and more terrifying road than in the days of the tram, as it forms a link from Nottingham to the M1 northbound, and from Ripley etc. to the M1 Southbound. It by-passes many of the town centres once served by the trams.
The tram features in a short story by D H Lawrence ...
There is in the North a single-line system of tramcars which boldly leaves the county town and plunges off into the black, industrial countryside..... This, the most dangerous tram-service in England, as the authorities themselves declare, with pride, is entirely conducted by girls, and driven by rash young men, or else by invalids who creep forward in terror.

They were known as the Ripley Rattlers.

D H Lawrence swept to fame (renown) with the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover (Oliver Mellors no less) in 1960.
Copies were being passed round clandestinely at fbb's alma mater and extracts became the fun thing to discuss! (It was an all-boys Grammar School - and fbb did not even attempt to read it - he was far too busy building a model railway!) He has never read it. Apparently if you take out the rude bits it is not much of a story, anyway.

But after two decades of bumpy slow service the trams were replaced by trolleybuses, including some later versions that looked like motor buses with collector poles on the top.
More conventional vehicles followed. But just two decades later, perfectly serviceable trolley buses went north to Bradford.
Motorbuses were proliferating all over the area, operating for the associate company, Midland General, and it was a natural but regretted progression for the Notts and Derby arm of the operation to follow suit.
The last trolleybuses ran in 1953.
The A1 route remained frequent, every ten or every 15 minutes. This was Saturday morning ...
... the service increasing to every ten for the rest of the day. fbb thinks that the note WR meant that "Workers Return" special bargain-priced tickets were available for that journey.
Midland General (which included Notts and Derby) had merged with Trent as long ago as 1972  ...
... but the name and a different livery outlasted the merger.
Unlimately, this is how the early Rainbows included former Notts and Derby tram-based routes as R11 and R12.
By about 1998 (Great Britain Bus timetable) The R11 ran every thirty minutes with the R12 joining it as far as Eastwood.

They then get the "Trent Treatment"

 Final Rainbow blog : Saturday 14th July 


  1. Notts & Derby's route into state ownership is worthy of mention: its ultimate owner became a nationalised electricity supplier, so in turn it passed to the British Transport Commission, which I think I'm right to say operated no other trolleybuses.
    In the similar case of Llanelly (as it was known at the time) the trolleybuses were sold to BET and became part of South Wales Transport.

  2. BTC-controlled Brighton, Hove & District ran eight trolleybuses alongside Brighton Corporation trolleybuses under a 1939 co-ordination scheme.

  3. @Philip Wallis
    Thank you, of course. Cunningly disguised by not being in a standard Tilling livery!