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Go Wellington Designline trolley 384
A picture from the wee small hours of Wednesday morning as Wellington's last trolleybus heads into Kilbirnie depot for the last time. The bus was around 15 minutes late at the depot as the half dozen enthusiasts and the veteran driver had stopped for photo opportunities on the way from Karori, typically a run of about one hour. This meant it had to complete its journey with the poles down as the authorities switched the power off at 0030h. The demise of the 68 year old system went virtually unnoticed. Trolleys ran services as usual on October 31st. No special announcements or posters on the vehicles were evident and the last trolley, 384 (EZS565), had nothing to denote the occasion. The small group of enthusiasts on board, joined by a similar number of employees, many of whom had worked on the trolleys most of their lives, saw 384 pull into the sheds for the last time. When the government announced the end to the system, citing the cost of renewing the overhead, much talk was made of electric powered buses preserving the environmentally friendly nature of the trolleys, especially with New Zealand enjoying hydro electric, thermal and wind power – a big wind farm is not far from the trolley depot. The reality is the trolleys were replaced the following day with a motley collection of navy and silver buses rendered surplus to requirements following tender losses in Auckland from the NZBus fleet up there. These did include some Kiwi bodied Enviro200 buses, but also some Scanias and older MAN models too. Depot staff suggested their Auckland colleagues had not despatched the pride of their fleet south. Fifty deckers are anticipated, ten all electric, but locals are sceptical that any Wellington route needed doubledeck capacity and wondered if Wellington was wise to acquire the world's largest - and somewhat untried - fleet of electric deckers.
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See October 29th's picture of the week here.