THEY say Skipton is the gateway to the Dales - but for many Bradfordians, a day out in the countryside began at Chester Street Bus Station, off Little Horton Lane.

In those days buses came in two colours - red and blue. Bradford City Transport buses were blue. And if you wanted to venture further afield, you took a red West Yorkshire bus, to Keighley, Skipton and rural spots beyond, such as Grassington and Pateley Bridge.

Many readers will have memories of catching buses at Chester Street, often a scene of happy anticipation. For a bus not to run, or be hopelessly late, was exceptional enough to warrant apologies. A thing of the past, if you ask many bus users of today!

This picture of the open-air Chester Street Bus Station was taken in 1973. Bradford Ice Arena, as it’s now known, stands next to it.

A few years later saw a new transport era in the city, with the opening of Bradford Interchange - and the end of smaller depots like Chester Street.

It was 6.25am on Sunday, March 27, 1977 that the number 670 bus left Bradford’s new bus depot on Bridge Street to make the journey to Leeds via Rodley. There was no-one aboard the green and cream double-decker apart from the driver, Thomas Carr, and conductor Derek Smith.

It was on this day that the city’s new bus station opened. Bradford had its own transport Interchange. It cost £16.2 million and was spread over an eight-acre site which, until October 1962, had been a railway goods yard.

The new bus station had a high roof made of 11,000 panes of reinforced glass in a corrugated design, supported by over 1,000 tons of steel. The T&A reported that the building had been eight years in the planning, design and construction. There was room for 140 buses, half the Bradford bus fleet.

The new super station meant the closure of bus depots at Chester Street, Horton Bank Top, Saltaire, Bowling, Duckworth Lane and Bankfoot.

And while the opening of the Interchange in 1977 heralded a new era in transport, the same decade saw the end of the road for Bradford’s trolley buses. On Sunday, March 26, 1972 the last trolley bus left the city centre, heading for Thornton. On the bus were enthusiasts for this mode of transport that had been pioneered in the city.

Bradford had enjoyed a long love affair with the trolley bus and was the last authority to get rid of them. The electric buses were clean and quiet, accelerating up Bradford’s many hills with speed and efficiency. But they were at the mercy of the power supply, and whenever there was a power cut they ground to a halt. The first trolley bus made its debut on the Laisterdyke to Dudley Hill run in 1911. Bradford became famous for its trolley buses and when they celebrated their 60th anniversary, in 1971, enthusiasts flocked to the city to admire the vehicles.

But a year later, the trolley bus had had its day. The Council decided to switch to motor buses, which many thought a mistake because Bradford’s hills were especially suited to the grand old mode of trolley bus transport.