ON JUNE 20 1961, Bradford celebrated a Golden Jubilee.

But it didn’t have anything to do with royalty. On that date the city celebrated the 50th anniversary of its trolleybus system. To mark the occasion two trolleybuses were repainted into historic liveries. One of these - number 603 - was one of the oldest vehicles in the fleet, an AEC 661T dating from 1934 but rebodied in 1947.

The second vehicle was one of a batch of 15 Karrier E4s supplied with Weymann bodywork during 1938 and 1939. Although it was among a batch that was refurbished by Smalesbury after the Second World War, it was sufficiently close to its original to be repainted into the dark blue and white livery in which it had entered service in May 1939.

Sadly, neither of these trolleybuses was preserved on withdrawal from service in June 1962 and May 1962 respectively - both were to be scrapped by the end of the year.

These little-known, interesting facts are among a treasure trove of Bradford’s trolleybus history brought to life by Bradfordian Peter Waller in his book British Trolleybus Systems, Yorkshire.

With a lengthy chapter devoted to Bradford and another to Keighley, this beautifully produced glossy hardback looks at the role played by trolleybuses across the district until their demise in the early 1970s.

Illustrated throughout with evocative colour and black and white photographs - the shots of trolleybuses in bygone Bradford are captivating - this thoroughly researched book takes readers from the beginning of this mode of transport in the district to its last days.

In November 1909 a delegation from Bradford that included Christopher John Spencer, the general manager, made a 15-day trip to inspect tramways and trolleybus operations in continental Europe.

Following that, Bradford went on to develop a ‘significant network of electric tramways’, reaching their peak in October 1914 with the opening of the last significant extension from Nab Wood via Bingley to Crossflatts.

There’s a picture of Bradford’s initial two trolleybuses, numbers 240 and 241, both supplied through the Railless Electric Company. These vehicles later became electrically-powered lorries.

There is so much detail in this book. Peter - who is an authority on tram and trolleybus systems with a series of books already published on British and Irish tram networks - knows his subject inside out from the vehicles themselves and their individual histories, to the people involved in bringing them to Bradford and managing the fleet.

Bradford and Leeds were the pioneering systems in the country.

The first tram to trolleybus conversion in Bradford was the route to Allerton in 1928, the next was the long route from the city centre via Thackley to Saltaire in 1930.

The books highlights notable events throughout the history of trolleybuses in Bradford including, in 1953, two newly-acquired trolleybuses being decked out in a special powder blue and white livery to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth ll.

Three years later, planned conversions of tram or trolleybus services to motorbus services had to be deferred as a result of the Suez Crisis when supplies of oil were severely restricted. This led to the unexpected appearance of a single-decker trolleybus in operation for the first time in more than a decade.

Growing up close to the Duckworth Lane terminus meant that the author was a regular user of route 8 to and from the city centre.

When the end of trolleybuses was imminent, Bradford Corporation ran a number of farewell tours. On Sunday March 26, 1972, Peter Waller and his father travelled on the 845 and, during one of the photo calls, the bus is pictured on Toller Lane heading inbound.

The cover of Peter’s commemorative illustrated brochure marking the last trolleybus service, which chronicled the history of the system, is pictured in the book.

The farewell tour of the 844 on March 26 1972 was not its last operation. It ran at the transport museum Transperience in Low Moor, which opened in 1995 and closed two years later.

The one surviving Bradford electric tram, number 104, is on display at the city’s Industrial Museum at Moorside Mills in Eccleshill.

The book has a useful section containing a table with details of each trolleybus including its fleet number, registration, chassis, body and the dates it was introduced and withdrawn. One was ordered by Johannesburg and diverted to Bradford during the war.

Other cities and towns in Yorkshire featured in the book are Leeds, Huddersfield, Kingston-upon-Hull, Doncaster, Rotherham, Mexborough and Swinton, York and Teesside’s railless traction board.

*British Trolleybus Systems, Yorkshire, an historic overview by Peter Waller, is published by Pen & Sword and costs £30. Visit pen-and-sword.co.uk