A FASCINATING collection of photographs shared by a Daily Echo reader shows how Bournemouth and Christchurch have changed since the days of travel by trolleybus.

Alan Thorpe, of Ensbury Park, spent several years photographing trolleybuses before they disappeared from the roads in 1969.

Trolleybuses were introduced by Bournemouth Corporation Transport – now Yellow Buses – in 1933 and quickly replaced trams as the main means of public transport in Bournemouth and Christchurch.

The electrically-powered vehicles, known as the “silent service”, ran until 1969, when a procession of 17 remaining vehicles on April 20 marked the end of an era.

As well as showing the trolleybuses themselves, Mr Thorpe’s pictures record the changing surroundings – including the new roads and buildings that made the system of overhead wires harder to operate.

Mr Thorpe, 76, worked for the electricity board at the time the photographs were taken.

“I worked in the drawing office. It was an interest of mine – primarily railway engines, but trolleybuses were classed as light railways,” he said.

Bournemouth Corporation took delivery in 1962 of the last trolleybuses ever built for British use.

The following year, it decided not to buy any more and to begin winding down the service.

Spares were becoming harder to come by, more private cars were on the roads and the system of overhead cables was costly to maintain – especially with a wave of road building starting to change the face of Bournemouth

Mr Thorpe’s pictures captured the trolleybuses as they were being phased out. “I knew they were going to disappear eventually and I like to have a record of things. It also shows the way the town has changed over the years,” he said.

Among his collection are photographs of Castle Lane East in the days when it was still mostly rural, a far cry from the six-lane dual carriageway which runs past Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Tesco today.

His pictures also include one of a trolleybus passing under the “umbrella” of overhead wires at Winton Banks, which he notes was probably the most complex junction on the system.

At Bournemouth’s Triangle, which was the terminus for all routes serving Richmond Hill, he photographed a line of parked trolleybuses.

And in Christchurch, he photographed a trolleybus on the turntable which still stands, as a listed building, at Church Street.