The Cardiff trolleybus system closed in 1970 and brought an end to the operation of traditional three axle trolleybuses in the UK and any such vehicles in Wales. Fortunately three Cardiff trolleybuses were secured for preservation in the 1960’s a fourth in 1970 and unfortunately one of the first three then had to be re-secured in the early 1970’s. Most of the rest however made what was usually a short final trip down to Way’s waterside yard on Cardiff Docks where they met their end.
Surprisingly a dozen or more of these trolleybuses languished in Way’s yard well into the later 1970’s (and beyond) and until there was a need to clear the whole area of the accumulated buses. trolleybuses, trucks and other junk to make way for major redevelopment. A handful of the by now derelict trolleybuses even left the site around 1981/2 in one piece (sort of!) and were quite incredibly towed all the way to Barnsley.
This photo captures the last survivor Cardiff BUT/East Lancs No.218 remarkably still sitting in the remaining corner of Way’s yard as late as the summer of 1983, it seems there was more than a willingness on the part of Way’s to let this last vehicle pass into preservation and at least one approach was made. Sadly however 218 didn’t make it into safe hands and soon ended her days in Yorkshire.
(A fascinating postscript has recently arisen suggesting 218 may not after all have been the last Cardiff trolleybus to leave this location. It seems one might still remains here out of sight to this day having left Way’s dockside site by a very watery route, it is reported that ghostly sonar and photographic images of a trolleybus at the bottom of the dock were captured during surveying work carried out in connection with building the new properties on the site – whether this is true or not we will probably never know)