Registration Number : XDH 72
Chassis: Sunbeam F4A (2 axle)
Chassis No. 9043
Motor : British Thomson Houston
Type 209 (95 hp)
Bodywork : Willowbrook H36/34RD
Entered Service : 14 October 1956
Withdrawn : 3 October 1970
In preparation for the opening of a new trolleybus service to Blakenall in 1955, Walsall purchased 15 F4 trolleybuses with Willowbrook bodywork which entered service between November 1954 and June 1955. A second batch of 7 similar trolleybuses entered service between June and October 1956 for the opening of a new trolleybus service to Beechdale and also to replace some of the early three axle trolleybuses. 872 was the highest numbered vehicle in the second batch and on the 14 October 1956 was the last new trolleybus of all to enter service with Walsall.
872 was the highest numbered vehicle in the second batch and on the 14 October 1956 was the last new trolleybus of all to enter service with Walsall. Prior to entering service, it appeared at the Commercial Motor Transport Exhibition at Earls Court
Special permission had to be obtained to operate these vehicles because they were 30 feet long on a two-axle chassis and therefore the first trolleybuses to be built to these specifications. They were also equipped with automatic acceleration equipment.
These type of vehicles were often referred to as ‘gold fish bowls’ owing to their unusual bodywork design. The design was an attempt to produce a streamlined appearance whilst at the same time keeping down both the costs and weight.
872 was in service for 14 years and was decorated as Walsall’s last official trolleybus in 1970 when the system closed on 3 October 1970.
Along with sister vehicles 862 and 864, 872 was purchased for preservation. It was towed to the trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft on 20 March 1971.
872 was a regular runner at Sandtoft in the early years but mechanical problems began to occur, and it was taken out of service in 1984.
In 1993 872 was transferred to the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum to be used in their static display. Whilst there the opportunity was taken by three BTS members, Roy Pearce, Neil Preston and Colin Page to restore the interior of the vehicle
In June 1994 872 took part in the Trolleybuses Galore event at the Black Country Museum (on demonstration runs only) along with resident vehicle Walsall 862.
By early 2011, the interior restoration of 872 was complete and it was returned to Sandtoft on 22 May 2011 just in time to be displayed in the BTS’s 50th anniversary celebrations over the Spring bank holiday weekend.
On 20 December 2011 it was then taken to Swindon where Thamesdown Transport carried out a full external restoration job.
872 returned to Sandtoft on 10 January 2013. It was the intention to re-commission 872 into service at Sandtoft over the 2013 August Bank Holiday but due to a problem with the hydraulic braking system, periods in service have been limited. The problem has been difficult to solve but slow progress is being made. it is hoped to return 872 to service in the 2024 operating season.