For many cities the streets are still lined with wires hanging above the asphalt, a reminder of the trolleys that squeaked and whistled and clunked down the streets taking residents and commuters throughout the city. Fortunately, many cities have decided to use those old wires or even install new ones to utilize trackless trolleys or trolleybuses. The system is especially prevalent across Europe and the former USSR.

Trolleybuses have their problems, such as being subject to traffic, wire infrastructure that could disable the whole system, and cost of individual trolleys versus normal buses. However, environmental advantages as well as utility against typical track-riding trolleys are certain. Of course, just because there are advantages to trackless trolleys does not mean they are appropriate for every city, as the people of Edmonton are currently discussing. Perhaps the major advantage to the trackless trolleys is that like all wired transit systems they can be operated without gas and the electricity can be produced by renewable resources like wind and water.

If you need lots of pictures from across North America, Tom has quite the collection for you. It just makes me sad that there are many more sites with former operations than current operations. And if your goal is to step on some older trolleybuses, well, you should visit Illinois’ Railway Museum to see their Trolley Bus Department.

One sterling example of reviving old trolley lines is occurring in Philadelphia. This exceptional information regarding SEPTA’s efforts to revive certain lines with trackless trolleys is courtesy of Philadelphia Trolley Tracks. The system is also in use in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA domestically.

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