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Trolleybuses drew power from wires hanging above the street. 
They were large, quiet and needed little maintenance. 
Their principal problems were the queues that built up if anything went wrong with the power supply and the tendency for the collecting poles, the trollies, to spring off the wires. 
The original single rear light of the trolleybus was supplemented, with two reflectors, by legalisation brought in only months before all trolleybuses were to be scrapped. 
From: "Eric Graham" <>

You might not think that Highgate Village was 'rural' but had you the chance to hear the stories from my mother, born 1912 and the youngest of many siblings, you might well change your mind. It WAS a village, with everyone knowing each other, and their business; the fire engine pulled by horses [to great peril to the family dog] and through traffic almost non existent.

The turn-round in Highgate  was originally designed for the trams till they found out the limit of their climbing ability was Dick Whittington's mile stone!

At the bottom of the hill at the Archway there was a frog that let the 611 divert up Highgate Hill and the rest of the routes go off right to Archway Rd.

The 611 was something of a headache for London Transport's tram and trolleybus department. Difficulties in securing a suitable terminus in Highgate Village, and opposition to plans to run along North Road and North Hill to North Finchley, delayed its introduction and the steepness of Highgate Hill meant the route had to be operated with specially-adapted trolleybuses.

Tram 11 had terminated in a stub in Highgate High Street; while this was fine for the trams as the driver just changed ends and the tram went back the way it came, trolleybuses needed a turning circle! 
London Transport posited three plans: a loop via Southwood Lane, Castle Yard and North Road; extending the route along North Road and constructing a turning circle 60 yards north of the junction with Castle Yard; and extending the route to North Finchley via North Road and North Hill.
However all these extensions took the route over the London County Council boundary, and were all objected to by Middlesex County Council, Hornsey Metropolitan Borough Council and Highgate School, the latter citing dangers to school children - all the proposals involved trolleybuses passing the school. 
Eventually London Transport managed to secure a site at the junction of Highgate High Street and The Grove, close to the tram terminus and just within the London County Council boundary [presumably this involved the expense of compulsory purchase and demolition of property on the corner], and built a terminus large enough to hold two trolleybuses. This terminus is still used by the 611's successor, the 271 bus, today. Having been planned for 4th September 1938, tram 11 was finally replaced on 10th December 1939; it was the last tram route to operate in North London aside from the three routes which used the Kingsway Subway in Holborn.

Parts of Highgate Hill are as steep as 1 in 10, so the Ministry of Transport required all trolleybuses using the hill to be fitted with run-back and coasting brakes. 
London Transport had to order a fleet of trolleybuses specifically for the route, the J3 and L1 classes. 

In 1957 the route was considered for trial running of Routemaster buses, but this was dropped as it would have meant a long period of dual trolleybus and motor bus operation at Highgate Depot.  
In the event the route was replaced by bus 271 after Tuesday 19th July 1960. 
Highgate's other routes were not converted until 31st January 1961, apart from the 627 which survived until 25th April 1961.

It was 1973 before North Road and North Hill got a bus service, when route 143 was diverted via Highgate Village instead of Archway Road.
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