From Horses to Hydrogen: The Evolution of Merseyside Buses Over the Years


Today’s buses are very different from those we saw on the roads in the 20th century

Reliable public transport on roads and railways is essential to the prosperity of any large city.

As Liverpool became one of the main ports of the British Empire during the Industrial Revolution, an extensive tram network was built to accommodate the growing population during its rapid expansion.

Construction of the network began in 1869, with horse-drawn streetcars. It was not until the late 1800s that the lines were electrified.

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Horse-drawn omnibuses also operated in the city during this period and it was not until 1910 that buses were first introduced to the city.

After World War II, buses began to replace trams across Liverpool and tram lines began to close from 1947.

Liverpool’s last tram entered a depot in Bowring Park on September 14, 1957.

With the end of streetcars and the closure of the Liverpool Overhead Railway in 1956, buses had become the most popular form of transport in the city.

Before private bus companies replaced municipal bus services in the 1970s, many people in Merseyside have fond memories of each region’s distinctive buses.

Liverpool buses were green, Birkenhead were blue, Wallasey were green and yellow, and St Helens and Southport were red.

Today’s buses on our roads are very different from those of the 1990s and 2000s.

In our continued attempt to reduce carbon emissions, hybrid and electric vehicles dominate with even more environmentally friendly buses to come.

State-of-the-art, zero-emission hydrogen buses are installed in the Liverpool city area and could be seen on the roads as early as next year.

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The new specially designed buses will be part of a new generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles from ADL, designed to be more energy efficient to cover greater distances between refueling.

The buses will carry a range of special features for passengers, including wireless phone charging and internet access with improved accessibility for wheelchair users.

We searched the photographic archives and gathered 17 photographs showing the transformation of public transport from omnibuses and horse-drawn trams to the new hydrogen vehicles being introduced for the city.

Does it awaken memories for you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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