RETRO: On board Sheffield’s old Eager Beavers and bendy buses

Articulated bus on test in Sheffield - 5th October 1977
Articulated bus on test in Sheffield - 5th October 1977
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Sheffield’s recent bus problems are by now well documented in The Star’s pages.

But it wasn’t always the case.

Arson attack on a Sheffield bus - 1990

Arson attack on a Sheffield bus - 1990

In fact, the city has a rich history of some weird and wonderful vehicles out on the roads as recently as the 1990s.

Where to start?

How about the Eager Beavers?

These multicoloured minibuses flew around Sheffield’s streets in the 1980s and 1990s, running from the city centre to Hillsborough and Fulwood among other routes.

Sheffield bus garage - 1959

Sheffield bus garage - 1959

The 1990s proved to be a colourful time for Sheffield’s public transport.

Whereas today, we’ve got First Bus and Stagecoach, the 90s proved to be a veritable rainbow of service providers at almost every stop.

The green and yellow Yorkshire Terrier, the red and yellow Mainline buses – the main operator at the time – the Eager Beavers and the blue and beige Andrews firm.

One advantage of the litany of services was increased competition. Back in 1986, for example, fares were just 2p per mile on average.

Buses in Sheffield city centre - 11th March 1996

Buses in Sheffield city centre - 11th March 1996

Sheffield has a proud history of experimental transport – and by far the type of bus which will stick out in Sheffielders’ memories is the bendy bus.

First introduced in the 1970s, bendy buses came and went several times through the decades.

They were brought back by Mainline, which initially ran them as a free hop-on, hop-off service in the city centre – allegedly because Government transport rules at the time meant bendy buses were not legal if they were run as charged-for buses.

They also gained a bit of a reputation for providing passengers with a wild ride.

High Street, Sheffield - bus chaos in 1993

High Street, Sheffield - bus chaos in 1993

In one supposed incident of the 1990s, a bendy vehicle jack-knifed and became lodged on a roundabout in the city centre.

Soon after, the unusual vehicles were put on a Meadowhall shuttle service.

It’s not the first time the city has trialled unusual transport.

The Electroline trolley bus was a fully electric converted bus which ran off overhead lines.

They were trialled several times through the decades, with the first examples in the city documented as early as the 1910s.

Sadly, diesel was found to be comparatively cheaper, and trolley buses never quite took off.

Pictured is bus driver Keith Bruney who is seen with the burnt out bus that he drove to the fire station - 24th July 1986

Pictured is bus driver Keith Bruney who is seen with the burnt out bus that he drove to the fire station - 24th July 1986

And it would not be until 1993 that a tram of any kind was seen in again, when the Supertram was installed.

Do you have any Retro photos? Email alex.evans@jpress.co.uk

The first bus for disabled people was in service in Sheffield today - 11th August 1986 - and our picture shows Transport Authority Chairman, Coun Jack Meredith, meeting one of the first passengers, Dorothy Goddard from Skye Edge Hostel, Sheffield, being assisted on the powered ramp.

The first bus for disabled people was in service in Sheffield today - 11th August 1986 - and our picture shows Transport Authority Chairman, Coun Jack Meredith, meeting one of the first passengers, Dorothy Goddard from Skye Edge Hostel, Sheffield, being assisted on the powered ramp.

Lady Bendi Bus driver Karen Shelton at Mainline,Greenland Road Garage

Lady Bendi Bus driver Karen Shelton at Mainline,Greenland Road Garage

Sheffield Bendibus on Pinstone Street'c1981

Sheffield Bendibus on Pinstone Street'c1981

Alan Berry (Star journalist) prepares to take a drive in the South Yorkshire Transport's experimental trolley bus at Doncaster Race Course - 18 March 1988

Alan Berry (Star journalist) prepares to take a drive in the South Yorkshire Transport's experimental trolley bus at Doncaster Race Course - 18 March 1988

Sheffield Eager Beavers Bus - 2nd November 1992

Sheffield Eager Beavers Bus - 2nd November 1992