Central SMT

Special Features Focus on : Later in Life

Contributed by Douglas G MacDonald, June 2005

Central’s impressive record of good house-keeping and standards of maintenance meant that many vehicles spent long working lives with the company. Even after withdrawal from CSMT service, the longevity of OAP omnibuses was extended even further when sold on to other operators, north and south of the border.

Previously, I’ve covered acquisitions by Highland, Northern and other SBG operators, not forgetting to shout full house with Bingorama, Bellshill. The Anglo-Scottish swap-shop of VRs for FLFs is also well documented, but for this selection of snaps, I’ve carefully chosen Central vehicles which found new homes with less well-known owners, in a variety of diverse locations.

The images range from the 50s to the 80s, and the accompanying captions give details of the moves, but I’m afraid I have an identity crisis with Picture No. 13. I picked out the single-decker in service with Gibson’s of Moffat, saw the registration CVD 881 and automatically assumed the Leyland had originated at Central. However, unless my PSV/OS and other records have omitted this bus, I can find no trace of it in the CSMT fleet, and I also cross-checked my major Lanarkshire indies like Hutchison, Stokes, Baxters, etc. If you can shed any light on this mystery, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Basking in sunshine at Whitesands, Dumfries, this Leyland Lion was bought by Clark’s of Glencaple in 1946, after 12 years of Central service. The LT5A was F10 in Central’s Lanarkshire fleet, and lasted till 1950 with Clark’s, who also acquired sister F97.

With wartime bodywork by Strachan’s, this 1944 Guy Arab headed south, before crossing the border back into Scotland. Central’s H14 was withdrawn in 1959 at the age of 15 and sold off to Millburn Motors. A few months later it was bought by T.D. Alexander (Greyhound) and taken to Sheffield. In the summer of 1961, the decker was transferred to the company’s operation at Arbroath, where it remained till 1965.

The Lowlander that became a Highlander, before enjoying its final days in Burns Country! As Central’s unloved A16, the 1963 bus became AL16 with its second owner. In this view, Highland livery is still worn, even though the vehicle is in the yard of well-known, and still extant, Ayrshire operator John Keenan of Coalhall. It was mainly used on Miners/Workers and Schools services.

As L334 with Central, this 1951 Leyland gave sixteen years of sterling service, before being sold via Tiger Coaches to Renfrewshire independent Garner’s, Bridge of Weir.

Withdrawn just short of its 20th birthday, all-Leyland L405 was bought in early 1968 by Northern Roadways, Glasgow and deployed mainly on work/school contracts, and football supporters’ hires. The bus still wore full Central colours when captured on Old Shettleston Road in the east end of the city.

Another decker which made the short hop from Lanarkshire to Glasgow, L463 ceased Central service in 1967, but again is still sporting her old colours leaving Northern Roadways’ depot.

While sister BGM 97 found a new home with Bingorama, Central’s B96 headed for the Tail of the Bank. New owner Doig's of Greenock retained the cream relief, but applied its distinctive tangerine-orange livery to this 1960 Lodekka.

As Central’s C8, this 1955 Duple-bodied Bedford SBG must have seen many places in her days on Tours/Private Hires, but the longest trip was to new owner J.D. Peace of Kirkwall on Orkney in February 1966, and she soon had company in former CSMT coaching companions C9 and C10.

Minus her Central scroll-name, C15 was only seven years old when acquired by Baird’s of Dunoon in the spring of 1967. The coach is parked on the esplanade of the picturesque Cowal resort.

In Central days, this Y-type was T150 in the 1972 batch of Leyland Leopards. This picture shows her as a recovery vehicle with Newport Transport, in ‘Welsh Wales’, but thankfully this single-decker has come home, and has been fully restored in Central Scottish livery by Scott Crichton.

A newer Leopard, Central’s T258 later saw service with Inverclyde Transport, and is caught on camera in Greenock on a typically wet day!

Back to my favourite bus – the Bristol! Formerly BL306, this ex-Central FLF is parked up at Walnut Grove, Perth in the early days of Stagecoach.

Since the PSV/OS Fleet History was published mid-70s when this bus was still in service, I can’t trace its route after withdrawal. At first sight a Playbus, closer scrutiny shows ‘Community Programme Project’, and with the curtained upper-deck area, I suspect BL341 was used as a mobile drama bus somewhere in England!

HELP! Can you solve the author’s mystery over this single-deck Leyland? It carries a Lanarkshire registration mark, but doesn’t appear to have been in Central service before becoming a Borders bus with Gibson of Moffat.