Central SMT

Special Features Focus on: The Terminus

Contributed by Douglas G MacDonald, December 2009

Terminus Tales

Destination, turning-point, route’s end - suitable vocabulary to describe the place where buses make their last stop on a particular service, sit for a few minutes layover and then proceed to set off on the reverse journey to whence they have come. Being of a certain age, and a former Latin scholar, I preferred - and still do - the word terminus (the end) as the most apt description. This feature includes numerous termini from Central’s operating network, of which I have clear memories and recollections, for one reason or another.

AIRDRIE (Gartlea)

Located to the East of the town centre and adjacent to Broomfield Park, the home of Airdrieonians F.C., the bus stance on Gartlea Road, with exits on to Graham Street, was originally principally used by Scottish Omnibuses (Eastern Scottish) for their local services. Independent Greenshields of Salsburgh and successor Irvine’s Golden Eagle also ran their routes to Salsburgh and Shotts. It was only in the latter years of the 60s that Central’s Airdrie - Strathaven 11/12/13 and Airdrie - Hairmyres Hospital 201 services terminated at Gartlea, along with Western’s 42 to/from Ayr via Kilmarnock. Previously all of these services started off from Broomknoll Street, just off Airdrie Cross, and a road out of the town for Calderbank, Holytown etc.

As part of the town’s redevelopment, the Gartlea site was to be the site for new justiciary buildings, and in the early 1970s, the bus station was re-located across to the western side of Gartlea Road, to a new purpose-built facility with chevronned stances. This terminus occupied part of the former 'Caley' railway station goods yard, with a new office block (Coats House), public car park and a supermarket (Cooper’s Fine Fare) fronting onto Graham Street, all part of the development. Sadly, this site too has changed. The bus station has now been converted into a mini-retail park, leaving the town without a bespoke bus station.

One Central route which did terminate at Gartlea was No. 9 to Harthill, worked by the village’s outstation. In this 1960 shot, L295 is parked on the eastern side of the apron, bordered by a cinema. By 1962, this particular route had disappeared from CSMT timetables, the service number re-allocated to a new Motherwell Local linking North Forgewood and Era Bar. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Two ‘deckers lay over on the rear apron at Gartlea. Central’s B97 has the blinds ready for the cross-county run to Strathaven, a journey I enjoyed many times as a youngster, with a favourite aunt taking me to Str'aven Park for the day. No. 12 ran via Udstonhead to Str'aven, while Nos. 11 and 13 diverted via Chapelton and Glassford respectively before arriving at their destination. The crew of Western’s HCS 977 take a well-deserved break after the longer haul run from Ayr via Kilmarnock. The car alongside B97 was permitted to be there, as part of the rear of the area still included parking spaces (as seen by the Reserved signage), for the football club. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
A good image for comparing Bristol back-ends! Central’s B201 is laying-over on the apron, working on the 201 to Hairmyres Hospital. Alongside is Eastern Scottish AA726H, from Clarkston depot, in between trips on Airdrie local services. The folding-door entrance and re-styled windows certainly give the FS a ‘broader beam’ than the open-platform LD. The young boy and girl cheekily posing for the camera may have been enjoying playing on the empty 'decker. Personally, I liked the style of the FS - grey panel interior and fluorescent lights, but the bell on the platform area was in a higher position than its predecessor, making it difficult for a wee fella to reach! (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

COATBRIDGE (Buchanan Street)

With relatives in both Airdrie and Coatbridge, a father who didn’t drive and staying in Bellshill, this particular terminus was one which I remember vividly. Central’s timetable listed it officially as Buchanan Street, as the turning circle was accessed off this street, but most people knew it as Ross Street, complete with the Shark’s Mouth pub on the corner, just off Bank Street in the centre of the town, as this was where the buses set down their passengers on inbound journeys. The opening of Monklands Hospital on the fringes of Airdrie saw Service 1 extended to there in 1980, and by 1984 the other routes which ended at Ross Street (14 and 203 - the 204 had already been discontinued by this time) headed up the hill to Monklands. Although abandoned, Ross / Buchanan Street stood empty but virtually unchanged until the bulldozers moved in during 2002 to clear the area for a new private housing development on the site.

One of 16 Guy Arab IIIs with bodies on Park Royal frames, H50 lays over at Ross Street before commencing on service No. 1 to North Lodge, on the southern edges of Motherwell. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
In almost new condition, B99 picks up passengers for Bellshill and beyond. The No. 1 was extended to Hamilton in the mid-60s. The solitary cast-iron shelter was not for the faint-hearted on a dark winter’s night. It had only one light, invariably vandalised, as were some of the windows, thus making it a ‘cauld howff’. From memory, some crews would either pull right round to the shelter on arrival, or take a very short layover, to allow travellers to find some refuge from the elements and the supposed shelter when the weather was poor. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
For me, this image is the ideal example of activity at Ross Street. L231 and L322, complete with ‘puffing’ crews, have their blinds turned for their outward runs. The former shows simply ‘Motherwell’, presumably The Cross and perhaps a peak-time duplicate, while the latter will terminate at Bellshill on assumedly a short-working or additional working of the No. 1. The unidentified LD in the background still has its blinds above the rear platform in use, but is giving nothing away! Buchanan / Ross Street was a busy place, especially weekdays at peak times with the 1 to North Lodge or Hamilton, 14 to Meikle Earnock, 203/204 to Hairmyres Hospital, and not forgetting No. 6 to Eddlewood. A passenger for Bellshill wouldn’t have long to wait for a bus, with an average of six departing within the hour. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

HAMILTON (Kemp Street)

Prior to the construction of Hamilton Bus Station (or to give its full title, the Hamilton Bus/Rail Interchange) in the 1970s, the town’s Kemp Street was used a terminal point for many services. This location was just off Townhead Street, to the North of Hamilton Central station, i.e. above the railway embankment and carriage sidings, and simply comprised a row of stops. The facility had also been used by Laurie’s Chieftain services prior to take-over by CSMT in 1961.

Roe-bodied H36, a Guy Arab II of 1945 vintage, is pictured in its final months of service in 1959,  laying over at the far end of Kemp Street. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
This 'decker started life as London Transport RTL13. Bought by Laurie’s in October 1958, the highbridge bus passed into the Central ranks as HL191, lasting until 1965. It is between trips on a former Chieftain service to Priestfield via Blantyre. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
From the 1956 batch of flat-fronted Alexander-bodied PD2/20s, L533 is being deployed on another ex-Chieftain run to Eaglesham via Hairmyres. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
With contemporary side-panel ad for a famous fizzy drink, B143 has just arrived on Service 1 from Coatbridge, which by this time had been extended from North Lodge, still included as ‘via’ on the blind. It's interesting to note that, even in the 1966 timetable, the end point for setting down passengers on the No. 1 (and others) is shown as Hamilton (New Cross), but the start / pick-up point is Kemp Street. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
T51 looks fairly new in this mid-60s shot. Note the small flip-over PAYE sign. Service 223 was a Hamilton local, linking the housing estates of Fairhill and Hillhouse. (D.G. Macdonald Collection)

HAMILTON (Bus Station)

As a new decade (1970s) dawned, an integral part of redevelopment plans for Hamilton’s New Cross area was the new bus station, to be built right outside the front door of the Central rail station, hence the Bus/Rail Interchange moniker applied to the project. The result was a purpose-built facility with stances, waiting-room, toilets and booking/enquiry office, and virtually all bus services called in to set-down or pick up passengers - even through services.

With paper sticker declaring ‘Glasgow’ as its destination, T68 is ready to operate on Service 62 which actually commenced at Fairhill, ran via the Town Centre, Blantyre and Cambuslang into the city. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
In the final double-deck livery, BL335 appears to have been on a short working of the 54, which ran from Strathaven to Glasgow via Uddingston. (A.J. Douglas)

STRATHAVEN (Common Green)

Complete with park and boating pond, Strathaven was always a popular destination for day / half-day outings, School / Sunday School trips, etc. A neat, rural town in the south of Lanarkshire, it served a large agricultural community and other villages in its hinterland, and Strathaven itself was well-served by Central SMT. Apart from the already-mentioned
cross-county routes from Airdrie (11/12/13), other routes terminated in the town’s ‘square’, which is the Common Green, in which buses had to share space with parking for cars.

L589 is perhaps cooling down after a trip on Service 70 from Glasgow (Killermont Street and later Buchanan Street). The journey via Bridgeton, Rutherglen, Burnside and East Kilbride had a running time of 64 minutes. A short-working variation, No. 71, finished at Hairmyres. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
As a Y-type single-decker arrives, possibly from Airdrie, BE232 loads up for the 54 to Glasgow (Buchanan Street). This trunk service operated via Stonehouse, Larkhall, and Uddingston, and took 1 hour 21 mins to complete. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

LANARK (Horsemarket)

One of Scotland’s oldest burghs, with a picturesque setting at the head of the Clyde Valley, the county capital has always been a fairly important terminal and through point in public transport, especially buses. The Horsemarket Stance, just beyond the High Street and adjacent to the railway station, is still to the fore in the twenty-first century, albeit in a modernised and smaller layout, but it’s the original terminus which is featured here.

Parked up at the rear of the stance is K25 of 1953 vintage. The rear-entrance Guy shows ‘Douglas 35’ in the blinds. This was a local run from Lesmahagow to Douglas / Douglas West. The single-decker sits next to a second hand AEC of still-extant independent Stokes of Carstairs. The stance was also used by Jackson of Auchenheath / Hugh Love / Whiteford of Nemphlar – all long-gone ‘indies’ operating local routes. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Central’s Limited Stop services from Biggar/Peebles to Glasgow also called in at the Lanark facility. On a short-working, as a duplicate on the 244, elderly Leyland L272 pulls into the stance from Glasgow at the end of what must have been a ‘shoogly’ run from the metropolis! (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
The trunk service to/from Glasgow 40/240 started from Lanark, as well as numerous other shorter, more local services, and not forgetting the cross-country service to Edinburgh. This image illustrates well the high-level of activity at the Horsemarket. Long-radiator Lodekka B23 is ready to commence the 27-minute journey to Carnwath. Bristol sister B25 will head in the opposite direction on the hourly service 16 to Hamilton, using the scenic but in winter tortuous Clyde Valley route. In the latter years of the route, Y-types were the norm, or even the ‘six little Leopards’ (qv), but I recall one occasion when my Father decided on taking the valley route to visit a friend in Lanark. The 46-minute journey was made in a Leyland ‘decker similar to that in picture (2), but with no heating, and a gearbox which sounded worn out! Tin-fronted L555 is set for the 240 into Glasgow, which perhaps dates the photo to pre-1956/7, by which time there had been a large influx of Lodekkas which became regulars on the entire 40/41/240/241 set of services. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Part of the historical conditions of use of the Horsemarket site was that the travelling fair was allowed to set-up here on visits to the town. When ‘the shows’ were in town, a considerable amount of bus space was surrendered, as shown in this shot. T414 was acquired in August 1980 from Western SMT, but had been new to Alexander (Northern) as NPE 4. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)


Near the Bonnie Banks, Balloch was a regular choice for days out. If going with my Monklands relatives, the choice was the Blue Train from Airdrie or Coatbridge Sunnyside. However, if my parents or Motherwell side of the county relations instigated the excursion, it was far more interesting, and longer. The frequent 40/41/240/241 service would get us into Glasgow’s Waterloo Street (q.v.), and then a change of platform at this terminus would see us switch to one of Central’s three services to Balloch (132/133/136) and a journey via the West End, Clydebank and Old Kilpatrick lasting 1hr 12mins. Balloch Bus Stance was near the railway station, and apart from the Glasgow routes, was also a start/end point for more local services to Helensburgh and Luss. From memory, private coaches on day outings, or even just stopovers for a couple of hours, would park up in the same tarmac area, whose only facility was public toilets.

The Dunbartonshire services were all operated by Gavinburn (Old Kilaptrick) depot, whose fleet allocation could be eclectic to say the least! L264 was from the second batch (1947) post-war all-Leyland PD1As. It was around 10 years old and still looking smart when this snap was taken. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Central’s initial batch (25) of Lodekkas was delivered in 1955. Some had the long-style radiator grille, while others like B18 sported the shortened, standard version. All of these Bristols had the two-window destination display. Sparkling in summer sunshine alongside another sister vehicle at Balloch, this handsome vehicle carries the contemporary revamped livery scheme. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
My favourite buses for Balloch journeys were the tin-fronted Leylands, from the L5--/L6-- series in the CSMT ranks. With bold style fleetname, L630 arrives at Balloch later in its 16 year life It was the penultimate PD3 bought by the company. Some of the 1960 deliveries saw further service in Central’s heartland of Lanarkshire with Bingorama’s non-PSV operation at Bellshill, but regrettably
L630 was scrapped. (D.G. MacDonald)

GLASGOW (Waterloo Street)

As a pre-school youngster, I always felt intimidated when in the gloomy, austere and smelly surroundings of Waterloo Street. I seem to recall the steps on to the stances or platforms were quite steep, and you always had to be alert for buses coming in and pulling out, such could be the volume of traffic. Opened in 1928 by Central’s predecessor GOC, the facility initially only served the Dunbartonshire area services, as part of the premises were utilised as a garage and service station for private cars! Eventually, CSMT’s 40/41/240/241/242/243/244/43/44/56, among others, all ended at Waterloo Street.

L205 started life with Lanarkshire Traction Company and moved into Central’s fleet in 1949. The vehicle had actually been a TS7T single-deck chassis (G18), and was switched from three- to two-axle and re-bodied in 1945. In the final year of its life (1957), the Leyland is bound for Wishaw. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Minus route number in the blind, B52 leaves Waterloo Street on the 1hr 37min journey to Lanark. (R.L. Grieves)
Arriving from Balloch, L579 enters the Bus Station from the 'back door' on Wellington Street. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
One of my personal favourites in the fleet, B130 exits Waterloo Street bound for Carluke. The FSF is shown here in its original condition, with long fleetname and black lining-out. The ‘decker spent much or indeed most of its working life on the Bellshill Local routes (31/32), after they had been extended to the Hattonrigg and North Road areas of the Lanarkshire town. (Omnicolour)

Glasgow (Killermont Street)

Central was the only member of the Scottish Bus Group to refer to this terminus in timetables and on route blinds as Killermont Street. The others referred to it as Buchanan Street. The exit on to Buchanan Street had originally been intended as the entrance, with Killermont Street the way out. Opened in 1934, the facility closed in the second half of 1976, with the opening of the new Buchanan Bus Station. CSMT routes into Killermont Street included services from
Strathaven, Netherburn, Lesmahagow, Coalburn, Newmains, East Kilbride and Hamilton (62).

L493 was one of five NCME-bodied PD2/10s from 1955. The ‘decker is destined for Netherburn, a small community in south Lanarkshire which enjoyed two buses per hour on the 55 to Glasgow via Larkhall and Hamilton. (A.J. Douglas)
Setting down passengers on Killermont Street in the early 1970s, B78 has travelled into town from East Kilbride on service 78, which ran twice per hour. (A E Jones / D G MacDonald Collection)
On the parking / holding area which was part of this terminus, T31 is a one-man operation of part-time service 58 to Stonehouse Hospital. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Of all Central’s destinations, Bonkle surely has to be one of the most un-inspiring, and certainly unromantic! A mining village just outside Newmains in east Lanarkshire, Bonkle was also well-served by Central. This service originally ran in / out of Waterloo Street, but transferred up the hill when Anderson Cross opened in 1971. BL 307 was, of course, one of the 78-seat FLFs, whose extra-long overhang is well shown here. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

GLASGOW (Anderston Cross)

An integral part of the redevelopment of Anderston, to the west side of Argyle Street, was the construction of a new bus station, which opened in 1971. The facility was shared by Central and Western SMT for the former’s Waterloo Street services, and the latter’s routes which ended on Clyde Street and St. Enoch Square. The life of this terminus was relatively short with its closure in 1993.

Leaving the concrete jungle that was Anderston, B164 emerges into the sunshine as it commences the 132 to Balloch. This ‘decker was part of the first batch of the Central FSFs to sport the ‘wavy’ grille. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Captured in the same spot, this Daimler Fleetline is en route to Shotts. D31 was transferred to Alexander (Northern) in 1976 as part of Central’s early withdrawal and disposal of these unpopular buses (q.v. Fleetline Failures). (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

GLASGOW (Clyde Street)

On the north bank of the River Clyde, this on-street location was the destination for only two of Central’s Services which originated in the new town of East Kilbride, along with some Western routes. A9 has had its blind reset for East Kilbride (Calderwood) and route 180/181, a high-frequency service which ran via Busby. Sundays-only hospital (Hairmyres) service 182 also used Clyde Street. The company’s other East Kilbride services ran into Killermont Street and operated via Rutherglen and Bridgeton into the city. Along with 7 of her sisters, this unloved Lowlander was transferred to Alexander (Fife) in 1965. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

GLASGOW (Buchanan)

 Buchanan Bus Station replaced Killermont Street / Buchanan Street in 1976 and was used by Central, Eastern Scottish and Alexander. The facility is still very much to the fore, after a makeover in recent years, and indeed is the only bespoke bus terminus in the City of Glasgow.

Laying over on the parking area, BE270 is being deployed on a Hairmyres Hospital service. Operating for some time from East Kilbride depot, this Bristol was a particular favourite of my own, also running on the 201/203/204 network from Airdrie / Coatbridge to Hairmyres Hospital. One of fourteen diverted to CSMT from an Alexander (Fife) order, the bus had dark green seating and buzzers (beep-beep) rather than bells (ding-ding)! (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
Part of the first batch of Volvo Ailsas delivered in 1978, AH8 departs Buchanan for Greenhills (East Kilbride). Carrying a broadside ad for well-known VW dealers Ian Skelly, this ‘decker passed into the Central Scottish ranks upon revamping of the Scottish Bus Group and de-regulation in 1985. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

GLASGOW (Carlton Pace)

On arguably the more picturesque south side of the Clyde, Carlton Place was the end point of Central’s fairly short services from Newton and Cambuslang (72/75/76) until 1968, when they transferred to Waterloo Street. Scottish Omnibuses (Eastern Scottish) likewise used Carlton Place for its inter-city service 35 to Edinburgh via Bellshill, and the 36 to Whitburn.

New in 1947, L237 is blinded for a short working to High Burnside (Central’s 72/75/76 ran via Burnside and Rutherglen). This Leyland PD1 saw further service from the Eastern Scottish depot at Bathgate from late 1961 until finally withdrawn at the age of eighteen and scrapped by Wombwell Diesels within weeks. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
East of Cambuslang, Newton was a village with both rail and bus connections, originally due to the coal industry and latterly the steel industry (Hallside Works). L523 was one of 25 Leylands new in 1956 which carried the squarer Alexander bodies. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)

GLASGOW (Cunningham Street)

This feature concludes with something of a trick. ‘Cunningham Street’ never appeared on any destination blind. It was used by SBG members Central, Alexander and SOL as a layover / parking point. When resuming duties, buses would make the short trip to nearby Killermont Street to start their respective services, in the case of L229 the 70 to East Kilbride. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)
More than a wee bit of mystery in this image. The blind shows Glasgow [Carlton Place] and the number set to 181. The service did exist along with 180 to East Kilbride [Calderwood], but both terminated at Clyde Street! Regardless of that contradiction, it may well be that the bus was parked up at Cunningham Street for a few hours, before redeployment on a service from Killermont Street. H9 was a Massey-bodied former Lanarkshire Traction Guy Arab II of 1943 vintage. (D.G. MacDonald Collection)