Central SMT

Airdrie Inheritance

The Central fleet became less standardised overnight on 17 June 1985, when the newly-renamed company (now Central Scottish Omnibuses Ltd) took over operations at the former Eastern Scottish Depot at Clarkston, Airdrie. The all single-deck acquired fleet consisted mainly of Leyland Nationals and Seddon Pennines. The latter was a new type for Central (well, almost!) and the Airdrie fleet was a varied one, carrying Alexander AY-, AYS- and T-type bodies and Plaxton Supreme IIIs and IVs. Some of the Airdrie fleet appeared in Central livery prior to the takeover, technically 'on hire to Eastern Scottish'.

Also acquired was Scottish Citylink-liveried Leyland Tiger BSG545W, set to become C7, along with the Glasgow - Bournemouth holiday express service. This set the scene for an about-turn in previous Central policy and many more Citylink coaches and services were operated in the following few years.

Eastern Scottish cleared its small allocation of double-deckers out of Clarkston prior to the Central takeover. In order to accommodate an advertising contract with Airdrie Savings Bank, Central's Dennis Dominator D45 was transferred to Airdrie in early 1985 and operated 'on hire to Eastern Scottish' prior to 17 June.

In some sense at least, Central also acquired the unique heritage of bus operation in Monklands, including that of the famous Baxter's of Airdrie. This well-loved independent had been bought by Eastern Scottish in the early sixties and their blue and grey colour scheme survived in use up to the closure of Victoria Depot in 1979. As illustrated below, a similar scheme was to re-surface in 1989.

The following photos give a good impression of Central's Airdrie inheritance.

Apart from the addition of its new fleetname and fleetnumber, little has changed in this view of SP19. To most people, it would still have been an Eastern Scottish bus.The transformation is complete and SP19 is now unmistakeably a Central bus. Well, almost! The Eastern-style cream windscreen surround has been retained.The livery used for the Plaxton Supreme coaches was inspired by the zig-zag scheme used on TE-types.
The zig-zag scheme was also tried on SP5. The innovation was not continued with similar SP4/6/7.Another former Eastern Scottish Seddon, very much looking the part as a Central bus in Glasgow Buchanan.Some of the Airdrie Nationals retained the livery applicaion favoured by Eastern Scottish, with the main fleet colour used for window surrounds.
Others used the standard Central scheme with cream window surrounds.    

The following picture shows D45, the Dennis Dominator that Central transferred to Airdrie several months in advance of the takeover.

Monklands Bus

As documented elsewhere on this site, Central introduced new local identities in 1989 in a desperate survival strategy following disastrous industrial relations problems. Airdrie operations became Monklands Bus, in a new livery clearly inspired by the former Baxter's of Airdrie. Here are some example of the new scheme :-

N51 actually saw service from Victoria Depot, but never in Baxter's colours.T423 looks very smart, but is 'out of area' here at Hamilton Bus Station.LT73 is seen at Buchanan Bus Station, flying the flag for Monklands.

Although there were some variations in the single-deck fleet, traditional Baxter's practice was to use dark blue and grey on double-deckers and either a lighter blue, or alternatively both shades of blue (with grey relief) on single-deckers. These pictures of the real thing show that the Monklands Bus scheme was derived from Baxter's double-deck colours. Note also the similarities in fleetname presentation.