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company history

 

Part 2: Toward deregulation, 1985-1987

 


Rapid expansion

        saw Stagecoach become a major player in the UK bus market during the mid-late 80s.


1985: ROUTEMASTER ARRIVAL

This photo, courtesy of David Devoy, depicts 847DYE - the first Routemaster to enter service with Stagecoach, still wearing London red back in Spring 1985.

Several key developments occurred in 1985. The earliest was the arrival in Perth of ten former London Transport Routemasters, releasing Lodekkas for transfer to Edinburgh for the Adamson Low subsidiary. The first five Routemasters (601/02/11DYE, 741DYE & 847DYE) arrived in January 1985, followed by a further five (WLT504/560/703 & 596/99CLT) in May 1985. These were the first Routemasters to operate outside of the capital, apart from the front entrance examples at NBC subsidiary, Northern General.

One of the first batch of five Routemasters, 602DYE is seen in full Stagecoach livery but without fleetnames in this image provided by flickr user miledorcha.



The second major development of the year came in May, with the voluntary liquidation of the Adamson & Low subsidiary. Three of the coaches were sold with the Adamson & Low operation, with the remainder transferring to the main Stagecoach fleet at Perth. This could have been regarded as a sign of retrenchment, particularly as it followed the cessation of the Glasgow to Edinburgh express service as well as the operation of the Glasgow to Ardrossan service passing to Crawford, Neilston, under contract to Stagecoach. These moves resulted in a significantly reduced requirement for an operating base in Glasgow, and saw the closure, but not sale, of the Port Dundas depot. As shall be seen, the depot at Port Dundas still had a pivotal role to play in the future of Stagecoach...

Another of the first batch of five Routemasters, this photo of 611DYE is provided by flickr user kwk33f.

Above left, Eddie Leslie provides this shot of 741DYE, another of the orignal five Routemasters while above right is David Christie's photo of one of the second batch, WLT560.

Seen here repainted into Stagecoach livery is David Christie's shot of 847DYE.

These two shots provided by Stuart Johnson show Stagecoach liveried 596CLT & 599CLT.

Graham Martin-Bates provides this image which shows 601DYE standing alongside 596CLT at Spittalfield.


Another treasure from Graham Martin-Bates' personal collection included with thanks here is this is this advert from a local newspaper in December 1985, featuring festive greetings and a warm welcome to former McLennan passengers.


While their operations in West Scotland reduced, in East Scotland Stagecoach commenced operating a Dundee to Errol service on behalf of Tayside Regional Council and any concerns that Stagecoach was downsizing it's operation, were firmly quashed with the final major development of 1985. This came in November with the acquisition of the complete assets of A & C McLennan of Spittalfield. This purchase included not only the operations and fleet of 26 vehicles, but also the depot at Spittalfield and represented further growth following the disposal of the Adamson & Low operations in May.


The vehicles included in the McLennan acquisition comprised: Daimler CCG5 TFA987

Many thanks to David Christie for providing this superb shot of TFA987 at Walnut Grove in 1986. Photo © David Christie


Daimler Fleetline GYJ399/402/403/404G and PYJ445/448/451/465L




This series of photos are presented courtesy of Graham Martin-Bates and depict the eight Fleetlines inherited with the business of A&C McLennan. Their survival with Stagecoach lasted a matter of weeks, being among the first of the former Spittalfield fleet to be withdrawn.


Ford TOO557, YHA298/310J, UES663K (out of use at the time of the sale, following accident damage), XGS358L, WPT795F, LNX318L, PGA763P and PPT399P







The range of inherited Fords; the first image shows TOO557 and is courtesy of flickr user miledorcha. Subsequent images YHA298J, YHA310J and UES663K are provided by and copyright Graham Martin-Bates with XGS358L provided by flickr user miledorcha. Graham Martin-Bates provides the shot of WPT795F from and copyright the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum Archives, while the images of LNX318L and PGA763P are from Graham's personal collection with PPT399P coming from and copyright the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum Archives.


Bedford NMB276L, OJR107M, SYJ947/948L, HSN656N, PNL678M, AGG934S and TSN392S







All eight of these images of the former McLennan fleet of Bedfords are provided by Graham Martin-Bates. All are from his personal collection with the exception of TSN392S, which is from The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum Archives.


All eight of the Fleetlines were sold a month after the acquisition of the company, replaced by Lodekkas and Routemasters transferred from Perth. The remainder of the ex-McLennan fleet continued to operate on McLennan licence discs initially. None ever received Stagecoach livery.

Five new vehicles were purchased by Stagecoach during 1985, four Neoplan Skyliners B684DVL, B685DVL, C719JTL and C727JTL and a single Neoplan Jetliner, B683DVL.




A selection of Stagecoach's new deliveries in 1985; Neoplan Skyliner C719JTL (top left, copyright Howard Wilde), Neoplan Skyliner C727JTL still wearing demonstrator livery having come from dealer stock (top right, copyright flickr user no low floors..if only !), Neoplan Jetliner B683DVL (above left, copyright John Law) and finally (above right, copyright Daniel Shaw), this shot of C727JTL following repaint to full Stagecoach livery.


Departures from the Stagecoach fleet in 1985 comprised Lodekkas FGM301D, FGM306D and AEV820F (the latter two accident damaged), Volvo B10Ms NES483Y (sold to Crawford, Neilston), A270GJU, A271GJU, A272GJU and A273GJU (all sold to Park, Hamilton), Bristol MW6G HDV639E (preserved), Bristol LH6L VOD110K (sold to Park, Hamilton) and Neoplan Skyliners 4040SC, 8000SC, 9492SC (reregistered LES667X, PSR143Y and OES629Y respectively; not used by Stagecoach with these registrations and sold to Carlton, dealer) and 5889SC, which was destroyed after burning out.

Further Neoplan Skyliner re-registrations during 1985 included B684DVL, which received 4040SC removed from the former STT602X prior to sale, and A143RVL which became 7878SC. 4009SC (formerly LSP222X) and 5142SC (formerly MVL608Y) were also re-registered LES295X and OES628Y, respectively, toward the end of their life with Stagecoach. Both were sold in late 1985. 2345SC was reregistered PSR793Y. The cherished registrations were recycled as follows: 4009SC - Neoplan Skyliner A331UFE 8000SC - Neoplan Skyliner A332UFE 5142SC - Neoplan Skyliner A334UFE 9492SC - Neoplan Skyliner A335UFE.



Thanks to Graham Martin-Bates for providing these two images of reregistered Neoplan Skyliners 4040SC (previously B684DVL; left) and 8000SC (previously A332UFE; right). Both images are from Graham's personal collection to which he retains all copyright.


The Stagecoach fleet
December 1985


Bristol MW6G HDV639E (preserved)
Volvo B10M FES831W
Bristol Lodekka 866NHT
Bristol Lodekka HGM334E
Bristol Lodekka HGM335E
Volvo B58 HSP593W
Volvo B58 JSR42X
Volvo B58 JSR43X
Neoplan Skyliner PSR793Y
Volvo B10M A78RGE
Volvo B10M A798TGG
Volvo B10M A799TGG
Volvo B10M A800TGG
Neoplan Skyliner 4585SC
Neoplan Skyliner 7878SC
Bristol Lodekka WVX528F
Bristol Lodekka WVX532F
Bristol Lodekka BXA464B
Neoplan Skyliner 4009SC
Neoplan Skyliner 8000SC
Neoplan Skyliner 5142SC
Neoplan Skyliner 9492SC
Bristol Lodekka LWC660C
Bristol Lodekka WNO973F
Bristol Lodekka GDL768E
Bristol Lodekka GDL769E
Bristol Lodekka GDL771E
Bristol Lodekka GDL816E
Routemaster 601DYE
Routemaster 602DYE
Routemaster 611DYE
Routemaster 741DYE
Routemaster 847DYE
Routemaster WLT504
Routemaster WLT560
Routemaster WLT703
Routemaster 596CLT
Routemaster 599CLT
Neoplan Jetliner B683DVL
Neoplan Skyliner 4040SC
Neoplan Skyliner B685DVL
Neoplan Skyliner C719JTL
Neoplan Skyliner C727JTL
Volvo B58 MCS991W
Volvo B58 BGG162S
Volvo B58 9039RU

Former A & C McLennan fleet
December 1985


Daimler CCG5 TFA787
Ford TOO557
Ford YHA298J
Ford YHA310J
Ford XGS358L
Ford WPT795F
Ford LNX318L
Ford PGA763P
Ford PPT399P
Bedford NMB276L
Bedford OJR107M
Bedford SYJ947L
Bedford SYJ948L
Bedford HSN656N
Bedford PNL678M
Bedford AGG934S
Bedford TSN392S


Former Adamson Low fleet
December 1985


Ford LSG727P - presumed disposed
Ford OSG741Y - presumed disposed
Ford SGG452R - presumed disposed
Bedford BTD488E - presumed disposed
Bedford RCN13N - presumed disposed
Leyland Leopard JKU450P - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard JKU453P - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard PCS861X - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard JRB743N - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard USU172W - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard JKU454P - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland Leopard FSD89V - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland PD3A LJF27F - presumed returned to main fleet
Leyland PD3A LJF28F - presumed returned to main fleet




1986: A KIND OF MAGIC

Surely the single most significant event to occur in 1986 was the implementation of the 1985 Transport Act which saw deregulation of local bus services. Stagecoach capitalised in two ways.


The first was to register several new local services in the Glasgow area, which the Act made possible through an increased drive for competition in the local bus market. The new Glasgow services were registered to a newly established company, Magicbus (Scotland) Ltd in early 1986, though it did not become operational until deregulation day (D-day) on 26 October. The base for the company was the newly reopened depot Port Dundas, which had closed the previous year.

Three core services were registered: Service 18 from Buchanan Bus Station to East Kilbride, Service 19 from Buchanan Bus Station to Easterhouse and Service 20 from St Enoch to Castlemilk, representing Stagecoach's first foray into stage carriage work in the Glasgow area.



Closer to home on Tayside, Stagecoach also registered Service 16 (Dundee to Perth; jointly operated with Strathtay Scotish and resulting from the amalgamation of the former McLennan Perth to Errol route with the Errol to Dundee service as well as the Strathtay Scottish service from Perth to Dundee), Service 22 (Perth to Pitlochry) and Service 24 (Pitlochry to Aberfeldy) as well as a night service within Perth, numbered N99. Service 16 commenced operations in June 1986 while Services 22 & 24 were former Starthtay Scottish services which had not been registered to continue after deregulation; Stagecoach commenced operation of these in August 1986 (technically Stagecoach vehicles on hire to Strathtay until D-day). In addition, Stagecoach also numbered their existing services in Perthshire, as follows: Service 11 Blairgowrie local, Service 12 Blairgowrie to Kirriemuir, Service 13 Spittalfield to Blairgowrie, Service 23 Perth to Caputh, Service 25 Aberfeldy to Blairgowrie, Service 31 Crieff to Balgowan, Service 32 Perth to Auchterarder, Services 33/33A/33B Perth/Guildtown to Cargill/Carsie and Services 34/34A Perth to Spittalfield.

The contracted arrangement with Crawford on the former Bennett service between Glasgow and Ardrossan ended at deregulation, when Crawford registed their own service on the route, seeing Stagecoach withdraw (albeit temporarily) from South West Scotland.

The second way in which Stagecoach capitalised on the implementation of the Transport Act related to the privatisation of the National Bus Company (NBC) subsidiaries. The Act made provisions for all NBC, and ultimately Scottish Bus Group (SBG), subsidiaries. In preparation for NBC & SBG acquisitions, Stagecoach on 4th September 1986 set up a new company, Stage-Coach (Holdings) Ltd. Stagecoach made its first attempt to obtain an NBC subsidiary as it submitted a bid for City of Oxford Motor Services. The bid was unsuccessful and the company was ultimately sold to its management. Undeterred, on 26th November 1986, Stagecoach together with the managing director of Hampshire Bus, formed a further new company, Skipburn Ltd, which placed a bid for NBC subsidiary Hampshire Bus and its subsidiary Pilgrim Coaches. It would not be until the following year however that Stagecoach would learn of the outcome of their bid...


Beyond deregulation, 1986 also saw further expansion to the express network, with the introduction of an Inverness to Manchester service.

Stagecoach purchased six new vehicles in 1986, two Neoplan Skyliners (C176KET and C408LHE) and four Duple bodied DAF coaches (C892CSN, C893CSN, C894CSN and C895CSN).



Top left: David Devoy provides this image of one of the two new Skyliners for 1986, C176KET. Top right: Flickr user miledorcha provides this shot of DAF C892CSN, with C894CSN in the background.
Centre left: Another of the Duple bodied DAFs new in 1984, C893CSN, courtesy of flickr user solenteer. Centre right: Graham Martin-Bates provides this shot of C894CSN powering along the A9 in 1986.
Above: The final new vehicle delivered in 1986, DAF C895CSN is captured by flickr user solenteer.


Further Routemasters were acquired during 1986: former Norther General front-entrance RCN695, RCN699 and FPT590C as well as standard London Buses WLT667, 607DYE, 628DYE and 858DYE. A further London Transport example, 571CLT was purchased during 1986, but was sold on for preservation within a few weeks so never gained Stagecoach livery.





Routemaster Rennaisance! Top: The first pair of images, depicting formerly preserved RCN695 on the left with sister RCN699 wearing full Stagecoach livery on the right, are provided by David Christie. Second row (left): Solenteer provides this image of a further former Northern General front entrance example, FPT590C. Second row (right): Former London Transport WLT667, captured on camera by Stuart Johnson. Third row (left): David Christie provides this short of former Londont Transport 628DYE, still wearing London red, but operational with Stagecoach. Second row (right): A more corporate image is carried by 858DYE in this photo, provided by David Christie. Fourth row: David Christie kindly provides this rare shot of 571CLT under Stagecoach ownership; the vehicle was sold into preservation soon after purchase and retained London red livery during its brief stay - note the Stage Coach blind. Above: Another shot from David Christie, this time showing 607DYE looking remarkably smart.


Lodekka purchases continued through 1986, with Stagecoach purchasing nine further examples: JNU982D (which never saw service and was used as a parts donor), KPW482E, KPW487E, KDL145F, OVL473, BHU976C, HPN78D, DNU15C and FJB738C (purchased and retained following conversion to a caravan; never used in service with Stagecoach though retained for many years).





The Lodekka was ever popular with Stagecoach chief Brian Souter and despite the rise of the Routemaster, nine further Lodekkas arrived in 1986.
Top row (left): Graham Martin-Bates provides this rare shot of JNU982D, destined never to see service with Stagecoach but used instead as a parts donor. Top row (right): John Law provides this image of KPW482E which rests alongside former McLennan Bedford HSN656N at Spittalfield depot.
Second row (left): Sister vehicle to the previous, this photo of KPW487E was taken by flickr user BristolRE2007 prior to the vehicle being fitted with a destination display. Second row (right): Flickr user Solenteer kindly provides this shot of KDL145F, basking in the sun at Spittalfield.
Third row (left): Another treasure from David Christie's collection shows OVL473 alongside BHU976C. Third row (right): This shot from Tony Wilson shows BHU976C in the once familiar Stagecoach stripes.
Fourth row (left): Part of the Stagecoach fleet only for a short time, HPN78D would suffer catastrophic damage after falling from a flyover in Cumbernauld on 28 Feb 1987. Thankfully there were no serious injuries though the bus was destroyed and as such never received Stagecoach livery. It is pictured here in happier times, courtesy of Graham Martin-Bates. Fourth row (right): Oddball caravan conversion FJB738C was part of the Stagecoach fleet for many years though for obvious reasons never used in service; pictured here courtesy of flickr user 'no low floors..if only !'.
Above: Flickr user 'no low floors..if only !' kindly also provides this shot of DNU15C.


Other second hand acquisitions comprised Neoplan Jetliner A216LWD, Volvo B58s FVO661V, PVO22X, SDR434T, NFS362T and BGG160S and Leyland Leopards SCS355M, SCS357M, SCS358M, SCS359M, SCS361M and DMS360C (the latter for spares only).


David Devoy provides this shot of A216LWD at Walnut Grove (left) while flickr user Solenteer provides this view of Leyland Leopard FVO661V at Blairgowrie (right).




Mark Bowerbank captured PVO22X at Carlisle Bus Station (above left) while flickr user Solenteer snapped similar SDR434T a little closer to home in Perth (above right).




Volvo B58 NFS362T is pictured outside Spittalfield depot, courtesy of flickr user Solenteer (above left) while the shot of BGG160S on the right comes from David Devoy.




Above left: Another magnificent shot from flickr user Solenteer, this time depicting Leopard SCS355M. Above right: Similar SCS357M bears a slightly different and more unusual appearance of the Stagecoach fleetname; pictured by Graham Martin-Bates at Spittalfield.




Above left: Another of Graham Martin-Bates' extensive collection; SCS358M is seen here in Perth claiming to be working a Night Circle in broad daylight! Above right: Another of the batch, SCS359M is seen here courtesy David Devoy. Note the 'Budget Bus' advertising blanking out the destination display; a remnant of it's previous operator.




Above left: SCS361M did not remain in the fleet long enough to receive Stagecoach livery and is seen here on loan to Magicbus, shortly before succumbing to accident damage. Above right: Graham Martin-Bates kindly shares this rare shot of DMS360C, purchased for spares and therefore never operated or repainted, it is pictured here at Spittalfield prior to cannibalisation.



Disposals in 1986 comprised Neoplan Skyliners PSR793Y and 4585SC, Lodekka WNO973F and Routemaster WLT703 (which was used as a parts donor). Withdrawals of former McLennan vehicles comprised the final decker, Daimer CCG 5 TFA787, Bedfords SYJ947/48L, OJR107M and TSN392S, and Fords WPT795F, YHA298/310J and LNX318L.

Further re-registrations occuring in year included Neoplan Skyliner 7878SC becoming A223XGG, with the cherished mark being transferred to Volvo B10M A798TGG. The cherished mark 4585SC from one of the withdrawn Skyliners was transferred to Jetliner A216LWD, while Jetliner B683DWL was re-registered 2412SC. Skyliner B685DVL received plate 5889SC, previously worn by A146RVL, which burned out in 1985. Former McLennan Ford TOO557 was reregistered YTS500A but was withdrawn and not used by Stagecoach with this registration.





These shots of reregistered vehicles come courtesy of Graham Martin-Bates, The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum and flickr users no low floors .. if only ! and Solenteer.
Top row: Graham Martin-Bates provides these images of 7878SC (left) and, from The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum R. Prentice collection, 4585SC (right).
Bottom left: flickr user no low floors .. if only ! provides this image of 2412SC.
Bottom right: flickr user Solenteer provides this image of 5889SC.


When October arrived, the opening fleet for Magicbus comprised 14 Routemasters, two Bristol Lodekkas (WVX528F and WVX532F) and five Volvo B58 coaches (BGG160S, BGG162S, FVO661V, PVO22X and SDR434R), all of which transferred from Perth and received Magicbus fleetnames on the now familiar striped Stagecoach livery. The original Magicbus Routemaster fleet included eight of the ten original ex-London examples (601/02/11DYE, 847DYE, WLT504/560, 596CLT & 599CLT; WLT703 had been scrapped without ever receiving Stagecoach colours and 741DYE was retained at Perth until January 1987) together with the four ex-London examples acquired earlier in the year (WLT667 and 607DYE, 628DYE and 858DYE), and former Northern General examples RCN699 and FPT590C. 847DYE's Glaswegian adventure was somewhat shortlived, suffering accident damage leading to withdrawal and cannibalisation in December, whereupon it was replaced by RCN695 still wearing the red and cream Northern heritage livery from it's days in preservation. Sadly and ironically, RCN695 was destined for a similarly tragic end to the example it replaced in the Magicbus fleet.


Above (left) flickr user Solenteer provides this view of 601DYE operating Service 20 in full Magicbus livery while (right) Kenneth Barclay provides this similar view of 602DYE.



David Christie kindly provides the images above, that on the left depicting 611DYE at Port Dundas wearing Magicbus livery while that on the right shows WLT504 heading to Castlemilk on Service 20.



Above left is another of David Christie's photographs, this time Magicbus WLT560 while above right is Graham Martin-Bates' offering of 596CLT operating route 19.



Another from Graham Martin-Bates above left, this time 599CLT in Magicbus livery. Above right comes courtesy of John Carter and shows Magicbus WLT667 with blinds for the short-lived 18.



Above (left) flickr user Solenteer provides this view of 607DYE operating Service 20 in full Magicbus livery while (right) David Christie provides this view of 628DYE operating Service 19.



Above (left) flickr user Solenteer provides this view of 858DYE wearing Magicbus livery while (right) Graham Martin-Bates provides this view from The Scottish Vintage Bus Musuem R. Prentice collection, of front entrance RCN699 in Stagecoach colours without fleetnames but clearly with Magicbus, having operated Service 19 to Easterhouse.



The Stagecoach fleet
December 1986


Bristol MW6G HDV639E (preserved)
Volvo B10M FES831W
Bristol Lodekka 866NHT
Bristol Lodekka HGM334E
Bristol Lodekka HGM335E
Volvo B58 HSP593W
Volvo B58 JSR42X
Volvo B58 JSR43X
Volvo B10M A78RGE
Volvo B10M 7878SC
Volvo B10M A799TGG
Volvo B10M A800TGG
Neoplan Skyliner A223XGG
Bristol Lodekka BXA464B
Neoplan Skyliner 4009SC
Neoplan Skyliner 8000SC
Neoplan Skyliner 5142SC
Neoplan Skyliner 9492SC
Bristol Lodekka LWC660C
Bristol Lodekka GDL768E
Bristol Lodekka GDL769E
Bristol Lodekka GDL771E
Bristol Lodekka GDL816E
Routemaster 741DYE
Neoplan Jetliner 2412SC
Neoplan Skyliner 4040SC
Neoplan Skyliner 5889SC
Neoplan Skyliner C719JTL
Neoplan Skyliner C727JTL
Volvo B58 MCS991W
Volvo B58 9039RU
Leyland Leopard JKU450P
Leyland Leopard JKU453P
Leyland Leopard PCS861X
Leyland Leopard JRB743N
Leyland Leopard USU172W
Leyland Leopard JKU454P
Leyland Leopard FSD89V
Leyland PD3A LJF27F
Leyland PD3A LJF28F
Ford XGS358L
Ford PGA763P
Ford PPT399P
Bedford NMB276L
Bedford HSN656N
Bedford PNL678M
Bedford AGG934S
Neoplan Skyliner C176KET
Neoplan Skyliner C408LHE
DAF C892CSN
DAF C893CSN
DAF C894CSN
DAF C895CSN
Bristol Lodekka KPW482E
Bristol Lodekka KPW487E
Bristol Lodekka KDL145F
Bristol Lodekka OVL473
Bristol Lodekka BHU976C
Bristol Lodekka DNU15C
Neoplan Jetliner 4585SC
Volvo B58 PVO22X
Volvo B58 SDR434T
Volvo B58 NFS362T
Leyland Leopard SCS355M
Leyland Leopard SCS357M
Leyland Leopard SCS358M
Leyland Leopard SCS359M
Leyland Leopard SCS361M

Magicbus fleet
December 1986


Bristol Lodekka WVX528F
Bristol Lodekka WVX532F
Volvo B58 BGG160S
Volvo B58 BGG162S
Volvo B58 FVO661V
Routemaster 601DYE
Routemaster 602DYE
Routemaster 611DYE
Routemaster WLT504
Routemaster WLT560
Routemaster 596CLT
Routemaster 599CLT
Routemaster RCN699
Routemaster FPT590C
Routemaster WLT667
Routemaster 607DYE
Routemaster 628DYE
Routemaster 858DYE
Routemaster RCN695
Bristol Lodekka HPN78D



1987: EXPANSION IN ENGLAND

In early 1987, Stagecoach learned that they had been successful in their bid and on 2nd April 1987, Hampshire Bus & Pilgrim Coaches were officially admitted to the Stagecoach fold.


The Hampshire Bus fleet were inherited in the old NBC poppy-red livery, or the newer red, white and blue style. Almost immediately following takeover, Pilgrim Coaches ceased trading on 26th April 1987 and the fleet of nine coaches was transferred to Hampshire Bus.

It was not long before fleet changes were made and in April 1987, 10 ex-South Yorkshire PTE Volvo Ailsa/Van Hool McArdle double deckers were procured for Hampshire Bus. These were followed by 11 Routemasters (56/87/164/245/289/449CLT, ALD968B, ALM24B, CUV121C, WLT713/831) which, despite receiving Stagecoach livery, were placed in store, never to be used by Hampshire Bus.

In October 1987, having divested itself of premises in the area, Hampshire Bus sold its Southampton operations and 82 vehicles to Southern Vectis.



Within months of gaining Hampshire Bus, Stagecoach acquired its second NBC subsidiary as Cumberland Motor Services joined the Stagecoach family on 22nd July 1987. The fleet carried a mixture of NBC poppy red and the newer Ayres red & sandstone scheme. During the course of the year, Cumberland received 8 second hand Leyland Nationals from Kelvin Scottish.

Toward the end of the October 1987, crew operation was reintroduced in Carlisle as eight Routemasters entered service. Two were transferred from Hampshire Bus (ALM24B & WLT713), the other six (WLT706/824/75 & ALD933/41/83B) joining the fleet from Kelvin Scottish.


Meanwhile, North of the border competition proved too much for Magicbus Service 18 which was withdrawn in January 1987, the buses released being used to double the frequency of operations on the more successful Service 19. In the same month, 741DYE was transferred from Perth to the Magicbus fleet while 611DYE moved in the opposite direction. Three further front entrance Routemasters joined the Magicbus fleet during the first half of 1987 (FPT598C, NMY633E & NMY634E), replacing Lodekkas (one of which was HPN78D, destroyed when it fell from a flyover, not having survived in the fleet long enough to receive Stagecoach livery) while rear entrance 145CLT also arrived in May, replacing fire damaged RCN695.




Top left: flickr user Solenteer provides this view of 741DYE at the Port Dundas depot wearing Magicbus livery. Top right: Although not carrying fleetnames, this shot provided by David Christie shows front entrance example FPT598C with Magicbus in Glasgow.
Middle row left: Graham Martin-Bates provides this view from The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum J. Lithgo collection, showing front entrance NMY633E; although lacking fleetnames, the destination display reveals this to be with Magicbus. Middle row (right): John Carter provides this superb shot of another front entrance example, NMY634E, in full Magicbus livery.
Above: This one comes courtesy of David Devoy, showing classic Routemaster 145CLT operating in Magicbus livery on Service 20 in Glasgow.



In October 1987, the business of Cotters Coachline, complete with eight Volvo B10M/Van Hool coaches (LJC800, ORY640, RUT842, SXF615, UHV59, VLF578, VRR447 and YRP371) and spacious depot at Warroch Street in the centre of Glasgow, was purchased. Vehicles continued to operate in Cotter's livery, with the company becoming a subsidiary of Magicbus. As the Warroch Street depot was more spacious than that at Port Dundas, the latter was closed and the Magicbus fleet relocated to Warroch Street.





A collection of illustrations of the Cotter's Coachline vehicles acquired with the business of that operator: Top left: David Devoy provides this shot of LJC800. Top right: Flickr user Solenteer provides this view of ORY640. Second row left: Donald Booth shares this view of RUT842. Second row right: Another from David Devoy, this time showing SXF615. Third row left: A further example courtesy of David Devoy, UHV59. Third row right: Flickr user no low floors..if only ! provides this view of VLF578. Above: This final image comes courtesy of flickr user Solenteer and depicts VRR447.


In early November 1987, Magicbus Service 19 was extended to operate across the City Centre to Milton, and introduced a new Service 25 from St Enoch Square to Castlemilk. These developments of the Magicbus network led to a requirement for 20 additional Routemasters, nine of which (56/87/164/245/289/449CLT, ALD968B, CUV121C, WLT831) were transferred from store at Hampshire Bus whilst the balance (VLT43/223, WLT909/938, 250/274/397CLT, 699/838DYE & ALM63B) were acquired from London Transport. The Routemasters were joined by four of the Volvo Ailsas (LWB379/80/83P & NAK415R), latterly operating with Cumberland, but still bearing Hampshire Bus livery.


Above: Graham Martin-Bates provides this pair of images, on the left is 56CLT, part of The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum's J. Bushell collection. On the right, 87CLT, part of The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum's J. Lithgo collection.



Above left: Another coming via Graham Martin-Bates from The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum's J. Bushell collection, 164CLT. Above right, flickr user no low floors..if only! shares this view of 245CLT.



Above: A pair of exquisite shots showing Magicbus vehicles operating Services 19 & 20. That on the left shows 289CLT and is provided by John Carter; on the right, 449CLT is copyright The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum J. Bushell collection, provided courtesy of Graham Martin-Bates.



Above left: Stephen Day shares this shot of ALD968B. Above right: Flickr user Solenteer provides this image of CUV121C. Both wearing full Magicbus livery and operating busy Service 20.



Above left: WLT831 is seen without fleetnames but with Magicbus, photo credit and copyright David Devoy. Above right: Another from The Scottish Bus Museum J. Bushell collection, 274CLT wearing Magicbus livery.



Above left: Flickr user Solenteer provides this shot of 397CLT, lacking fleetnames but seen at the Magicbus depot and with appropriate destination display. Above right: Flickr user The Real Mad Haggis shares this superb 1980s view of 838DYE operating Magicbus Service 20.



Above: John Carter provides this wonderful Magicbus Routemaster line-up, depicting ALM63B, CUV121C and 87CLT.



Above left: Pictured at Spittalfield depot, this shot of LWB379P comes courtesy of flickr user Solenteer. Above right: David Devoy shares this view of LWB380P, blinded up for a 19.



Above left: Stephen Day shares this view of LWB383P still wearing Hampshire Bus colours but with large Magicbus fleetnames. Above right: Another image courtesy of flickr user Solenteer, depicting NAK415R at Spittalfield.



Despite the rapid expansion in England, investment continued for the Scottish fleets as two new Neoplan Skyliners (E91/92VWA) and eight new Volvo B10M coaches - two bodied by Duple (D614/5FSL) and the remainder Plaxton (D441-6CNR) - were purchased for use on the long distance express work. The Duple bodied examples were quickly reregistered D448/7FSP respectively following a duplicate registration error.





Top left: Donald Booth shares this view of Skyliner E92VWA. Top right: Flickr user Solenteer captured B10M D441CNR at Inverness Bus Station.
Second row left: Graham Martin-Bates shares this view of D444CNR captured at Stirling and part of The Scottish Bus Museum J. Lithgo collection. Second row right: D445CNR is seen looking incredibly smart in Perth, in this view courtesy of flickr user Solenteer.
Third row left: This view of D446CNR was captured by flickr user no low floors..if only !. Third row right: Seen after reregistration to D447FSP, this shot is courtesy of flickr user Solenteer.
Above: Seen with its new registration, this view of D448FSP is provided courtesy of Stephen Day.



Further investment in the Stagecoach fleet included the refurbishment of a pair of the earliest new purchases, with FES831W followed by JSR42X in having Duple Dominant III bodywork replaced with Dominant II styling; the most notable difference being the significantly larger windows on the latter. Network expansion also took place in East Scotland, with the registration of two new routes, Perth to Newburgh and Pitlochry to Blair Atholl.


Flickr user Solenteer provides these two shots of FES831W (left) and JSR42X (right) following refurbishment - note the larger windows on the new Dominant II bodywork.


Eight additional Bristol Lodekkas were acquired for Perth during 1987, though only five (GRX129/31/32D, LLJ443F and former Hampshire Bus driver trainer KBD716D) saw service use, with 147YFM and JFM243D used for spares and the eighth example unidentified. In May a further Volvo Ailsa, LES45P, joined the Stagecoach fleet; the only example to carry full corporate livery. It transferred to Magicbus toward the end of the year. Perhaps the most unusual acquisition of the year, though, was former McLennan half cab Leyland Tiger PS1 DGS625, which was repainted to McLennan livery and used for special events.


Top left: One from Graham Martin-Bates' personal collection, Lodekka GRX129D at Spittalfield. Top right: Also seen at Spittalfield, GRX131D was photographed by flickr user Solenteer.
Middle left: Flickr user Brian shares this view of LLJ443F at Spittalfield. Middle right: Flickr user Brian shares this image of KBD716D.
Above left: Another from flickr user Brian, this time depicting 147YFM, which was acquired for spares, never to receive Stagecoach stripes. Above right: The only Ailsa to receive full Stagecoach livery, LES45P is seen here in Perth, courtesy flickr user Solenteer.



Flickr user no low floors..if only ! shares this view of acquired Leopard GLS270N and Bristol MW5G 523GHU.


The largest purchase of the year came in the form of some 34 Leyland Leopards, acquired from Kelvin Scottish (21 of which saw service and the remainder cannibalised or scrapped). The Leopards received comprised AGM684/88/90/92/93L, BWG841L, XGM457/59/60/66/67L, NMS560/62/78M, PMS689M, GLS265/70/72/76/84/93N, CMS376/80L, NMS185M, OSG544/50/52/53M, GMS276/77/80/94/99S and GMS301S.

Additional vehicles purchased for spares comprised Bristol MW5G 523JHU and Alexander-bodied Leyland Leopard OGM287H.


During 1987, several of the Routemasters lost their original registrations, many of which were sold as private plates. These included WLT504/60, WLT667 which became EDS48A, EDS50A & EDS143A respectively, RCN699 which became EDS508B and 599CLT which became YTS820A.




Top left: Graham Martin-Bates shares this image of EDS48A from The Scottish Vintage Bus Archives. Top right: An almost identical image but this time showing EDS50A, courtesy of flickr user Solenteer.
Second row left: Another courtesy of flickr user Solenteer, this time depicting EDS143A. Second row right: Graham Martin-Bates shares this shot of EDS508B, copyright The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.
Above: John Law provides this image of YTS820A.


Not content with a growing Scottish operation and ownership of two NBC subsidiaries, Stagecoach added a third to its portfolio on 18th November 1987 when it was announced as the successful bidder for United Counties Omnibus Co.


In contast to Hampshire Bus and Cumberland Motor Services, United Counties was purchased directly by Stage-Coach (Holdings) Ltd, which had by that time absorbed Skipburn Ltd. Unlike the red liveries carried by the Hampshire Bus and Cumberland fleets, United Counties vehicles wore a dark green livery with orange relief. Through this acquisition, Stagecoach increased its fleet size by a further 249 vehicles.


Beyond RCN695 already recorded, there was only one further departure from the Magicbus fleet during the year, that of WVX528F which was scrapped and replaced in Glasgow by GDL816E from the main Stagecoach fleet, the by the end of the year all of the Lodekkas and Volvos had returned to the main Stagecoach fleet. Over in East Scotland, in addition to Lodekka HPN78D, Leopard SCS361M was lost to accident damage while on loan with Magicbus while Lodekkas GRX129/31/32D and Leopard JRB743N were also withdrawn.

A pair of Neoplan Skyliners (4009SC, originally A331UFE, and 5142SC, originally A334UFE) were sold in December, reregistered A385XGG and A384XGG, respectively. Meanwhile Duple bodied DAF coaches C892-895CSN were loaned to Cumberland before transfer to Hampshire Bus by the end of the year. Volvo B58s PVO22X & SDR434T also left the main fleet, transferring to Cumberland.

Former McLennan vehicles withdrawn in 1987 comprised PNL678M, XGS358L, PGA763P, PPT339P and AGG934S.

Registrations 5142SC and 4009SC recovered from the withdrawn Skyliners were transferred to Volvo coches A799TGG and A800TGG, respectively.

It should not go unmentioned that, alongside all else that occurred this year, 1987 also saw the GT Coaches livery disappear, as the last vehicle to wear it, preserved HDV639E, was repainted.


The end of an era. The repainting of HDV639E to Stagecoach stripes saw the elimination of the blue based GT coaches livery. It is pictured here around a year after repaint, by John Carter.


The Stagecoach fleet
December 1987


Bristol MW6G HDV639E (preserved)
Volvo B10M FES831W
Bristol Lodekka 866NHT
Bristol Lodekka HGM334E
Bristol Lodekka HGM335E
Volvo B58 HSP593W
Volvo B58 JSR42X
Volvo B58 JSR43X
Volvo B10M A78RGE
Volvo B10M 7878SC
Volvo B10M 5142SC
Volvo B10M 4009SC
Neoplan Skyliner A223XGG
Bristol Lodekka BXA464B
Neoplan Skyliner 8000SC
Neoplan Skyliner 9492SC
Bristol Lodekka LWC660C
Bristol Lodekka GDL768E
Bristol Lodekka GDL769E
Bristol Lodekka GDL771E
Neoplan Jetliner 2412SC
Neoplan Skyliner 4040SC
Neoplan Skyliner 5889SC
Neoplan Skyliner C719JTL
Neoplan Skyliner C727JTL
Volvo B58 MCS991W
Volvo B58 9039RU
Leyland Leopard JKU450P
Leyland Leopard JKU453P
Leyland Leopard PCS861X
Leyland Leopard USU172W
Leyland Leopard JKU454P
Leyland Leopard FSD89V
Leyland PD3A LJF27F
Leyland PD3A LJF28F
Bedford NMB276L
Bedford HSN656N
Neoplan Skyliner C176KET
Neoplan Skyliner C408LHE
Bristol Lodekka KPW482E
Bristol Lodekka KPW487E
Bristol Lodekka KDL145F
Bristol Lodekka OVL473
Bristol Lodekka BHU976C
Bristol Lodekka DNU15C
Neoplan Jetliner 4585SC
Volvo B58 NFS362T
Leyland Leopard SCS355M
Leyland Leopard SCS357M
Leyland Leopard SCS358M
Leyland Leopard SCS359M
Neoplan Skyliner E91VWA
Neoplan Skyliner E92VWA
Volvo B10M D447FSP
Volvo B10M D448FSP
Volvo B10M D441CNR
Volvo B10M D442CNR
Volvo B10M D443CNR
Volvo B10M D444CNR
Volvo B10M D445CNR
Volvo B10M D446CNR
Bristol Lodekka LLJ443F
Bristol Lodekka KBD716D
Routemaster 611DYE
Leyland Tiger DGS625
Bristol Lodekka WVX532F
Volvo B58 BGG160S
Volvo B58 BGG162S
Volvo B58 FVO661V
Bristol Lodekka GDL816E

Magicbus fleet
December 1987


Routemaster 601DYE
Routemaster 602DYE
Routemaster WLT504
Routemaster WLT560
Routemaster 596CLT
Routemaster 599CLT
Routemaster RCN699
Routemaster FPT590C
Routemaster WLT667
Routemaster 607DYE
Routemaster 628DYE
Routemaster 858DYE
Routemaster 741DYE
Routemaster FPT598C
Routemaster NMY633E
Routemaster NMY634E
Routemaster 145CLT
Routemaster 56CLT
Routemaster 87CLT
Routemaster 164CLT
Routemaster 245CLT
Routemaster 289CLT
Routemaster 449CLT
Routemaster ALD968B
Routemaster 87CLT
Routemaster CUV121C
Routemaster WLT831
Routemaster VLT43
Routemaster VLT223
Routemaster WLT909
Routemaster WLT938
Routemaster 250CLT
Routemaster 274CLT
Routemaster 397CLT
Routemaster 699DYE
Routemaster 838DYE
Routemaster ALM63B
Volvo Ailsa LWB379P
Volvo Ailsa LWB380P
Volvo Ailsa LWB383P
Volvo Ailsa NAK415R
Volvo Ailsa LES45P

Cotters Coachline fleet
December 1987


Volvo B10M LJC800
Volvo B10M ORY640
Volvo B10M RUT842
Volvo B10M SXF615
Volvo B10M UHV59
Volvo B10M VLF578
Volvo B10M VRR447
Volvo B10M YRP371




ANYTHING TO ADD?
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Stagecoach livery and fleetnames: WLT504, WLT703, B684DVL, B685DVL, 7878SC (ex A143RVL), LES295X, OES628Y, PSR793Y, 4009SC (ex A331UFE), 5142SC (ex A334UFE), 9492SC (ex A335UFE), C408LHE, 628DYE, A223XGG (ex 7878SC and A143RVL), E91VWA, D614FSL, D615FSL, D442CNR, D443CNR, GRX132D, 5142SC (ex A799TGG), 4009SC (ex-A800TGG)
'As acquired' liveries (for spares): JFM243D, OGM287H
Magicbus fleetnames: WVX528F, WVX532F, BGG160S, BGG162S, FVO661V, PVO22X, SDR434T, 847DYE, FPT590C, VLT43, VLT223, WLT909, WLT938, 250CLT, 699DYE
Cotter's Coachline: YRP371


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