Central SMT

B87's continuing adventures, 2013 to date

February 2013: Lanark Loch

B87's 2013 programme began with a day out to Lanark Loch. The outward route (via Uddingston, Bothwell, Hamilton and the Clyde Valley) aimed to recreate Central SMT's original route 243 in the form inherited from its forerunner, Glasgow General Omnibus Company, in 1932. After an anxious moment outside Glasgow's Buchanan Bus Station, where a push was required in order to restart the engine, we had an incident-free and very pleasant drive through the east end of Glasgow, some of the towns associated with Central's routes numbered in the 50s sequence, and finally along the picturesque Clyde Valley. Many of us enjoyed the sounds generated by B87's Gardner engine as we climbed out of the valley and into the town of Lanark itself; often these would be reflected off roadside objects and travel in an amplified form through the open platform area and up the stairs, just as I remembered from years ago.

Lanark Loch itself looked decidedly wintry on arrival, but it was an attractive setting for Sunday lunch and the weather brightened up nicely in time for our departure. The return journey was an amalgam of several route fragments, taking in Carluke, Law Hospital, Waterloo, Overtown, Garrion Bridge, Hamilton and then via the '50s' corridor back to Glasgow.

June 2013: Multicoloured B87

This unusual itinerary, based in the area to the east and north-east of Glasgow, celebrated the fact that the services of (at least) three Scottish Bus Group companies once intersected here. Those companies were W Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd, Central SMT Co Ltd and Scottish Omnibuses Ltd. The buses carried the somewhat friendlier names of Midland, Central and Eastern Scottish, but to most of the travelling public they were known simply as the blue buses, the red buses and the green buses.

Route segments briefly brought back to life were as follows:

CoRouteOriginallySection covered
 4BGlasgow - GartferryGlasgow - Stepps
 178Gartferry - BlanefieldStepps - Auchinloch
 172Kirkintilloch - GlasgowAuchinloch - Robroyston
 174Glasgow - Kirkintilloch (Alloway Drive) via LumlochRobroyston - Lenzie Station
 171Lenzie - Glasgow via WoodileeLenzie Station - Woodilee - Kirkintilloch
 172Kirkintilloch - GlasgowKirkintilloch - Whitegates - Lenzie
 178Blanefield - GartferryLenzie - Stepps
 245Muirhead - AirdrieMuirhead - Coatbridge
 1Coatbridge - Hamilton via North LodgeCoatbridge - Bellshill
 36Glasgow - WhitburnBellshill - Newhouse
 13Strathaven - AirdrieHolytown - Calderbank - Airdrie
 217Clarkston - Glasgow via LightburnAirdrie - Glasgow

September 2013: Muirkirk Tribute Run

This trip was a tribute to the late Kenny Thomson, who died after a short illness earlier in the year. He was formerly a driver with Western SMT at Ayr and Cumnock depots and his father Jim had spent part of his career driving for Central SMT at its small outstation in Muirkirk, Ayrshire. Kenny's brother Stuart has been a keen supporter of this website and, along with other family members and a group of 'the usual suspects', was aboard B87 for this day out.

We started by following limited-stop route 244 to Lanark, before B87 owner and driver Fr Alex Strachan changed the destination display for the lengthy run on Route 39 to Strathaven via Muirkirk, retracing the greater part of a highly unlikely-sounding rural ramble that once started in West Calder, near Livingston, West Lothian!

Glasgow to Lanark Muirkirk Strathaven