Central SMT

Classic Destinations : Mystery Tour 1

This section explores some of the classic destinations that appeared on the front of Central SMT buses. The Mystery Tours are a trawl through some of the more unusual or quirky names that used to appear - you'll soon get the idea.

A notable destination for Central for several reasons. It was the end-point of the longest two routes operated (242 / 243), it lay deep in Eastern Scottish territory (Eastern had a depot in the town) and it was the most easterly point in the Central network.

Glasgow - Peebles journey time in 1960 was 2¾ hours; the fare was 6s 4d (32p) single, 10s 7d (53p) return.


A true Central classic and possibly my personal all-time favourite! If you've never come across the name before, Bonkle lies near Newmains, Lanarkshire.

I am indebted to John Whittle, former Traffic Manager at Central SMT, for bringing the following gem to my attention. Apparently it was traditional for drivers at Wishaw depot to greet each other with the question "Are ye gaun tae Bunkle, Uncle?", to which the correct reply was "Naw, ah'm gaun tae Pather, Faither!"


"Now, just a minute!", I hear you say. "Central NEVER ran into Bathgate!" Wrong! OK, so Central SMT never did (it was Central Scottish) and no bus with a destination display like that shown ever did. But when Central took over Airdrie depot in 1985, one of the routes acquired was the 213 (Airdrie - Bathgate via Slamannan), originally Glasgow - Bathgate. It survived for only a few weeks, but did see some red-liveried buses. Incidentally, the 213 also provides the only example I know of Central buses operating into Stirlingshire / Falkirk District on normal service, before the merger with Kelvin.


"Halfway to where ???", I used to ask my long-suffering parents.

As I was to discover, it's a destination in its own right - part of Cambuslang.

A pleasant country town and a major meeting point of Central services from different directions : the 11/12/13 group from Airdrie, via Motherwell and Hamilton; the 54 from Glasgow, via Uddingston, Hamilton and Larkhall; the 30/39 from Shotts / West Calder, via Lanark and Muirkirk; the 70/73 from Glasgow, via East Kilbride; and the 73 from Sandford. The picture was completed by Western SMT's 42 Ayr - Airdrie.

The above is enough to make Strathaven a classic Central destination, but there's also a slight twist in the name itself. For the uninitiated, it rhymes perfectly with raven.

Luss, on the shore of Loch Lomond, had the distinction of being the most northerly point in the Central network, as well as being probably the most scenic.


Bit of a cheat, this one, as Bothwellhaugh was an intermediate timing point on routes 6, 14 and 204 rather than a true destination. Nevertheless, it merits inclusion as one of Lanarkshire's lost villages. The former mining community, which lay between Bellshill's Orbiston area and Bothwell Bridge, was swept away in the 1960s. The site is now occupied by part of Strathclyde Country Park.

I can remember a few childhood nightmares featuring the heavy earthmoving equipment that had moved into Bothwellhaugh even before it had been completely deserted and the bus routes altered!


Not the posh Edinburgh suburb, this Morningside can be found near Newmains, in Lanarkshire.

Not a million miles from Bonkle, in fact!


A prosperous Clyde Coast town, traditionally the most westerly point in the Central SMT network.

This position will be challenged, however, at the next stop!


Largs? LARGS??? Are you CRAZY???

An interesting question, but not strictly relevant!

Seriously, rumour has it that Central operated a Dumbarton - Largs service for a time at least in 1973. This was briefly mentioned in the August 1977 edition of Buses magazine.

An interesting pair of opposites.

Auldhouse lies just outside the new town of East Kilbride ...
... while Newhouse is between Motherwell and Airdrie.