Edinburgh's Transport

Central Garage

Annandale Street




Alex Dow

Fife, Scotland

Thank you to Alex Dow, Fife, Scotland, who wrote:

Gas-powered Buses

Eastern side of Central Garage

facing onto Annandale Street

"My main memory of gas-powered buses in Edinburgh is of the trailers -  several, probably twenty to thirty, parked outside the Central Garage in Annandale Street, at the southern, wider end of the concourse or outside parking lot in front of some of the offices. (This may have been post-war in an attempted revival due to fuel shortages.)

Central Garage - 2004 

    Lothian Buses  -  Central Depot  -  Annandale Street

At that time, looking on that frontage, the gas trailers would be to the left in front of some offices, then the large doorway used as the Bus Exit for going out on route, the middle block of offices with the normal door in the middle where the Conductors checked in their way-bills, cash and ticket machines. The other large door which was rarely opened, came next followed by some offices and work rooms. That is at the Green Street end."

At the narrow, Green Street, end of that concourse, there were generally parked old buses with their engines removed and painted all-over madder or maroon. These were used as mobile workmen's huts when road and tram-line repairs were carried out. At that time, some of these still had the old front entrance arrangements, with the rear platform permanently enclosed for tool storage etc."

Northern side of Central Garage

facing onto

Green  Street

Along Green Street were several intermediate-sized double-doors, often being opened for ventilation. Between those doors were railed-off "garden areas", remnants of when the garage had been built as the Industrial Exhibition Hall, hence the fancy cupola towards the front end.

The first Green Street door area was where the brake shoes were repaired by "Big Tam", the linings being ripped off, old rivets removed, shoes cleaned then new linings riveted on, followed by filing around the edges to chamfer the linings.

The second door was where more general repairs were carried out, with pits and lifting tackle available. To the right inside was the Foremen's Offices, big circular time punch clocks etc.

The other one or two of those doors were very rarely opened; and if memory serves me correctly, there were no pits. 

At the far or school end of Green street, there was another large Entrance Door for buses coming off-route. Those buses would travel along Green Street from Annandale Street on the "wrong-side" so that they could turn into that door more easily. Inside above it, was the Fuel Control Room, with a tight, metal turnpike stairway up at the school end of the big door and a Fireman's Pole at the other side for fast escapes in the event of fire."

Inside the Garage

"About two to three bus lengths inside from there were the fuel-delivery hoses. Four were diesel for most of the fleet; but the left-hand one looking down from the room was petrol for mainly the Bedford Duple Tour buses/coaches.

Each bus had its Fleet Number painted in large characters on its roof:

Axx = Single Decker Diesels
Gxx = Double Decker Diesels
Xxx = Single Decker Petrol, mainly Bedford Chassis with Duple bodywork on tours, post-war from Waverley Bridge.

Tours from Waverley Bridge

    Waverley Bridge - with a row of single-deck buses

The Duty Fueller sat in the room overlooking the buses as they pulled up at the respective available hose, noting the fleet number, gallons to fill and time on large sheets.

The bulk fuel was delivered to underground tanks at the Bowser Island in the middle of the concourse at the Annandale Street end, so it was pumped initially underground then overhead to the far end of the garage to the hoses."

Alex Dow, Fife, Scotland, December 5+6, 2006




Alex Dow

Fife, Scotland

Thank you to Alex Dow, Fife, Scotland, who wrote again, about 9 years after writing his Recollections 1 above.



International Transport Managers' Conference

Around 1949

"I've just been taking a look at some of the photos on the EdinPhoto web site, wondering whether anyone might have any photos of the International Transport Managers' Conference held in Edinburgh about 1949, during which several new buses exhibited at the end of the Annandale Street depot nearest to Bellevue School.

I remember two particularly:

One of the buses was for export to Brazil.  It had a Tannoy/Public Address System installed, and a Conductor's Desk at the rear end.

-  The other bus was a single-deck Glasgow Trolley Bus, which was towed down to King's Road Portobello each day, where it gave demonstration runs, using its shunting batteries.

These batteries were re-charged by raising one trolley pole up to the tramway overhead, the circuit being completed by a wire or chain from the chassis to the tram-rail.

BBC T Programme

Around 1956

"Later, about 1956, the BBC presented a live Car-Manoeuvring programme, from inside the garage, also at the Bellevue School end.

That end was blocked off by a number of double-deckers, each of which had blankets draped over the recently-introduced advertising.

I was in there before the broadcast, and the Producer asked me to trace out the intended course on a map, using some sort of pointer, so that lighting levels, contrast etc could be checked.

The only item available was a rusty piece of wire lying on the ground, the rust having a matt effect and thus avoiding reflections of the lighting, both TV and general, the latter being mercury arc lamps fairly typical of the period for large industrial buildings."

Alex Dow, Fife, Scotland, 28 December, 2015

Reply to Alex?

If you know of any photos taken during the conference that Alex mentions above, and would like to send a reply to Alex, please let me know, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

      Thank you:

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  28 December 2015


More comments from Alex Dow

Thank you to Alex Dow for also::

-   sending me more recollections of Central Garage and

-   sending me his comments on  technical aspects of gas-powered buses.


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