of its proximity to Central Garage, the 19, especially in its Circle days,
saw a mix of vehicles – fleet standards, fleet oddities and demonstrators.
Some buses on Route 19 ran, when new, in unpainted
aluminium, other than a madder stripe between
the decks. These buses were from the
701-800 batch of tram-replacement Leyland PD2/20s buses. This was carried
out with a view to saving on paint costs. These became known as the “ghost
Whilst they were shiny when new, over time the aluminium finish dulled.
The experiment was abandoned.
Other experiments with
different liveries on Route 19 were:
Arab 959, which was
painted 'all-over cherry red', based on a similar experiment with Tram 180
which ran in red for a time and which was nicknamed “Red Biddy”.
Titan 999, which ran in 'all-over madder'.
Guy Arab IV /
Alexanders from the 901-970 series, were route regulars. These were liked
by enthusiasts on account of their acoustics and were renowned for having
an ever-present smell which was akin to disinfectant.
One of these Guys, No.
959, had a different engine to the others in the batch and also ran in
allover cherry red for a time. This was the one which crashed into the
Dean Bridge in the late 1960s.
However, the Guys did present some problems for drivers, as they had
constant-mesh gearboxes This meant that great skill was needed when
changing gear since the correct revs had to be obtained in order to effect
Unfortunately, none of this batch has survived into preservation.
There are persistent rumours that one is
still around somewhere on a mountain in Wales, but the passage of time
means that it’s unlikely to be found – if, indeed, it still exists.
3) No. 998, was a unique Leyland Titan.
It was the first bus in Edinburgh to feature automatic
transmission. It also had a non-standard
interior for some years. It was a Scottish Motor Show exhibit when new.
4) Nos. 666 and 667 were new in the spring
of 1982. They were Leyland Olympian buses,
and were replacements for two cancelled Leyland Titan TN15
buses which were due to have been delivered in 1979.
would go on to replace the Leyland Atlanteans,
that had been bought
since 1965, as the new fleet standard.
The destination screens on 666 and 667 were not the
normal roll style. 666 had a
Transign front screen and 667 had a single-line
Luminator display. These were not
considered to be very effective, and around 1984, both
were removed and replaced with Vultron Metro II dot-matrix screens.
The Vultron screen on 667 also proved troublesome in the 1990s. It
required knowledge and patience to change the display, so it was
fortunate that the bus was used on the 'Circle' route where no change was
needed. This screen was replaced by a normal roll style screen fro
the bus's last few months of service.
In 1987, 666 sustained rear-end fire damage, due to an arson attack.
The damage was too bad to repair, so the bus
was broken up for spares.
Around the same time, 667 had suffered front-end damage in an accident, so
the front of 666 was fitted to 667.
In 1999, 667 was withdrawn after 17 years’ service. It is now in
the care of an Edinburgh-based preservation group and is preserved in its
final service condition.
In more recent times, Route 19 was home
for a brief spell to an articulated bus which kept up the tradition of
the route being used for fleet demonstrators."
Steven Oliver: Duns, Borders,
Scotland: February 26 + 27, 2008