Matt Rooney

New Cumnock, Edinburgh

Thank you to Matt Rooney, New Cumnock. Ayrshire, Scotland, for the recollections one of his many jobs in and around Edinburgh  -  driving SMT buses.

Matt writes:

Driving SMT Buses


    Eastern Scottish Buses in Edinburgh New Street Depot

"I worked as a driver with the S.M.T. at Dalkeith when there were Conductors and Conductresses taking the fare's

Being new, like others before me, I was put onto 'split shifts' where I might work for a couple and a bit hours very early in the Morning and have to go back later on in the day to finish off the rest of the shift.

Then I was put on a regular route.  One week it would be the Musselburgh to Penicuik run - the journey time was 55 minutes and believe me if we got held up at all.

The following week it would be the Birkenside / Newtongrange and into Edinburgh and outgoing from St Andrews Square where the original stances used to be.

Dalkeith was where we started and finished our shifts. Most of the bus crews liked practical jokes, especially if they'd been a holiday to Blackpool, as I don't remember many joke shops in Edinburgh."


"The only time that we didn't work out of Dalkeith was in the summer months when the older drivers were put on the London run's, and then we would cover their shifts from Edinburgh, for a fortnight."

Smeaton Pit

"SMT had enough contract's to keep them going.  One of the Contracts was with the National Coal Board where they picked up the miners from Smeaton Pit and take them to Dalkeith Colliery (which was on the road from Dalkeith to Wallyford just before you get to Whitecraigs).

Smeaton Pit didn't have washing facilities like showers so the miners had to go to the other pit to get showered, then return to Smeaton pit and get their buses home.

I was glad that I was just a driver as I didn't fancy the job of cleaning out the bus after the miners had sat in it."


"On the Berwick run as we had a Following of girls that seemed to be on our bus more than they ought,  I was still single at the time and 24 ish.  it was the Same when I was in the Army.  They say its the draw of the uniform.  It does sound far fetched but it was a fact."

Driving for other Companies

"After driving the buses for SMT, I continued to work as a bus driver, mostly in my spare time.  This was when I worked as an insurance agent in the Loanhead and Gilmerton areas.

On odd occasions I worked part time for "Hunter's of Loanhead,"  for in the summer months extra drivers were needed to take parties of folk to see the Sites of Scotland.

I also worked for William Stewart's coaches of Dalkeith."

Matt Rooney, New Cumnock, Edinburgh ( now aged 73) : August 2005




RA Whyte

Thank you to RA Whyte who wrote:

"Here is a photo of SMT Staff, taken some time in the 1920s at the SMT Bus Depot in Edinburgh. 

In the front row, third from the left is my late Aunt Nan.

   A Group of ataff at the SMT Bus Garage.  Photo taken some time in the 1920s.

   Reproduced with acknowledgement to RA Whyte

View a larger copy of this photo

and read recollections of working for SMT, Edinburgh





George Renton

Mississauga, Ontario,  Canada

Thank you to George Renton for writing again.

George wrote:

Long Distance Journeys

"I remember my dad would on occasion make the comment when he was describing someone looking disheveled in appearance as "looked like they fell off the back o' an SMT bus.

I remember those buses highballin' up and down the road. I think I only ever rode in one a couple of times, as they were in my young mind a bus going long distances with few stop in between.

 On a side note, here in Canada, Greyhound has stopped service to the majority of there lines.  It's become quite a hardship for many northern communities -  a sign of the times?"

George Renton, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada:  20 October 2018


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