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Dalkeith no more . . .

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posted by alias regentlad on Thursday 26th of July 2012 03:35:52 PM

Firstbus ended many years of association with Dalkeith when they recently closed the depot there following a run-down of their services in the Midlothian area. First's predecessors, SMT, had opened their garage in Dalkeith High Street in 1931 and by 1964 over 70 buses were allocated, some parked out in the streets, causing SMT to vacate in 1966 and move to a new depot/bus station on the site of the old railway station in Eskbank Rd. The depot worked the Penicuik-Musselburgh, Edinburgh-Whitecraig, the local circular services, Edinburgh-Tranent and a share of the Edinburgh-Birkenside/Rosewell routes and their considerable variations. Long distance work was also covered - Edinburgh/Aberdeen and Edinburgh/Oban services, and a share in the Edinburgh/London roster with 10 London coaches based at the depot. In addition at time of this picture 20 contract services were worked and by 1975 further expansion increased the fleet size to 100 vehicles. Seen at the forefront of this 'lothian green' and cream line-up is AA298G a Bristol VR which came to live at Dalkeith for a short time in 1968, the plan being for its ilk to take over from the Bristol 'L' Lodekkas but this never materialised and the Lodekkas seen alongside went on to give many years of service on Dalkeith's routes. Note the suffix 'G' the code given by SMT to buses based at Dalkeith. Recent years saw the closure of the bus station stances and deregulation brought competition from Lothian. By then First had taken over and dropped the local fleet colours in favour of their 'corporate' ones, thus many passengers had little to identify with and soon chose to use Lothian, in particular when that company restored their traditional Edinburgh colours. A downward spiral of passenger use followed - perhaps comparable to the freefalling graph on Reggie Perrin's sale chart, with little being done to rectify the trend which eventually resulted in the closure.





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  • Published 06.29.22
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