Thank you to Alex Dow, Fife,
Eastern side of Central Garage
"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
Central Garage - 2004
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
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
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
Thank you to Alex Dow, Fife,
wrote again, about 9 years after writing his Recollections 1 above.
International Transport Managers'
"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
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
"Later, about 1956, the BBC presented a live
Car-Manoeuvring programme, from inside the garage, also at the Bellevue
That end was blocked off by a number of
double-deckers, each of which had blankets draped over the
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.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: 28
More comments from Alex Dow
Thank you to Alex Dow for
- sending me more recollections of
Central Garage and
- sending me his comments on technical aspects of