Edinburgh City Transport
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NOW: Lothian Buses

Bus Routes

A circular route between George Street and Boswall Parkway



Steven Oliver

Duns, Borders, Scotland

Thank you to  Steven Oliver for providing a comprehensive account of Route 19 which, when I first knew it, around the 1960s , was a circular route running along Boswall Parkway at the northern side of the circle and George Street at the southern side of the circle.

 Here is an edited extract from the details that Steven sent to me:

Lothian Buses

Route 19


"Route 19  was introduced in 1935 running from Boswall Loan to the West End via Boswall Parkway, Crewe Road North, Crewe Toll, Crewe Road South, Orchard Brae, Queensferry Road, Dean Bridge and Queensferry Street.

The West End terminus was in Randolph Place and on arrival there, buses turned into Randolph Lane, then reversed across into Charlotte Lane before turning back into Randolph Place to await their time.  A similar maneuver was carried out at the Boswall Loan terminus."


"In the early fifties, the West End terminus changed to Melville Street, with buses then turning round at the statue at the Walker Street junction."


"In the late fifties, the 19 was changed again, this time to become a circle.  The Boswall Parkway to Queensferry Street section remained as before, with the route extended from there via Hope Street, Charlotte Square, George Street, St Andrew Square, York Place, Broughton Street, Bellevue, Canonmills, Goldenacre, Granton Road, Wardie Crescent and back to Boswall Parkway, with buses running as service 19 in both directions."

1970s to date

"Several more changes to the route from the 1970s onwards.  The route ceased to be a circle in 2000.  Since 2002, the route has been between Granton Square and King's Road Roundabout, Portobello."

The Vehicles

"Because of its proximity to Central Garage, the 19, especially in its Circle days, saw a mix of vehicles – fleet standards, fleet oddities and demonstrators.

Bus Liveries

1)   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 buses”. 

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:

-    Guy 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 Arabs

2)   The 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 the changes

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.

Leyland Titan

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.

Leyland Olympians

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.

Leyland Olympians 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.

Articulated  Bus

5)   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




Steven Oliver

Duns, Borders, Scotland

Thank you to  Steven Oliver for writing again about Route 19, and for sending me this photo and comments about articulated buses in Edinburgh.

Steven wrote:

Lothian Buses

Route 19

Articulated Bus


"Attached is the only picture that I managed to take of the articulated bus that was used for brief spells on Route 19 in 2005.  It is a Volvo artic, with Hispano bodywork."

Articulated Bus on Route 19 in Edinburgh  -  2005 ©

Please click on the image above to enlarge it, and to read more comments from Steven about articulated buses in Edinburgh.




Gordon Davie

Abbeyhill, Edinburgh

Lothian Buses

Route 1

Gordon Davie wrote:

"I was interested to see the note that the No. 1 service switched from double- to single-decker operation in 2009.  This was actually a case of going back to the previous situation, as up until the mid-1960s this route was operated by single-deckers because of the low bridge at the foot of Abbeymount.

Presumably because this was such a busy route it was felt that double-deckers were required, so the Council lowered the roadway to allow them to pass underneath.

To this day you can see that there is a substantial drop from pavement to roadway, which is why there is a safety railing along the edge."

Gordon Davie, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh:  April 13, 2014




Gordon Davie

Abbeyhill, Edinburgh

Lothian Buses

Routes 34 and 35

Gordon Davie wrote:

"I  remember that until the complete revamp of all bus routes around 2003, services 34 and 35 served the same route in opposite directions, with the exception of Fountainbridge where both services ran in both directions, a confusing situation for anyone unfamiliar with it!

As I recall, heading westward the 34 turned right at the Diggers pub, down Henderson Terrace to Gorgie, while the 35 continued straight ahead to Slateford; and going the other way the 34 went down Lothian Road while the 35 headed along Bread Street."

Gordon Davie, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh:  April 13, 2014