Memories of the Old St Andrew Square Bus Station

Status
Not open for further replies.

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,620
*Mod note* This discussion has been split from the Lothian Group thread

It's interesting to see the old Edinburgh Bus Station. It looks bigger than the current one and on a few levels. I only vaguely remember it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
17,422
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Interesting to see the old Edinburgh Bus Station, looks bigger than the current one and on a few levels. Only vaguely remember it.
I remember it well from visits to the relatives in the mid 80s. This photo (credit to photographers) shows a part of it


Essentially, the footprint was what is now the current bus station plus the shops that sit above it up the hill.

The photo shows the open area in front of the Eastern Scottish offices where Scottish Citylink and excursions ran from. Beyond that was a small parking area shown by the ES and Fife deckers. The pitched roof in the foreground was a pub, The Highwayman, that I was too young to venture into; I guess it would have been a smoky old place with people slaking their thirst having just got off a Duple Dominant III Tiger from London. So that area is essentially what the bus station is now.

The bus services actually went from a series of run through platforms that ran underneath some 1960s office block and out into the Square.


IIRC, there were some underpasses that linked the different platforms together. Other photos suggest that platform A was part of the original bus station before the office block was built. I think there was a newsagent over there but can't recall much else.
 
Last edited:

SpeedbirdA350

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2018
Messages
693
Location
Edinburgh
IIRC, there were some underpasses that linked the different platforms together. Other photos suggest that platform A was part of the original bus station before the office block was built. I think there was a newsagent over there but can't recall much else.
Correct. Often smelled of stale urine and took much longer to use than just hopping between platforms. I do remember a newsagent although fuzzy.

As for the rest of the station, Part of me thinks that it also sat partially in the footprint of Harvey Nichols, although I'm not 100% on that.
 
Joined
26 Jun 2018
Messages
522
Location
Edinburgh
As for the rest of the station, Part of me thinks that it also sat partially in the footprint of Harvey Nichols, although I'm not 100% on that.
The shops (if you can call them shops) on Multrees Walk along with the offices connected to the current bus station I’m sure the footprint were all one time part of the old bus station. When you compare the current one to others in Scotland (especially Buchanan) it’s a shame that Edinburgh’s is just so poor.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

eoff

Member
Joined
15 Aug 2020
Messages
289
Location
East Lothian
I think the bus station came before the Office block on top. I used the bus station a lot, in an era when an express bus was an express service. Not sure there was much of a shop, I seem to recall a newsagent counter.
 

ian1944

Member
Joined
13 Dec 2012
Messages
331
Location
North Berwick
It had a caff at the east end, a real greasy spoon. It was long and thin and the smokers seemed to gather at the outer end, for double effect.

I once took a "coach" to Manchester, in reality an SMT (or whatever it was called then) single-decker without toilet facilities. Stopping points en route included Penicuik, Biggar and Kendal (Ribble garage for refuelling and giving passengers a leg-stretch, rather than bus station). I can't remember the journey time, except that it was much more than in the timetable.
 

DunsBus

Member
Joined
12 Jan 2013
Messages
806
Location
Duns
I think the bus station came before the Office block on top. I used the bus station a lot, in an era when an express bus was an express service. Not sure there was much of a shop, I seem to recall a newsagent counter.
It did. The bus station opened in 1957, the office block above stances B, C and D was built in 1969-70. Before the office block appeared, the exit into St Andrew Square had a decorative canopy above it.

As Speedbird A350 mentions, the subways often stank of stale urine and were best avoided. I remember once seeing, and being disgusted by, an orange jobby on one of the stairways leading to stance C - it was obvious what had been going on there!
Also to be avoided, unless you were really desperate, were the toilets. I don't think they were modernised once in the 43 years that the bus station was in existence.
 

Mag_seven

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
1 Sep 2014
Messages
8,241
Location
here to eternity
My mum packed me off to see relatives in the Scottish borders in the summer of 1977. I remember alighting from a train at Edinburgh Waverley and then walking up to catch a bus from there. It was quite an adventure for a 12 year old on his own!
 

GusB

Established Member
Associate Staff
Buses & Coaches
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
3,677
Location
Elginshire
My memories of the old bus station were from around 1993 until the redevelopment. I only ever used it when travelling to and from Inverness/Aberdeen on either Citylink or Caledonian Express services. These used the open area at the north side which, I think, is probably the only part still in use as part of the new bus station (I've only used it once since so I'm happy to be corrected here).

I recall the covered parts having a really dank feeling about them. From memory, there was an Eastern/SMT travel shop in the south-east corner and a kiosk (John Menzies?) near the exit. There was a tiny pub next to the coach stances - it didn't look particularly inviting, and I cannot for the life of me remember the name.

Other things I recall were lots of backpacks and hurriedly arranged duplicate coaches in various liveries, from many different operators and in some questionable states of repair!
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,620
It had a caff at the east end, a real greasy spoon. It was long and thin and the smokers seemed to gather at the outer end, for double effect.

I once took a "coach" to Manchester, in reality an SMT (or whatever it was called then) single-decker without toilet facilities. Stopping points en route included Penicuik, Biggar and Kendal (Ribble garage for refuelling and giving passengers a leg-stretch, rather than bus station). I can't remember the journey time, except that it was much more than in the timetable.
Sounds like a long run, like a long local service! Now it would be a national express via Glasgow.

I Think the old bus station closed in 2000. I'm sure some Lothian services served the bus station.
 

DunsBus

Member
Joined
12 Jan 2013
Messages
806
Location
Duns
It was the Highwayman though in later years, it was called the Postillion
The one at the bus station exit was, if I'm correct, called the Travellers Tryst.

Sounds like a long run, like a long local service! Now it would be a national express via Glasgow.

I Think the old bus station closed in 2000. I'm sure some Lothian services served the bus station.
Yes, it closed in July 2000.
The Lothian/Eastern Scottish joint service 61 used the bus station per-deregulation. In the early-to-mid nineties, the 48 and 100 also used it.
 

Swanny200

Member
Joined
18 Sep 2010
Messages
605
I remember the 592 Nat Ex services from Aberdeen and travelling from Down South to my Gran's and vice versa in the 90's to 2000s, I can't remember if they stopped inside the station or outside, or was it Stagecoach when they did their Caledonian express competition that stopped outside. Always looked dark and dank, the new one doesn't feel the same. It reminded me of the old Newcastle bus station or even the Pentagon in Chatham, when all you could smell was exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and wee.
 

GusB

Established Member
Associate Staff
Buses & Coaches
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
3,677
Location
Elginshire
I remember the 592 Nat Ex services from Aberdeen and travelling from Down South to my Gran's and vice versa in the 90's to 2000s, I can't remember if they stopped inside the station or outside, or was it Stagecoach when they did their Caledonian express competition that stopped outside. Always looked dark and dank, the new one doesn't feel the same. It reminded me of the old Newcastle bus station or even the Pentagon in Chatham, when all you could smell was exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and wee.
National Express services used the same area as Citylink services, or at least they did when I was using them.

Just to clarify, Caledonian Express was the brand used by National Express after they took over Stagecoach's express operations. The Stagecoach name was carried by those vehicles under a two-year licence agreement, but the operations at that point were owned by NatEx.

The Caledonian Express brand began to disappear soon afterwards and more or less ceased to exist when NatEx bought Scottish Citylink.
 

TheSel

Member
Joined
10 Oct 2017
Messages
589
Location
Southport, Merseyside
Most of my pictures tended to be taken on the open area - more light! But here are a couple that include parts of the sumptuous surroundings in which passengers could enjoy their time waiting for a bus.

Ailsa VV780 - CSG780S - January 1980

1611938382516.png

Bristol Lodekka AA8 - GCS248 - July 1973

1611938483397.png

ECW bodied Fleetline DD68A - OSG68V - June 1984

1611938569116.png

Alexander bodied Leyland Lion ZLL182 - C182VSF - June 1992

1611938675554.png
 

Swanny200

Member
Joined
18 Sep 2010
Messages
605
National Express services used the same area as Citylink services, or at least they did when I was using them.

Just to clarify, Caledonian Express was the brand used by National Express after they took over Stagecoach's express operations. The Stagecoach name was carried by those vehicles under a two-year licence agreement, but the operations at that point were owned by NatEx.

The Caledonian Express brand began to disappear soon afterwards and more or less ceased to exist when NatEx bought Scottish Citylink.
Right, I understand now, I used to get the stagecoach Neoplans down to London twice a year from Guild Street (early 80's) then stopped until the late 80's early 90s so that would fit in with the caledonian express thing
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
17,422
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Most of my pictures tended to be taken on the open area - more light! But here are a couple that include parts of the sumptuous surroundings in which passengers could enjoy their time waiting for a bus.

Ailsa VV780 - CSG780S - January 1980

View attachment 89475

Bristol Lodekka AA8 - GCS248 - July 1973

View attachment 89476

ECW bodied Fleetline DD68A - OSG68V - June 1984

View attachment 89477

Alexander bodied Leyland Lion ZLL182 - C182VSF - June 1992

View attachment 89478

Lovely photos - that 1984 photo was very much the era I remember.

It was fairly grim though wish I'd bothered myself to go up from the North East in the 90s more.
 

Devon Sunset

Member
Joined
20 Oct 2020
Messages
71
Location
East Lothian
Most of my pictures tended to be taken on the open area - more light! But here are a couple that include parts of the sumptuous surroundings in which passengers could enjoy their time waiting for a bus.

Ailsa VV780 - CSG780S - January 1980

View attachment 89475

Bristol Lodekka AA8 - GCS248 - July 1973

View attachment 89476

ECW bodied Fleetline DD68A - OSG68V - June 1984

View attachment 89477

Alexander bodied Leyland Lion ZLL182 - C182VSF - June 1992

View attachment 89478
Loads of memories for me here. I drove 3 of the 4 pictured. VV780 was an absolute flyer. The Ailsa’s were great to drive, the only downside was the lack of cab ventilation in summer with the engine sitting right next to you. The Fleetlines were decent buses but the power steering version was a struggle to keep in a straight line as the steering was too light. The Lions were like sh#t of a shovel and great for express work as they had 245bhp TL11’s in them. Really frustrating when you got one on the 42/46 Circle and were crawling around at 25mph due to plenty running time.
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,620
Loads of memories for me here. I drove 3 of the 4 pictured. VV780 was an absolute flyer. The Ailsa’s were great to drive, the only downside was the lack of cab ventilation in summer with the engine sitting right next to you. The Fleetlines were decent buses but the power steering version was a struggle to keep in a straight line as the steering was too light. The Lions were like sh#t of a shovel and great for express work as they had 245bhp TL11’s in them. Really frustrating when you got one on the 42/46 Circle and were crawling around at 25mph due to plenty running time.
Do you know when them SMT Ailsas were retired? I remember them in the 90s but did they make it into First years?
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
17,422
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Do you know when them SMT Ailsas were retired? I remember them in the 90s but did they make it into First years?
The AV types did survive into First Group ownership but not for that long.

The later R types (X and B regs) were very long lived and gained the dodgy (IMO) blue/green/yellow on cream willow leaf and then Barbie 2 (in one case).
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
8,620
The AV types did survive into First Group ownership but not for that long.

The later R types (X and B regs) were very long lived and gained the dodgy (IMO) blue/green/yellow on cream willow leaf and then Barbie 2 (in one case).
Yes, the later Ailsas lasted a long time. 2006 at least. Longer than Glasgows Ailsas.
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
17,422
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
I think they ended up at Galashiels.
I don't recall any in Gala. Are you getting mixed up with Citybuses of which they had quite a few?

Always liked to spend a bit of time there when in Edinburgh (rather than being dragged round the shops). The ubiquitous Seddons of ES whereas the deckers seemed to be allocated to certain depots - AV Ailsas to Musselburgh, R type Ailsas to Musselburgh/Dalkeith (think New Street couldn't take Ailsas?), Fleetlines from New Street, and Olympians seemingly spread around New St, Dunbar, Bathgate etc

More variety (in colour rather than vehicles - usually T/TE/TC and Y types on Leopards or Tigers) came from the visiting Fife, Midland and Western vehicles.

Memories of 35 years ago!
 

overthewater

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2012
Messages
7,444
How on earth did Edinburgh allow its bus station to get into such a state in the first place? You have to wonder why nothing was spent on the place. Of course ever since the original place closed First pulled out nearly all its services.
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
17,422
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
How on earth did Edinburgh allow its bus station to get into such a state in the first place? You have to wonder why nothing was spent on the place. Of course ever since the original place closed First pulled out nearly all its services.
Because it was not part of the SBG privatisation, remaining with the govt in readiness for disposal (same as New St depot) though they were leased for 5 years.
 

DunsBus

Member
Joined
12 Jan 2013
Messages
806
Location
Duns
Because it was not part of the SBG privatisation, remaining with the govt in readiness for disposal (same as New St depot) though they were leased for 5 years.
Just to add to this further, the bus station was sold to Lothian Regional Council in the early nineties, ownership then transferring to City of Edinburgh Council, as the relevant successor authority at local government reorganisation in 1996. It was CEC who took the decision to demolish and rebuild the bus station in connection with the Multrees Walk development, it's also them who set the fees for use of the bus station, which explains why not all of the operators who vacated the old bus station came back in to the current one once it was completed.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top