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  March 2015
Graham's Bus Service


It's sometimes hard to remember in these days of corporate bus groups how many thriving independent operators once existed.   Two much loved operators in the West of Scotland are commemorating anniversaries of their demise namely Grahams of Paisley and A1 Buses of Ayrshire.   The golden age for both operators was undoubtedly the 60's and 70's however even in their later years they offered much interest to the enthusiast.   Here we take a nostalgic look back at both companies in the days before stripes and swoops.

Grahams Bus Service of Hawkhead in Paisley stopped operating 25 years ago.   It was one of the final Paisley independents to disappear following the likes of Patons and Cunninghams into the history books.   Some of the destinations it served are now covered by McGills routes.   This is a selection of photos from the 70's, 80's and 90's.
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  • Graham's S1 (LOI6690), a Plaxton bodied Leopard, in Paisley in March 1990.   This had previously been REL400R with a Willowbrook Spacecar body in the Shamrock & Rambler fleet.
  • Graham's L1 (YSD650S), an Alexander bodied Atlantean in Paisley in March 1986
  • Graham's D20 (FHS181K), an Alexander bodied Fleetline formerly of McGills at Hawkhead depot in July 1980
  • Graham's D22 (MLK374L), a former London Transport DMS, at Hawkhead depot in July 1980
  • Graham's L17 (VGD779R), a Roe bodied Leyland Atlantean formerly of Cunningham's, at Paisley Town Hall in July 1980
  • Graham's L7 (AKE148K), a Northern Counties/Atlantean, at Hawkhead depot in July 1980.  This vehicle was formerly with Maidstone Borough Council.
  • Graham's S22 (SSU780W), a Duple bodied Leopard new to Graham's, in Paisley in March 1990
  • Graham's S4 (ADC285A), an Alexander M-type Volvo, at Hawkhead depot in March 1990.   This vehicle was formerly V2540 (HSD711N) in the Western SMT fleet and was bought to operate the famous Linwood Clipper service.
  • Graham's S25 (ULS320T), an Alexander Y-Type Leopard, formerly with Kelvin Scottish and Midland, in Paisley in March 1990



A1 Buses

Ayrshire Bus Owners (A1 Buses), one of Ayrshire's major independent operators, was bought by Stagecoach 20 years ago.   The company was run as a cooperative and at the time of its sale operated 97 vehicles owned by 10 members.   As with Grahams it was one of the last remaining Ayrshire independents with Clyde Coast and AA Buses following it into the record books.
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  • A1 OJD161R, a former London Transport DMS, at Salcoats station in December 1990
  • A1 OSJ35X, a Leyland Tiger with a Wadham Stringer Vanguard body new to A1 Service member James McKinnon.   It is seen at Parks City Bus Station in July 1983 on one of several express services to Ayrshire that were operated by A1.
  • A1 JOV749P, a former West Midlands PTE Volvo Ailsa, at Salcoats station in December 1994
  • A1 LXS14K of T&J Hunter, an Alexander bodied Atlantean formerly of Cunninghams, at Irvine in December 1990
  • A1 NCS16P of Hill of Stevenston, an Alexander bodied Fleetline, at Salcoats in December 1994.   It is now awaiting preservation at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum near Dunfermline.
  • A1 NCS26P, operated by Docherty, a Duple bodied Leopard, at Irvine in December 1990
  • A1 CUB50Y, a Roe bodied Olympian, in Ardrossan in December 1990
  • A1 C101CUL, an Alexander bodied Citybus ,at University Hospital Crosshouse near Kilmarnock in June 1988.  This had been an experimental vehicle with London Transport and went on to further service with Black Prince.
  • A1 Volvo Ailsas, mainly former Tayside examples, in October 1996 when under Stagecoach ownership
  Click to enlarge photos
  In memory of David Wilson [1951-2014], former Scottish Columnist of Buses Magazine



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