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End of Empire Alexanders Split
End of Empire
W. Alexander & Sons was the largest bus operator in Scotland in 1961. It was therefore decided to split the company into three smaller companies, based broadly on the operating units that already existed. Midland was established to serve Falkirk, Stirling and Glasgow and retained the blue/cream livery of Alexanders, Fife operated around Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy and adopted a red livery, and Northern based on Aberdeen, Elgin and Dundee chose a bright new livery of yellow.
The split of Alexanders led to some unexpected consequences such a joint operation between the former companies. Most prolific of these arrangements was the Midland/Fife partnership that saw all routes from Fife to Glasgow becoming jointly operated. Routes such as the (23) from Glasgow to St Andrews had Midland vehicles reaching St Andrews (lower left) and Fife vehicles getting to Glasgow on the (26) from Kirkcaldy (lower middle). This mode of operation remained for over 20 years, with the (14) from Glasgow to Dunfermline (lower right) only reverting to one operator in the early 2000s. Northern and Midland only jointly served one route -the (19) from Dundee to Glasgow (top right) but this disappeared with ScotMAP revisions in the early 1980s. But Fife and Northern have never operated on the same service. Fife vehicles still cross the River Tay to this day from from Kirkcaldy and St Andrews to Dundee, and they now also serve the Royal Infirmary from Cupar (middle). Northern graze the edge of Fife territory with their route from Dundee to Wormit (top middle), Newport and Gauldry just the other side of the bridge; and Stagecoach Strathtay still cross the water to Fife (top left).
Alexanders may have gone but their spirit lives on in Stagecoach Group, as they serve 70% of the former territory with their Bluebird, Strathtay and Fife operations. The Midland services are still recognisable in their First guise. Unfortunately the bluebird has long gone, flown off to happier times.
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