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  December 2012
   End of Empire Alexanders Split
Inter-Company Operation

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.

Joint Operation
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.

Operators No. Route History  
Midland/Fife 14 Glasgow-Dunfermline
via Kilsyth
Route split at Stirling in early 2000s.   Both sections now completely operated by First.  
  23 Glasgow - St Andrews
via Stirling
Route terminated at Stirling from St Andrews after ScotMAP in 1981.   Now operated by Stagecoach Fife  
  26 Glasgow - Kirkcaldy
via Dunfermline
Extended to Glenrothes in 1980's.   Absorbed into Stagecoach Fife Express network in early 1990's.  
  27 Glasgow - Leven
via Kirkcaldy
Discontinued in 1979  
  44 Alloa/Alva to
  90 Falkirk - Dunfermline Irregular service (28) now operated by Stagecoach Fife  
Midland/Northern 19 Glasgow - Dundee
via Perth & Stirling
Discontinued after ScotMAP in 1981.   Now operated in three distinct sections : Dundee to Perth by Stagecoach Strathtay; Perth to Stirling operated once daily by Docherty Midland Coaches; Stirling to Glasgow operated by First  

x x   
    One of the best places to see all three former Alexanders companies after the split in 1961 was Perth.   Several Fife services terminated at the bus station including those from from the main towns of Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy as well as more rural places such as Newburgh (above).  
    Northern had a regular service from Blairgowrie to Perth (above).   This service was linked with the Dundee to Blairgowrie service to give a through route from the early 1980's as part of ScotMAP.   The service exists to this day and is now operated by Stagecoach Strathtay.  
    Midland operated all the town and local services around Perth, inherited from Perth City Transport.   Vehicles from further flung locations could also be seen such as those from Crieff depot (above).  
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Click to enlarge photos and map.


Photo Facts (Top to Bottom)
  • Stagecoach Strathtay 21124 (PSU374), a Wright bodied Volvo, in Dundee in August 2012.   It is on the (77) service to Gauldry just across the Tay Bridge in Fife.
  • Northern NPE40 (AGM609B), an Alexander bodied Leopard, in Dundee bus station in January 1980, one of a batch transferred from Central.   It is about to depart on service to Wormit in Fife.
  • Northern NPE64 (CRS64T), an Alexander T-type bodied Leopard, in Stirling bus station in May 1979.   This vehicle was on service (19) from Glasgow to Dundee, a jointly operated route with Midland.
  • Stagecoach Fife 41469 (L304PSC), an Alexander PS bodied Volvo, at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee in April 2009.   This cross-river service runs to Cupar and is operated entirely from the Fife side.
  • Midland MPE314 (JLS727S), a Duple bodied Leopard, arriving in St Andrews on the (23) from Glasgow  in May 1986.   Originally operated by Midland's Stirling and Stepps depot and Fife's Cupar depot, the shortened route by this time was run by Midland's Bannockburn depot and Fife's St. Andrews depot.
  • Fife FRA76 (B176FFS), a rare Alexander RVC bodied Volvo, in Buchanan Bus Station Glasgow departing on the (X26) to Glenrothes in December 1985.   The (26) had by this time been speeded up by ScotMAP, and extended from Kirkcaldy.   The original joint operation between the former Alexanders companies saw Dunfermline (Fife), Kirkcaldy (Fife), Stepps (Midland) and curiously Larbert Rd (Midland) providing vehicles.
  • Midland 415 (ULS715X), an Alexander T-type bodied Leopard and Stagecoach Fife 414 (D614ASG), an Alexander P-type Tiger, passing each other on the (14) Glasgow to Dunfermline service on a dreary December 1993 day in dreary Stirling bus station.   Joint operation between First and Stagecoach only ended a few years ago on this route.
  • Fife FNV19 (FXA719D), a smart Alexander bodied Albion Viking from Newburgh depot, in Perth bus station in July 1976, about to return to its home town.
  • Northern NT196 (HSF554N), a Duple bodied Ford formerly with Fife, in Perth bus station in May 1980, also about to head to its home town of Blairgowrie.
  • Midland MT65 (RLS465T), a rustic Alexander bodied Ford, in Perth bus station in May 1985.   This vehicle was based in Crieff and is heading for St Fillans some 10 miles west its home on the banks of Loch Earn.




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