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May 2003
Summerday Transcard
A big adventure on alot of Y-types
The Ticket
In the early 1980’s Strathclyde PTE was keen to be seen as a promoter of an integrated transport system.   Although it paled in comparison with Tyne & Wear PTE, it did provide new ticketing opportunities such as the Summerday Transcard.   For £4, the whole of Lowland Strathclyde could be traversed by train or bus in one day.

The Plan
I bravely accepted this challenge in August 1982 – meticulously planning a journey from my home in Lenzie to far flung Girvan on the edge of the empire.   I decided to use only buses - my aim being to travel on unusual routes and not get stranded anywhere too exotic.
Midland MPE323 (ULS323T) in Glasgow in July 1981.

Kirkintilloch – Kilsyth
The big adventure began rather mundanely with a car trip from Lenzie to Kirkintilloch.   The most direct way from Kirkintilloch to neighbouring Kilsyth was down the main road using the (20) Glasgow to Falkirk service.   However this was a day for experiment, so I caught the (192) service from Glasgow to Kilsyth which ran via Twechar.   An NMS-M (MPE172/181)  Leopard from Midland's Kilsyth depot operated the journey through all the back roads.

Kilsyth – Airdrie
Scenic Kilsyth swathed in a sea of grey council houses – a site for sore eyes.   Reluctantly I left this hot spot on Midland MPE323 (ULS323T) which at this time was dedicated to the Airdrie route.   It passed through Cumbernauld town centre, scene of the then recently released film Gregory’s Girl and eventually escaped from the roundabout trap to arrive in Airdrie.

Airdrie – Hamilton
The bus station at Airdrie used to stand opposite Broomfield, home of Airdrieonians football club.   All three have now sadly disappeared.   Members of the MHS-P batch of Central Leopards though are still going strong (somewhere), and it was one of these erstwhile creatures that took me over the hills and far away to Hamilton.   And over a few more hills as well.

Kelvin-Central 1422 (MHS40P) at Hamilton in March 1990.
Western KL2326 (RSD725J), an Alexander bodied Leopard, leaves Sandgate Bus Station in Ayr in April 1976.   It is heading for Airdrie on the (42) service.

Hamilton – Kilmarnock
Originally the (42) route ran from Airdrie to Ayr.   However after Scotmap in the 1980’s, the service was curtailed at either end to run from Hamilton to Kilmarnock.   I travelled on an RSD-R Seddon from Kilmarnock depot, recently repainted into red/cream lviery.   As the journey progressed it became increasingly hot in the lunchtime sun, so despite it’s uncomfortable high-backed dual-purpose seats, I was soon snoozing through scenic Strathaven.

Kilmarnock – Mauchline
A Cumnock based Leopard (one of CL41-44, GCS-V batch) operated the Kilmarnock to New Cumnock service, packed full of big Ayrshire women with big shopping bags.   I sat in the middle back seat amongst swaying Tesco’s groceries.

Mauchline – Ayr
Mauchline is not a natural tourist destination and can seem a bit uninviting on a cloudy afternoon in August.   However I was duty bound to spend 35 minutes there waiting for a Seddon (YSD-T or ASD-T) to appear.   It had to be on time as I had a fifteen minute connection window for the next journey on my trip.   Fortunately everything went to plan and it delivered me beneath the Mecca sign in Ayr bus station (still there) spot on time.

Western AL2509 (HCS794N) at Stranraer in February 1976.
Ayr – Girvan
Another packed GCS-V Leopard, this time from Girvan sub depot, operated the service via Maidens and Culzean castle.   This route takes in the rolling hills and rugged coastline of south Ayrshire and was especially enjoyable in the late afternoon sun.   

Girvan – Glasgow
I took dinner (or was it high tea?) in Girvan – a pie supper and a pint of lager (what style!).   I then walked to the depot to wait for the bus from Stranraer.   To this day I’m still not sure whether this service stops at the harbour.   I was therefore pleased to see AL2509 (HCS794N), an old regular on the service since the mid-70’s, pull up outside the garage.   However it is always unwise to mix alcohol with a long bus ride (over two hours), and by Maybole I was ready for a comfort break.   By Glasgow I was desperate, and never have the Anderston X gents toilets (now shut) seemed so welcoming.

Glasgow – Lenzie
I walked in the fading evening sun from Anderston X to Buchanan Bus Station where I caught the last bus back to Lenzie.   It would have been one of MPE280/3/5 (GMS280/3/5S) driven by one of the usual harum-scarum drivers (no bend too tight, no traffic light too red).   By 10h50 I was home, reflecting on a thirteen hour marathon, with not a photo to prove it.   After all, why would anyone be interested in Y-types anyway ??
Midland MPE280 (GMS280S) at Lenzie in August 1983.
Click to enlarge photos.
Route Details:
Time Place No. Route Operator Vehicle
0910D Kirkintilloch 192 Glasgow - Kilsyth Midland Leopard NMS-M
0937A Kilsyth        
1002D Kilsyth 41 Kilsyth - Airdrie Midland MPE323 (ULS323T)
1103A Airdrie        
1150D Airdrie 11 Airdrie - Stathaven Central Leopard MHS-P
1229A Hamilton        
1350D Hamilton 42 Hamilton - Kilmarnock Western Seddon RSD-R
1506A Kilmarnock        
1525D Kilmarnock 50 Kilmarnock - Cumnock Western Leopard GCS-V
1551A Mauchline        
1634D Mauchline 43 Cumnock - Ayr Western Seddon ASD/YSD-T
1715A Ayr        
1730D Ayr 60 Ayr - Girvan Western Leopard GCS-V
1840A Girvan        
1915D Girvan 03 Stranraer - Glasgow Western AL2508 (HCS794N)
2145A Glasgow        
2220D Glasgow 181 Glasgow - Lenzie Midland Leopard GMS280/3/5S
2245A Lenzie        
     Midland   Central   Western
And the most incredible aspect of the trip - it's still possible today ...
Time Place No. Route Operator
0917D Kirkintilloch 184 Glasgow - Kilsyth First Glasgow
0958A Kilsyth      
1019D Kilsyth 143 Kilsyth - Cumbernauld First Glasgow
1040A Cumbernauld      
1050D Cumbernauld 47 Kirkintilloch - Airdrie Henderson
1118A Airdrie      
1147D Airdrie 201 Airdrie - East Kilbride First Glasgow
1243A Hamilton      
1330D Hamilton 42 Hamilton - Darvel Henderson
1424A Darvel      
1435D Darvel 1 Darvel - Stewarton Stagecoach Western
1507A Kilmarnock      
1535D Kilmarnock X76 Glasgow - Cumnock Stagecoach Western
1556A Mauchline      
1645D Mauchline 43 New Cumnock - Ayr Stagecoach Western
1725A Ayr      
1735D Ayr 60 Ayr - Girvan Stagecoach Western
1837A Girvan      
1910D Girvan 58 Stranraer - Ayr Stagecoach Western
2010A Ayr      
2035D Ayr 4 Ayr - Glasgow Stagecoach Western
2215A Glasgow      
2325D Glasgow 88 Glasgow - Lenzie First Glasgow
2350A Lenzie      
Mauchline is not really such a bad place ...
... really it isn't ...
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