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January 2004
Western Scottish Dennis Dominators 1983-1993
George Page
George is a registered blind person, although he has enough vision to observe buses.   He used to live in Coatbridge, but now lives in Dufftown, Moray.   Here he celebrates one of the lesser-known types of Western Scottish double-deckers - the Dennis Dominator.
Five and twenty Fleetlines
During the 1960's and 1970's Western operated hundreds of Daimler Fleetlines.  Many of these had Alexander bodywork but others had Northern Counties bodywork built in Wigan, Lancashire, and a few were bought secondhand from various operators with ECW bodies in the early privatisation era.

Enter Dennis
After the end of Fleetline production in around 1980 most SBG subsidiaries went their own way in buying double deckers.  Eastern, Northern, AStrathtay and even Highland bought Leyland Olympians and Midland moved on to the Metrobus, but Central and Western moved to the Dennis Dominator, which was built in Guildford, Surrey.

First Batch
The first Dominators arrived with Western in the Spring of 1983.  They were registered GSB 136Y to GSB 147Y and all had lowheight Alexander R-type bodies, Voith automatic gearboxes and Gardner 6LXB engines (right).  They were painted in a predominantly red livery with cream window surrounds on both decks and sported WesternSCOTTISH fleetnames.  Like most double deckers bought new by Western since 1978 they had moquette seats on both decks.  The last two were set apart from the first ten in that they had Maxwell rather than Voith gearboxes.
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 GSB139Y at Greenock
Never A Dull Dominator
The Dennis dozen came into service from Greenock depot in the Spring of 1983 and mostly operated on local services in the Inverclyde district.  Some of them would occasionally appear in Glasgow by way of services 19 (Gourock-Glasgow via Bridge of Weir) and 22 (Largs-Glasgow via Greenock and Renfrew)..  One of them was quickly repainted in a predominantly cream overall advertising livery for the British Bus Council, complete with "We'd All Miss The Bus" slogans.  This was a ploy by the above Council of Bus Operators and was a vain bid to stem the decline of bus travel in Britain at the time.

Bonnie Clydeside
A second batch of Dominators entered service in 1985, at around the time of the changeover from "B" to "C" registrations.  By the time these buses entered service Western had ceded its Renfrewshire operations to a new company called Clydeside Scottish, and like the 1983 batch the 1985 Dominators entered service from Greenock depot on Inverclyde local services (right). The five C-registered examples, numbered 155 to 159 in the Clydeside fleet, were spirited away and had their bus seats replaced by dual-purpose seats.  These evidently came from single-deck DP's of the late 1970's.
 B149EGA at Greenock
Silver Dream Machine
The reason for this was that Clydeside had involvement in the busy Scottish Citylink service 500 between Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh via Glasgow, and needed extra capacity for this service.  This was at a time when Edinburgh-based Eastern Scottish was using Leyland Lion double deckers on the service.  Minor modifications saw these buses gain four-speed Voith gearboxes to make them suitable for motorway cruising.   This batch of five buses wore an allover grey "Clydeside Quicksilver" livery at first, but lost this in favour of a predominantly white livery with grey "tween-decks" panels (right).  155 at least had a black skirt.
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 C159FDS in Glasgow
A third batch of Dominators came secondhand to Clydeside.  Motherwell-based Central had been cutting back on its services in its area and were selling good-quality, mid-life double deckers to other SBG subsidiaries.  Clydeside bought four Dominators, registered TYS 256 to 259W, a quartet of Rolls Royce-engined Dominators which had had a very brief sojourn at Livingston depot with Eastern before heading down the M8 to Inchinnan.  Very quickly their Rolls Royce engines were removed and they were given Gardner engines in their place.  These buses spent a couple of years at Inchinnan (right) before moving to Thornliebahk depot, where they eked out their last years in Clydeside service.

Hong Kong Take-Away
The year 1993 was to become the last year of Dominator operation at Clydeside.  A deal was done through an English dealer which would take Clydeside's Dominators off its hands, refurbish them and then send them to Hong Kong.  By the end of the year all the Dominators had gone and no longer did areas such as Inverclyde resound to the sound of Gardner-engined Dennis Dominators.  Even today, some ten years on, it is hard to imagine Greenock without its Dominators, or its Fleetlines for that matter.
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 TYS258W in Paisley
Click to enlarge photos.
Photo Facts (from top to bottom)
Western GB139 (GSB139Y) at Greenock in July 1983.
Clydeside G149 (B149EGA) at Greenock depot in May 1985.
Clydeside I159 (C159FDS) at Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow on Citylink Express route (500) from Edinburgh in March 1988.
Clydeside I258 (TYS258W) in Paisley in March 1988.
Clydeside/Western Dominators
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