Scottish Dennis Dominators 1983-1993
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.
and twenty Fleetlines
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A third batch of Dominators came secondhand to
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.
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
|Click to enlarge photos.
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.|