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AC Cars Railbus

ScR Changes

In Scotland, 79979 moved south from the Gleneagles - Crieff line to the Lugton - Beith branch replacing Bristol railbus 79958 by mid-May '59, although officially it was still shown as based at Perth until transfer to Hurlford in March/April 1960. The vehicle performed well on this, but it had a weekly mileage of just 520 miles. Observations noted it working the 14:00 Beith Town - Barrmill - Lugton service on 20/5/60, working on the line on 29/7/60, and at Hurlford depot on 23/3/60.

ac-cars-railbus-79979 ac-cars railbus 79979 at Beith

Sc79979 on Beith - Lugton duties circa May '59. Left: The poster on the station wall proclaims "New Diesel Railbus, Lugton - Barrmill - Beith" and uses the AC Cars line drawing. Right: At Beith station. Both Hamish Stevenson.

ac-cars railbus 79979 at Beith

The image shows Sc79979 seen on Hurlford depot on 27/3/60 in the company of 77016. Mike McDonald Collection.

WR early years

After 3½ months since the railbuses began, a typical days loadings on the 9th May 1959 were: 79977 carried thirty passengers on the 15:55 from Cirencester to Kemble, day returns to Tetbury being 2s 5d. At Kemble 79976 had 36 passengers when it left for Tetbury. A passenger got on at Rodmanton Halt, one got off at Church Hill and another at Culkerton. Trouble House was passed. The 18:05 carried six passengers all the way, none alighting/boarding at halts. At Kemble fourteen passengers boarded on arrival, mainly coming off a local from Swindon. At this time the Tetbury branch was not as well patronised as had been expected, the early morning, midday and early evening services doing better than the remainder, and very few passengers used the intermediate halts.

The Cirencester branch was doing better, and the 14:35 from Kemble was often so overcrowded on Saturdays (up to ninety passengers) that around April '59 it was retimed to leave at 14:16 (SO), returning and making another trip at 14:45. The 14:05 from Tetbury was also altered to 13:50 so giving a connection to Cirencester on the 14:16.

From the beginning of May '59 there was a modified system of servicing and maintenance. Only one vehicle now went to Swindon daily, the cycle being as follows: a serviced vehicle was put in the bay at Swindon station each morning and left at 11:05 for Kemble with a Tetbury driver; it worked the rest of the day on the Tetbury branch and the following morning did one return and one single Tetbury to Kemble, arriving at the latter at 09:39. It was then transferred to the Cirencester branch and the Tetbury driver took the Cirencester one to Swindon, left it in the carriage sidings, and picked up the serviced one. A small emergency supply of fuel was kept at Cirencester.

On the 13th May '59 79975 gave some trouble when it was due to leave Swindon, and although this was soon rectified, a fitter was sent to Tetbury the following morning to make sure that the service would not be interrupted.

The summer '59 timetable starting in June gave a few minor alterations of a few minutes. There was still no sign of the service being extended to Swindon, with the track circuit problem still being mentioned.

1961 Kemble handbill

The final image shows 79976 awaiting it's departure time from Kemble on the 22nd October 1959, when it will head to Cirencester Town. Mike McDonald Collection

AC-Cars railbus 79976 at Kemble

Another new halt at Park Leaze on the Cirencester branch was opened on the 4th Jan. '60, and passenger traffic increased to such an extent that overcrowding became a problem and it was suggested that a 'bubble' car might be more suitable, although this would increase operating costs and interfere with the cyclic working on the two branches.

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