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Bristol Commercial Vehicles / Eastern Coach Works Railbus

ScR Services Begin

Sc79958 was officially introduced to the 51 mile Speyside route between Elgin, Granton-on-Spey and Aviemore, on the 3rd November '58, working a daily diagram of around 300 miles. As with steam there were three services each way, and an extra train on a Saturday. One return journey was extended to Keith Junction and one to Elgin. In the month of November takings on the line increased dramatically compared with the previous year, £228 (1958) against £108 (1957), a 111% increase.

Sc79959 meanwhile had been delivered new to Leith Central in Nov. '58 then moved north, reallocated to Aviemore in December, and took over the Speyside route in Dec. '58 allowing Sc79958 to move south to Hurlford. Sc79959 lasted at Aviemore until early April '59 when it was replaced by Park Royal Sc79970.

Bristol railbus at Hurlford

The first images shows 79958 at Hurlford on 8/3/59 Bill Hamilton.

At Hurlford Sc79558 had been introduced to the Lugton - Beith branch in Ayrshire, beginning on the 6th April '59, which was believed to be a temporary measure until AC Cars Sc79979 was available to take over which it did the following month. It's few weeks on the line was not devoid of failure, and in May '59 both Sc79958/9 moved to Hamilton.

Bristol railbus at Beith Railbus at Lugton

Bristol Railbus Railbus in Scotland

Four views on Lugton - Beith workings, left at Beith and lower right at Lugton Hamish Stevenson.

Once both were at Hamilton there was a period of crew training before starting on workings to Holytown, Strathaven and on the Coalburn line on 6/7/59. Their appearance and riding was noted as being not unlike the LMS cars 29950-2 which operated from Hamilton for many years - and became a by-word for unreliability (!!!). On the same day, Cravens Class 105 sets also based at Hamilton shed were introduced on various other routes.

In Nov. '59 the failures at Hamilton continued, an example being Sc79958 failing one day between Braidhurst and Jeviston Jct on the 15:59 Motherwell to Law Jct. Non-fitted Jumbo 57237 took the railbus in tow, arriving just over an hour late.

By mid-'60 Hamilton shed had now given four roads over to DMU maintenance and stabling. And Sc79558/9 had now been joined by a third railbus Park Royal M79972.

Their workings from Hamilton they were gradually replaced by 2-car sets because of their unreliability.

Allocations then show both vehicles transferred from Hamilton to Ardrossan on 6/1/62, for workings between Ardrossan and Kilmarnock, and trips on the Darvel branch.

Workings continued on the Lugton - Beith line, and on the 31st March '62 Sc79958 was found out of action at Barrmill, passengers being conveyed by bus. Later steam was detached at Lugton from the 5.11pm St Enoch - Beith and sent to pick up the railbus.

Bristol railbus at Beith

The final image shows Sc79958 at Beith, on the last day of services before closure, 3rd December 1962 W.S. Sellar.

The next move was Sc79959 being reallocated to Ayr on 5/3/62, Sc79958 following on the 8th June, before moving back north to Aviemore on the 3rd December.

Both vehicles were transferred to Perth on 4/3/63, Sc79958 only briefly moving to Inverness on 1/4/63, then once more to Aviemore at the end of the year (16/12/63), working on Inverness - Aviemore via Carr Bridge services.

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