McGill's Scotland East

January 21, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

SN05 HWKSN05 HWKMcGills Midland Bluebird's First Barbie liveried Scania Omnidekka SN05 HWK (1806) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 4.1.23 One of the most interesting bus operators in Central Scotland at the moment is McGill Scotland East.   McGill took over operation of the Former First Scotland East franchise in September 2022, inheriting 257 buses in the process.   By purchasing the Scotland East Franchise, McGill extended their reach as they already own McGills Scotland West, which is mainly based in the Inverclyde and Renfrewshire and Xplore Dundee, which covers the Dundee City area.

Routes and Depots

McGill Scotland East is split into 2 areas: Midland Bluebird and Eastern Scottish, both reviving heritage names and heritage liveries.   Midland Bluebird is based at 3 depots: Larbert, Bannockburn and Balfron with Eastern Scottish being based at Livingston.

Livingston depot covers routes in West Lothian and Edinburgh, heading to places such as Shotts (North Lanarkshire), Fauldhouse, Whitburn, Blackridge, Armadale, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Balerno, Queensferry, Kirkliston and Deans

Larbert depot mainly covers routes around the Falkirk area to destinations such as Maddiston, Dunnipace, Bo'ness, Larbert, Grangemouth, Fankerton, Hallglen, Langlees, Forth Valley Hospital, Camelon, Denny, Slamannan, Edinburgh and Glasgow (via Cumbernauld).

Balfron depot mainly covers routes between Stirling and Glasgow via Balfron and Kippen or via Aberfoyle and Milngavie.

Bannockburn depot mainly covers routes around the Stirling area to destinations such as Cambusbarron, Callander, Alloa, Clackmannan, Cowie, Stirling University, St Ninnians, Raploch and Glasgow via Cumbernauld.

The fleet

As mentioned before, McGill inherited 257 buses of various types from First, including the Bright Bus tours operation in Edinburgh.  On taking over, McGills had to withdraw 120 of the inherited fleet as they were deemed unsuitable for service. Some of the fleet were returned to service after repairs, however a number of them were replaced by buses from the reserve and withdrawn fleets from the West of Scotland and Xplore Dundee operations. 

The current fleet includes:

  • 4x BMC ProBus / Falcons (Numbered 0300-0303, only 1 remaining in service)
  • 74x Wright Streetlite DF (Numbered 0405-0479)
  • 2x Wright Streetlite SF (Numbered 0480-0481 and Transferred from Xplore Dundee)
  • 6x Volvo Plaxton Profiles (Numbered 0600-0605, 3 remaining in service)
  • 16x Scania Wright Solars (Numbered 1601-1616, all withdrawn from service)
  • 22x Scania Omnidekkas (Numbered 1800 - 1820 plus one that hasn't been renumbered, 9 remaining in service)
  • 1 x Volvo Wright Renown (Numbered 2200, training bus)
  • 6 x Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse 2 (Numbered 2234 - 2239, 4 in service in new Midland Bluebird livery, 2 still to enter service, transferred from McGills West of Scotland)
  • 66x Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse (Numbered 2240 - 2346)
  • 7x Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini (Numbered 2807-2811, 2817-2818, transferred from Xplore Dundee)
  • 1x Volvo B7TL Alexander ALX400 (Numbered 2844, withdrawn training bus)
  • 2x Volvo B7TL Plaxton President (Numbered 2845-2846, both withdrawn)
  • 21x Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini (Numbered 2847-2867)
  • 4 x Volvo B9TL Wright Eclipse Gemini (Numbered 2900-2903)
  • 11x Alexander Dennis Enviro 200MMC (Numbered 4111-4121)
  • 9 x Wright Pulsar 2 (Numbered 6001-6009, 3 in service, 6 still to enter service, being painted a mix of Midland Bluebird and Eastern Scottish liverys, transferred from McGill's West of Scotland)
  • 6 x Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 (numbered 8050 - 8055)
  • 20 x Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 (numbered 8475 - 8496)
  • 12 x Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 (numbered 8924-8935 , Bright bus tours open toppers)
  • 15 x Alexander Dennis Enviro 400MMC (numbered 8936-8951)
  • 8 x mix of buses for Bright bus tours (numbered 9901-9908)

Liveries

With it being early days in the new franchise and with buses having to be transferred in from other areas, there are a real mix of liveries on the fleet at the moment including

  • First Barbie
  • First 2012
  • First Urban (Midland, West Lothian and plain)
  • 2 toned blue
  • Midland Bluebird Retro
  • Midland Scottish Retro
  • Xplore Dundee Green (Streelite SFs, Enviro 200MMC and some ex Xplore Dundee Geminis)
  • Debranded National Express Dundee Red and White (some ex Xplore Dundee Geminis)
  • New Midland Bluebird Blue and Cream
  • New Eastern Scottish Green and Cream

There are also various buses with route branding on them.

With the many bus types and liveries, McGills Scotland East are an interesting company to follow and ride on at the moment! It is best to take the opportunity to do this just now before the inevitable newer, more uniform buses come along and more of the new livery is seen!

Some examples of the current liveries are shown below, more can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p1057977495

SP54 CGOSP54 CGODebranded National Express Dundee Read and White liveried Volvo B7TL Wright Eclispe Gemini SP54 CGO(2811) is seen stabled outside Bannockburn Depot 21.1.23 SN65 OMDSN65 OMDRecent transfer to Midland Bluebird, Xplore Dundee liveried but still carrying City Circle 360 route branding Wright Streetlite SF SN65 OMD (0481 former 0406) is seen stabled at Bannockburn Depot 20.1.23 SP54 CHOSP54 CHODebranded Xplore Dundee liveried Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse Gemini SP54 CHO (2808) is seen at Bannockburn Depot 20.1.23 YX09 AGUYX09 AGUMidland branded Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 YX09 AGU (8052) is seen at Stirling Bus Station 20.1.23
SN65 CVLSN65 CVLUnilink branded Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC SN65 CVL (8937) is seen at Stirling Bus Station 14.1.23 SN15 ELCSN15 ELCUnilink branded Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC SN15 ELC (8936) is seen at Stirling Bus Station 14.1.23 SK63 KKLSK63 KKLdebranded First liveried Streetlite SK63 KKL (0406) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 13.1.23 YN53 EFKYN53 EFKMidland liveried Volvo B7TL Wright Eclipse Gemini YN53 EFK (2847) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 13.1.23
SN64 CJZSN64 CJZMidland 2 toned blue with Falkirk branding and rear route 3/4 branded Streetlite SN64 CJZ (0448) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 13.1.23 SN05 HWSSN05 HWSMidland Bluebird liveried Scania Omnidekka SN05 HWS (1814) at Stirling Bus Station 3.1.23 YX65 PXFYX65 PXFXplore Dundee liveried Alexander Dennis Enviro 200MMC is seen departing Stirling Bus Station 6.1.23 SN05 HWHSN05 HWHdebranded First Barbie liveried Omnidekka SN05 HWH (1807) leads a line of withdrawn Omnidekkas at Bannockburn depot
SN66 WGVSN66 WGVMidland Bluebird liveried AD Enviro 400 MMC SN66 WGV (8945) is seen at Stirling Bus Station 31.12.22 SF55 TXCSF55 TXCProbus SF55 TXC awaits its next duties at Stirling Bus Station 31.12.22 SN05HWTSN05HWTMcGills Midland Bluebird Scania Omnidekka SN05 HWT (1815) in heritage Midland Scottish livery seen at Stirling Bus Station 31.12.22 SF11 CWUSF11 CWUMidland Bluebird lvieried Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse 2 SF11 CWU (2238) Stirling Bus Station
SN57 JDKSN57 JDKMidland liveried Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse Urban SN57 JDK (2289) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 4.1.23 66 XKW66 XKWMcGills Heritage liveried Enviro 400 66 XKW (8960) is seen waiting to be put through the bus wash at Bannockburn depot 21.1.23 SN62 AUUSN62 AUUMidland liveried with Gold route branding Enviro 300 SN62 AUU (8493) at Stirling Bus Station SN64 CKYSN64 CKYMidland liveried Streetlite SN64 CKY (0446) is seen in Newmarket Street, Falkirk Town Centre 4.1.23

 

 


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Most of my Photographs and sightings are from my favourite locations in the Lanarkshire area, including

  • Carstairs
  • Float Viaduct
  • Abington
  • Cartland
  • Hartwood
  • Greenfaulds
  • Holytown
  • Coatbridge Central
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