4 May 1983
Volvo Ailsa Mk III (Vo B55-10)
Volvo TD70H Diesel
East Lancashire Coachbuilders EL A3702
H51/33D then from 21 February 1992 H48/36F
Tayside Regional Council
Watermill Coaches of Fraserburgh
Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society member(s)
Restoration currently on hold
Tayside Regional Council and its predecessor Dundee Corporation had bought only Alexander-bodied buses since the 1950s so it was a major change of direction when the 1983 deliveries of Mark III Ailsas were bodied by not one but two English-based coachbuilders: Northern Counties and East Lancashire Coachbuilders. Like the 1981 delivery of Mark IIIs with Alexander bodies, the chassis used the Voith automatic gearbox and had a longer wheelbase allowing for a seating capacity of 84. These vehicles replaced the two batches of long-wheelbase Fleetlines of which the Society has an example from each batch: PYJ461L and GSL908N. They were also the first vehicles new to Tayside to feature moquette seat covers.
Tayside received two batches of East Lancs-bodied Ailsas in 1983, the only Ailsas to be bodied by the company. OSN862Y entered service in the first batch on the Douglas/Charleston route where it remained until displaced by new Volvo Citybuses in 1989.
In common with most of the later Ailsas, OSN862Y was converted to single door configuration in the early 1990s receiving an ‘invisible’ conversion. It also lost its moquette seats in favour of the more traditional blue vinyl coverings.
After Tayside Public Transport was bought by National Express Group in 1997 and was renamed Travel Dundee it embarked on a fleet renewal programme that saw all remaining Ailsas withdrawn within a couple of years. The East Lancs-bodied Ailsas were withdrawn before the older Alexander-bodied Mark IIIs and most were sold initially to operators in the north-east of Scotland. OSN862Y went, along with many others, to Watermill Coaches of Fraserburgh.
By 2004 most of the Watermill Ailsas had been run into the ground. OSN862Y was more or less complete and was acquired for preservation along with sister vehicle OSN884Y which was used for spares.
Work so far has involved removal of the floor and a large amount of work cleaning and rustproofing the chassis. Due to other commitments restoration is currently on hold and subject to review.