• Rare photograph of Volvo Ailsa WTS272T in service with roof

Vehicle details

Year

1 February 1979

Registration

WTS272T

Fleet number(s)

272, 300 "Broughty Castle"

Chassis

Volvo Ailsa Mk II (Aa B55-10 Mk II)

Chassis number

78009

Engine

Volvo TD70E Diesel

Body

Alexander AV23/3977/18

Seating

H44/31D, OT44/31D from 1983

New to

Tayside Regional Council

Other operators

Travel West Midlands, Full Circle Tours

Current owner(s)

Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society

Current livery

Tayside Regional Council

Status

Restored and on the road since 2013

Awards

Third prize in commercials class: Tayside Classic Motor Show 2013
Best in Show Roland Williams trophy: Scottish Vintage Bus Museum 2013

 

Vehicle history

Tayside received a batch of six early Mark II Ailsas in 1979 having been an enthusiastic customer for the Mark I version. Originally numbered 272 this bus had a short history as a standard bus as it was converted to an open-top vehicle by Tayside in 1983 and renumbered 300 in the coach series. At the time it was extremely rare for buses that young to end up being converted like this and normally it could follow some kind of roof damage. This wasn't the case with WTS272T and it was simply a management decision to have the bus converted in-house. Like all of Tayside’s coaches 300 was named after a local landmark and in this case it was Broughty Castle.

WTS272T is a highly unusual vehicle, and it is the only Ailsa to have operated as an open-topper. Initially it was used for special events and on a summer service 66 from Dundee to Broughty Ferry beach. That service ran for the last time in 1988 and for the next few years WTS272T was only used infrequently. A short-lived service 44 linking the centre of Dundee with the new Tesco on Riverside Drive kept it occupied during 1989 but it saw no regular use again until Tayside Buses introduced a City Tour of Dundee in the mid-1990s. When Tayside was bought by Travel West Midlands the bus was repainted in standard ‘low floor’ TWM livery, the oldest bus to receive these colours.

When the City Tour was abandoned in 2000, WTS272T was once again laid up. By this time the redevelopment of East Dock Street depot left it stored outside and when it was loaned to Travel West Midlands to carry West Bromwich Albion on their victory parade following their promotion to the Premiership in April 2002, Travel Dundee intimated that they didn't want the vehicle back. The takeover of Guide Friday by Ensignbus resulted in the franchise for City Sightseeing Oxford Tour going to Tappins and so the management of the old Guide Friday Tour set up their own operation called Full Circle Tours. Travel West Midlands used WTS272T for a while then sold it to Full Circle Tours of Oxford who operated it for a couple of summers in a blue and cream livery.

When this operation was taken over by City Sightseeing WTS272T was once again withdrawn and the Society bought it in 2005. Coincidentally a Leyland National bus WBW735X that also operated with Tappins for a while as their 653GBU was added to the Taybus collection nearly ten years later.
 

In preservation

The bus was rallied for a couple of seasons after acquisition by the Society still carrying its Broughty Castle nameplates on the Oxford livery. It was on the road fairly regularly since then and has only required minor attention to its electrics and the hub seals on the rear axle. The upstairs seat frames have been shot blasted and repainted, and the Society commissioned a new vinyl roof cover.

Following Dundee United’s victory over Ross County in the 2010 Scottish Cup a parade was held in Dundee and the victorious team travelled through the streets of the city on the top deck of WTS272T repeating a job it had undertaken after United’s previous Scottish Cup victory in 1994.

During 2012 the bus was restored to Tayside coach livery, the colours it carried between the late 1980s and the late 1990s. The paintwork was rubbed down over several months and a small number of replacement panels were fabricated. Brush painting was undertaken by Brian Robertson, who had painted the bus in this livery in Tayside Buses days. Its first run after the restoration was completed in April 2013 took it to its old haunts of Broughty Ferry, the terminus of service 66 which it had operated in the 1980s and Broughty Castle the ancient monument after which it was named.

We have been made aware of a local transport museum's website which features some of our copyrighted photographs of this vehicle. To be clear we have absolutely no links to this organisation and none of our vehicles have been loaned to them for display either at their premises or their events since 2014.
 

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