'Moredun-bound' vintage Edinburgh bus for sale - more than 10,000 miles away in Australia

Its days ferrying passengers to the likes of Leith and Moredun may be over, but the adventures haven't ceased for this retired Edinburgh bus.

Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 3:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 10:26 am

A restored Edinburgh double-decker from the 1960s has appeared for sale at auction - on the other side of the globe.

Formerly in the possession of Edinburgh Corporation Transport, a forerunner of Lothian Buses, wanderlusting bus 812, a No.16 service, still displays stops from old routes, such as Moredun, Leith Walk, Princes Street and Tollcross, on its destination panels, despite being more than 10,000 miles from any of those places.

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A former Edinburgh Corporation bus has appeared on an Australian auction site. Picture: Pickles.com.au

​The Evening News understands the bus was put up for sale by an insolvency firm in Australia on behalf of its most recent owner who had hit serious financial troubles.

Built in 1966, but with less than 38,000 miles on the clock, according to its listing, the retired Leyland Atlantean is now the subject of an intense bidding war between multiple deep-pocketed, anonymous collectors and currently has bids of more than 6000 Australian dollars (£3,200).

Serious mechanical issues mean the engine no longer starts, while the paintwork is in noticeably poor condition. However, the Capital bus, which comes complete in its classic madder and white livery, looks odds on to fetch a huge six-figure sum before the auction comes to an end on 15 November.

The vehicle's history report tells us the 53-year-old double-decker was made by coachbuilders W. Alexander & Sons of Falkirk and spent much of its working life operating out of Leith Walk depot, servicing all routes, until its withdrawal in 1982.

The destination panels still show familiar Edinburgh place names. Picture: Pickles.com.au

Following a stint in Tayside transporting berry-pickers to local farms, the bus was purchased for preservation in 1993 and restored by the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond near Dunfermline.

The vehicle spent more than two decades on display in Fife, before its owner decided to sell it in 2015.

However, no UK-based buyers came forward and the Scottish Atlantean was soon headed for the Australian Pacific.

Bus preservationist Jasper Pettie, who is a founding trustee of the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum in Fife, revealed the vintage double-decker was snapped up on eBay by a wealthy collector based several thousand miles away.

The body of the bus is in dire need of a paintjob. Picture: Pickles.com.au

He commented: "It was here at Lathalmond - not in the main exhibition hall - but it was on display for people to see.

"The owner of the bus decided to sell it and it was put on eBay. Somebody in Oz fancied it and he purchased it, it was taken down south, then, I presume, put on a boat to Australia and that's it. It was a couple of years ago now."

Mr Pettie said the Trust has no intention of bringing the bus back to Scotland - an endeavour that would cost thousands of pounds in shipping costs alone - but expressed his sadness at the vehicle's deteriorating condition.

He added that the bus had been in running order while at the museum, but understood the engine had "exploded" after its relocation to Australia.

The 53-year-old vehicle is no longer operational due to serious engine issues. Picture: Pickles.com.au

"It's not great to hear that it's worse for wear, but I just hope that it finds a good home," added Mr Pettie.

John Dickson, an Edinburgh bus enthusiast and a coach signwriter at Lothian Regional Transport for more than 30 years, recalls working on the 800 series of Atlanteans when they were brand new and told the Evening News he was "amazed" to see one for sale in Australia.

"I remember this group of buses coming into Shrubill at Leith Walk for a repaint," he said, "I was a signwriter at this time and doing a run of Bell's whisky adverts for them."

In spite of the fact it's no longer in operation, Mr Dickson said the bus appeared to be in relatively sound condition from a structural point of view and is a great prospect for potential buyers.

He added: "This looks good for its age but needs a repaint to bring it back to its former glory. The interior looks smart and clean and the mileage has been round the clock a few times, but a good buy for a restoration."

The Evening News has approached Pickles.com.au for further information.

The bus's interior has been described as in good condition by Edinburgh enthusiast John Dickson. Picture: Pickles.com.au