Fifers took a trip down memory lane on Sunday. It was a day of nostalgia as the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum organised journeys in buses from days gone by. The Lathalmond-based museum’s bus running day put on free vintage bus services from its re-created bus station to and from Dunfermline. Drivers, conductors and inspectors in period costume also took part in round trips from the museum to Kelty and Saline using buses from the museum’s collection. Organiser Gordon McGregor said: “We have nearly 200 buses here and these represent a living history of buses over the past 80 years or so.” Photo by David Wardle
The roads of West Fife will be transporting visitors back in time on Sunday as part of this year's Festival of Museums. Buses that were built between the 1920s and 1990s will be getting back in gear to offer rides on routes across the region from the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum in Lathalmond. Routes will operate from the museum to Kelty, Saline and Dunfermline Bus Station, as well as moving visitors round the 50 acre site which houses the numerous preserved and visiting buses and exhibitions offering information on their past. To complete the atmosphere, conductors and inspectors will be dressed in traditional clothes as you ride along. The annual event is part of a nationwide effort to open the vaults of Scottish museums and engage in new ways with visitors. There are also plans for the full-sized railway to offer short trips within the museum, particularly for the amusement of the younger visitors. A free half-hourly bus service will operate to the museum from stance one of Dunfermline Bus Station. The museum’s event organiser, Gordon McGregor said: "All year round, the owners of the buses at Lathalmond are busy working to present them in their original condition, and we enjoy giving people the chance to experience these buses and coaches of yesteryear during our annual running day."
Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
An historic military wagon has returned home after being restored to its former glory thanks to a group of enthusiasts. Shed47 Railway Restoration Group has unveiled its newly restored naval store tank wagon, NS161. The wagon was once part of a fleet of hundreds used by the Royal Navy to transport fuel from bunkers to naval depots around the country, including the Royal Naval Stores Depot at Lathalmond. It has been returned to the site which is now home to Scotland’s Military Railway. Shed47 is based in the original locomotive shed at what was the royal naval store depot. It is actively recreating some of the vast internal railway network which existed on the site until 1971. The wagon survived because it was being used as a stationary oil store at Lathalmond. It was parked on a short length of track long after the internal railway system and the branch line from Dunfermline closed . Group secretary Grant Robertson explained the wagon was spotted by a member of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society in the 1980s, who rescued it and transported it to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway for safekeeping. Fast forward a few years and the SRPS placed it on long term loan to Shed47, taking it back home to Lathalmond for restoration. Visitors can see the historic wagon on the group’s open days, run in conjunction with the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum on whose site Shed47 operates. This first is this weekend, coinciding with the bus museum’s 22nd annual open weekend which pays tribute to 25 years of Stagecoach in Fife. The museum, which traces its origins back to the 1970s and a small garage in Midlothian, has on a 50 acre site almost 200 vehicles, a small collection of classic cars, lorries and the restored Edinburgh horse tram and steam roller. To mark 25 years since the Stagecoach Group purchased the then state-owned Fife Scottish Omnibuses, this event will feature a variety of buses representing the earlier years of Walter Alexander (Fife), through the Fife Scottish years and bringing visitors up to date, with examples of the current state-of-the-art Stagecoach East Scotland fleet. By travelling on a special “works” train hauled by a Hunslet Diesel Shunter, visitors will have the opportunity to view Shed47’s work. Visitors can take open top bus tours , weather permitting , to the Forth. A free internal bus service will be in operation and a free vintage shuttle bus will run from Dunfermline bus station. Further details are available from the SVBM info line 01383 623380 or at www.svbm.org.uk.
A vintage double-decker bus which was the first across the Forth Bridge has made another trip across the Firth using the new Queensferry Crossing. FRD199, a Bristol Lodekka FS6G fitted with an Eastern Coach Works 60-seat rear entrance body, was one of the last of its type purchased new by Alexanders (Fife). Previous bus trips had to be made via Kincardine as the coaches were too heavy for the ferry. Three years ago, the bus re-enacted the service for the Forth Road Bridge’s 50th anniversary and this week FRD199 and Scottish Vintage Bus Museum stablemate 1951 AEC Regent RT journeyed across the Queensferry Crossing. Thought to be the only double-decker to traverse both the original and the new Forth bridges on their first day of opening, the bus is now back in the transport museum.
Thousands of people are expected to flock to Dundee’s latest tourist attraction, the city’s first Museum of Transport, when it opens its doors to the public on Saturday morning. Streets around the museum, off Broughty Ferry Road, are being closed down over the weekend to accommodate families, classic and vintage vehicle enthusiasts and members of the public for the gala opening. Dozens of cars, buses, lorries, fire engines, ambulances and even vintage tram cars will be on show over the weekend, which will also see a visit from 25 vintage and commercial vehicles belonging to local classic car clubs.Click here for a full photo galleryMembers of The Dundee Museum of Transport, which is housed in the former abattoir off Market Street, have been working furiously over the past few months to get the premises ready for the opening. Jimmy McDonnell of the group said they were all looking forward immensely to the museum’s grand opening and urged the public to get behind the new attraction. He said: “We’re all very excited about the opening, it’s been a long time coming and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s looking good.” The opening day starts at 11am. For full details of the museum, visit www.dmoft.co.uk. For more on this story, see Saturday’s Courier or try our digital edition.
The countdown has begun to the opening of Dundee’s Museum of Transport one month from now. The museum will showcase its impressive collection of vintage vehicles, memorabilia and transport-related items when it opens it doors to the public on the weekend of April 26-27. The city’s newest visitor attraction aims to display and preserve the transport heritage of the local area. With one month to go, National Express Dundee has announced its support for the museum, which contains some items relating to the bus company when it was owned by Dundee Corporation. Led by chairman Jimmy McDonnell, the museum is getting ready to welcome the public to its Market Mews premises for a weekend of festivities. The celebrations will include National Drive It Day, organised by the Scottish Vintage Vehicle Federation, on April 27 between 11am and 4pm. There will be more than 160 vehicles present throughout the day at this event. Mr McDonnell said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming the public through our doors. I’m sure people will be delighted to see some of the displays we have for them, and we can’t wait to show them off. “The whole team has been working extremely hard to establish it as a home for some of the area’s most important heritage and to remember those local pioneers who may have been forgotten over time.” Managing director of National Express Dundee, Phil Smith, said: “This new attraction is an excellent boost for the city of Dundee and we are very much looking forward to supporting Jimmy and his team on their opening weekend and beyond.” Doors open to the public to the public on the weekend of April 26-27.
The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum reopens to the public on Sunday. The museum, on the M90 Commerce Park at Lathalmond, is believed to be the largest of the type in the world. It houses just under 200 vehicles as well as a small railway system. VisitScotland has recently upgraded the museum to three stars. Volunteers have been working hard to clean up the exhibition hall after two “squatters” moved in during the closed season. A decision was jointly made with the RSPB to leave a pair of barn owls until later in the year when the charity would arrange their relocation. But the pair has voluntarily departed to pastures new. They did, however, leave considerable evidence of their stay which caused additional cleaning, said Guide Sunday coordinator Edward Busst. Some exhibits were also moved around, and the numbers of vehicles available for tours around the site have been increased thanks to some owners. Admission fees include a tour of the museum by bus.
The work of well-known Arbroath photographer Jim Ratcliffe will be the subject of a special display next week. Mr Ratcliffe, who died aged 78 in January, donated more than 75,000 negatives to the Signal Tower Museum’s archives in 2015. On Tuesday at 2pm, Fiona Scharlau, Angus Archives manager, is hosting a Jim Ratcliffe Collection drop-in at the visitor attraction. Visitors will have an opportunity to view a slideshow of photographs taken by Mr Ratcliffe in Arbroath during the 1970s. People are asked to come along and help identify people and places which were captured by Mr Ratcliffe’s lens. The freelance photographer operated in Arbroath since the 1960s and catalogued every picture taken in that time.
A group of Russian war veterans have won their latest battle with a little help from The Courier. The air force veterans marshalled the power of the press as they fought a rearguard action to save the Museum of the Transport Air Force Division at Vnukovo in Moscow from closure. The museum was created in the 1970s as a tribute to the heroism of pilots during the Second World War and houses a collection of more than 4,000 items of memorabilia, documents and military awards donated by the air force veterans and their families. The future of the museum came under threat after it was decided to close the municipal cultural centre where it is located for renovation. Incensed by the prospect of losing the museum, the families of the war heroes started a petition and held a protest at the local war memorial. They even enlisted the help of a modern aviation hero, pilot Evgeny Novoselov, who in 2010 made a miracle emergency landing of his aircraft, saving the lives of all 81 people on board, who wrote a letter of support to President Vladimir Putin. As part of their plan the veterans armed themselves with copies of articles from The Courier which told of a mysterious wartime mission by Soviet airmen to Perthshire which showed the amount of foreign interest in the veterans’ story and proved vital to their fight. News of the success came from Anna Belorusova, a Russian woman who has made a pilgrimage to Errol airfield to learn more about her heroic grandfather Peter Kolesnikov, who served with the squadron. “What became the turning point in sealing the museum’s future came from Scotland with the recent Courier articles disclosing the mystery wartime mission of the best airmen of the Vnukovo Transport Air Force Division at the RAF Errol base, as part of 305 RAF Squadron,” she said. “The Courier articles closing the gap in the division war history and confirming that the memory of the Russian airmen war time presence is still alive in Scotland, have given the second breath to the Vnukovo museum defenders. “The Scottish articles were seen and appreciated at the top Moscow offices and the happy ending came last week. It has been decided that the museum is to stay and to develop, for the 70th Victory Anniversary and further on. Elena Nikitina, the chief curator, said: “We are very grateful to the Scottish people for their friendly hospitality to our airmen in Errol during the war, which they had very fond memories of.”