The Larkfield Depot fire of May 1992 - Vehicles lost, hire-ins & permanent replacements

Strathclyder

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Going off of recent posts in the Buses with Shortest Working Lives thread and with the clearance of @GusB, I thought it'd be of interest to open up a thread on one of the most infamous depot fires in the history of the Scottish bus industry: the Larkfield Depot fire which befell Strathclyde's Buses in the early hours of 18th May 1992 and it's aftermath. With some 60 buses completely destroyed and even after reinstating several very tired Atlanteans, SBL had a hard time meeting peak time requirements in the wake of such a catastrophic loss. Luckily, operators from around the country were able to supply vehicles at very short notice. Perhaps the best remembered of these is Tayside/Dundee supplying a number of Alexander-bodied Ailsa B55-10s, Western a contingent of ex-GMPTE Park Royal/Northern Counties-bodied Atlanteans, Grampian/Midland Bluebird a selection of Alexander-bodied Atlanteans and Newcastle Busways a number of Alexander-bodied Atlanteans (some of which had the staircase on the offside), among others. A smattering of new demonstrator vehicles also formed part of this relief effort. While most of these vehicles would merely recieve Strathclyde 'Orange/Black' fronts & backs, some would gain full SBL 'Orange/Black' livery. In addition to these, a number of second-hand vehicles were bought without initally being on loan. The best-known of these was a contingent of 7 ex-Nottingham East Lancs-bodied Atlanteans with the second set of doors completely removed before entering service.

Permanent replacement vehicles eventually came in the form of 52 Alexander RL-bodied Leyland Olympians in 1993, the last large domestic order for the type before Volvo shuttered the Leyland division entirely the following year (but not before completing a large Olympian order for Singapore Bus Services) and replacing the Leyland Olympian with their own Volvo Olympian. In addition to this, a handful of the hired-in/demonstrator vehicles would be bought outright.

As for the buses/coaches lost that night/morning, there were a good few notables that went up in smoke. A very early Alexander-bodied Leyland Olympian (VGB 364W/LO1), the unique Marshall-single deck bodied Volvo Ailsa NHS 782Y (AS1; originally built as a demo vehicle for Volvo and was painted in Tayside colours before heading to Glasgow), the last of the original trio of 1975-vintage Alexander-bodied Volvo Ailsas to remain in service (GGG 302N/AV3) & one of a pair of single-deck MCW Metroliners (A740 RNS/C13 was the vehicle lost), among many others.

Additionally, three buses were damaged in the blaze, but were able to be repaired. These were: Volvo Ailsa A44 (KGG 104Y), Volvo B10M Citybus AH1 (ESU 378X; this one was driven out of the fire with it's rear-end alight as previously mentioned) & MCW Metrorider M72 (E307 YDS).

I may have detailed most of this thread's subject matter in this opening post alone, but I'd regardless like to see people's recollections of this period, as they would compliment the linked images perfectly. Was certainly one of the most interesting periods in Glasgow's recent transport history.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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It certainly led to a very colourful period, some of the demonstrators are in this collection
Not the best views in the world, one day I will get them tidied up and reposted.
The former Nottingham stuff is always memorable as were the Western ex GM machines. For some reason, I always forget that Grampian sent some stuff down. However, I certainly didn't know that Grimsby Cleethorpes Transport had sent a Dominator north!
 

DunsBus

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LO1, I recall, as well as being one of the pre-production Olympians also had the very first Alexander R-type body.
Ironically one of Strathclyde's newest Olympians, LO47 (J136FYS), also perished in the fire. This was the first member of the trio that had been bought from VL Bus & Coach sales stock the previous summer.
 

156478

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The Tayside Ailsas were the abiding memory of the time. Blue "leather" seats if I remember rightly. "THIS IS NOT A DOOR" signs bolted across the middle doors.
They were just as rough and bumpy as the native Ailsas.

I remember LO47 well, it had a very nice interior- because it wasnt specified by SBL!

One small consolation was the batch of 52 LOs that came after the fire. Their cheerful modern grey interiors were a world away from the miserable mock mahogany formica and horrible "leather" seats we were all used to at the time. At the time they were lovely and smooth- all mod cons like bells that were not mounted to the roof and wayfarer 3 machines.

Nostalgia- that takes me back.....
 

olddriver

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Knowing nothing about any fires at the depot, I remember being perplexed when I started at Larkfield in the mid-2000’s as to why “The Shed” was called “The Shed” when there was nothing shed-like about it.
 

Statto

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I believe you could still see some of the damage to the depot years after the fire.

A pic of some of the buses that were destroyed

Just spotted a GM Buses Scania in GM livery that was most likely on loan, & how close the GM & Strathclyde liveries were, main differences was the white added to the GM

 
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