WTS 276T - Ailsa B55-10 Mk II

 

Vehicle Details:

Registration Number:    WTS 276T
Chassis Type:   Ailsa B55-10 Mk II
Chassis Number:    78007
Body Type And Seating:    Alexander AV H44/31D
Body Number:     AV23/3977/21
Date New:    March 1979
Original Operator (Fleet Number):    Tayside Regional Council (276)
     

Vehicle Information:

WTS 276T, in common with other similar buses, has a chassis constructed at Ailsa Truck & Bus in Irvine and a body by Alexander in Falkirk.  It was delivered to Tayside Regional Council’s Bus operating division in Dundee, and allocated to Marchbanks Depot, in the Lochee area of the city.

WTS 276T is a somewhat unique vehicle. As opposed to being fitted with the SCG transmission as per the standard configuration on the Mark 1 and 2 Ailsas, 276 was utilised from new as a testbed for the VOITH 851 fully automatic 3 speed transmission unit. Initially this was intended as an experimental and temporary fitment to 276, prior to being offered as an option for the later Mark 3 Ailsas, with Ailsa Truck & Bus and Voith Transmissions group working in close collaboration during the production of this particular vehicle. The vehicle proved successful, and as opposed to being retrofitted back with the standard SCG transmission, 276 retained the Voith equipment which it carries to this day, albeit having undergone a few overhauls during it’s service life as per.

 In October 1979, 276 travelled from Dundee to Helsinki, Finland, where it jointly represented Volvo Bus, Voith, Alexanders and Tayside Regional Council at a Commercial Vehicle Show which we understand saw exhibits attending from all across the world. A commemorative brass plaque was fitted to the lower deck stairwell bulkhead of the vehicle marking the occasion. The bus carried this for the entirety of its service life and this is still proudly on display today.

In the summer of 1982 the bus visited Strathclyde Buses Larkfield depot, and was utilised for training and familiarisation purposes in preparation for the introduction of Mark III Ailsas. 

The bus saw out the entirety of it’s somewhat mundane service life in Dundee, transferring to Dock Street depot in 1984 upon the closure of Marchbanks and serving through the transitions over the years from Tayside Regional Council to Tayside Buses and into the National Express owned Travel Dundee business upon privatisation.

276 was withdrawn in April 1996, and sold to local farmer, William Mitchell (Duntrune, Angus) for use as worker transport to the numerous berry farms in the locality. It served here until 1998, when it was secured by Dundee based enthusiast Eric Kenny. In 2013, having lay derelict since 1998, it was purchased from Eric by Richard Huxham and Reece Greene, with George Gray joining in 2017 and leading a fast tracked and intensive 18 month restoration which saw numerous mechanical and electrical tasks undertaken by George and ably assisted by Richard and Reece. This was followed by a repaint into the Tayside Regional Council livery complete with sign written “The British Volvo Bus” side adverts, accurately replicating those applied prior to its visit to Helsinki as per above. 

276 made her preservation debut at the SVBM Lathalmond open day in May 2018, and has also attended the GVVT open weekends in 2018 and 2019, seeing use on the free services on both occasions. 276 certainly appeared to attract considerable attention from the enthusiast fraternity. 

Reece Greene sold his share equally to George Gray and Richard Huxham in October 2018.  

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