General News

Astromega Launch

The mighty Astromega, one of the largest and most exciting coaches in preservation, is poised to launch.

Sir Brian Souter’s 50 foot-long Van Hool sleeper will be star of the show at Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust’s Open Sunday on June 4, writes Ed Bonner.

Visitors to Bridgeton Bus Garage will step aboard for the first time to view the lower deck from cab through galley to the passenger area complete with beds. Upstairs among the sleeping pods and luxurious seats, large screens will show the Stagecoach Story, charting the history and success of the global transport empire co-founded by Sir Brian.

The coach which clocked more than a million miles operating overnight from Aberdeen and Glasgow to London with day services in between has taken its place among 130 buses, lorries and fire appliances in GVVT’s collection.

Open Sunday, with other attractions including Clippies Café, model bus diorama and classic cars, is from 11am to 4.30pm (adult £5, child/senior £3, family £12).

General News

Astromega ‘Superbus’ arrives at Bridgeton

One of the biggest names in global bus operation has chosen a new home for one of the biggest coaches on the road.

Sir Brian Souter, founder of the Stagecoach empire, has entered a Van Hool Astromega sleeper into preservation and selected Bridgeton Bus Garage, home of Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust, as the ideal place to do it.

Fifteen metres long and appropriately branded SuperBus, the double-deck, tri-axle TDX29 is a mighty addition to the GVVT collection of more than 130 vehicles.

First registered in 2013, the Astromega is a young entrant to preservation, but the new kid on the block boasts massive mileage from years of round-the-clock service.

Sir Brian hopes his new relationship with GVVT will encourage youngsters to consider a career in the bus industry.

After arriving at Bridgeton Bus Garage with the coach and being reunited with vehicles of the vintage he conducted on as a student, he said: “I’m really happy that my Astromega lives at Bridgeton.

“It’s unique. It marked a high point in vehicle development as the first custom-built sleeper coach for service in the UK.

“It had a very busy life working day and night between Scotland and London. It then moved into regular express work across the UK.

“More recently it has operated a luxury sightseeing service in Edinburgh under the SuperBus brand, so it’s had quite an interesting life.”

The Astromega can be viewed at GVVT open days and on garage tours. When fully prepared, visitors will be welcomed on board to experience its unique and luxurious interior.

Sir Brian added: “I welcome the opportunity to show the vehicle and share with visitors the Stagecoach Story on the video screen. They will also see part of the coach in sleeper configuration.

“I hope it sparks the interest of kids in particular. It would be great if some go on to careers in the industry. Meanwhile, I look forward to developing a relationship with GVVT and working more together in the future.”   

GVVT chairman Steven Booth said: “I was delighted to show Sir Brian around the garage and give him a chance to take a trip down memory lane, seeing buses that were part of his early working life.  

“The arrival of the Astromega is special. This will provide a great attraction and fits with our drive to engage more with families, especially kids. I’m sure they’ll think it’s fantastic.

“We are very grateful to Sir Brian for providing access to the vehicle for visitors and look forward to working with him on more projects.”