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A Real Vintage Arrival

GVVT welcomes the oldest surviving Glasgow Corporation bus to Bridgeton Bus Garage

GVVT welcomed Sir Brian Souter to Bridgeton Bus Garage today (Wednesday 6th March). Sir Brian has loaned the Trust a bus from his collection.  It is no ordinary bus.  It is a 1928 Glasgow Corporation Transport Leyland Titan TD1, the oldest surviving Glasgow Corporation bus.  The bus will take centre stage as the Trust celebrates 100 years of Glasgow Corporation motorbuses during this year.  This will involve a special event in the city.  More news on this to be released soon.

Sir Brian personally drove the Titan to Bridgeton from its storage location.  He was pleased to report that the bus had performed very well on its 50 mile trip.  While at Bridgeton, Sir Brian caught up with progress on the installation of the bus simulator which he has provided the Trust which will be in operation in the near future.

Find out what dates you view 111 on our Guided Tours and Open Days on our events page.

Sir Brian is seen here handing the bus into the care of Steven Booth, GVVT Chairman.

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General News

2023: A vintage year for GVVT

By Ed Bonner

More members, more visitors, more passengers than ever and a mighty supply of bacon rolls and burgers which if strung together would stretch from Bridgeton Bus Garage to George Square and back.

Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust celebrated 2023, its 21st year, with a staggering set of superlatives:

Membership is the largest it has ever been, up a remarkable 26 per cent on 2022 from 654 to 824 – 170 new sign-ups;

Attendance at events and tours soared to 9627 from 7243, a 33 per cent rise – Bridgeton’s biggest;

The number of passenger journeys on free services leapt 42 per cent from 13,906 to 19,765, the highest total yet;

And our freshly refitted Clippies Cafe sold out all stock at every major event, thanks to the sterling efforts of the catering team.

Records tumbled at the year’s main events. Open Weekend drew a highest ever 3436 visitors over its two days with more than 40 guest vehicles attending from across the UK while 1721 people plus countless free-entry under-fives poured through the doors to be greeted by Darth Vader and the troops of the Western Desert Recce Group to our biggest yet Family and Community Day.

Meanwhile, increasing demand for public guided tours of the garage saw a record-breaking 25 take place over the year.

GVVT services operating out of Riverside for West End Festival carried 2491 passengers while Glasgow Life selected GVVT to stage a display at Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum between June and December which was seen by countless thousands of visitors.

All of that required an army of blue-vested guides, guards and helpers, and 1426 volunteer hours were given at 10 principal garage events.

GVVT chairman Steven Booth said: “I can’t thank everyone enough for all the help and support provided, whether member, visitor, friend or supporter. Each individual makes a unique contribution to our success.

“What a tremendous year 2023 turned out to be. Family and Community Day and Open Weekend had record attendances. We broke new ground with our residency at Kelvingrove which opened the door to new audiences, membership is at a record level, and all the time the process continues of restoring the vehicles of our past.”

Those vehicles are at the core of GVVT activity, with two new arrivals in particular reflecting the span of eras represented. New in 2013 but with a massive million-plus miles on the clock, Sir Brian Souter’s 52-foot VanHool Astromega sleeper coach is the youngest, and longest, in the shed. Meanwhile, 78 years the Astromega’s senior, the quaint and quirky 1935 Albion mobile shop is our third oldest resident. 

After countless hours of skilled and painstaking work, several buses returned to the road, including unique Glasgow Corporation open-topper FYS 8, Western Scottish National SHH 389X, A1 Ailsa PSJ 825R and Tayside Ailsa WTS 276T.

With the restoration of Leyland Atlantean XUS 575S complete, the owners have launched into 2024 with their next project, the rebuild of MCW Metrorider E186 BNS, and after years sidelined, huge progress has been made on West Coast Motors Bedford Plaxton VSB 164M.

The team at Back on the Road, our social inclusion programme, made strides with ex-Glasgow National GGE 173T, and hope to unveil the Dart children’s driving experience at April’s Open Sunday.

The quality of Bridgeton-based buses, lorries and fire appliances make them welcome visitors throughout the UK, and in 2023 they were enjoyed at events from Kirkby Stephen to Biggar and from Whitehaven to Dundee.

A burgeoning Outreach and Community Development programme continued to boost public awareness of our work with more visits than ever to schools and care homes, and a growing number of guided group tours of the garage.

In August, GVVT made the news when Elena Whitham MSP, Minister for Drug and Alcohol Policy, made a dual-purpose visit to Bridgeton to see Back on the Road and discuss the release of annual national drug death statistics. The Trust also featured in several interviews and features in print, on air and online which boosted our public profile.

As we enter 2024, a high-tech bus simulator is being installed close to our newly opened Wee Happy Shop, a new building manager is in place and a museums consultant is at the forefront of work to develop the archive.

Steven Booth added: “The year promises more exciting opportunities for the Trust. We will celebrate an important milestone in terms of buses, 100 years since the introduction of motor buses by Glasgow Corporation Transport.

“We have new activities for kids in the pipeline and we will be working on feasibility studies for the future of Bridgeton Bus Garage in collaboration with Clyde Gateway as we continue to explore our aim of providing a museum alongside our operational garage.

“We never take the great support we receive for granted, but I hope we can count on it again for what is shaping up to be a busy year ahead.”

At 21, GVVT has the key to an exciting future. See you on the journey.

If you’d like to be part of our success story you can become a GVVT member and assist at our events, more details on our membership page.

Table of statistics

Measure20222023Change% change
Number of members at end of year654824+170+26%
Visitors to Bridgeton Bus Garage72439627+2384+33%
Passenger journeys on GVVT buses1390619765+5859+42%
Open Weekend visitors31393436+297+9.5%
Family and Community Day visitors13621721+359+26%
West End Bus Fest passenger journeys23422491+149+6.4%
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Events General News Open Days

Darth Vader to open Family Day

The Force is sure to be with you at a top event that’s out of this world.

Darth Vader will open Family and Community Day at Bridgeton Bus Garage on Sunday, July 30, writes Ed Bonner.

Supported by troopers from Star Wars Imperial Scottish Garrison, the Dark Lord will cut the ribbon with his lightsaber before the Michael Brawley Big Band raise the roof with the first of two swinging sets, featuring singer Sonja Smith.

Hosted by Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust, other attractions include 130 classic buses, lorries and fire appliances, military and emergency services displays, Unwanted Scooter Club, veteran cycles, Paint-a-Bus, Clippies Café, face painting and model buses.

Free vintage bus services will run from the garage to the city centre and Kelvingrove Museum, where the Trust has an exhibition.

GVVT trustee Ed Bonner said: “Family Day is an opportunity to see our vehicles and restoration work, and have fun.

“It had a record attendance of 1500 last year, and with Star Wars headlining and the band playing two extended one-hour sets, we hope to welcome even more visitors this time.”

Family Day: 11am-4.30pm. Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions, £12 families. Pre-book online at the GVVT website or pay at the door (cards accepted). Enter by Broad Street.

Pictures: Gavin Macqueen Photography

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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).

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GVVT & the Kelvingrove Community Gallery

We have some very exciting news about a tie up between the GVVT and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow’s west end. 

Through the great work of Nicola McHendry of Cairn Heritage, who is helping develop our archive and resource centre, we have secured a six-month residency in the museum’s ‘Community Gallery’ starting in early June 2023.  This will give people a glimpse of the artefacts we hold in our archive at Bridgeton Bus Garage.  Objects that on display will focus on the bus in Glasgow but also celebrate the tram, trolleybus and subway as well as the role of women in delivering public transport.

This involves a big team effort to pull off.  Nicola is leading the charge with energy, organisation, ideas and guidance.  She has secured the services of two students on placement from Glasgow University (Cerys and Jayati) doing an MSc in Museums Studies who helping curate what we display.  Our archive and resource centre team have been involved in selecting objects and supporting photographs with interesting stories.  Ed Bonner is leading on creating some new audio visual content with Norrie Pollock which we will be able to show on the screen provided in the gallery space.  This will draw on the high-quality photography of Chris Paton who has visited the garage a number of times.  If that’s not all, we are going to connect the venues with a bus service on the days of our events at Bridgeton Bus Garage.  And at the end, we get to keep the display, mountings and other material from the gallery. 

GVVT Archive bus and tram stops (c) Chris Paton Photography

Steven Booth, GVVT Chairman, said: “This is fantastic exposure for the Trust to showcase what we do and give people a peek into what our archive holds. 

Kelvingrove is undoubtedly one of the premier visitor attractions in Glasgow, if not Scotland and the wider UK, so to have a presence there over the rest of this year will be smashing.  A huge thank you to Nicola McHendry of Cairn Heritage, Cerys Hanson-Jones,

Jayati Srivastavia and the Kelvingrove team for their knowledge and expertise to help prepare.  And a special thank you to the archivists and our GVVT membersfor rising to the challenge with the exhibition content and audio visuals.  I personally can’t wait to see all this come together.  This will be great!”

Cairn Heritage logo
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Thanks for coming along!

A huge thank you to everyone who came to visit us today and support the work of the GVVT. This has been our busiest April Open Sunday on record, with around 700 visitors at Bridgeton Bus Garage. Passengers on our free bus service had 1100 rides, we think some people had more than one 0 but there’s nothing wrong with that, we even had to duplicate some journeys as demand was so high, we didn’t want to keep people waiting!

If you were one of our visitors we’d really appreciate if you could leave a review to help spread the word about what we do. There’s a few to choose from:

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Events General News Open Days

Event dates for 2023

We’re delighted to release the dates for our events in 2023, including our popular Open Sundays, Guided Tours, West End Bus Fest and Annual Open Weekend. Please see our Events Page for more details.

2022 has been one of our most successful years ever, with more visitors to Bridgeton Bus Garage and riding on our buses than ever before! We’ve also visited and supported more local carnivals, festivals and community events with vehicles from our collection! Let’s make 2023 even better!

If you’re having a local community event that you think we could be involved with, please drop us an email with more details.

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Events General News

New Family Friendly Guided Tour Option

Due to the phenomenal success of our guided tours we are now offering a family friendly version our regular tour commencing 28th December, ideal for something unusual to do during the Christmas and New Year break! The Family friendly version will feature slightly indepth information from our tour guides to keep the younger visitors interested, we’ll also feature some more hand-on parts including the chance to sit in the bus drivers seat, try on old transport uniform and issue tickets from vintage ticket machines. Our regular tours are still suitable for visitors of all ages covering our collection of around 140 buses, coaches, fire engines and commercial vehicles!

For more details, dates and to book see our Guided Tour webpage.