Local Liveries in the Lothians

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Richard Walter shares some scenes from in and around Edinburgh, where McGill’s has taken over services previously operated by First Scotland East, and initially adopted a livery which bears a remarkable similarity to established competing operator Lothian Buses and its subsidiaries

Back in September 2022, First Bus sold its First Scotland East business and all of its routes in the region to McGill’s Group. The sale included all First Bus depots in Livingston, Larbert, Bannockburn, Balfron, as well as the Edinburgh-based open-top operation of Bright Bus Tours. The company decided to introduce retro bus liveries from the era of former operators Eastern Scottish and Midland Bluebird which it felt reflected ‘iconic local buses of the past.’ Those vehicles based in the Stirling and Falkirk area were branded with a light blue and cream design as McGill’s Midland Bluebird which includes the iconic Bluebird emblem, whilst vehicles in West Lothian are appearing as McGill’s Eastern Scottish in a dark green and cream livery. Whilst the livery colours and scrolled fleetnames are certainly reminiscent of days gone by, the modern application has somewhat blended in with the current style of the Lothian Buses network in West Lothian and East Lothian as can be seen from the accompanying photographs, though as reported in last week’s news pages, McGill’s is to introduce a more modern livery on buses being refurbished for a number of routes in March.


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Part of the Lothian Buses family, Lothian Country operates services between Edinburgh and West Lothian and South Queensferry. Buses wear a green and white variation of the main fleet’s madder and white fleet livery, as seen on Wrightbus Gemini 3 bodied hybrid Volvo B5TL 586 (SJ67 MGY). RICHARD WALTER
The new livery of McGill’s Eastern Scottish is displayed by ADL Enviro400 MMC 8951 (SN66 WHB) arriving at the Edinburgh Centre terminus of service X24. The bus was originally 33449 in the First West Lothian fleet. RICHARD WALTER














In 2017 Lothian operated repainted Wrightbus single-deckers such as Eclipse 2 Urban Volvo B7RLE 190 (SN13 BFV) on routes branded as Skylink linking Edinburgh Airport with shopping centres at the Gyle, Ocean Terminal and Fort Kinnaird. RICHARD WALTER
Showing off the single deck version of the McGill’s Midland Bluebird livery is Wright Eclipse Urban Volvo B7RLE 2239 (SF11 CWV), previously new to McGill’s as its 239, leaving Glasgow’s Buchan Street Bus Station on route X37 to Falkirk. RICHARD WALTER













The original Lothian Buses livery design on Lothian City ADL Enviro400XLB Volvo B8L 1126 (SB19 GLK) passing the Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street in Edinburgh. RICHARD WALTER
The new livery of McGill’s Midland Bluebird as worn by ADL Enviro400 MMC 8945 (SN66 WGV) on its way to Stirling bus station. The bus was originally 33443 in the First Scotland East fleet. RICHARD WALTER