Alexander's Buses: Fife, Midland, Northern
In 1961 Scotland's biggest bus company, W Alexander & Sons of Falkirk, was divided into three separate businesses.
A new Midland company took over what had been the southern area of the business, and retained Alexander's blue livery and its Falkirk head office. It operated local services to the north and east of Glasgow, and in Stirling, Falkirk, Alloa, Perth and Oban. It also operated inter-urban services throughout this area, and to Edinburgh and Dundee.
Operations in Fife passed to a new Fife company, with local services throughout the region, and long-distance services to Glasgow. The Fife company had around 500 buses and adopted a new livery of Ayres red. It established its head office in Kirkcaldy.
Alexander's northern region became the new Northern company. Its operations covered the east of Scotland from Dundee to the Moray Firth. As well as a comprehensive network of services throughout the area, it had limited local operations in Dundee and Aberdeen, and ran long-distance services south to Glasgow and east to Inverness.
For the following 24 years the three companies' operating territories remained largely unchanged. Each of them acquired many of the small number of independent bus operators in their areas as the 1960s progressed.
The Scottish Bus Group was reorganised in June 1985 and this affected two of the Alexander companies. Midland lost its Glasgow area operations to a new company, Kelvin, while its operations in Perthshire went to another new company, Strathtay. Northern lost its operations in and around Tayside to the new Strathtay business, reducing the Northern fleet from 320 to 250 buses. Fife was unaffected by the changes. They were privatised in 1990-91 when Midland was sold to GRT Holdings and continues today as part of FirstGroup. Northern and Fife were sold to Stagecoach, which would later also acquire Strathtay.
This book outlines the Alexander story in its early years, then examines the effect of the split in the company in 1961, and the following years up to privatisation. It also includes a postscript, looking briefly at the vehicles inherited by Stagecoach and First, and at the former Alexander operations as they are today.
Alongside various colour photographs, the book also features tables showing a summary by vehicle type of the three fleets in 1961, 1985 and at the time of privatisation and a map copied from a 1960s timetable to illustrate the extent of the three companies' operating areas.