Northern Scottish

Northern Scottish

Northern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, in Scotland, was a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Walter Alexander & Sons (Northern) Ltd and operated until 1992, when it became Bluebird Buses Ltd. This successor company is now a part of Stagecoach East Scotland.


From its head office in Guild Street, Aberdeen, Northern Scottish covered an operating range stretching over Moray, Angus, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen.

Northern was the largest operator in the north east of Scotland and was responsible for urban, rural and interurban services in the towns of Alford, Ballater, Braemar, Buckie, Elgin, Forres, Fraserburgh, Fyvie, Macduff, Mintlaw, Peterhead and Stonehaven as well as city services in Aberdeen. Depots were also located in these towns.

Northern Scottish also provided coaches for Scottish Citylink work, mainly from Aberdeen to Perth, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the south.


Northern Scottish was founded in 1985 from the northern operations of Alexanders (Northern). The southern operations in Arbroath, Montrose, Forfar and Dundee were ceded to a new company, Strathtay Scottish, at the same time.

From its creation the company retained the traditional yellow and cream livery from its predecessor.

On the approach to deregulation of the British bus industry in 1986, Northern had a working relationship with Aberdeen city operator Grampian Regional Transport, and operated some services together under the Grampian Scottish name. However, the co-operation would be short lived, and upon deregulation Northern Scottish launched a network of services throughout Aberdeen under the CityBus brand and adopting dual-door double deckers, non-standard for Northern but common with Grampian. A more striking livery was adopted for the operation incorporating large areas of blue. In response, Grampian would extend its operations outwith Aberdeen and into Northern's rural operating base.

Outside Aberdeen, Northern saw little to no competition, thanks in part to its largely rural and remote territory.

Toward privatisation the company resurrected the bluebird logo that was once used by Walter Alexander for its coaching operations. Midland Scottish, itself a fellow SBG subsidiary and once also part of the Alexander's company, had continued to use the same logo, and as it rebranded itself as Midland Bluebird, Northern Scottish began trading as Bluebird Northern. Some vehicles operated in the Elgin area were, however, branded as Moray Bluebird, whilst those operating in the Peterhead and Fraserburgh areas were branded Buchan Bluebird.

Though its operations remained largely the same since its formation in 1985 (and earlier) and with little competition, Northern Scottish was not one of the most profitable of the Scottish Bus Group subsidiaries, largely due the sparse population in its large operating area. However, the company was successfully privatised, being bought by Perth-based transport group Stagecoach for £5.7m in March 1991.

The yellow and cream livery was replaced with the Stagecoach corporate white with red, orange and blue stripes, and shortly after privatisation the legal company name was changed to Bluebird Buses Ltd, which is today a part of Stagecoach East Scotland.

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