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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
New life for round-the-world bus
By Doug Kennedy
BBC Scotland's news website

The CX19 on the streets of Sydney
The CX19 was a familiar sight on the streets of Sydney
Bus enthusiasts gathering in Fife this weekend will be able to see the first stages in a major project to restore a unique piece of industrial heritage.

A team from the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum will be showing off the bare bones of an Albion CX19 Venturer, rescued from the Australian outback.

The Venturer was a design seen mostly on the streets of Sydney and Glasgow after World War II.

The museum in Lathalmond will be the base for the year-long restoration.

It already houses almost 200 vehicles on a 50-acre site.

Most are of Scottish origin and vary from dilapidated to fully restored and operational.

The CX19 Venturer operated on the streets of Sydney from the late 1940s until 1970.

The Glasgow-built vehicle was repatriated across the globe last year and the project was recently awarded a 30,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

Working on the engine mountings

Museum trustee Graeme Fraser told BBC Scotland's news website: "The preliminary work for the restoration has been done, so it's full steam ahead now.

"We have a July 2006 target for completion, it's been stripped down to its bare skeleton for welding and replacement work on the steel frame."

The process will involve professional coach builders and engineers.

The No 1877 bus was discovered just north of Brisbane, Queensland, last year on a trip to track down a suitable candidate for restoration.

After leaving the Scotstoun factory of Glasgow's Albion Motors Ltd in 1946, it was fitted with an Australian-built body and entered service on the streets of Sydney.

It was shipped back to the UK via Singapore, Panama and New York, before arriving in Bristol last September.

'Workshop of Empire'

Mr Fraser said: "Seeing it coming off the boat in Bristol was just incredible. It is unique, there is an Albion in the Glasgow Museum of Transport, but it's a later model.

"The Venturer is another example of Glasgow as the workshop of the Empire, producing buses, boats, ships and lorries."

Project sponsors also include FirstBus, Stagecoach, Moseley Distributors and Volvo Australia.

Albion are still in existence as a manufacturer of axles, but the Venturer represents the company's most successful double-deck bus design, of which none were left in existence in Scotland.

The Scottish Bus Museum open weekend begins on Saturday, 20 August.

BBC Scotland's news website will be following the progress of the CX Venturer restoration, through to its completion next year.

World map
1. Manufactured in Scotstoun, Glasgow 1946
2. Goes into service in Sydney fleet, 1947
3. Tracked down Woombye, Queensland, February 2004
4. Begins journey home from Brisbane Docks, July 2004
5. Shipped round the world stopping in Singapore
6. Stops in Yokohama, Japan, before crossing the Pacific
7. Arrives in California on the west coast of the US
8. Passes through the Panama Canal
9. Stops in New York before heading across the North Atlantic
10. Makes port at Bristol Docks, September 2004
11. Towed to the Scottish Bus Museum in Lathalmond, Fife, arriving November 2004

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