By Ian Cooper *
Kingston Depot closed on Sunday 5 July 1992. The days before the closure were filled with activity transferring the more than 100 buses which operated from Kingston.
The Depot’s last allocation of 114 buses comprised the following vehicles on Friday 3 July:
- MAN SL200: 470-2, 474-8, 501-9, 511-5
- Renault PR100: 674
- Renault PR100.2 (Mk1): 675-99, 750-81, 798, 808, 835, 840, 848-59
- Renault PR100.2 (Mk2): 896, 921-5, 931-4, 940-3
- Renault PR180.2: 713-5
- Scania N113: 732
The last bus delivered new to Kingston was 941, the Australian Institute of Sport bus, which entered service on 31 March after an official launch on 27 March.
Kingston’s fleet was dispersed as follows:
- MAN: 508-9, 511-3 (5 vehicles)
- Renault: 760-9, 808, 896, 931-4 (16)
- MAN: 501, 514-5 (3)
- Renault rigid: 674-99, 750-9, 770-81, 850-9, 940, 942-3 (61)
- Renault articulated: 713-5 (3)
- MAN: 502-7 (6)
- Renault: 798, 835, 840, 848-9, 921-5, 941 (11)
Retained at Kingston for withdrawal
- MAN: 470-2, 474-8 (8)
- Scania: 732 (1)
Saturday 4 July saw 93 of Kingston’s fleet being transferred to Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden Depots leaving the “old shed” empty.
On Sunday 5 July, 21 buses remained in the “new shed”:
- MAN 470, 472, 475-7
- Renault: 760-1, 763-4, 767-9, 835, 848, 896, 921-2, 931, 933, 941
- Scania: 732
The first bus to enter service on the Sunday was 896 on shift 441 which left at 7.50am, followed by 732 – the last day of operation of the Scania N113 before its departure for Hobart. Thirteen further shifts were operated throughout the day.
Seven Kingston drivers who were transferring to Woden Depot instead worked their final Kingston shifts out of the Woden Depot on the Sunday, thus reducing the bus transfer task on the last day.
Despite these arrangements, Transport Officer Mick had a busy day supervising the transfer of the remaining buses to the other depots. Mick also organised a judicious swap of Renaults, which were to move elsewhere, for MANs which were to remain at Kingston for disposal.
Three drivers started their shifts driving a Renault and late in the afternoon swapped for a MAN SL200. These MANs (and the Scania) were driven to the Wentworth Avenue median bus park or outside the workshop at the end of the shift.
As a result of this unusual operation, ACTION customers were treated to the rare sight (for the 1990s) of three MANs – 470, 476 and 477 (in original condition) – operating on a Sunday afternoon and early evening. Buses 472 and 475 had been used briefly earlier in the day.
Wherever possible, drivers took their buses to their new depot when completing a Kingston shift, but it was still necessary to transfer buses in convoys to Woden and Belconnen.
Bus 931 on shift 439 was the last bus back at Kingston (at 5.08pm) to be transferred to another depot – Belconnen.
Bus 470 and its driver Edward earn a place in ACTION history. Bus 470 on shift 423 was the last scheduled departure from the depot. Leaving at 4.50pm for Narrabundah terminus to operate a route 351 to City at 4.56pm, Edward then operated the 5.35pm City to Dickson [route number not known] and the return from Dickson at 6.03pm.
After completing the service trips, Edward drove 470 into the depot for a brief moment to record for the history books the last movement, in and out of the depot. (The exit door had to be opened again to allow 470 to move to the median.) At 6.30pm Edward left the depot and at 6.32pm parked 470 in the median outside the workshops, thus completing operations at Kingston.
Bus 470 had been preceded to the median at 6.26pm by Bus 477 (driven by Ken) after having completed a route 352 service.
On Sunday night the following buses were parked in the median outside the workshop:
- Eastside: 488, 485, 472, 475, 478, 477, 470
- Westside: 474, 487, 469, 486, 489, 672, 673, 671, 479, 471
Buses 476 and 732 were parked outside the workshop.
With 17 buses in the median it was almost a re-creation of yeateryear. Buses 469, 485, 486, 487, 488, 489, 671, 672 and 673 had transferred to Kingston from Woden, whilst 479 came from Belconnen.
And so, after drivers Ken and Edward walked down Wentworth Avenue to sign off, and Transport Officer Mick closed the shed doors, nearly 70 years of bus operation from the Kingston “Transport Section” came to an end.
* this is an edited version of an article originally published in the TransACTION newsletter of August 1992. Ian Cooper was an employee of ACTION.
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