I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I've recently been on a bit of a YouTube uploading spree! I'm trying to upload one video every month to keep interest up in my channel. I'm going to post a link to one of the videos below. If you love listening to the sounds of Bristol VRs , Fleetlines and the occasional National then please pay a visit.
5137 the Bristol VR had her new 'nose' fitted in time for Walmer Green Rally on Saturday 31st August which is an original East Kent one - I believe from MFN42R - and was still in EK maroon with the cream 'East Kent' fleetname on it. Although I was hoping to keep it as an exhibit in it's own right, the fact it's an earlier style panel with the rounded 'coffin' style lights made it ideal to return WKO to her original appearance. Now our season has finished this is being stripped down and prepared to be painted into the 'Stenning' Maidstone & District livery to match the rest of the bus.
Back in April 2019 a new bus joined my collection. J913MJF is a Ford Transit Mk3 with Dormobile bodywork and was new to Humberside Council before being converted by a previous owner into a motorhome. Whilst she's never been a service bus, she represents a type that very similar to the service buses. Another attraction is the Dormobile bodywork which was built in nearby Folkestone. Those of you who know me will know I've always liked the Ford Transit minibuses - probably more now than when I did when they were in service! I think at the time seeing one of these turn up in Newport bus station and having a choice between that and a VR, the VR would win every time! But time is a wonderful thing and these once hated minibuses are now rather sought after and indeed rather rare - especially the earlier Mk2. Despite often being labled 'breadvans' -a term I hate if I'm honest - it could be argued that these helped to turn around the bus industry in the 1980s.
Here she's seen with my other and later minibus N301XRP which is a Mercedes 709D with Alexander bodywork. New to Stagecoach United Counties 301 is still - and staying - very much a bus and is currently having MOT work done on her brakes with a view to getting her on the road again. J913 - or Snoopy as she's now known - came with an MOT until October and whilst the underside of her certainly isn't pretty I'm hoping I can muddle her through another MOT before starting on doing some serious work on her which will include a repaint into bus company livery that's period with her look. Snoopy will be remaining as a motorhome. She's very useful and comfortable and has become my base during the week when I work away from home.
14th July saw the Thanet Vintage Bus Road. This is held every year and follows the old East Kent Road Car Company open top route 69 around the coast of Thanet calling at Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Cliftonville, Margate, Westgate, Birchington and then back to Ramsgate via Manston.
This year was without doubt the best one yet with seven preserved buses on the route. Those that took part this year were:
HKE867 - ex Maidstone & District Bristol K
PFN874 - ex East Kent AEC Regent
YJG807 - ex East Kent AEC Bridgemaster
AFN780B -ex East Kent AEC Regent
RVB977S -ex East Kent Bristol VR
AFJ692T -ex Western National Bristol LH
HW54BTU -ex Southern Vectis Dennis Dart
A collection for local charity Cats In Crisis was held and as soon as the amount raised is known I will post it on here.
Many thanks to all involved for a truely amazing day. I'm looking forward to next year's already.
Rosiy, Paul and myself had a great time at the Barham Vintage Show which is near Canterbury. This was the first time we'd been here and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Even the weather was kind to us. Paul brought along his DMS550 - MLK550L whilst Rosiy and me took Muff - MFN41R.
The access to the site was interesting being along single track lanes with rather low trees but we made it wiht care.
It's been a busy few months since the last update - hence the delay. We had a few days away on the Isle Of Wight which happened to coincide with Rydabus. It was so nice to get back to my old home and go on some of the vehicles of my childhood and youth again.
Aside from this, the bodywork on N301XRP has been continuing with the top coats going on the front blue section. I'm still hoping for her to be out laterin the year- who knows, we might end up taking her to the Isle of Wight again.
With the Chairmanship of Friends of the East Kent, several other jobs have cropped up, one of which is getting our bus garage up to spec and tidied up. The amount of unused cardboard boxes and general rubbish that was cluttering up the place was rather scary. Long term plans are to get everything straight and tidy so working (or even walking) around the place isn't such a hazard.
In other news the last roofed Willowbrook bodied Bristol VR in exsistance TFN980T and new to London Transport Leyland Titan NUW553Y have passed inot my care - although Bernard, their previous owner, is still actively involved with them. Work will be starting on TFN to get her sorted out. She's a lovely old motor and only realy came off the road for a tidy up and a service, although a few electrical issues have raised their head recently. NUW is certainly going to be a more long term project and will certainly NOT be coming out the end of her restoration as a London Bus - not that there's anything wrong with a London Spec Leyland Titan - as there are plenty of those around. She will be something totally different and an interesting 'might have been'.
Another vehicle joins the collection this month and certainly bridges the gap between the buses and the Metrocab taxis I own. The vehicle in question is a Mk 3 Ford Transit with the Snoopy nose Dormobile bodywork. J913MJF was new to Humberside Council in 1991 as a welfare bus and although was probably never registered as a PSV, she shares a very similar body to those that were. The running gear is the same Ford 2.5L 'Banana engine' that the Metrocabs use and is fairly bullet proof. Currently she's fitted out as a motor home.
Obviously coming from Kent the big connection for me is the locally built Dormobile bodywork which was constructed in nearby Folkestone so despite the Leicester registration mark (she was supplied by a dealer in the area) she's really come home to place of her birth.
So why another vehicle then? Don't you have enough? I can almost hear some people asking me those questions when I tell them this news and they're absolutely correct! Currently I'm working away from home - not a million miles away but far enough to be putting 400 miles a week onto my ageing car which at some point will say "enough is enough". The Transit was bought to allow me to stay locally to my work Monday to Friday as well as allowing us to take budget breaks here there and everywhere. Although I already have a motorhome in the shape of MFN41R, sometimes a doubledecker bus can be too big and a lot of campsites get a bit twitchy when you try to book in. Plus of course there's the fuel bill... Yes, I could have bought a newer more purpose built motorhome but me being me wanted something with a bit of history and character and after looking at a couple of motors this was deemed to be the best one for full time living. Plus the connection with the locally built bodywork was rather nice.
East Kent ran a similar one from Folkestone in the 1990's which was registered D779NUD. Despite being older and slightly shorter they share a common bodywork. Maybe my one would look good in the East Kent 'EK Minilink' livery too...?
It's been a quiet month or two if I'm honest.
The painting of N301XRP continues and the offside, front and rear is looking really good. She's being hand painted by myself and she's getting to the stage where she can be turned around so I can access the other side and finish that off. Obviously bodywork is a long and laborius process so that's taken all the time so far. I'd forgotten how tedious it is prepping, painting then prepping again...
I managed to get over to check over Muff and Perkie the two VR's that are currently living outside. Both were in fine fettle no doubt helped by the fairly mild winter we've had.
In other news, I have recently been voted in as Chairman of Friends of the East Kent (FotEK). I'm looking forward to tackling the roll and working with everyone else whilst making improvements to our working enviroment (our garage space is rented from Friends of the East Kent). FotEK owned AEC Bridgemaster YJG807 and AEC Regent AFN780B which are superb vehicles and a credit to the team there.
Click here for the archive news pages dating back to 2008.
Owner of 5807, 5809, 5137, 7656, 7681, 7041 & 40301
All pictures and information contained within this website are the copyright of J Bamford, R Addison, P Tripptree, B Sealy & R Harrison 2008-2019. Any images or information supplied by individuals will be credited to that individual and will be copyright of that person/persons/website.
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