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We hope this update finds you safe and well. What a year 2020 turned out to be. We think it's safe to say that nobody is going to miss it!
Even though there's been various lock downs and restrictions, we managed to get to the New Romney Bus Rally on Sunday 6th September. Unfortunately our rescheduled Thanet Road Run had to be cancelled in December due to Kent going into the new Tier 4 restrictions.
Despite all this, we've still kept working on the buses (volunteer work is still permitted- even in Tier 4) and made great progress on PKE809M with paint stripping, whilst DMS550 has had a few little cosmetic jobs done.
Joining the Friends of the East Kent fleet in September was AEC Swift VJG187J which has also helped to keep us busy.
During the first few weeks of the lock down in March 2020, we experienced an attempted break in to our garage. Fortunately no damage was done and they didn't gain access. After this, it was decided that (with our Landlords consent) that we would make weekly checks on the vehicles and garage.
As lock down restrictions have eased Paul and Jake have started working at the garage again. We've had most, if not all, shows and events cancelled for this year which has enabled us to concentrate on a number of vehicles that have needed long term TLC.
Here is an up to date status of our collection (including the FotEK buses too).
YJG807 AEC Bridgemaster (FotEK) = currently awaiting completion of fitting of the new tyres. Our compressor has been offline for several months which has delayed this.
AFN780B AEC Regent V (FotEK) = Undergoing repaint. Currently most of the front has been renewed.
MLK550L Daimler Fleetline = On the road and usable
PKE807M Bristol VR = Awaiting bodywork and engine work. Stored off road.
PKE809M Bristol VR = Undergoing bodywork but on the road and usable as a display vehicle only.
MFN41R Bristol VR = Faulty alternator and power steering. Stored off road at the moment.
WKO137S Bristol VR = Has been facelifted and tidied up. On the road and usable.
TFN980T Bristol VR = Undergoing restoration. Currently off the road but mobile at last!
XJJ656V Bristol VR = Stored off road
SKL681X Bristol VR = Mitre box fault. Stored off road.
NUW553Y Leyland Titan = Stored off road.
B124BOO Leyland Tiger = Stored off road
N301XRP Mercedes 709D = Stored off road
N306XRP Mercedes 709D = Stored off road
We've had a busy few weeks with work being carried out on WKO137S, TFN980T, PKE809M as well as Friend's of the East Kent's YJG807 and AFN780B. We will be including them in our fleet news from now on due to the closeness of the two groups working together.
Here are a few pictures with the work carried out in the captions.
We had a fairly quiet time at SCOC HQ with a few work days which consisted of giving the buses a run up to make sure they were all ok.
Just before Christmas, Paul took DMS550 - MLK550L to Bluewater to coincide with the Ensign Bus running day. Although she didn't take part in the actual running day we have received some nice feed back saying how nice it was to see her arrive and on display. When Paul left Bluewater he travelled to DMS550's old stomping grounds of Barking where he not only visited the garage but also recreated one of the old routes -the 156 to Creekmouth Power Station. We reckon this is the first time MLK550L had been back here for nearly 40 years! Not bad for a bus that was going to be broken up with an excavator.
This year seems to have gone around so quickly. And so much has happened. Our relationship with Friends of the East Kent has continued to flourish with Southern Counties Omnibus Collection's Jake now being Chairman of FotEK.
Our event The Thanet Vintage Road Run was held in July and is gaining popularity every year. In 2020 we're holding it on Sunday 12th July and already we're getting lots of enquiries about it. Fingers crossed for the weather.
Another major step in 2019 has seen most of buses now undercover. This will make keeping them presentable much easier and will aid their conservation. We don't aim to have rows and rows of shiny buses that all look the same but we like to keep ours tidy.
We'd like to thank you all for your continued support. Here's to a fantastic 2020. Have a great Christmas.
The last few weeks have been quite busy for us. We attended the East Kent 103 Bus Rally at Walmer Green near Deal on Saturday 31st August in WKO137S. Then the following day WKO137S made the journey to New Romney got the bus rally down at the light railway station.
We've also been busy moving buses around and moving certain vehicles under cover for the winter. PKE807M is now living in the garage with her sister PKE809M and work is continuing on both of them. WKO137S is currently receiving a new front panel which will be rubbed down and painted whilst N301XRP our Mercedes minibus has returned from Regent Coaches with MOT ready brakes.
We're hoping to get WKO137S to the East Kent 103 Bus Rally on Walmer Green near Deal in Kent. This is a great day out with lots of vintage buses, stalls and free bus rides. There's also a free service to Dover Transport Museum and a discount entry for passengers who travelled on the bus.
The next day on Sunday 1st September is the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway Bus and Taxi Rally which is held at New Romney Railway Station. Again this is another great show with free bus rides out to Dungeness as well as the railway itself with it's scaled down mainline steam locomotives. We're hoping to get MFN41R along again this year.
This years Thanet Vintage Bus Road Run was held on 14th July 2019. There were seven buses for people to sample ranging from a 1945 Bristol K to a 2004 Dennis Dart and they all proved very popular – especially HKE867 the Bristol K type and RVB977S, an open top Bristol VRT.
This was the first year of our multiple lunch stops and this seemed to work a bit better with many people trying the food outlets in Westgate village then walking down to the seafront.
The buses eventually got back to the Boating Pool at Ramsgate around 1630 where after a quick break they departed home. This was also the first year that a feeder service operated from Sandwich and a sizable number of passengers were brought in from there on AEC Bridgemaster YJG807.
A full picture report can be found HERE.
Many thanks to all the crews and owners for supplying their vehicles and of course a big thank you to all the riders who turned out and supported us and Cats In Crisis.
We've been busy having a move around at our bus garage. We hope it will make life a bit more easier to get buses out. All the Friends of the East Kent vehicles are on one side with Southern Counties now on the other. It also means the AECs now can drive straight in and straight out without too much manovering which is a great help when you're driving a bus with no power steering and a manual gearbox.
Here you will find out the latest news about our buses and future events we hope to attend. In addition we will add any interesting bus and coach related news we come across.
SOUTHERN COUNTIES OMNIBUS.
A collection of retired buses living in southeast England owned by a group of friends.