A little bit short notice but this coming Sunday, we shall be at the Sandwich Classic Car Show which is being held at the Discovery Park (formerly Pfizer) near Sandwich, Kent. Both WKO137S and B124BOO will be there and WKO will be operating a few trips around the town alongside Friends of the East Kent's AEC Bridgemaster YJG807. If you fancy some classy classics and a free bus ride, why not pop down?
Work on 5137's fuel system was completed by Jake recently and included flushing out the fuel tank, new jubilee clips on the fuel hoses and new filters. She successfully fired up and ran really well on Saturday 28th March. Her gearbox still needs connecting up as she was latterly used as a compressor(!) at SCOC HQ but this is a 5 minute job. She will retain MFN41R's silver offside rear panel whilst hers (and 7980's) are repaired by Paul and Jake.
Another year gone and we're a step closer to the big 100th anniversary of East Kent Road Car in 2016. This year we're hoping to finish the work on 1178 (EFN178L) and also 7980 (TFN980T). Other buses in the collection that should be on the road at some point this year are 1145, 1255, 5137, DMS550, BOO and 40306. Work will be focusing now of getting the East Kent vehicles (7041, 7681 and 7980) back on the road and fit for service ready for 2014. Whilst this is our aim, as we saw with last year NOTHING can be guaranteed...
Work will also continue on 'store shed' 7656 which will release 5807 and 7041 for work - hopefully with a view to hitting the road in 2015/6. Nuw is going to be given a much needed break this year in that time she will be mechanically serviced and tidied up inside and out. All in all another busy year is looming.
Also, in the coming months Nick Moore will be upgrading our website, making it even better and more personal to us too. More information on that later.
Apologies for this update being a little later than planned. We've finally moved East Kent Leyland National EFN178L in to secure undercover cover storage in the east of the county. Here she will be returned to the road and work on her windscreen and wheelchair lift door can continue in the dry.
The fuel starvation issues with WKO137S seem to have been resolved. Her fuel tank was given a clean out and her filters changed. All the fuel system is now being put back together again and then we can give her a local test run to check she works..
Paul has been very busy with his two buses. The door area on DMS550 is now complete and he is currently re-fitting the indicator units to the side of the old girl. He has also serviced a faulty leveling valve on B124BOO, his ex Hedingham Leyland Tiger. Paul still has a few minor jobs to do on her but she is proving to be a very fine addition to the collection.
Meanwhile, in our other unit in the west of Kent, Nick has been on somewhat of a buying spree. He's saved former Maidstone & District / Arriva Volvo Olympian M916MKM (5916). She is bodied with a Northern Counties bodywork and currently carries and all-over advertisement for 'The People's Trust'. She requires some work to be undertaken on her chassis but Nick is hoping to get that sorted out quickly.
We're currently working on our 'works runabout', a 1999 Metrocab taxi. Although only on loan to the collection following our FX4 Fairway popping a gearbox seal, we're hoping that TOL the taxi will join the collection full time from early next year. Here she will attend the longer distance rallies and shows and help promote Southern Counties even further afield as well as being used as a daily runabout and works motor.
Wow, we've all been really rather busy this week. Work has continued on 7041 and the police bus interior is slowly receding on the lower deck. Meanwhile, 5807's staff room area is now all but done and proved to be very handy yesterday when the rain came down. We're now of the opinion that maybe it's a bit too comfy...! Andy, Paul, Jake and Matt helped with 5807 also tidying her upper deck which is now home to some RF seats that Paul acquired. Jake has been busy with the de-greaser and has cleaned the engines in 5807, 5137, Nuw and 1178. they now all look a lot better and we're thinking of maybe painting them up to keep them tidy. Paul and Nick were also busy working on 1178's front end and have removed most of the rotten lip that held the wind screen in place. It looks like we may have to remove the other screen too if we're to do the job properly but once it's done it's done. Last month 5137 passed her MOT and is now on the road again. A small problem with fuel starvation has reared it's head but the team know what's causing this and will be getting it resolved once the poor weather has passed.
Work has started on stripping out the police bus conversion from MFN41R, East Kent's first Bristol VR. As you remember, she was going to preserved as an exhibition unit and used as living accommodation when we attended the weekend steam shows, however, with the arrival of a full interior from 7656 the decision to return her to bus status was taken. Matthew, Paul and Jake have been busy stripping out the soft trim and the residual glue this left behind on all the panels. This can be quite a tricky and time consuming operation as there are a number of original signs and adverts behind the trim and these are being preserved as we uncover them. We're moving down the bus one window bay at a time and so far are just past the stairs on the lower saloon.
If all goes to plan, next week former East Kent 7656 will be joining the collection. As previously stated, she will be used as a store shed and spares bank having previously been used by MOD Manston as a fire evacuation unit. A page will be added to the site in good time but there are no plans to restore or return this 1980 Bristol VRT to the road. Her interior will help return 7041 to a bus again.
Having taken 5137 for a test run around the yard, it was noted she wouldn't go into 3rd and 4th gear. Jake and Paul returned to 5137 earlier this week where it was discovered the electro pneumatic control box (EP box) on the gear box was faulty and was engaging both gears at once. Jake swapped the faulty one for a working one from 7681 and Paul wired it all in, also having to use the loom from 7681 as 5137's had deteriated rather badly. Paul also took time to attend to 5137's problematic hazard lights and a sticky solenoid that was stopping her from starting. Whilst he was sorting out the electrics, Jake turned his attention 5137's bodywork and began giving her a much needed T Cut and wax polish. A quick test run around the yard showed all was well again with her gear box.
Paul, Jake and Andy have been working on ex M&D 5137 getting her ready to hit the road this season. Her test will be taken at Arriva's bus garage in Maidstone. This is the first time we have used Arriva for testing the double deckers, although 1145 has been tested there before. Talking of 1145, Nick has decided to keep her off the road this year as 1255 will be out and about in her place. This will give the team chance to do some work on 1145 and get her tip top for next year.
Jake and Claire have been working on Bernard's rare Willowbrook bodied Bristol VR 7980 (TFN980T). The lower deck had become somewhat of a dumping ground for many of the collection's spare parts, these have now been moved upstairs and work tidying up the lower deck has resumed. All of the seat frames have now been painted red and the floor is next! One seat has been refitted so far - golden rule is make sure you have somewhere to rest when working! Jake will be sourcing the floor paint in the next few weeks to complete the lower deck. The floor should end up a brown colour making it look as it would've done when new.
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.