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Buses on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.


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Hello all,

 

I'm hoping that there will be some knowledgeable person(s) reading this, who could possibly help me out.  I'm in the middle of constructing a layout based on the now demolished steel works in Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and I would like a bus on the layout to try to "locate" it. 

Is anyone able to advise on what bus companies served the island (and route numbers if possible) during the period of 1980 to 2000 please?  I've done the usual Googling and the like and have come up with a few possibilities.  Maidstone Boro'line pops up along with travelmasters, however, I am unable to confirm where the photos were taken, so I can't rely on them.  Any advice is much appreciated and if anyone knows of a model that would suit (in 4mm scale), that would be even better!

 

Well, thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses.

 

Cheers, Andy Porter.

Edited by theplasticbrummy
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Some idea of era would help. The changes in bus services since privatisation may mean there have been multiple operators in the last few decades.

 

I hope Mike Storey, who used to work in that area, sees this and can add some detail.

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Some idea of era would help. The changes in bus services since privatisation may mean there have been multiple operators in the last few decades.

 

I hope Mike Storey, who used to work in that area, sees this and can add some detail.

Hello Ian.

 

Yes, some dates would be useful.  I'm modelling two periods, BR Blue into Sectorisation and Privatisation, so 1980 to 2000 should cover it.  I've amended the first post too.

 

Cheers, Andy.

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Hello Shroomy,

 

Is Maidstone and District the green and cream livery?  Again, I've come across photos but with no annotation as to location.  What I do know is that Arriva serve it now - but where don't they?

 

Cheers, Andy.

Edited by theplasticbrummy
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Hello Shroomy,

 

Is Maidstone and District the green and cream livery?  Again, I've come across photos but with no annotation as to location.  What I do know is that Arriva serve it now - but where don't they?

 

Cheers, Andy.

This was pretty much there last livery but yes

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=maidstone+and+district+bus+company&hl=en-GB&prmd=inmv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbuoSfka7TAhVpI8AKHXeCAJ4Q_AUIBygB&biw=1024&bih=664#imgrc=A9OVQ5V7iWqLgM:

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Shroomy, crompton33 and chrissixties,

 

Cracking stuff, many thanks. 

 

I did think the services would have been to and from Maidstone given its size and locality but as I said before, I'd got nothing to confirm it.  Bus history is certainly more illusive than railway history - I assumed the bus fraternity would have been similar to us rail enthusiasts.

 

Cheers again,

 

Andy.

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All the posts here refer to Maidstone & District, but living in Sittingbourne from 1990 to 2007 a prominent local post-deregulation operator was Chalkwell Coaches - I'm not sure to what extent their routes went on to the Isle of Sheppey but it might be worth a bit of research:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalkwell_Coaches

Edited by andyman7
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This might help, although its older than the period you're looking for, prior to 1986, the licensing system imposed by the Road Traffic Act 1930 ensured very little changed.

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This M&D route map might help, although its older than the period you're looking for, prior to 1986, the licensing system imposed by the Road Traffic Act 1930 ensured very little changed.

post-2974-0-10380700-1492537997_thumb.jpg

Edited by RANGERS
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At the risk of repeating what other people have posted, as far as I know the main services were provided by Maidstone and District. Some independents might have buzzed around at various times (the grey buses of Smiths were prominent in nearby Sittingbourne at one point), although M&D were always dominant. Services would include island links to Minster and Leysdown, most likely via Sheerness, and off-island services to Sittingbourne at the very least. I don't know, but I'd imagine you could find services to Maidstone or the Medway Towns. As well as the little depot on the island, there were local(ish) garages at Sittingbourne, Gillingham and Luton (Chatham).

 

Liveries in your period would have been NBC green with small white stripe and standard NBC fleetname, followed by what always appeared to be the same green but with a slightly yellowish cream stripe in place of the white stripe, and a new very 1980s typeface for the fleetname. If memory serves the area of cream eventually grew to encompass the lower windows (on double deckers, I mean). Latterly this gave way to a superb cream and darker green livery based on the old M&D colours, with a fleetname that also drew inspiration from the past. Sadly, this was only just becoming established when British Bus decided to revamp itself as the insipid Arriva, doing away with silly notions such as local, long-established bus companies. Double deckers of the period featured large fleetnumbers on the top front dome, for recognition purposes in the bus station at Chatham Pentagon Centre.

 

As for the buses themselves, you probably couldn't go wrong with a standard ECW Bristol VRT, although M&D did have some early Atlanteans seeing out their days in your initial period, and had been used by the NBC to test the next generation of double deckers (such as Volvo Ailsa and Willowbrook bodied Dennis Dominator). Some of the VRTs were unusual highbridge models. MCW Metrobuses came along later, but the main latter day double deckers were Olympians. I guess with single deckers a Leyland National would fit, followed by the Leyland `Lynx, plus Mercedes minibuses and downgraded coaches. M&D always seemed to be more of a double decker fleet away from the Wealden services. Ex-London Fleetlines were also used in the Medway Towns at some point in the 1980s, I think, but I don't know if any made it as far as Sheerness.

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That's fantastic. Some great information there Nedrahn.

 

I like the idea of a Leyland Olympian as I used to go to School on one, albeit a Kinchbus (A local Leicestershire company which has managed to escape the Arriva monopoly).  I'll have to get one of those!

 

I'll do a bit more research tomorrow with regards to the route number and I'll probably pass the choices of models past you all.  I suppose it/they will be from that well known shop on Merseyside that was closed when I was up there for a Christening Sunday last :angry: .

 

Thanks to you all again.

 

Cheers, Andy.

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Add to the list the later Park Royal bodied Atlantean, Metro Scania and Duple Dominant coaches, the first two have been available in M&D colours from Britbus and I'm fairly sure the Duple was as well.

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I did think the services would have been to and from Maidstone given its size and locality but as I said before, I'd got nothing to confirm it. Bus history is certainly more illusive than railway history - I assumed the bus fraternity would have been similar to us rail enthusiasts.

 

Cheers again,

 

Andy.

There is a dedicated enthusiasts club covering bus services in the area over the past 100 years or so. The publications in this Members' publication list are a sample of what exists. Worth noting a detailed history of Maidstone and District up to 1995 - currently remaidered at £10 to members and available at rallies as well as some online sellers. http://mdekbusclub.org.uk/pdf/C1-%20December%202016.pdf

 

http://mdekbusclub.org.uk/publications.html

Edited by mikeharvey22
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There is a dedicated enthusiasts club covering bus services in the area over the past 100 years or so. The publications in this Members' publication list are a sample of what exists. Worth noting a detailed history of Maidstone and District up to 1995 - currently remaidered at £10 to members and available at rallies as well as some online sellers. http://mdekbusclub.org.uk/pdf/C1-%20December%202016.pdfhttp://mdekbusclub.org.uk/publications.html

Bring back Knightrider! Not sure if it ever went to Sheppey?

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Bring back Knightrider! Not sure if it ever went to Sheppey?

 

Oddly enough, M & D's headquarters for many years was in Maidstone's Knightrider Street.

Edited by SRman
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Oddly enough, M & D's headquarters for many years was in Maidstone's Knightrider Street.

They also had a dealer that sold reliant robins in knightrider street my dad always used to buy his car there I know no relevance but just had to share

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Thanks for all of your input Gents.

 

I've managed to find one model so far that is suitable for the later period.  It has the added advantage of already having the destination blind wound round for Sheerness.  It's a Bristol VRIII in the later Maidstone and District livery, made by EFE, #20416.  BRC 834T, was, according to my research, bought by M&D in 1993 and had the new fleet livery applied.  It was in service up until 1999, passing from M&D ownership to Arriva, a year earlier.  Apparently, it now resides in Bulgaria?

 

And this is spot on for the early late70s, early 80s period!  Thanks.

 

I think the Leyland Olympian will fill the gap between the two above.

 

I didn't expect this thread to be so good - keep the information and memories coming chaps!

 

Cheers again, Andy.

Edited by theplasticbrummy
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