Saturday 23 May 2015

A Running Day Of Uniqueness Part Three

Back from my short break and back to business with Part Three of the Running Day that took place in Sevenoaks last Sunday, in conjunction with an Open Day at Go-Coach's depot at Otford.

I've been saving the best till last, a bus that is truly unique in this country, a Chinese built King Long.

Go Coach's unique King Long LY53 UUX
So a few things about this rather good looking bus that was brought over here from Malta, yes a Chinese bus was working in Malta, in 2012. It is fitted with a Cummins engine, and a fully manual 6 speed gearbox, although the position of the gears are opposite to normal - ie 2,4 and 6 are up and 1,3 and 5 are down. It has seats from the top deck of a Euro 3 Trident from South London that had the bottom deck destroyed by fire, with a moquette that looks rather similar to First's! It goes out in service on the 401 between Sevenoaks and Westerham every day, and unlike the only other Chinese buses I have been on - those terrible BYD electric buses in London, this is an absolute joy to travel on and like someone else's cute puppy I wanted to take it home with me!

A close up of the front.I have no idea whose fleet number that is
The rear view
Now if you read Part One you will know that another pretty unique vehicle was in attendance - Nu-Venture's ex Norfolk Green Agoraline 897. The opportunity to get those two rarities together for a pic was too good to miss, and so thanks to Chris Jenkinson, the Agoraline's Head Keeper, it was possible to get the following pic. Could be a collector's item this one in years to come.

The King Long and Agoraline together
Also in Part One I mentioned I'd also travelled on a Routemastwr there. Also belonging to Go Coach this RM also made a few trips to Sevenoaks and back during the day.

RML 2472 now with Go Coach
Of course a ride on a Routemaster is always good, but with this one the soundtrack is all wrong. It has a Dennis Dart engine and that just doesn't sound right. It's like a Formula 1 car sounding like a steam engine. I understand this isn't unique and there are many RM's with Dart engines around, but I have to say I don't like it. When this magnificent beast was built Darts weren't dreamed of in the wildest nightmares and certainly in my view are not a marriage made in heaven.

Anyway that is a minor quibble in what was a truly wonderful day in Kent. My thanks to Matt for inviting and taking me there, and to Austin at Go-Coach for the excellently organised Open Day. I have a feeling there may be more to come from this company in the future - if only so I can ride the King Long again!


Chris Jenkinson has been in touch to inform me that Agoraline 891 is now fixed and back on the road. Chris has kindly sent a pic which I'm happy to post. Thanks, Chris and see you soon buddy.

Nu-Venture's Agoraline 891 back on the road.     pic by Chris Jenkinson

1 comment:

  1. I've also experienced the king longs. There were quite a few working in Malta at that time. the seats were pretty much bare plastic. Of course, this was when you could get a seat as they were the highest capacity bus going at the time.