The History of BKE 832T


 

Photo taken on 4th June 1997

courtesy of Vernon Smith

 

This Series 3 Bristol VR with Eastern Coachworks bodywork was part of a batch of 10 ordered by East Kent - an order which was diverted to Maidstone and District prior to delivery, which took place in early 1979.

 

BKE 832T (fleet number 5832) entered service with M&D in February 1979 at Hawkhurst (a sub-depot of Silverhill, Hastings) where she remained until April 1985 when she was transferred to Gillingham. After 11 years service at Gillingham she was moved to Sheerness in April 1996 where she saw out her remaining days in Kent until withdrawal in January 1999, almost twenty years after entering service.

 

By this time, ownership of the bus company had transferred to Arriva (Kent & Sussex), and BKE832T was then transferred to Arriva (Scotland West) and became their fleet number 927 until August 1999, and she continued to see active service in Scotland with Rapson’s Coaches and Highland Country Buses (wearing fleet number 3832, then 307) until October 2006 when she was sold for preservation.

 

Her restoration commenced in December 2008 under the ownership of Stephen Raine and Andy Veitch, with the fitting of a replacement Gardner 6LXB engine to replace her original engine which was in poor condition and had blown in January that year. The engine was changed at Reliance Bus Works near Newcastle-under-Lyme.

 

Appropriately enough, the replacement engine came from another former M&D Bristol VR (which had also been ordered initially by East Kent), HKM 885V, this vehicle having been withdrawn by the RMT Union (non-PCV) and scrapped.

 

The photograph above shows BKE 832T in Chatham, in post-privatisation M&D livery.

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