SEBF returns in April

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Postponed from this year, next year’s SEBF will celebrate 40 years of Metrobus. This Leyland Lynx was new to the operator in 1992 as one of relatively few single deckers in the fleet. RICHARD LEWIS

The popular South East Bus Festival will be back next year, taking place at Kent Showground near Maidstone on Saturday 6 April. The organisers say they are looking forward to welcoming well over 100 coaches and buses as well as several thousand visitors on the day. The well-established event, the twelfth since 2011, will once again be part of Kent County Agricultural Society’s Heritage Transport Show, which normally attracts 700 or more cars, commercials, military vehicles, motorbikes and tractors.

The showground offers a vast amount of space on which to display a large number of coaches and buses and the internal road layout allows a frequent free bus service to run between different parts of the site, giving the opportunity for people to ride on buses that they might not otherwise get a chance to sample.


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Co-organiser Richard Lewis said “After the disappointment of having to cancel the 2023 South East Bus Festival due to the showground being waterlogged, me and my two co-organisers are excited to be planning next year’s event and we’re looking forward to receiving lots of entries both from preserved vehicle owners and present-day bus and coach operators.

“Each year we attract a great mix of buses and coaches, old and new, representing a wide geographical area and a very varied mix of different chassis types and body styles, ages and operators. Of the 136 vehicles that joined us at our last event, no fewer than 74 had not been to our previous ten events, so we are confident that we can always offer plenty of variety each time, as well as welcoming back some that are regular attendees.

“With the Heritage Transport Show, of which our event is a part, there will be getting on for 1,000 vehicles on the site, so there should be something that everyone with an interest in road transport can enjoy.”

The bus festival will maintain its established format, with a large display of coaches and buses, many of which will provide the free and frequent service around the showground, and there will be lots of stands selling bus-related books, photos and memorabilia. There will also be model bus displays and other attractions inside the conference centre building, including slide shows.

Held over from the intended 2023 festival will be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Metrobus company which started in a small way in the Orpington area of Kent but which is now part of the Go-Ahead Group. The organisers say they hope to have a good selection of former and current Metrobus buses on display to represent the fleet of the past 40 years.

This Volvo Olympian was bought new by Metrobus in 1997. RICHARD LEWIS