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Make/Model:     BRISTOL VRT III

Chassis:                 Bl VRT/SL3/6LXB VRT/SL3/1902
Seating:                H43/31D

New to:                MAIDSTONE & DISTRICT

Current Owner:  Mark Judd

BKE861T was new in July 1979 to Maidstone & District Motor Services as fleet number 5861, it was new to the National Bus Company in leaf green with a white band between the top and bottom decks.

It was one of a batch of 16, of which it is the penultimate one of the batch.

Built as a 45 standard closed top bus, 5861 spent its first four years at Maidstone before passing to Hastings & District in May 1983. During 1989 this bus was involved in a collision with a low bridge and was subsequently converted to open top. With little use for an Open-Top bus it was sold to Guide Friday for use on the York Sightseeing tour in November of that year.

From then on it was used mainly for open top sight-seeing tours of York City as well as private hires and weddings.

By 2002 Guide Friday York had become part of the TopLine brand, and continued in its current role for that company until withdrawn in 2004 when TopLine was sold to Veolia Transdev.

The bus has now been in preservation with Mark Judd since May 2004, and although initially acquired as a source of spares for the operational fleet of VRTs for Judds Travel & Embling’s Coaches, it was quickly decided this bus was too good to break and was restored into fleet livery for use at bus rallies, festivals and private hires such as School Proms & Weddings etc.
Since the company ceased trading it has been retained for use at Bus & Coach events.