This is my write up on the 20 Years of Nu-Venture in the Medway Towns bus rally that took place in the Acorn Wharf Coach Park in Rochester, Kent on 30th December 2017. I hope you enjoy reading!- Michael Amos, The SEBEG
Being held in the middle of winter in Rochester, the 20 Years of Nu-Venture in the Medway Towns bus rally was a welcome event that helped to keep bus enthusiasts satisfied while the official rally season is not taking place. I was accompanied to the event by SEBEG members Harry H & Harry P and his dad while good friend of ours, George Green kindly took us up in his preserved Dennis Dominator N715TPK. Sadly Alex was not able to come on this particular occassion.
First of all, the change in venue for this year’s event must be commended. While I did not attend last winter’s High Floor Running Day in Medway, I was able to gather from pictures that the event was held outside Gillingham ASDA, and the buses were just lined up at the bus stop behind the supermarket. This year, the organisers wisely moved the venue to Acorn Wharf Coach Park in Rochester, which is more of a proper setting for a bus rally, and this change in venue meant that more buses could attend.
Speaking of buses, the event had an excellent range of buses with a great mix of old and new vehicles attending. Some of the youngest vehicles at the rally included Sullivan Buses Enviro 200 MMC LS66SUL, Sullivan Buses Enviro 400 MMC RC17SUL and locally based Arriva Sapphire liveried Enviro 400 MMC YX17NEJ. Even a Borismaster turned up at the event to give free rides, and there was a far traveller at the event in the form of Brighton and Hove Chestnut Tree House liveried Gemini 472 BK13OAU. At the other end of the spectrum, you had plenty of older vehicles attending, including a pair of AEC Regals, an AEC Swift, an Ensignbus AEC Regent and a couple of AEC Routemasters amongst many more vehicles from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Above: A nice lineup of modern vehicles at the event included Arriva Sapphire ADL Enviro 400 MMC YX17NEJ, Sullivan Buses ADL Enviro 400 MMC RC17SUL and Sullivan Buses ADL Enviro 200 MMC LS66SUL. Photo copyright SEBEG Michael Amos.
The free services that operated on the day were also very well organised; the event programme had a very detailed schedule of the free routes and the vehicles that were operating them, allowing visitors to ride on buses around many parts of Medway. Also appreciated were the feeder services that ran from major towns in the area like Gravesend, Maidstone and Chatham to the showground at Rochester, which allowed visitors to get a connecting service to the event from major transport hubs. For enthusiasts, it must have been an added bonus to travel on a preserved bus to the event!
Above: Several buses are seen at the showground having just completed some of the free services that ran on the day. The vehicles in this photo from left to right include preserved Leyland Titan B101WUV, Autocar East Lancs Scania N113 OSJ1X and preserved Northern Counties Volvo Olympian 5928 P928MKL. Photo copyright SEBEG Michael Amos.
The event programme itself was a lovely souvenir to take away from this rally, but I did have a little bit of trouble finding out where they were being sold, resulting in me having to ask several people. A sign telling visitors where the event programmes were being sold would have been welcome. In addition to this, I would liked to have seen more bus models being sold; I could only find one stand that only had a handful of models for sale, which is small when compared to other rallies I have been to.
But, to be completely honest, I am nitpicking at this point; this rally was extremely well organised, and it had a great variety of vehicles on display and on the road. The organisers must be given a huge pat on the back for making this event such a success, and I would love to see it return in the years to come so it can become a holiday tradition for many enthusiasts.
Thank you very much for reading!- Michael Amos, The SEBEG