Pilgrimage to Dunton Green

Prepared by Ian Smith, 20th February 1998.

Saturday 14th February 1998: Dunton Green Garage Closes

GS56 It was a beautiful day for February. I met Mike Dawes of the TMR Preservation team somewhere in the depths of Kent, and went with him and his team to collect GS56 from its preservation home. There was some checking over and basic maintenace to do, as GS56 had not been out on the road since June 1997, then we set off for Dunton Green. I discovered that the "max speed 30mph" written on the side isn't strictly true: GS56 managed 35 mph in places on the dual carriageways.

Another side of preserving buses became apparent when we stopped at a service station: the little Perkins Diesel does give double figures in mpg, but it still takes a lot of diesel in the tank!

Soon we reached Dunton Green, one of the few London Transport Country Area garages remaining. It was a return home for GS56, which was allocated here for a couple of years in the 1960's. The garage wasn't full, as vehicle ferrying to other parts had already started, and we were welcomed into the garage.

GS56 GS56
DH558 DH558 and 6666 There we found two other venerable buses: preserved Maidstone and District Atlantean DH 558(restored to original livery, and apparently up for sale), and Maidstone and District open-top Fleetline 6666 (ex-London Transport DMS2291).

Kentish Bus Lynx Kentish Bus Lynx There were also a number of Lynxes and Metroriders in Kentish Bus green and yellow. Some of these departed for Northfleet while we were there.

GS56 and GS62 Alan Charman arrived with his GS. GS 62 was also a Dunton Green bus, and it was good to have the two green buses there once more. It gave rise to much favourable comment from the staff and from nearby residents, who remembered the GSs with affection.

GS at the front door 2 GSs in DG Much time was spent posing around the garage with the two buses, including using the front door for the first time in years! Unfortunately we couldn't open both front doors for a simultaneous pose.

GS62 and 56 at Knockholt Pound Both buses then set out for a commemorative trip up the face of the North Downs to Knockholt Pound, where they paused for photographs. The village teenagers thought that the old buses were "cool". The comments of the passengers waiting at the stop for the Maidstone and District 402 service to Bromley were not recorded!

GS twilight We set off again on the garage run back towards Dunton Green, passing the 402 on the way down the face of the North Downs. The expression of the driver suggested that you don't get a GS for years, and then two come along together! Alan turned off onto the A25 (or M25?), and we headed through Dunton Green and back into the twilight of Kent. It had been an excellent day.

My thanks go to Trevor, Mike and Robin for making it possible for me to go with them, and to Ray for the driving.

Bus Stop GS Contents. GS bus history (& more pics) GS photo refs