More than 40 buses and coaches representing almost 100 years of history will be providing free rides over a wide range of routes from Winchester Broadway this bank holiday.

Organised by the Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB), the day on May 6 will see a fleet ranging in age from the 95-year-old Leyland Lion that joined the Friends’ fleet last year to an Optare Excel built as recently as 2002.

Routes radiate from the Broadway, covering destinations in the city such as Stanmore, Oliver’s Battery, Weeke, Harestock, Springvale and Winnall, while the longer trips will take people out to Hursley, Otterbourne, Twyford & Colden Common, Owslebury, Alresford, Micheldever and East Stratton, Sutton Scotney, Crawley, King’s Somborne, Stockbridge and Sparsholt. Journeys are all free and open to all, with children under 16 needing to be accompanied.

There is an open-top service to and from the Science Centre at Morn Hill, running every 20 minutes, as well as a display of old buses at St Catherine's Park & Ride – with a frequent shuttle service to connect with the Broadway. In addition, there is a half-hourly service to the Twyford Waterworks which is steaming on the day.

SEE ALSO: Hampshire Chronicle comment on the bus running day

As is customary, a sumptuous programme, produced for FoKAB by the bus industry’s leading design agency, Best Impressions, has been published and will be available on the day.

Selling for £15 per copy, sales of this souvenir help to defray the enormous costs of laying on the day, supporting the enormous volunteer effort that makes it all happen.

The programme provides full details of the timetables, plus maps, lists of departures and background information on all the vehicles taking part as well. As an added bonus, each holder of a Souvenir Programme is being offered one free entry to the Twyford Waterworks.

This year, for the first time, a Quick Guide will also be available, at just £5, giving the basic details of departures and a summary of arrangements.

James Freeman, FoKAB’s chair, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming everybody aboard the buses – whether local people or from far and wide!”

The charity also runs a popular running day on New Year's Day in Winchester. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Friends of King Alfred Buses

The Leyland Titan to be launched!

FoKAB has been collecting King Alfred vehicles for over 40 years. It has amassed 14 examples of the genuine article. But some types, very typical of the Winchester street scene for many years, have not survived. The classic Leyland Titan double-decker is a case in point.

So when, way back in 1990, FoKAB found that two dilapidated Leyland Titans that had originated on the Isle of Man, rather than Winchester, were available for purchase, they jumped at the chance to acquire them.

What followed was a long, slow, difficult task to create one good bus out of two rotten ones... The years passed, and other projects jumped the queue, but at last it’s done and the bus is ready! Richard Chisnell, grandson of King Alfred’s founder and President of FoKAB, will officially launch the restored bus in the Broadway on May 6, at 11am. 

Hampshire Chronicle: 811 Friends of King Alfred Buses

FoKAB needs you!

FoKAB’s purpose is to keep alive the memory of Winchester’s very special family-run bus company, King Alfred Motor Services. It does so by many means but the most obvious is the collection, restoration and continued preservation of the buses that local people saw and used over 50 years up to 1973.

King Alfred was founded by Robert Chisnell in 1915 and FoKAB has always enjoyed the support of the Chisnell family since the start in 1985.

With more than 200 members, many of whom are active supporters, FoKAB’s life-blood is the energy, dedication and desire to have fun of its people, who provide its power to rescue buses from all over the world and to restore them to share with the general public.

FoKAB is constantly recruiting. Just go to to see how you can join and help to make it all happen!

All the rides are free and it’s easy to find us!

“Come on down to the Broadway and St Catherine’s for an unforgettable vintage bus experience”, says FoKAB's chair James Freeman.

“Stagecoach and BlueStar, will be operating a Sunday service on the day, so there are journeys from all across the city that will get you into the Broadway and take you home afterwards.”

For car drivers, there’s free parking at nearby Chesil Street car park and at Barfield Close and St Catherine’s Park & Ride.

Train passengers will need to check their journey due to engineering works on the day.