KIMES OF FOLKINGHAM

Until recently a workers co-operative


Kimes single decker (Wrights)
Please note this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information

For current travel information and timetables go to Traveline East Midlands

or the website of Centrebus




Folkingham is located on the northern edge of the district of South Kesteven with a large market square perhaps out of proportion to the size of the village and its present day population of seven hundred. King Edward II granted Folkingham a Thursday market and seven annual fairs. In the days of the stagecoach the impressive red brick Greyhound Inn overlooking the market place from the north was once an important staging post on the London to Lincoln road. The origins of this bus business date back to 1946 when Richard Kime (1912 - 1984) took over the business of A R R King (Alfred King born 1896) of Folkingham - established in the 1920s - with his two Reos. (A man called Arthur King (a son or grandson?) who died in 2009 aged 80 years was also a driver for Kimes). Between the Greyhound on the east and St Andrews Church on the west was 35 Market Place, the base for King and subsequently Kimes. In later years purpose built garage premises at nearby 3 Sleaford Road would serve as Kimes base right though to 2013. A picture of one of King's earliest vehicles, a Crossley with body by Stephensons of Newark, CT4994 of 1922/23, is online here.

The original bus routes were of a market style operation and were from Folkingham to:
      Sleaford on Monday and Saturday;
      Spalding on Tuesday;
      Boston on Wednesday;
      Bourne on Thursday;
      Grantham on Saturday and Sunday.

With many RAF stations in the county of Lincolnshire Kimes were active in forces leave services in the 1950s. Some reductions took place in 1956 with the withdrawal of the Tuesday route to Spalding and the loss of the Saturday service to Sleaford and the Sunday service to Grantham. Fleet size in 1964 numbered only three.

A substantial development of operations took place in 1970 when the bus service of Camplins of Donington (running as Holme Delight) was taken over, along with their busy daily route from Boston to Spalding via Donington on which Camplin had operated two AEC Regent double-deckers. (Camplin continued as a coach operator until 1977 when taken over by Elsey of Gosberton). Considerable enhancement of the services towards Grantham took place when the Aslackby - Billingborough - Folkingham - Grantham service of Lincolnshire Road Car was withdrawn and its operation passed to Kimes in April 1972 (currently numbered service 26). Kimes had offered to operate the daily route without the benefit of a county council subsidy. 

Further routes came as Road Car retrenched during the seventies, including Osbournby - Swarby - Welby - Grantham in January 1977, also Amber Hill to Boston. By this time there were three routes operating on Saturdays from Folkingham to Grantham, their original route via Pickworth; the ex-Road Car 26 route via Humby and the other ex-Road Car route via Swarby and Welby. 1981 saw the introduction of a service between Billingborough and Sleaford each weekday, replacing Road Car again; this was a route which Road Car had operated jointly with Delaine. Deregulation of bus services in 1986 saw new longer routes introduced between Boston and Peterborough (Friday and Saturday) and Boston to Lincoln (Friday). The ex-Road Car route from Boston to Kirton was later added to the route portfolio in 1986.

Kimes bell punch tickets

The Kimes fleet size in 1988 was twenty seven vehicles, nine of which were double-deckers, and in the mid-1990s was twenty, again with nine of them double-deckers. In later years the focus has been on bus operation rather than coaching, but this is not untypical of several Lincolnshire operators, eg Delaine of Bourne and Brylaine of Boston.  A service from Grantham to Stamford via Corby Glen was introduced from January 2004 when Road Car withdrew from the route (this still operates and is currently Centrebus service 4). Kimes later gained operation of the Sleaford to Grantham via Ancaster route too.

Livery was originally green and cream but in modern days had become predominantly cream all over. Expansion had taken Kimes away from their traditional focus of operations in Lincolnshire to routes in Rutland such as Oakham to Peterborough and Stamford to Uppingham. Many of the buses were lettered for specific routes and / or carried a map of the operating area (see pictures below). They also bore the legend "an employee owned company", whilst the modern electronic indicators displayed "with Kimes" underneath the destination place name.


Alan Watkins remembers that in the late 1950s and early 1960s the Road Car base at Billingborough was home to three crews and two vehicles. A double decker and a saloon, the latter a woefully underpowered 4-cyl LWL.  There was a dormy shed here but the double decker had to stand outside.  The decker worked a duplicate from 8 a.m. BillingboroughSleaford on Service 34 and then worked various ex-Sleaford journeys until it worked back on the 4.15 p.m. Sleaford to Billingborough.  The saloon spent it's time trundling around 20 miles from Billingborough to Grantham on Service 26, a rural ramble. Grantham worked the Service 26 on Sunday.

For many years this was to be a typical family owned operation until significant change came in 1997 when it was transformed into a worker's co-operative with eighteen member shareholders, with Paul Brown becoming the manager. At that time John Kime (Richard's son) wished to pursue his other business activities although he maintained a financial interest in the bus company.

The co-operative formed in 1997 continued as the modus operandi until July 2011 when, following the sudden death of Paul Brown the operations manager, Kimes Buses was sold to Centrebus. The Kimes routes formed a useful extension to the Grantham-based network operated since 2005 by Centrebus (as successor to Mass Transit). However articles in the trade press in June 2013 gave expression to doubt over the continuation of the Kimes base in Folkingham. Routes nearer to Grantham and Sleaford (eg 26 Aslackby - Folkingham - Grantham, 27 Sleaford - Ancaster - Grantham and 4 Grantham - Corby Glen - Stamford) would be integrated further into the Centrebus Grantham operation whilst the more operationally distant routes involving not inconsiderable dead mileage at the start and the end of the day (eg 9 Peterborough - Oakham, 12 Stamford - Uppingham and 58 / 59 Boston - Kirton / Donington - Spalding) would relocate their base of operations. Subsequently the 58 and 59 passed to Brylaine of Boston (with five ex-Dublin Bus Olympians and some of the staff) and the Folkingham site closed at the end of August 2013; route 9 passed to the Melton Mowbray (Saxby) depot of Centrebus and the 12 to the Corby operation of Centrebus.

March 1974 Kimes timetable for the ex-Camplins 'Holme Delight' route from Boston to Donington and Spalding

1974 Kimes timetable Boston to Spalding route


Kimes Coaches  -  bus routes in operation in 1977
Folkingham - Osbournby - Pickworth - Sapperton - Grantham
Saturday
the original Kimes route to Grantham
Folkingham - Billingborough - Pointon - Bourne
Thursday

Folkingham - Billingborough - Helpringham - Heckington - Boston
Wednesday

Helpringham - Heckington - Boston
Wednesday and Saturday

Folkingham - Osbournby - Silk Willoughby - Sleaford
Monday

Boston - Swineshead - Bicker - Donington - Gosberton - Spalding
Daily
ex-Holme Delight 1970
Aslackby - Billingborough - Folkingham - Humby - Ropsley - Grantham
Except Sunday
ex-Road Car 1972
Amber Hill - Holland Fen - Boston
Wednesday and Saturday
ex-Road Car c.1975
Osbournby - Swarby - Oasby - Welby - Grantham
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday ex-Road Car 1977


Two pictures taken at Boston bus station in 2009 illustrate the green and the cream liveries. Also visible on the cream bus is the extensive signwriting.
(both photos from the hesterjenna collection on Flickr)

WAZ8278 (was G675TCN). Leyland Olympian / Alexander . New 1989 to Northern General (their NG3675) passing to Go Gateshead then Kimes.



V929FMS. Kimes fleet number D1. 1999 Dennis Trident / Alexander (ex-demonstrator). Bought from Portsmouth University in 2006.
Kimes at Boston in 2009 green livery

Kimes at Boston in 2009 cream livery

Kimes Leyland National PAZ3185, new to Brighton & Hove in 1985 as C457OAP.
Showing route 35 to Bourne is a puzzle, the 32 went to Bourne, the 35 went to Sleaford.
(picture by Keith Newton)
Kimes Leyland National PAZ3185


Kimes  of Folkingham: 2011 fleet list upon the sale to Centrebus
(with acknowledgement to the GB Bus Group for the information)

Fleet
Number
Registration
Number
Former
Registration
Engine / Chassis
Body
Build
42
YAZ4142 P904PWW DAF SB220LC550 N/C Paladin 1996
43
YAZ4143
M850RCP DAF SB220LT550 N/C Paladin
1995
46
PAZ9346
M848RCP DAF SB220LT550 N/C Paladin
1995
61
TAZ4061
G679TCN Leyland Olympian ONCL10/1RZ Alexander RH
1989
62
TAZ4062 **
H960PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4 Alexander Belfast
1990
63
TAZ4063 **
H961PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4
Alexander Belfast
1990
64
TAZ4064 **
H664PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4
Alexander Belfast
1990
73
YAZ8773 **
H950PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4
Alexander Belfast
1990
74
YAZ8774 **
H808PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4
Alexander Belfast
1990
84
PAZ3184
H690PTW
Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4
Alexander Belfast
1990
302
DAZ4302
V394KVY
Optare Excel L1150 Optare
1999
D1
V929FMS

Dennis Trident 10.5 SLF Alexander ALX400
1999
D2
PO51WNN

Dennis Trident 10.5 SLF
Plaxton President
2001
D3
T648KPU

Dennis Trident 10.5 SLF Alexander ALX400 1999
D4
GK04NZU

VDL DB250PS East Lancs Lowlander 2004
D5
PO51UMS

Dennis Trident 10.5 SLF East Lancs Lolyne 2001
D6
PO51UMW

Dennis Trident 10.5 SLF East Lancs Lolyne 2001
D7
GX06AOE
Volvo B7TL East Lancs Vyking 2006
S1
YN51MJE
Scania L94UB Wright Solar 2001
S2
W178CDN
DAF DE02GSSB200 Ikarus Citibus 481 2000
S3
Y284HUA
DAF SB120 Wright Cadet
S4
FX04TJY
DAF DE02CSSB200 Wright Commander 2004
S5
YJ04BMV
DAF DE02CSSB200 Wright Commander 2004
S6
YJ55KZZ

DAF DE02CSSB200 Wright Commander 2005
S7
V159EFS
Dennis Dart Plaxton Super Pointer
S9
AN09BUS
VDL SB200 Wright Urban Eclipse 2009
S10
KB10BUS
VDL SB200 Wright Pulsar 2 2010

The five Olympian / Alexander double deckers marked ** in the table above were sold to Brylaine of Boston in August 2013 when the Folkingham depot of Kimes closed and Brylaine assumed the operation of routes 58 and 59.


Kimes  of Folkingham: 2011 route list upon the sale of the business to Centrebus

Service
Number
From
To
Via
Days of
Operation
4
Grantham
Stamford
Corby Glen
Weekdays
6 / X6
Grantham
Bottesford
Barrowby
Weekdays
9
Oakham
Peterborough
Stamford
Weekdays
12
Stamford
Uppingham
Rutland Water
Weekdays
22
Osbournby
Grantham
Oasby
Schooldays
26
Aslackby and Billingborough
Grantham
Folkingham
Weekdays
27
Sleaford
Grantham
Ancaster
Weekdays
29
Quadring
Billingborough

Schooldays
31
Folkingham
Bourne
Aslackby
Schooldays
32
Folkingham
Bourne
Billingborough
Thursdays
33
Stamford (Saturday) / Bourne (Tuesday)
Lincoln
Bourne, Sleaford
Tuesdays and Saturdays
34
Folkingham
Sleaford
Osbournby
Schooldays
35
Folkingham
Sleaford
Osbournby
Mondays and Fridays
36
Billingborough
Boston
Helpringham
Wednesdays
44
Boston
Lincoln
Heckington
Fridays
58
Boston
Kirton

Weekdays
59
Boston
Spalding
Donington
Weekdays
71
Peterborough
Arthur Mellows College

Schooldays


+++  Some pictures of Kimes Coaches in the 1960s can be found here  +++


incorporating information from articles and publications

found in the libraries of Lincolnshire.


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