The Eastern Counties Omnibus Society (ECOS) was formed in 1969 by Norwich based employees and enthusiasts of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company (ECOC) who had a common interest in documenting and preserving the Company’s history. The fledgling group met on a regular basis at the Company’s Training Room which overlooked the Surrey Street Bus Station in Norwich.
Following a few failed attempts, the Society acquired its first vehicle, LKD 229 (OVF 229) a 1954 Bristol Lodekka with early Eastern Coach Works bodywork, direct from the company in December 1971. Over the next fifteen years the Society, based out in the open on a farm in Little Melton, continued to amass and work on a varied collection of former ECOC vehicles.
In 1984, with growing membership and charitable status obtained, the name was changed to the Eastern Transport Collection Society (ETCS). Following this change the importance of securing undercover accommodation for the vehicles was a priority and so in October 1986 the Society moved to its present base inside former agricultural buildings on the outskirts of Norwich. Alongside the vehicles the Society has a small museum containing many historical artefacts relating to both the Society and the Company.
The Society has acquired a number of vehicles over the years, either for preservation or spares, and currently owns a collection of six vehicles spanning 46 years of ECOC operating history. All of these vehicles feature Bristol chassis, Gardner engines and ECW bodywork.
Over the weekend of the 6th & 7th July 2019, the Society organised a special event at the East Anglia Transport Museum to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The '50th Anniversary Weekend' attracted visiting vehicles of varied ages and manufacture from all over the country, including a large number of vehicles formerly operated by the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company.
The video below was filmed during the evening road run to Gunton Cliff on Saturday 6th July and shows both visiting vehicles, and those belonging to the Society in action.
As well as organising its own events, the Society regularly collaborates with other nearby organisations and museums to keep these historic vehicles out on the roads and in the public eye. Members also regularly enjoy trips out aboard the Society's vehicles, attending various transport events throughout the region and further afield.
Restoration and maintenance work on the Society's vehicles is carried out entirely by volunteers who meet on a twice weekly basis. While our team has a wide range of experiences and skills, a number of specialist jobs being carried out by offsite contractors.
Members of the Society receive our bi-monthly magazine, Terminus which provides news about local bus operators, articles of interest, updates on our vehicle restoration projects and Society news and views.
A regular monthly social meeting is held in Norwich, which members are actively encouraged to attend. These take place on the first Monday of each month at the Lollards Pit public house on Riverside Road Norwich, which is just a short walk away from the Norwich railway station. There is also parking available outside.
(If the first Monday of the month is a bank holiday, the meeting date is likely to be the following day- details will be provided in Terminus).
Everyone is welcome and the evening is generally informal, with members bringing digital photos and videos to share on a large screen. The pub offers a wide range of beers, ciders, wines and spirits as well as soft drinks, hot and cold food, and a small range of sandwiches, rolls and other snacks.