Early RE

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    I remember reading about these coaches in the Bristol Evening Post when they first appeared in 1964. They were the first Bristol REs for Bristol Omnibus Co., in whose "Bristol Greyhound" fleet they were to operate. The Company must have organised a press run. A group of tame journalists had been taken for a spin along the only motorway in the region, the M50 near Ross-on-Wye. "Press reports" of this kind were really just free advertising. The journos got some free "hospitality" and knew what was expected of them in return. "At 70mph," wrote the Post scribe, "a brimming cup of tea was produced (where from?) and placed on the floor of the gangway. Not a drop spilled".
    To anyone familiar with the riding characteristics of the Bristol RE, this will sound improbable. But how futuristic these coaches seemed at the time. At 36ft, they were like nothing seen before, and the large sealed windows, which I now think ugly, seemed glamorously modern. Yet, with their Gardner LW engines and manual ...albeit synchromesh... gearboxes, they were little more than glorified MWs. We went for a week's holiday to London in 1964, travelling up on a stifling MW but returning on one of the REs. Apart from a short length of motorway around Maidenhead, it was all on the A4, with a stop-off at Marlborough. The return journey was very much cooler, but no thanks to the forced air ventilation ...the driver had the roof lights open.
    Underpowered and with a hinged door, they were unsuitable for the usual downgrade to dual-purpose bus at the seven-year recertification overhaul. The Company continued to use them on coach duties for a few more years but at the close of the 1974 season passed them to Western National, for their Royal Blue coaching fleet. After Western National withdrew them in 1977-8 they were to be found in numerous independent fleets up and down the country. This one went to Gorman, Cambuslang. The photograph was taken at Taunton Bus Station on Monday 24th January 1977.

    mudpig, pwgb, John Hembry, 1431Andy, and 4 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. pwgb 109 months ago | reply

      Aha, I thought the old place looked familar as soon as I saw the photo! This was in the days when you could wander freely around Taunton Bus Station to take photos and use your common sense not to get flattened by an RE or the like.....I'm still puzzled that we seem no longer to be trusted to use that most useful of human traits these days, evidenced by all the H&S warnings at this location now. However I guess we should be thankful that Taunton still has a bus station.......

      An excellent photo of, in my humble opinion, the classic combination of an RE with this early style of ECW bodywork (and for me, Mr B, no ugly bits at all!). The National white livery doesn't really suit this lady, but it does highlight the accumulated grime, giving the impression of her taking a well earned rest after a long and gruelling journey......

      The white building on the left was the headquarters of the Somerset County Gazette at the time, but has since been demolished.

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