Classic Bristol Buses - The Bristol RE

Blow the notes - take me to the pictures


The Bristol RE is a rear-engined single-deck bus or coach chassis 33' (RES), 36' (REL) or 39' (REM) long. Introduced in 1962, it soon became a very popular chassis with operators of all kinds. When Bristol and ECW were able to sell on the open market again in the mid-1960s, REs were purchased by municipalities and and independents as well as both BET and Tilling group operators. Even the non-ECW bodied examples seemed to be graced with bodies of particular elegance (with perhaps the exception of those for Reading Corporation). The standard ECW bus body went through several changes during the life of the RE but all remained well proportioned and characteristic - so much so that even the ordinary travelling public came to appreciate the appearance and reliability of the RE. The style of the ECW coach body was a trifle vernacular - you love it or loathe it, I suspect - but it was undeniably a characteristic product of the Tilling group body builder! The ECW bus body, however, remains timeless - it certainly does not look out of place along side a Plaxton Pointer.

All lengths of chassis were supplied in low or high-framed versions, the low-framed version for bus work and the high-framed for coach and express work.


Red & White Series 1 RESL

Bristol Omnibus Dual-Door RELL

Brighton, Hove and District Dual-Door RELL

Hants & Dorset BET-style windscreen RELL

Bristol Omnibus Dual-Purpose RELH


LAX 101E

LAX 101E

This photograph shows the early style of ECW bodywork on an RESL chassis for Red & White. The body has many styling features inherited from the earlier MW body. This photograph was taken at the Bristol Commercial Vehicle event held at Bristol Docks in the summer of 1998. The vehicle has only recently returned to the road after an extensive restoration.

UHU 211H

UHU 211H

30 years ago the Tramways Centre in Bristol would have been crowded with vehicles like this. UHU 211H is a Bristol RELL6L with ECW B44D body. These buses were famed around the city for their sportscar-like acceleration from 0-20 MPH! Pictured at the same event as the Red & White RE above.

PPM 210G

PPM 210 G

A Similar vehicle to the Bristol Omnibus example shown above, the Brighton, Hove & District RELL has the shallower windscreen of the earlier version of the second series of ECW bus body on the RE chassis. Shown at the Warminster and West Wilts. running day in 1996.

TRU 947J

TRU 947J

This picture shows former Hants & Dorset RELL No.846. This bus carries the final style of ECW body on the RE chassis and has the curved BET style windscreen. A scene at Warminster station at the Warminster and West Wilts. running day in 1996.

WHW 374H

WHW 374H

Bristol Omnibus 2062 is one of several surviving examples of the last style of ECW Express or Dual-Purpose body on the RELH chassis. I remember well these coaches when they were in service. They were quite often employed on the Bristol - Swindon 418 service where they guaranteed a swift and comfortable ride with that subdued but unmistakeable gentle RE whine from the transmission.


Some other pages of interest:

The MW page

The RE page

The Lodekka page

The K page


Rear End

That's it for now - I hope to include some more pictures and some BCV material about the RE at a later date. At the moment I have no good photographs of the earlier style of ECW Express Coach body on the RE chassis but if I manage to take some I will include them here. In the meantime, if you are an RE freak I can do no more than recommend Ian Chancellor's book "REliable Bristol", details from me. All photographs were taken by me - Nigel Furness