"Bristol comes to Morley" The Bristol RE fleet at Black Prince
In January 1977, Brian purchased his first Bristol RE coach, AVX966B, a RELH6G with an ECW C47F coach body.
The coach, of 1964 vintage, was purchased from National Travel South East (Thames Valley) and was the first of four "coach" type REs in the fleet.
These high spec machines were put to use on the "Blackpool Express" service, which was operated under a contract arrangement with National, from springtime in 1975. The RE coach fleet was also employed on private hire duties, working alongside Brian's fleet of Leyland Leopards.
Alongside AVX966B, Brian operated 977WAE, GWO1D and YHK729F, a brief history of each machine is shown below, with a selection of archive photographs from the Black Prince family collection,
courtesy of Dave Crothwer.
Chassis-Bristol RELH6G 212.014
Body-ECW 13726 C47F, new in 1964.
This coach entered the
Black Prince coaching fleet in January 1977, being purchased from National Travel South East
(Thames Valley), then moving on in the January of 1978,
to Bailey of Biddisham
Chassis-Bristol RELH6G 212.086
Body-ECW 14478 C45F, new in 1964.
Acquired from Western National in January 1978, replacing AVX966B, this coach was painted into a smart variation of the Black Prince green and white livery, probably making use of its ex National travel white base coat!.
The original black horse logo is displayed on the bodyside.
977WAE left the fleet in May 1978, moving on to Argas Persicas, London SW5.
Copyright David Crowther.
A photo showing GWO1D whilst on contract to National, on the 298 "Blackpool Express" route from Morley to Blackpool, a duty on which this machine was regularly employed. Copyright David Crowther.
Texas Street Depot, Morley. Copyright David Crowther.
Copyright David Crowther.
Chassis-Bristol RELH6G 323.008
Body-ECW 15910 C47F of 1966 vintage.
GWO entered the Black Prince coaching fleet in April 1978.
This RE came from Red and White and was in the fleet until May 1979, being sold on to Makensin, Tinsley.
The coach was employed on the Blackpool Express service, regularly contracted to National operating between Morley, Birstall, Gildersome and Blackpool.
The smart dark green livery suited the coach very well and was a further variation of the livery at the time.
Chassis-Bristol RELH6G RELH-4-129
Body-ECW 17044 C47F, new in 1968
The coach joined Black Prince
in November 1980,
coming from Lincolnshire and passing to well known operator Compass, Royston in March 1981.
1986 certainly brought along some interesting times within the bus industry, with the de-regulation of local bus servces. Brian decided to enter in to the de-regulated bus market, starting with the operation of contracted Metro tendered services, 204 and 230.
Service buses were needed to operate the new services and this new part of the business was branded differently, which is where the familiar red and yellow livery was introduced from.
The first service spec Bristol RE in the Fleet was RBW84M, from South Midlands-which was actually of "Dual Purpose" specification, looking like a service bus but having the more plush coach type seats fitted. RBW was painted in red and yellow and put to work between Morley, Batley and Dewsbury and also on the commercially operated 424 route, the Morley "Shophopper" Circular.
This 1974 built machine was followed by MUO320F-an earlier flat fronted bus specification example of the RE type, built in 1968.
The trio of de-regulation acquisitions was completed by TUO257J, which came with MUO320F from Kinch of Barrow on Soar.
The final Bristol RE to appear in the Black Prince fleet was UWX368L, which was acquired from Parfitt's of Rhymney Bridge. This new to West Yorkshire Roadcar Company machine did not last very long in service at all, being purchased, withdrawn and scrapped in the space of 2 months during 1991, following engine failure and unpopularity with the workforce.
1991 thus saw the end of the operation of the Bristol RE, after 14 years of service to Black Prince in both Coach and Bus form.
Chassis-Bristol RELH6G RELH-4-672
Body-ECW 21434 DP45F, new in 1974
This dual purpose specification RE was acquired from South Midland in October 1986, in readiness for use on the newly de-regulated West Yorkshire bus network, where Black Prince had been entrusted with tendered routes 204/230.
RBW was given a coat o paint in the newly designed red and yellow livery, the bold new face of Black Prince in the service bus business!.
This RE was sold on to "Lynxline" in South Woodham Ferrers, in March 1989.
Chassis-Bristol RELL6G RELL-3-426
Body-ECW 16932 B53F, new in 1968
This smart flat-fronted RE was new in 1968 to Western National and was added to the Black Prince bus fleet in September 1986, in the initial service bus squadron lined up to operate tendered contract routes in the newly de-regulated West Yorkshire bus network.
The bus and sister RBW84M, along with some double deckers, were the first vehicles to appear in the red and yellow livery, which became the much loved chosen colour scheme which made Black Prince famous.
MUO320F was disposed of to Wigley, Carlton in the January of 1989.
Chassis-Bristol RELL6G RELL-3-1242
Body ECW 18597 B53F new in 1970
This 1970 machine was acquired from Kinch of Barrow-On-Soar. It never gained fleet livery, operating in green on the tendered routes 204/230.
The bus was bought in September 1986 and sold to Independent of Horsforth in the February of 1988.
Chassis-Bristol RELL6G RELL-3-1881
Body-ECW 20221 B53F new in Feb 1973
The ill-fated UWX368L came from Parfitt's of Rhymney Bridge, Wales and operated in the previous owners livery during its short working life in Morley.
This bus was new to West Yorkshire Roadcar.
Unfortunately, due to engine failure and unpopularity amongst bus crews the bus was scrapped in June 1991, after only 2 months in the fleet.
This spelled the end of operation of the Bristol RE in the Black Prince fleet.