| ||Bristol Omnibus of Bristol, as part of the Tilling group, was one of the original operators of this type of vehicle and took delivery of the first 'production' chassis in 1963.|
Bristol was the only company to buy RELHs with 'T' piece destinations, even for a batch of its Greyhound coaches. All Bristol vehicles have a full allocation and repaint history thanks to information from the Gloucestershire's Buses website.
Bristol allocated vehicles to certain number ranges depending on their intended use. The 21xx series vehicles were express coaches, all carrying the 'Bristol Greyhound' livery when they were introduced. Their intended use was on the services to London, examples here, as well as Bristol's contribution to the Associated Motorways network and day tours. The 20xx series was for dual purpose vehicles that were used on the longer distance bus services. Some RELHs were built for this, and several of the express coaches were downgraded in later years. Some of these vehicles were subsequently downgraded to buses and renumbered into the 24xx series in their later years.
The first 20 vehicles of this type that Bristol bought had manual gearboxes and 'coach' type doors which made them unpopular on bus services when they were downgraded. Because of this the whole batch were sold to Western National who then repainted them back into Express livery to get several more years use out of them.
Several RELHs were repainted into NBC Green/White DP because of NBC rules about the age of coaches used on express services, only to be repainted back into NBC Express because they continued to appear on Express services and NBC wasn’t happy about people getting the impression that they were buses! 2 of these (at Swindon) managed to retain NBC Express livery until 1983 to provide cover for breakdowns on the M4, these two then joined the Cheltenham and Gloucester Omnibus fleet for a short time when part of this companies operations were split off.
This operator is now part of First Group.
For further information about Bristol Omnibus, try looking for books on Amazon.
Specific Books about this operator:
Bristol Omnibus Services: The Green Years
Bristol - A Century on the Road
A Pictorial Tribute to the Bristol Omnibus Company 1936-1983