The streets of Belfast will not be the same now the famous Bristol RE has finally been withdrawn from service. Saturday 31st January 2004 saw the final service day of these fine vehicles that have operated in the city since 1976.
Our cameras were on the streets to record this historic event. The programme starts with footage shot in November 2003 when the REs were becoming few and far between. Filmed in and around the city centre we see the REs going about their daily work and also make a few trips on them to Four Winds, Forestside and out to Roughfort.Then came the big day! The weather was appalling, but it adds atmosphere to the film, with full loadings, steamed up windows and plenty of ‘RE sounds’. We travel on preserved RE 2415 to Four Winds and back to the city centre. We continue the day’s travels on ordinary service buses starting with 2527 to a very bleak Mann’s Corner, and return to the city to pick up 2522 on service to Twinbrook. From Twinbrook 2522 takes us to the city to board 2575 to Carr’s Glen and back. We then join 2527 and travel to Old Park leaving her on Westland Road to catch 2548 to Turf Lodge and back to the city.
2548 turns out to be the vehicle with the honour of making the final journey of all! We leave the city centre fully loaded with enthusiasts and bemused local people for the journey to Turf Lodge. From there we run back and into Falls Road depot for the final time. The end of an enjoyable but rather sad day.
Independent Transport Videos is most fortunate to have access to a number of RE photographs taken by Paul Savage and Raymond Bell which appear in the ‘Photo Gallery’. These photographs were taken during the 28 years of RE operation in the city, showing the variations of the liveries, experimental liveries. Also included are views of some of the second-hand ECW bodied RE’s brought over from England and Wales during the height of the troubles to keep the fleet going due to heavy losses of vehicles being maliciously destroyed.
This is a fascinating and historic programme, a must if you are a ‘ Bristol Fan’!
Produced by - Independent Transport Videos
Running time - 72 Minutes