I AM CHRISTOPHER LEACH THE ARTIST. I started this blog so that I can share with everyone my vast collection of transport photographs showing a personal and nostalgic view of the industry with images that span some 45 years taking in the U.K and some of Europe. I have no darkroom and so rather than being the perfectionist after tidying them up I upload the images warts and all, and even those that won't scan squarely or are scratched. In a way it adds age and character. You are all free to download these for your personal use but please remember I still own them and you are not just free to use them without prior permission for any knd of publishing. Click on images to enlarge them and if you want to see more leave your comments or visit my website for the mother-site with galleries including those Buses & Girls: PICTUREWORLD
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Regardless of it's other areas the South Yorkshire PTE inherited a very mixed fleet from Sheffield it's main constituent and this continued into PTE days making it always worthwhile to visit. The proportions of it's red brown and 'cheesecake' livery suited this Alexander bodied Leyland Atlantean well.
Barnsley has always been an interesting places for buses with it's bus station which seemed huge relative to the size of the town but in the Eighties buses had even spilled out into nearby street. Here is a nice shapely woman to distract from all the litter. The relatively uncommon Leyland National B Series was even more rare beyond the NBC but No.9 bound for Rotherham was one of a batch of Fourteen with the South Yorkshire PTE
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
The name 'Fridays in Manchester Piccadilly reminds me a lot of that pop song by the Australian's The Easybeats from the Sixties. An East Lancs bodied Dennis Dart of Blue Bus was loading for Middleton to the north of the city.
The budget operation Magic Bus was set up by Stagecoach as a response to Independents like UK North who were undercutting them on the student routes down Oxford Road towards Didsbury and Cholton. Not only has it been a success for Stagecoach it has a following amongst both enthusiasts and the people who use it.
Monday, 26 February 2007
A busy moment outside Friborg Station with lots of coming and going amongst the area GFM buses in their traditional light green and silver colours which almost look quite fashionable again. I still have my old 'Condor' bicycle from 1963 and it is that same green but rather more rusty. At the front is Volvo B10M FR 183 with particularly attractive bodywork.
A long tram and a couple of tall people make an interesting contrast. Sometimes I look at people and wonder who they might be, these have that serious stiff-jawed look of Ivy League educated Americans thinking "Ain't Europe quaint"..
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Tucked away in it's north western corner North Western Road Car Company had one of it's largest depots with seventy buses serving this area dominated by ICI and the chemical industry plus salt. The garage had ten or eleven Park Royal AEC Renowns when I took this photo during 1966 and their duties included the routes to Warrington and Manchester.
Saturday, 24 February 2007
Friday, 23 February 2007
South Notts ran about thirty buses from Gotham, pronounced Goatham on the busy corridor between Loughborough and Nottingham where it also served some large housing estates like Clifton. All the double-deckers were low-height including this late East-Lancs bodied Leyland Olympian which was one of the last new buses before it was absorbed into the Nottingham City Fleet which partly owned it along with Barton. The old dark red and blue livery was certainly distinctive but the later cream version was much more kind on the eye and attractive..
Thursday, 22 February 2007
I used to enjoy taking pictures against the light particularly in black and white photography. As I took this photograph of a Luzern Volvo trolleybus one of the girls hid her face, something I'm sure she would never have done has it been the doyen of buses and girls photography Robert Jowitt taking it.
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Well I didn't think much of the song anyway, but the North Wales Coast has always been a bit of a mecca for interesting Independents, particularly around Caernarvon and Bangor. One Saturday lunchtime amongst the interesting buses was this smartly turned out former South Wales Bristol VR belonging to Williams with a once equally popular Mercedes 608 minibus pulled in behind it.
Maybe because it was one of the 'red and cream brigade' Trent was a BET company often overlooked by enthusiasts but as long as I can remember it has always turned out smart buses. Even when it was nationalised as part of the NBC there always seemed to be a pride in the fleet, and now combined with Barton it has something more to be proud about as there are the few survivors left as the majority of large bus companies now have disappeared into the Stock Market listed faceless large holdings like Stagecoach and Arriva. This photo was taken in 1989 in Burton on Trent and the Leyland National2 and ECW-bodied Bristol VR typified the stock inherited by the newly re-privatized Trent
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Monday, 19 February 2007
Bern will never feel quite the same again without waking to the deep roar of these hurrying FBW articulated buses sounding louder than the rest of the traffic with the exception of the screeching, the hum and the bells of green trams.
Sunday, 18 February 2007
If buses like racehorses were to be judged by their pedigree this Northern Counties bodied Leyland PD3 would be judged to have come from a pretty good stable. The impartial probably agree that Southdown was the Premier BET group operator with it's large splendidly turned out coach fleet and smart solid double-deckers like the Queen Mary. Amongst their ranks were thirty buses that could become open-toppers in the Summer and like other sea-front buses of this type examples were to enjoy extended lives not just with the Sussex operator but elsewhere too like twenty-five-year-old 1965 former 425 which was seen working on the sea-front at Scarborough with Applebys.
Saturday, 17 February 2007
I think amongst the most unlikely buses to operate into Stafford was when the local NBC bus company Midland Red North received five 1979 MAN articulated or bendibuses and operated them from nearby Cannock. They also worked on the 876 Service to Wolverhanpton which was operated by the same Garage. Originally they were bought for trials in Sheffield alongside DAB's.
When British bus operations were deregulated the well know tour operator Shearings of Wigan set up a bus company to operate in Greater Manchester and called it Timeline. Because of cost it favoured Leyland Tigers with Alexander (Belfast) bodies but despite that they proved to be very well built and rugged.
Friday, 16 February 2007
Railway Stations were like temples to the Industrial Age and the main rail centres at least such as large cities deserved a Cathedral to Steam, and the one at Amsterdam is no exception and it makes a wonderful backdrop for one of the city's equally impressive trams.
At PTT Gelterkinden Garage they resisted the arrival of the more sophisticated imports and doggedly clung on to traditional no frills solid Swiss engineering and it's allocation remained totally Saurer RH till 1996. Even following the inevitable arrival of the new Mercedes Citaro a couple of Saurers remained as the new buses proved troublesome at first and this example was seen at Liestal as there was also an outstation at Buren.
Thursday, 15 February 2007
I've been loosely following Saint Valentine's themes this week and with the exception of photographing them as they go by, what better way could there be to celebrate them than name your favourite bus after one. Well maybe not but naming buses after children was one of the nice quirks to be found on the vehicles belonging to GTL in Liverpool. This company was formed when Arriva was told to sell it's Gillmoss Garage and buses to a competitor because it now had close to a monopoly in the city. Arriva had dramatically pruned it's double-deck fleet and as being fine old buses a fleet of mainly former London Transport Leyland Titan's added some much needed interest to streets that once echoed to the sounds of the Atlantean.
Some photographs are obviously flawed and it's so easy to just throw them away but sometimes that can be a big mistake. Take this image for instance taken in Lisbon when I was there in July 1984 for when it is enlarged it captures both the feeling of heat and that evening's frantic activity. As for the car moving across the shot it doesn't really spoil the view and acts as a counterpoint to the rest of the traffic trailing off in to the distance. The photography manual tells us there is a right and wrong way to do things, read it by all means, but don't be afraid to experiment as without it there would be no progress.
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
When I was at school in Switzerland in the Sixties the little Setra Coaches that we sometimes hired from Aigle were always a bit chintzy and had an overstuffed feel about their interior with all those twee little holders of plastic flowers and I still remember the netting on the back of the seats that vibrated and that groaning from the high revving engine at the back. It's strange how the things we overlooked or looked down on in childhood become what we come to remember with a certain fondness. For me it has all become a part of my love for Switzerland. They had all gone by the time I took this photo in 1990 but I think this similar shaped bus outside Locano Station is a Magrus Deutz.
Monday, 12 February 2007
Of course there are no end of women to photograph in London but it's not always that easy to get the right picture and sometimes we have to make compromises. When I take buses and girls together at least one of them has to be the main subject and in this instance even though I hurried my shot here in Charing Cross Road at least you can see what the bus is and where it is going.
It's getting close to Saint Valentine's Day so I think it's time to give you a few buses and girls to put you in a romantic frame of mind. Berlin is quite an ugly city in many respects so when one spots a really beautiful woman in the crowd they really stand out.
Saturday, 10 February 2007
During the Seventies several small bus manufactures and bodybuilders got together to help each other sell their products in local markets and to be able to offer a wider range of sophisticated products and called it United Bus. Sadly they still could not withstand the clout of the big boys like Daimler Benz and Volvo, and most of it's members have since ceased trading or absorbed. But it did create some interesting buses like Geneva 214 which was something of a European Hybrid as although it was obviously a Danish DAB using Leyland compenents from the U.K it was badged as a Swiss Saurer because of it's engine and Swiss customer.
Friday, 9 February 2007
For many years the Plymouth City Transport fleet was all double-decker and comprised entirely buses of Leyland manufacture. Atlanteans followed Leyland Titan PD2's in 1960 and unusually like at Nottingham some examples like this bus of 1975 carried the sort of bodywork Park Royal normally supplied to the National Bus Company. Number 78 was photographed outside the large depot at Milehouse.
Thursday, 8 February 2007
As I write this there is no need to travel to Switzerland to find a total covering of uninterrupted white snow as Britain is enjoying a cold snap too. Of course as travel more or less grinds to a halt in U.K we wonder why it is that we can't cope with a few centimeters of snow when our European neighbours just take it in their stride. In this scene that resembles an arctic white-out the only thing that stands out against the whiteness of the snow and the grey sky and buildings is the bright yellow Post Bus which is always there and departs on time whatever the weather. This view was taken as the Zurich to Chur train halted in Wangen and maybe some of it's passengers were about to take the Saurer RH bus to it's home base the small town of Uznach.
Winter with it's long shadows, and short dull days isn't usually the best time to take photographs. However cold crisp sunny winter days are not too bad especially when the snow reflects the light. Here in Sweden in the 1980's not only did I get quite a nice atmospheric view of a small community and it's small bus garage I took the opportunity to photograph one of the oldest Scania buses before it was withdrawn.
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
I think Neuchatel situated on the lake is about the most pleasant town in French Speaking Switzerland, and like many other places in Summer 1990 one could still find Swiss 'classic' elderly trolleybuses at work like this FBW dating back to the early-Sixties.
Tuesday, 6 February 2007
After Reunification the former East Germany which had long been starved of investment cried out for modernisation, and as far as buses were concerned as well as buying new machines second-hand purchases played an important part too such as here at Potsdam where some Mercedes-Benz articulated buses helped replace the once ubiquitous Hungarian Ikarus.
Monday, 5 February 2007
Many found it hard to believe they could build a model of the world's climate and growing conditions for plants and trees in an old clay pit which they did at The Eden Project in Cornwall, but for many years just as impressive is the working tram museum at Crich in Derbyshire in an old quarry. When I went in the Nineteen-Seventies amongst the glorious reminders of the past was this former Glasgow machine.
In 1966 Exeter City Transport had just six single-deckers in it's fleet, these were 1950 Daimler CVD6's with flared skirt panels which was typical of Weymann bodywork of that period. Although still in excellent condition they were replaced by short Massey bodied Leyland Leopards in 1966.
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Unlike in Britain where coordinating public transport to give good information and provide reliable through journey connections is not permitted as it is unfair to the poor old motorist who pays so much in taxes already, Switzerland's transport system works like clockwork. The busiest time is at mid-day when the school kids go home and all over the land local and country buses gather alongside the railway station, and once they've departed it can become almost empty for a couple of hours till the approach of the next key departure time.
Saturday, 3 February 2007
As a bus enthusiast one of the low points for me was the invasion of the minibus on high frequency services and quiet city centres like Exeter started to resemble New Delhi as they jostled for position in the high street. Harry Blundred a former Devon General driver who was the MD of Transit Holdings was something of an eccentric and he believed minibuses, or rather bigger minibuses were the solution to all transport problems including long distance express services like the busy one they operated between Oxford and London. Fortunately his day had passed before he completely achieved his goal. As for this photo it was hilarious, moments later the snoozing driver woke up and fell right out of the bus to his great embarrassment
Friday, 2 February 2007
After Lugano in the Canton of Ticino, the bus station next to the station in the town of Sion in the Valais boasts the largest number of Post Bus departures daily where in 1990 the PTT's own fleet comprised largely these fine Saurer RH buses with ten coming from the last batch delivered in 1985 like P24412 and P24414.