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
Monday, 23 April 2007
Formerly No.701 in the Ribble fleet this Leyland Leopard PSU5/1R with unusual looking Alexander bodywork became North Western No.1200 in 1976 and it was not exactly a frequent visitor to Stafford, so I was lucky to get this picture when I was out taking something else. It's bodywork had been heavily influenced by the American Greyhound Coach etc.. and it was exhibited at the 1972 Commercial Motor Show. It looked rather drab and out of place in NBC white but a whole load of far more colourful and impressive examples of the 12m M-Type plied the Scottish Bus Group's overnight London Services
Sunday, 22 April 2007
This view taken one Sunday Afternoon in 1982 with everything neatly in it's place sums up Copenhagen's HT 'Country Fleet' as the standard bus was the Aabenraa bodied Volvo like NV 5b 1329 delivered the previous year. Also in stock were a few attractive former DSB buses still in red and built by the same manufacturers. DAB Leylands were a rarity in the outer District 4 but there were two batches of articulated buses including the first one's of 1976 which would be busy working again tomorrow on the No.75 Peak-Hour express service between Holte and Copenhagen.
Sadly trolleybuses seem to be on the decline in Europe including Switzerland where the small system in Lugano disappeared about a year ago. Pictured on one of the four routes in 1993 this Hess bodied Volvo was delivered in 1975.
Friday, 20 April 2007
I know it might sound silly but I had a lot of fun going on holiday and trying to see every PTT Regie Post Bus in Switzerland. Sometimes I'd travel all day and still not see the one I most wanted and it was even more difficult because of not speaking the various languages very well. I did discover however that the last bus I needed at that garage NAW Number P24425 was always out-stationed away from the town of Meiringen up the narrow-gauge railway at Brunig. However I didn't want to waste too much time by alighting the train at Hasilberg where it could be found anyway but it was just my luck that every time I went through there I was always greeted by a sister bus. In the end I had to make the extra effort and leave the train to finally spot it but to my utter amazement within five-minutes it turned up working my connection down to the little garage. But it did take me ten years to see it and by this time in 2000 it had lost it's P-Number as all the area operations had passed to two nearby contractors and so it had gained a BE for Bern, canton plate. To celebrate my conquest I had to take an unconventional photograph because the direction of the sun was wrong. Actually to say this was the last of it's type I needed isn't quite correct for another one P24434 was sold before I had chance to see it at Uznach and I lost sight of it.
You can see a better view taken here of one of these buses when it was still new and other Post Buses on my website gallery. .
It's difficult to take a view of buses in service without street furniture getting in the way so just imagine how difficult it must be for film-makers to both get permission to film for short periods and to hide or even dismantle road signs etc...Fortunately I like everything as it is but more of a problem for Myself on this occasion in Lubeck was holding that camera horizontal. Maybe it was because I only had a few moments to press the shutter. Of course I could straighten the print on the scanner but I would lose some of the picture especially the church steeple.
I feel inclined to think that buses during the NBC reign look much better when photographed in black and white. The newer types we got used to fairly quickly but as far as the older buses were concerned the bland Toy-Town image was rather depressing, which looking back was a shame as the vast fleet operated a lot of interesting vehicles. Some operators were more interesting than others like Yorkshire Traction whose varied fleet can be sampled by this glorious scene of parked buses at the main bus station.
Thursday, 19 April 2007
In the Eighties and early Nineties when I went exploring Denmark I loved all it's private bus operators as it seemed there seemed to be one in every village, many of which despite their size had really elaborate liveries which incorporated a garter as a kind of tradition. Even if one didn't know the name of the bus one could recognise it by it's livery like this particularly emblazoned DAB Leyland caught in Aalberg a town then well served by different operators.
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Not surprisingly my favourite Swiss buses are the ones that were in service when I was at school there between 1963 and 1965. But these elegant Lausanne FBW trolleybuses with locally built Eggli bodywork are a hit with many enthusiasts and despite their age still managed to look more modern than many of the newer buses with their square profiles. In September 1990 No.669 still managed to look both smart and sunny despite the Summer Showers.
Once Leylands and AEC's were everywhere in the Benilux Countries. Sadly in Amsterdam and at Arnheim on the German border I saw only DAF based buses of this standard Dutch type but whilst travelling I made a brief detour to follow this the only Leyland I saw and had to get a picture. Maybe I should have gone to Rotterdam or The Hague too but even though I had to take this one against the light I got my bus and an audience.
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
Nottingham has long been famed for it's interesting fleet having been big enough with about 350 vehicles to order buses to it's own specification. Nottingham's double-decker Standards were usually well-rounded so one-offs like No.395, EMY 560Y with it's uncompromisingly square body was something of a contrast. Waiting to depart for Gedling one is left in little doubt that it is a Scania because it was originally a manufacturer's demonstrator.
London Transport was pleased that so many operators found their redundant Routemasters such a useful marketing tool in the heady days of Deregulation but on the other hand they were not happy when they were turned out on to the streets in red and branded as London Buses as happened at Manchester. Two of them with GMT pass the ill-fated Arndale Centre on the 143 which heads down the busy Wilmslow Road, a local competition hot-spot with lots of student accommodation to generate traffic.
Monday, 16 April 2007
I don't suppose anyone would want to publish a book on Swiss Post PTT bus garages except perhaps myself for they are usually fairly functional. But I'm glad I visited a lot of the old ones like Delemont in The Jura Region so that I could visualise the scene during my era when I was at school here in the Sixties. By the time I took this photo in fact all the true PTT buses had been moved into a spanking new garage a little further out of town on an industrial estate. For a time the local Post Autohalter contractor Mercay moved in to the old garage before finally selling-up and being absorbed into the main fleet along with some of the vehicles including the Mercedes midibus seen here.
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Once when Hereford Bus Station used to be full of bright red BMMO Midland Red buses one hardly noticed that it resembled a cattle market. Now under NBC management by the Eighties most of it's activities seemed to be confined to the city itself and what was left of the company's once extensive network of country services which used the bus station had been left to be picked up by Independents like Bengry's Primrose Motor Services of Leominster using mostly secondhand lightweight Bedford and Ford coaches.
Tradition had it that seaside operators converted their oldest buses to open-top to work the short Summer Season. But with new lightweight metal bodies in the Sixties it became feasable to do away with the old crash-gearbox half-cabs and employ modern buses fitted with detachable roofs. In reality though these were not always re-fitted in winter as out-of-season there was not enough work for these buses anyway. Of course it was something of a tragedy as the old semi-retired relics of the past were usually the most interesting buses in the fleet. Stragely enough though examples of buses like Southdown's Queen Mary's and these detachable roofed Daimler Fleetline's seen in in Bournemouth in 1992 enjoyed long lives as not only were they still good enough to go along the prom they could be used for driver training and tree-lopping and well paid work like providing elevated viewing platforms at race meetings etc...
Saturday, 14 April 2007
Maybe this was Tomar, but if not, definately not far away. Probably too old to be painted in the mundane orange and cream colours of the state owned bus operator RN in Portugal, I was taking a picture of this faded and dusty, yet magnificent example of Portuguese flamboyant coachwork when two attractive women dressed in white appeared through the heat-haze from out of nowhere over the rise. It felt like a minor miracle but no I was not at nearby Fatima where we had already stopped on our Cosmos Coach Tour. After I had taken the picture of the old Volvo I looked over the hill and there was a whole new village nestled down the ravine.
Berlin bus drivers cool off with an ice-cream at the pleasant Roseneck terminus towards the end of the Eighties when there were still a few beautiful Bussings remaining in service. The bus stop poles have changed of course but BVG was already recieving buses with electronic destination dislays and MAN No.1889 was one of the first delivered in 1982.
Friday, 13 April 2007
This First-PMT Wright bodied Scania single-decker had obviously been in a nasty collision and was awaiting dispatch for repair at the company's Crewe Depot.
Stafford's Midland Red D9's seemed particularly prone to bad accidents and usually they happened between Stafford and Cannock on the main A34 which although quite straight is plagued with hidden dips from mining subsidence, some nasty crossroads, and even in daylight the occasional roaming deer.
Thursday, 12 April 2007
London Selkent turned out some of it's Olympians in a special coach livery with a black skirt and gold lining-out, cherished number-plate off a Routemaster and even on some more eye-catching examples, but not this particular bus polished Leyland wheel-trims. But it is still not as attractive as the smart blue and yellow painted bus belonging to the fine Independent Metrobus of Orpington. Even though the two buses look very similar they differ particularly at the front with the Metrobus example having a flat-screen and what appears to be a more sloping front than the standard ECW red bus.
Well here you are! Either here or on my website someone put in a search for Burnley Girls. Also in this Eighties view are a couple of Burnley and Pendle Leyland Nationals and an East-Lancs bodied Bristol VR entering the Bus Station.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
When I was there in 1982, HT the Copenhagen bus operator was still running a few buses in none standard colours. These came from several private operators that had been taken over including this bus Leyland DAB Series 2 , of 1972 No.3072 which came from one of the largest called Forenede Rutebiler or Herlev-Ruterne A/S in 1974.
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Monday, 9 April 2007
Badgerline's operations in the Bristol area were split into two with a red blue and yellow Bristol Citybus fleet and this attractive green and yellow livery for the Badgerline country services. Even though this was marketed as the Badgerline the group owned a number of companies and most acquired a large number of Dennis Lance's with Plaxton Verde bodywork. What was nice for the transport photographer is that vehicles used to pause to unload their passengers before entering the darkness of Marborough Street Bus Station like No.130 viewed here in the early Nineties
Sunday, 8 April 2007
This is William Tell Country and The Swiss Confederation was formed here in the Canton of Schwyz, and that is how it got it's name. For all it's historical importance Schwyz is only a small town but as well as operating some FBW and Volvo buses it also ran some Leyland Royal Tigers Worldmasters which made it worth venturing beyond the railway station. I should have taken a ride on the R & J bodied FBW bus I guess as it turned out to be a long uphill walk into the town itself.
Friday, 6 April 2007
So far I haven't posted any photographs taken in Scotland so it's about time I put that right. When I used to drive long distances the towns in Fife were regular destinations and I always had a soft spot for the smart red and cream Alexander Fife fleet. When Volvo opened it's factory in Scotland it marketed it's buses as Ailsa but by the Eighties operators were buying them as Volvo Citybuses. Also in this scene taken in Dunfermline is a Leyland Tiger which like the two double-deckers also carried bodywork by Alexander.
To make an understatement, usually when we photograph buses the background is pretty mundane or even boring But you can't get a much better view than this taken at the Woodside bus and ferry terminus in Birkenhead with Liverpool's Liver Building basking on the far side of the Mersey like a reminiscent Maharajah. By this time in about 1982 my faithful German Voitlander camera was starting to scratch the negatives, but because of it's pleasing composition and interest this view just about qualifies for the favourite tag, I hope you will agree.
This view was taken during the cold snowy winter of 1981-82 when Midland Red's Stafford buses like Leyland National No.811 were already carrying Chaserider branding which in this case was very appropriate as the bus would at least touch the forest edges on it on it's way to Cannock where the companies buses also carried this NBC local branding.
Thursday, 5 April 2007
One year in the early-Eighties when Lodekkas were still very much in evidence here, I happened to go to Norwich on Good Friday when everything was closed and most of the Eastern Counties buses were parked up. Of course as usual the sun was coming from the wrong direction but I still managed to get some good views including a Leyland National2 and a Bristol FLF.
Wednesday, 4 April 2007
For some Oxford is a seat of learning, for others it's Inspector Morse, but for me like other historical and vistor orientated cities it's a great place to photograph some buses and girls together. I already had a shot of Northern-Counties bobied Daimler Fleetline No.424 but as it was the last proper looking former 'BET' City of Oxford bus I thought the girl made it a reasonable excuse to take another. Also running around that day was an Alexander bodied Fleetline on training duties.
I went to school in Chesieres-Villars overlooking the Rhone Valley in Switzerland. Fate had it that there was a tiny garage with two yellow post buses right next to our school and it became a focus for me enthusiasm. I dreamed of seeing all the Post Office owned P-Reg post buses but even though I was there almost three years I only saw fifty. But that was hardly surprising as not only were the vast majority as far as I was concerned a long long way away, many were housed in the sort of dead-end little sleepy villages no-one would normally visit like the eight at Huetten. However I might have seen one as our train raced through Waedenswil but I would never have been able to read the number.
Tuesday, 3 April 2007
Just think it was not that many years ago when no-one thought twice about taking pictures like this one of a pack of tiny cheerleaders alighting from an old coach at Meir in Stoke on Trent. The Harrington Cavalier bodied AEC Reliance bought by Flights Tours in about 1963 was a real classic though, and now owned twenty years later by Halls Coaches, still looked tastefully elegant and presentable despite it's good age
It's some years since Routemasters appeared on the 52. The nice thing about cities like London is that people are so used to cameras one can one can almost get away with murder. These two girls however were so engrossed in their map reading I was able to shoot a perfect study of them and RM 1398 about to turn into Victoria Station.
Monday, 2 April 2007
Pictured in the Nineties, Exeter has a two level bus station with the bottom area being a magnet for visiting coaches like this Mercedes-Benz coach with german visitors parked alongside a Van-Hool DAF belonging to Blurbird of Weymouth from just down the coast in Dorset.
Sunday, 1 April 2007
When there was more competition express coach travel was easy and from Stafford you could take Yelloways all the way to Cheltenham and Bristol from Stafford. But most of all I miss the smart yellow AEC and then Leyland coaches like this Leopard.