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
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
I have to confess I'm not an expert when it comes to trams but I do quite like them especially the older machines, and of the one's I've known this series of vehicles built in about 1949 for VBZ of Zurich really caught my imagination. As they went along you could really hear the inviting singing sound of the electric motor and there was also the rumble and drumming of the metal tyres which also squealed as if in pain on the bends. Lastly not to be forgotten was the comical distortion on the driver's megaphone which made it sound like it was a Dalek telling you we had arrived at 'Central' and 'Bellevue'.
Monday, 30 July 2007
A five-year-old Hants and Dorset Bristol Lodekka FL6B basks in the sunshine on a Sunday Afternoon in 1966. Even though it was nearly all Bristol/ECW in either red or Tilling Green and generally there was not a great deal of variety to be found amongst the Nationalised THC Company fleets, members had their individual quirks. Maybe the sunny South Coast and New Forest enjoyed more sunshine than the rest of us but H&D double-deckers often had an extension above the driver's screen to protect them from the sun's glare like No.1457.
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I think Leyland Nationals look better in anything other than that uninspired dreary NBC poppy-red or leaf green. The SELNEC orange and cream wasn't very pleasant either but as time went on some of the variants of that livery after it became Greater Manchester Transport were quite attractive. One of my favourites was this version adopted by Greater Manchester South after the PTA was split in two ready for Privatisation. Indeed No 261 carrying a cherished number-plate and it's sister buses looked in perfect harmony surrounded by the orange-reds and whites of Stockport Mersey Square's fine Victorian Architecture.
An excursion from Plymouth in the Eighties across the Menai Bridge into Cornwall to visit Webbers was certainly worthwhile as amongst the delights was former Midland Red 5816 one of Forty-Nine Duple Commander Bodied Leyland Leopards delivered in 1965 which still looked loved and quite smart.
The Scottish Citylink blue and yellow colours might look bright and cheerful but it doesn't look like that in monochrome, but the fact that this view of the MCW Metroliner parked alongside an Alexander-Bodied TE Leyland Tiger was taken on a typically gloomy late-Summer afternoon in Blackpool doesn't improve matters much.
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Oh dear I'm showing my age as my older brother used to read all about Dan-Dare in the Eagle whilst I had to make do with The Robin. But in Israel they never have to worry about operating empty buses and these solid Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmasters with locally built bodywork must surely be missed by operator's like DAN.
Although takeover's are rather a sad business for the enthusiast they do often bring some interesting variety to large standardised fleets such as when the new enlarged Copenhagen area authority called HT on it's formation inherited a number of these VBK bodied Volvos from Helsingor-Bussen in 1974 and No.5019 dating from 1971 was still wearing it's former grey livery when photographed in 1982.
The future of the trolleybus system in Schaffhausen on the Swiss-German Border still hangs in the balance but nearby in Basle following a public referendum it has been decided to replace the eleven Neoplan trolleybuses with gas powered buses later next year rather than to invest more money into the network extending it. When I took this photo in about 1996 one could still see a previous generation of Hess bodied FBW trolleybuses dating from 1975 (911-920) still hard at work.
Seen in the mid-nineties despite considerable tree damage this former Stockport Corporation East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD3 still looked awe-inspiring in Warstone's immaculate dark green and yellow livery. This interesting Independant has had it's wings clupped in more recent times and it lost a number of routes including this one from Wolverhampton to Rugeley via Cannock and Hednesford which employed traditional half-cab double-deckers.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Not surprisingly with my interest in buses and girls some of my views have a definite Robert Jowett feel to them like this one taken during the evening rush-hour when the tired commuters head for home like this leggy lady. Not only do her stripes harmonize with those on the Maidstone and District Duple bodied Invicaway Leyland Leopard, I'm not being too inaccurate calling it Foxy Lady in my description as the coach was second-hand and came from an Independent called Fox of Hayes which was unusual for an NBC fleet.
With the typically hilly terrain in the background no doubt Ratcliffe's have managed to flog a few Land Rovers in their time. Burnley and Pendle took delivery of some twenty standard ECW bodied Bristol VR's and later augmented them with half a dozen second-hand examples with Alexander bodies which at first glace looked more like Ailsa's which they purchased from the Tayside fleet in Dundee
When I first visited Sion in 1964 the PTT Regie fleet had three of the well-known bonneted glasswagon buses, these being Berna L4C Alpenwagen 111a buses P23152-4. The last of which is seen here at the Railway Station. By the end of the Nineties the old Swiss buses had almost gone and I'm glad that despite the awful weather I took one last photo of still smart looking Lauber bodied Saurer RH bus VS 106 000 because the next time I came it was a Mercedes standing in the snow. The Saurer was one of a pair delivered to a local PAH in 1984 just before Saurer ceased manufacturing buses.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Chur literally is the end of the line for train journeys end here from right across Europe, as beyond this pleasant Swiss town there are just smaller private narrow-gauge railway lines winding their way through the mountain passes to Ski Resorts like St.Moritz. During the Nineties without spoiling the frontage too much the old chalet-style mountain village station was drastically modernised inside and a major project was the building of a new raised departure platform for Post Bus services at the far end of the rail platforms. So instead of intending passengers having to trek outside into the wet, literally in seconds they could be climbing the escalator to the waiting buses. Not that they always escaped the cold Alpine elements for even though there is a covering canopy the wind and rain still seems to swirl around in there as it is not fully enclosed. By the time it opened only a few Saurer RH's remained at Chur and much more typical were German Neoplans including double-deckers.
The other view shows buses waiting to leave from in front of the building in the old days. In this view taken in the mid-Nineties, beyond the Setra coach nearest the camera bound for Bellinzona we can see the concrete going up as the new bus station rises at the end of the station platforms.
After Portugal's bloodless revolution one of the things the Socialists did was to Nationalise many of the private bus companies. Those with less than fifty buses managed to escape the purge though and as there were a large number of smaller concerns in the Porto area the rush hour scene was not spoilt by the ever pervasive orange and cream RN fleet. My favourite buses have always been Leylands and particularly examples which carried those Leyland hub-guards and of course the legendary cast-metal cat badges.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
It was rather sad when Yelloway was sold to a second-hand bus dealer who was trying to get riches from the potential seam of gold that was unearthed when bus services around the U.K were deregulated in the Eighties. All the smart fine AEC and Leyland coaches were quickly sold off and replaced with ex-dealer stock. At the same time the good name of Yelloway and it's proud rising sun motif was taken to run a low budget bus service in the Manchester area. However this was not totally unappropriate because at one time it had run double-deck service buses too from it's Rochdale base. Two former London Transport Daimler Fleetline DMS class buses are pictures here in the city centre.
Sunday, 15 July 2007
In 1983 as part of the NBC Midland Red North took nine of these Duple Dominant bus bodied Leyland Tigers but the tenth vehicle was diverted to Ribble where it could be seen working in Liverpool. However by the Nineties it had been moved by it's new owner to Lancaster and it says something for these pleasing looking buses that it still managed to look okay in those much hated 'Stagecoach Stripes'. Apparently as the saying goes the design was originally done on the back of a cigarette packet and one can quite believe it. As time goes on I've become quite fond of it but maybe that also has something to do with nostalgia for older buses like this.
Originally this Western National Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger coach wore National Express colours and so it was no stranger to Victoria Coach Station in London. But you have to admit it did look rather smart in the blue and white livery it's owner Badgerline gave this company.
As usual with small railway stations there is almost nothing and then a flurry of activity for a few minutes when an important train arrives. Some of the alighting passengers make their way to waiting buses and if I'm lucky I can catch these quick bursts of activity with my camera like here at Aigle close to where I went to school. So this station has strong connections from my past, happy and sad depending on whether it was the begining or end of term. In the background is the BVB Railway Mercedes bus going up to Chesieres-Villars but in my day it would have been a P-Regie Car Postaux as the yellow Post Buses were called here. But all was not lost for wearing the colours of La Poste was a fairly new contractors NAW heading for the village of Corbeyier.
Saturday, 14 July 2007
The reason why the still new Daimler Fleetline was afforded the comparitive luxury of the inside of the Midland Red garage at Stafford whilst a gaggle of Company built D9's had to brave it out in the snow over night was because the faithful old BMMO's would still manage to start even after a heavy frost in the morning.
Friday, 13 July 2007
When I visited Portugal in the Eighties British influences were everywhere which with an extra element of nostalgia made it most enjoyable. Still in beautiful condition was this Bedford tower wagon attending a trolleybus de-wiring incident in the beautiful University Town of Coimbra
Many of us have fond memories of Lancashire United Transport but even though it could proudly boast that this big operator was once the second largest Independent bus operator in Britain after West Riding in Yorkshire, squeezed between the vast empires of Ribble to the North and Crosville to the South it seemed to have no real operational heart sharing most of it's patch with the local Municipal Operators such as Salford, Wigan, Leigh, St.Helens and Bolton. Working many longish trunk routes probably the best way to visit it's patch was to explore the ribbon of small towns either side of the East Lands Road which runs between Manchester and Liverpool. In the days when it ran trolleybuses it's was known as South Lancashire but South West Lancashire might have been more apt. Not far from Farnworth was where I spotted this rarity, one of three Dennis Falcon double-deckers supplied to the Greater Manchester PTE who absorbed LUT in 1976 and who allocated them to the former main depot at Atherton. One didn't often see these Northern Counties bodied buses on the road as the crews didn't like driving them.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
When I was doing a lot of serious black and white photography in the Eighties I tried to do plenty of the more interesting creative type of bus photography as opposed to the standard record shot which enthusiasts snap. The City of Chester offered plenty of interesting features and good vantage points including this vista taken from the historic walls and I almost caught the two Crosville Leyland Nationals and Corporation No.59 a Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline exactly in line as they turned their respective corners.
One thing hasn't changed since the mid-Seventies when Bussing was absorbed by MAN and that is apart from sightseeing buses all the Berlin operator BVG's double-deckers are manufactured by that German manufacturer. As has happened in British cities too they are no longer so widespread these days as apart from a few important trunk routes their operation is far more concentrated inside the more populated central zones. However a few can still be spotted in Spandau but things have changed considerably since this view of No.1725 a 1980 Wagon-Union bodied bus was photographed when just a few years old heading an impressive line-up of similar vehicles enjoying a lunchtime break.
Thursday, 5 July 2007
I used to go down to London for the day on a regular basis but I have to admit that apart from fleeting visits I haven't been there for years. A favourite haunt in the afternoon was along the Thames Embankment as a constant stream of Independent and former NBC Operators came along collecting tired commuters for the evening return journeys to their dwellings in the greener Home Counties. Double-deckers featured too and Kentish the former part of London Country based in Dartford worked the 720 Green Line Service using amongst others this former MCW Metroliner demonstrator which was originally painted in Scottish City Link colours and registered TSX 1Y.
People usually associate the Royal Tiger coach of the Eighties with Leyland's own bodywork but a few were bodied by Plaxton like this example belonging to Atlas Coaches which was parked opposite a Cambus Bristol RE in Bury Saint Edmunds.
Tuesday, 3 July 2007
With no other form of power except cheap hydro-electricity Switzerland could have been expected to continue to be a haven for the trolleybus but even here systems seem to be disappearing quite rapidly. I don't know when it will finally go but the small Schaffhausen system dating from as recently as 1966 only had eight Hess bodied Naw vehicles which in 1991 replaced trolleybuses like Saurer No.104. Taken on a cold grey winter's day it's amazing how effective the yellow and black livery cut through the gloom.
Sadly here in Stafford we no longer find buses coming in from the Arriva garage at Burton on Trent because the former Stevensons Uttoxeter service has been integrated to run as an extension of the Heywood's Services run from Stafford. The local Arriva Lynx is almost extinct now and although most examples came via the takeover of Stevonson this bus came from Arriva's Yorkshire Bus as the former Caldaire Group which owned West Riding and Yorkshire Woollen District were keen buyers of the type.