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, 26 November 2007

Leicester:The best of times, the worst of times

The Seventies in theory was a great time for those bus operators who were not swallowed up by the National Bus Company or the PTE's surrounding our large cities for not only was there a British Government that wanted to modernise public transport they were willing to throw money at it via the bus grant system. The trouble was a highly individualistic and confident industry became little more than a branch of some indifferent Whitehall Department and even though there was money to buy buses they were not always the one's the operators wanted. Leicester having operated a small fleet of dual-entrance Leyland Tiger Cub and longer AEC Reliance single-deckers began to extend it's fleet with a decent number of new flat-front ECW bodied Bristol RELL's. But once British Leyland had launched it's new bus the Leyland National even operators beyond the control of the NBC were through lack of choice forced to buy it. Of course there were rebels like Geoffrey Hilditch the General Manager of Leicester who famously told Dennis to go away and built him a Daimler Fleetline with no Leyland parts. In the meantime Leicester City Council was not going to buy those horrible smokey Nationals and turned to the bodybuilder MCW who had teamed up with Scania from Sweden to build both new double and single-deck buses for the British market. Newport like Leicester took to them and for a period as these sophisticated buses were both popular with staff and the public but as time progressed it became obvious that they were expensive to run and not totally reliable.

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