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

Sunday 30 March 2008

Anyone for an Expresso?

Obviously this very impressive looking high-floored Volvo B10R coach with unknown bodywork belonging to Resendo Yiagans spent most of it's working life doing an express service between Portugal's two principal cities of Lisbon and Porto also stopping at historic Braga. On this occasion though it was occupied ferrying relieved tourists after some long journey to their hotel in Portugal's Capital where I was also staying that warm night in 1984.

Grey Clouds Gather over Dresden

Capitalist neon signs do little to hide the bland ugliness of unimaginative Communist Architecture in Dresden, and though modern privatised buses enjoy the bright sunshine and the welcome revenues from bus advertising dark clouds are definitely looming to spoil a reasonably varied and stable scene. Sweeping across Europe like locusts come the big bus groups from countries such as England and France with Arriva and Connex waiting to devour both big and small road and rail concerns including most likely these in their quest to control the World thus pleasing their small and institutional shareholders. As one would expect in this Nineties view of the still blossoming face of Reunified Germany, Serta and the ubiquitous Mercedes 405 rule okay here whereas the once so familiar but unglamorous reliable Hungarian Ikarus had been consigned to the scrapheap like much of the soviet controlled past.

Saturday 29 March 2008

Freedom to Snap: That wonderful world before the shuttered minds clicked shut.

Today if one were foolhardy enough to try to take a photograph of a colourful scene like this with children in it they would probably find them self spending the afternoon sitting in a police station trying to get their point across with some hard-nosed impervious copper who has apparently never heard of anyone wanting to take photographs of buses before but who will eventually release us anyway because they know all too well that we have a home filled with nothing more sinister than a pile of Ian Allan Books, notebooks and maybe model buses. But I do believe that it is unfair that our little slightly eccentric community of enthusiasts should be marginalised and even bullied by authority when probably the worst most of us have been guilt of is perhaps a little minor trespass and dandruff. All this institutionalised killjoy paranoia is all a bit sad really because at one time all individuals were free to take valid pictures like this and we were accepted as not only having a good hobby but even doing our bit by making some sort of savable record. Now over twenty years later the young people in this photo probably with children of their own would be most interested to revisit a bit of their lost childhood, and not only that we can also see Uncle Jack and young John plus of course daft Jasper before he went after a cat and got run down by a bread van. Back in those less complicated times of 1982 it's Pageant Day in Mere near Longton, Stoke on Trent and a small number of interesting old buses are arriving from all around the area full of well-scrubbed majorettes and dancing troops. The bus is a still attractive looking East Lancs bodied Leyland Atlantean, a vehicle which started life with Bolton Corporation before it was absorbed into Great Manchester and painted orange and cream..

Friday 28 March 2008

Saurer P24288: When you've seen them all take a photo of the rest!

Post Buses: When you've seen them all take a photo of the rest! No it's not just gibberish because somehow when you've travelled miles and miles seeking them out there is always just one more just over the mountain.
It might still say so in the tourist guides but yellow Swiss Post Buses no longer neccessarily operate in the mountains and this applies too to famous routes like the one from the Bahnhof at Urnasch to Schwagalp. No doubt in the same way as the yellow buses met the train for fifty-years the new operator will too and Switzerland is so beautiful hardly any tourist will even notice. Not that it matters too much to me either as the Saurer RH's like the FBW's before them have all gone. When the last Saurer RH class bus looking very much like this was delivered to Sion in 1986 total deliveries since 1978 made up almost half of the 600 Post Office owned P-Reg fleet. But even by the time I started looking for them in 1989 about five examples had already been sold off so I would never have managed to see them anyway and by 1996 another five had also moved on evading me. So by the time P24288, one of two buses at Urnasch rounded the corner it was one of less than ten more from the original hundreds that I had managed to see and being the last of the great iconic Post Buses too each one of these great buses in principal deserved a little photo. The similar looking RH's came in different sizes including this the most numerous narrower type RH 525-23 Alpine Bus and this 1982 example bore bodywork by Tuscher.

Crosville: 12.30pm Digbeth Coach Station

I used to like to be in Birmingham for the 12.30 lunchtime departure from Digbeth Coach Station as on mass hordes of National Express Leyland Leopard, Tigers, and even Royal Tiger Doyans would head off for the four corners of Great Britain. This Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard belonging to Crosville might well have come from Holyhead on the westerly tip of Anglsea in Wales and was heading for Cromer near the most easterly point in Norfolk. Formely a National Travel East coach it found itself with Ribble before arriving at Crosville and I note it was at Oswestry Depot in 1986.

Thursday 27 March 2008

Evening Rush Hour Aviero: Faces Squinting in the Sun

I used to see a lot of very attractive buses in Portugal but I have to say these don't figure amongst them. However these seen in 1984 do show a good contrast as the earth-red Volvo on the left is an Aviero town bus, whilst Caetano bodied RN 2455, probably another Volvo, is working a quite long 50km trunk route to Coimbra. My favourite though is the elderly but still very smart royal-blue coloured vehicle overtaking these on the right probably going to some little village nearby but apart from that I know almost nothing.

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Bradford: Buses and Snow

This is one of my favourite photographs as it's so atmospheric portraying 2322 a former Bradford Corporation Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline dating from 1969 and now belonging to the West Yorkshire PTA as it climbs up out of the city on it's way to Tong Cemetery one lunchtime on a cold sunny winter day in that bad winter of 81-82. I'm glad during that time that I used to make a point of stopping my van to take choice shots like this because it was well worth the effort. Travelling in the opposite direction is another Daimler Fleetline belonging to West Riding and bodied by Northern Counties.

Babelsberg: Film Studios and Obus Route 691

Some years ago there used to be a tiny smattering trolleybus routes in East Berlin and even one operated in the West till 1965. However they could still be found working within the ' Berlin S-Bahn Zone' just over the wall in the East at Babelsberg on the line to Potsdam in the Havel District, but with the many revisions that came with Reunification sadly the functional but not unattractive Skoda trolleybuses on the 691 route had to go. I took this picture in April 1992 and went looking for them again last year not realising how long ago it actually was, and so now I guess it's hardly surprising they had long gone. Babelberg is most famous for it's film studios being the traditional heart of the German Film Industry.

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Cardiff Bus Station 1980

I am much more attached to my monochrome photographs than the colour, maybe it's because they're my babies in the sense that I did everything from load the film to develop it and then create the print. But more importantly than that it was a chance to be creative too taking pictures against the light for interesting effects doing proper photography. Sometimes of course one had no choice if the sun was facing the wrong way but practice makes perfect. When I took this view in 1980 you can see I was still using my old Voitlander Vito2 Camera which was scratching the negatives and spelling it's demise. The buses and coaches here in Cardiff Bus Station were typical of the NBC at the time and the dual-purpose ECW bodied Bristol RELL6G in the South Wales fleet was working the once proud preserve of Neath and Cardiff Luxury Coaches and known affectionately by the locals as The Brown Bombers.

Monday 24 March 2008

Bank Holiday Blackpool 1996: Some Good Spotting

Blackpool has always been a mecca for bus enthusiasts for as well as obvious delights like the trams, sometimes a couple of hundred coaches arrive from right across Britain especially on an all-day excursion for the Blackpool Illuminations, and as well as the old Industrial Lancashire, of course they particularly arrive from Yorkshire, the North East, Scotland and the Midlands. Some spotters collect everything from trains to Eddie Stobart lorries but I gave up that hobby many years ago when there were still proper half-cab buses on the streets, excepting maybe when I went to Switzerland as a little holiday exercise. But from the spotters perspective I guess a rare vehicle they want to see from a major operator counts for a lot more than the odds and ends that arrive from the smaller Independents like Hague of Sheffield and Silver Knight from Edinburgh. I suppose I too used to be a bit guilty at times of trying to collect buses allbeit with a camera and especially those smart Leylands with proper operators in a distinctive livery. Even though Hague's well kept Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger was a bonus the star here was the red painted example with a much less common Duple Calypso body and numbered 114 with Coachline part of the then rapidly expanding Stagecoach empire and originally carrying the registration C495 CET. Yes one gets quite a buzz when they see something nice like this next to another good Tiger in a line of nondescript or modern rubbish.

Bahnhof SBB/CFF Brugg

With a transport system that works like clockwork buses and trains work very closely together in Switzerland. Traditionally Post Buses have been able to park right next to the platforms too making for some interesting pictures and busy Brugg is a good place to see them. Although the PTT's own familiar Regie Saurer RH buses used to come in from Frick where there was a garage the local PAH Post Office Contractor had a least one of these buses too such as this example bodied by Tuscher of Zurich.

Sunday 23 March 2008

One for Pedro: Evora RN Albion No.8025

When I was lucky enough to do a tour of Portugal in 1986, the bright orange and white RN buses seemed to be everywhere I went and the smartest best kept examples seemed to be in the inland charming white walled historic town of Evora not too far from the Spanish border. This already slightly tall looking Albion Viking has an even more narrow wheelbase and one wonders how well it handled itself along the bumpy and cobble-stone local roads. I expect the steering was very heavy as Albions were quite brutish and not built for sissies so you had to eat a big bowl of scotch porridge oats in the morning before one could even attempt to adjust the driver's seat never mind move the thing. No doubt my Portuguese friends will tell me if I'm wrong about it.

Berlin BVG: Ugly Ducklings

If one were to compile a list of the World's ugliest double-deckers I'm sure the works built 105 East German Type DO 56 built in 1956-7 would certainly qualify for that dubious honour. This one was thankfully retained by the East German BVG and following German Reunification was kept as part of the unified heritage fleet. The gatemen at the Berlin bus garages were often very helpful and on this occasion didn't object to my request to take a photo of this interesting bus when it was parked outside in the sunshine the since closed Charlottenburg, Helmholtzstr Garage in the Tiergarten. The trouble is looks are deceptive and quirkiness can not only nurture affection it can have an appeal all of it's own. Indeed terrible ugliness can become quite beautiful in it's own right whereas by comparison the little VW minibus parked alongside might look modern in every way but will always be slightly ugly too because it is boring. Of course for all I know the future might bring worse things and it might after all become a time-capsule full of charm and character.

Saturday 22 March 2008

Bournemouth: Open Top Fleetlines like Durham

Bournemouth had been operating open-top Daimler Fleetlines since 1965 when ten examples arrived with removable roofs for the summer. The first batch with Metro-Cammell bodies fitted with Alexander looking front ends ran till 1976 when they were replaced by similar buses but this time bodied by Alexander itself. So even though in 1992 Bournemouth No.187 was still working the town's open-top services it was in fact no longer owned by Yellow Buses but a private heritage company who had perfectly restored it to it's striking original yellow and maroon livery with green lining out. This can be compared to the then current Bournemouth yellow and light blue look on the newer generation of bus in the background. One of the nicest things I remember about Nos 180-189 was that they bore the name of English Counties and No.183 bore my home of Staffordshire and 180 my families county of Lancashire.

The Starlings are ready to roost, just enough light to catch a Swift

Well actually London Transport called it's AEC Swifts the Merlin but who cares about the name because it was good to see one working into Portsmouth in 1992, one of a small number famously operating with Hants and Sussex. In mid-winter it is already going dark in the afternoon and as Pompey has not been a regular haunt since the Sixties I was more than pleased with the result. I lived in the Victoria area of London for about nine-months in 1969-70 and I remember this Metro-Cammell bodied MBA well as it was then a new Red Arrow.

Friday 21 March 2008

Get a TAN in the desert sun

in the area taken from Egypt there were plenty of buses. This place where the arid desert met the crystal clear Red Sea was Easter in Israel, and even though the sky was wet and grey and the sea rough in Tel Aviv, down south in the Sinai Desert it was baking hot. Even though this kibbutz was situated in the desert in the Occupied Zone south of Eilatpopular with naturists especially the Germans and Israelis alike because not only could it boast a wonderful beach it was situated on a wonderful coral reef. But apart from all that sunshine, the naked girls, the wonderful fresh food, for me best of all was a wide variety of old Worldmasters some complete with their Leyland Royal Tiger badges like this typical example that kept me on the car park and off the beach. Not that there was much difference between the two.

A Good Friday in Norwich

I cannot tell you which year it was in the early Eighties, probably 1982, but there were plenty of buses parked up with nothing to do enjoying a Good Friday rest at Norwich Bus Station including as well as a Leyland National2 a fair few Bristol FS and FLF Lodekkas as the Norfolk county town's city services was one of their last strongholds.

Thursday 20 March 2008

Liverpool Green Lane looks white to me

Liverpudlians have a strange sense of humour which fits the city well as it can be rather a surreal place as the opposite seems to happen to everywhere else. For instance normally when it snows the snow ploughs and gritters come out but in Liverpool they just take one look out of the window and go on strike. You're right tt must have been during the Derek Hatton era. But the white stuff certainly made an interesting wintry picture of the many buses parked up at Merseyside's Green Lane depot. I wonder how many drivers didn't turn up for work that day either, but as you can see some of us had to work. Fortunately the snow only seemed to fall on Merseyside so the rest of my journey back to the Midlands was clear. Nearest the camera is Willowbrook bodied Leyland Atlantean 1847 but also in this view is another one No.1861 as well as the more common Alexander version here No.1580.

Ribble: Titans fall at Aintree.

In the early Eighties surrounded by ECW bodied Bristol RESL's at the bottom of the yard at NBC Ribble Aintree Garage were some of the few remaining but now withdrawn MCW Leyland PD3 double-deckers awaiting the scrap man's torch. A third obviously already cannibalised sister is almost hidden but the other two are 1961/3 Nos.1757 and 1827.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Fight like a Terrier

Bus Deregulation brought a number of our towns and cites almost to a standstill including Sheffield as existing operators added extra vehicles to counter those of it's formerly local friends and newcomers like Terrier. Like many this firm started up when redundant managers used their windfalls to run bus services in competition with their old employer South Yorkshire PTE. Terrier was certainly one of the better one's and ran a smart fleet of mostly elderly Leyland Nationals including this one which once operated with Midland Red. Eventually I think this operator sold out to Yorkshire Traction who continued to run it as a separate entity.

Buses &Trolleybuses in Neuchatel

Situated on the lake that carries it's name the historic town of Neuchatel is one of my Swiss favourites. It also has been operating trolleybuses since 1940 and when I visited there in 1990 many of the twenty-four of these vehicles were wearing a newer version of it's traditional livery including seen in the background No.165 a 1983/4 Hess bodied FBW BBC-SAAS whilst more modern vehicles included this Volvo motorbus No.220.

Sunday 16 March 2008

BEA AEC Regal IV : Regally landed in Walsall

Entering Walsall from Cannock I often used to see this by then rare 1952 AEC Regal IV Observation Coach parked in it's usual spot next to the road by a roundabout on the Ring Road. It was one of sixty-five with Park Royal bodywork operated by London Transport on behalf of the airline BEA and I'm glad on this one occasion I took the time to stop to take a photograph of it in the snow. By this time in the late Seventies it had become a motor racing transporter, but had it been used by a racing team today no doubt it would have been safely stowed away somewhere out of sight, safe from the mindless vandals who would gain immense pleasure from wrecking a fine old bus like this.

Dane Geld: The DAB Leyland

The Danes might not excel at skiing or mountain climbing but they gained a worldwide reputation for good modern design and I believe this extended to many of it's buses including smart looking DAB Leylands like this in the Greater Copenhagen HT fleet. When trying to find your bus don't try pronouncing the full title of HT Hovedstadsomradets Trafikselskab as by the time you've pronounced it correctly the bus will have long gone before you've finished the sentence. I'm not quite sure which actual bus this is but it's a BL5c and could be No.1038 dating from 1979 and allocated to the garage at Valby. This batch were favourites of mine.

What do you get when you cross a Leyland National2 with a DAB

Well it might look something like these Utic bodied Leylands that featured in many Portugeuse bus fleets including RN during the Eighties. Of course it was this distinctive curved windscreen that all three employed and even though in my opinion this bus was not as attractive as a Danish DAB it did have a lot more character than the National2. No.9216 was enjoying the Algarve sunshine in Monte Gordo whilst on a local journey to nearby Villa Real in 1984

I don't know about you but I'd rather be run over by a Foden

The local Potteries preservation group (POTS) have used a number of interesting locations for it's bus rallies over the years including most appropriately when it was still in use with PMT the large forecourt yard in front of it's large Clough Street Garage in Hanley. When I do photography for me it's more or less a fifty-fifty split between getting quality record shots and more creative photography. So whereas I tend to frown a bit on all those buses preserved in aspic and hold back a bit I do like getting a feel of the event. And yes I really do like this view of a former Stevenson's London Transport bus dating from long before this small thirty-five vehicle Spath and Burton based concern expanded and added loads of those slightly ugly former DMS Daimler Fleetline buses. In the good old days not only did Stevenson's have magnificent buses like former RTW 178 it operated RTL Leylands and the AEC RT too. Meanwhile also in Uttoxeter Elkse's Biscuits had a couple of lowbridge RLH buese. But when it comes to modernity the former RTW and utility bodied Daimler of Huddersfield Joint Omnibus Daimler look ancient when compared to the stylish and modern looking Foden coach, a former company demonstrator and believe it or not dating from 1948. I have certain sayings and one of them might be that I'd much rather be run over by a big Foden than say by a Dodge, a Ford Cargo or an LDV. Not that I want to go just yet, but I'm sure some London enthusiasts will not approve of some cheeky Northerner rubbishing it's buses. I did like the Routemaster in it's pristine youth and when still powered by AEC or Leyland but probably on balance the RTW is still my favourite LT bus.

Saturday 15 March 2008

Now for something completely different: It's Val's Birthday

It would be Valerie's Birthday today were she not happily settled down and living in Arlewas near Lichfield but I thought as I have both posted 500 images and March 15th is her Birthday I would diversify with a bit of nostalgia. Yes she was my first really serious girlfriend and a lot of fun, even though she wouldn't pose behind my lorry wearing a bikini she was quite happy to hold a packet of Brancrisp.

The day thanks to yours truly Valerie lost her records

Valerie went to Bristol to do a course and whilst she was there over the week-end I paid her a visit. On the Saturday we visited Clifton and did some shopping, but she went home early so that I could do some more photography. Really she should have taken the records she had bought that morning including Lou reed's Transformer with her because at this same spot I put them down for one Gardner revving mini-skirted second, turned around for one moment and they vanished. Some should have warned me, I never knew they had thieves in Bristol. Valerie wasn't happy and nor was I because I had a roll of film that I had taken in there too.

I'm 500 Today: Bring on the dancing girls

Yes I've now posted 500 transport images on this blog and I wanted to choose something a bit special but in the end I chose this one as it has been bestowed with a bit of glamour provided by one of the Rapide Girls. I don't think they bother with them any more passengers have to just put up with the sometimes miserable bad-tempered driver. Competition did a lot for coach travel! In about 1996 Western National still had a good number of once white National Express liveried Leyland Leopard Plaxton Supreme coaches including cascaded examples like No.2401 NEL 112P which started life with NBC Hants and Dorset before it's coach fleet became Shamrock and Rambler. Alongside it at Plymouth Bretonside still in Genville of Cornwall colours is a Volvo B10M with a Duple Caribbean bodywork which by then was now also part of Western National as it's in house red fleet number plate will testify.

Thursday 13 March 2008

Bangor: Crosville Cymru Leyland National 2

Even though the English part of Crosville in Cheshire quickly became part of PMT after it was split in two and sold, the wilder more romantic and more rural Welsh part seemed to keep that bit more of the traditional character alive complete with a strange green and white livery that seemed horrid at first but slowly grew on you. Both PMT and Crosville Cymru kep't the old numbering system going for some years and this secondhand former Merseyside National 2 seen one Saturday in1999 in Bangor shows that it is a Single deck-National-Gardner SNL 94

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Local buses in Le Locle: Cold feet and snow

One gets used to small Swiss towns being quiet but I spent a couple of hours in Le Locle close to the French border and it was deadly. Here two generations of Mercedes Benz buses could be seen waiting for their intending passengers to arrive and as you can imagine I really had to dash out of the way immediately after taking this exciting picture to avoid the mid-day stampede. My quest to find Regie Post Buses brought me here as I thought there was a garage in this little town but it was in fact at Le Cret du Locle several miles away, a small nothing-much main road village which is in fact very much closer to the large and more important town of Chaux de Fonds from whence I had just arrived. Indeed had I known, not only could I have walked there from the town boundary bus terminus in ten minutes and ridden on an FBW to boot, a different train back, a local one would have stopped right outside it for me too. So apart from one small Magirus Deutz 160 R I saw in Le Locle all I saw on that part of my journey was the top of another one of these buses and that of a Saurer RH as we hurried passed the garage beside the station. Yes even though I had given up bus spotting many years before, the fact that I needed something to keep me occupied on holiday and the sheer difficulty finding those PTT owned Regie Post Buses made it rather more worthwhile than just taking down the numbers. Just think those buses could be almost anywhere and then when you get there people don't usually understand what you are trying to say which makes finding them all that harder. I must have been mad, but I so miss my little adventures.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

60's & 70's Bristol City Buses: FLF and two-door RELL

The Bristol Omnibus Company built up a large fleet of over 300 Brisol Lodekka FLF's in the Sixties powered by Bristol, Gardner and Leyland engines but as elsewhere the availability of 36ft long single-deckers suitable for 'OPO' became the norm till the double-decker made a come-back in the Seventies once the Trade Unions had agreed to work them without a conductor too. Bristol RE single-deckers were powered by Leyland or Gardner but you didn't need to ask which was which as they sounded quite different with the loud O680 booming away to the point where it was difficult to talk at the back whilst the Gardner was more mellow and tuneful but still quite loud. There was always a very hollow untypically lightweight feel to these ECW bodied buses like this one which as usual in the Bristol fleet carried the Leyland Engine whose generous decibels and exhaust cackle could be enjoyed by nearby pedestrians as well. Even though I am something of a Leyland Man I'm sure the Leyland product must have been slightly cheaper and more readily available for the legendary trouble-free fuel efficient and slightly quieter Gardner would have been the more logical choice for the more discerning operator. Either way they were successful and popular buses and the Leyland examples certainly dispelled the myth that all Bristols were slow heavy old fashioned looking plodders.

Monday 10 March 2008

We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun...The Death of old Friends

For hedonistic partying youngsters the Nineties with it's focus on Brit Pop, raves and leisure-drugs like Ecstasy was compared to the Sixties and termed by many as The Second Summer of Love. Well the Sixties was a great time for bus enthusiasts too from the innovative point of view but all that variety and colour seemed to get swept away with one great swish of Barbara Castle's broomstick as the !968 Transport Act imposed a new much more rigid and in my opinion grey and much more ugly regime. But that drabness and lack of imagination all changed when the late Nicholas Ridley, Mrs Thatchers Minister of Transport denationalised and deregulated the buses again in the Eighties leaving market forces to steer the road ahead. So the Nineties too became a great time to be interested in buses and to own a camera as once more everything in the garden flowered. But quickly bigger bus groups formed quickly getting fat buying public assets at silly knockdown prices. Indeed everything was so cheap all they had to do was sell a few unwanted properties like garages and bus stations and they had enough to buy a few new buses and the next bargain company that came along demanding the same treatment. Most of the key players were former managers and all they needed to join this little game of ownership was maybe collectively take out a second mortgage for say £45.000. Some of you might counter my opinions and say good on them for taking that risk. Okay but what sticks in my throat is that one way or another those Municipal, PTE and NBC bus companies belonged to us and now the fat cats have creamed off the profits the public is left with poorer facilities higher fares and paying yet more contributions through subsidies. Fortunately a few of the new or now enlarged companies made a real go of it and became something to be proud of. One of these concerns that pleased both the travelling public and enthusiasts alike was North Birmingham Busways who operated a small beautiful fleet of Leyland Atlanteans but like another supporter of now rare breeds Chase Bus with it's Leyland National Mark1 buses it sold out last year. Of course it is not all coming to an end as a few new operators still come along and make a splash like the expanding Western Greyhound, Norfolk Green and D & G of Stoke but the stranglehold of the big groups will continue to tighten and squeeze out the weaker neighbours who get in their way till the political philosophy changes and I cannot see that happening in the foreseeable future. So if it that smart looking bus still carries on it's sides a proper local or person's name photograph it while you can!

Sunday 9 March 2008

Dinky Toys Model 202: Leyland Royal Tiger Duple Roadmaster

South Notts of Gotham had two of these noble beasts immortalised by the Meccano Company of Liverpool and I still have about five of the Dinky one's in a box in the bedroom cupboard. When I visited the premises of South Notts in about 1980 one at least had escaped the usual fate of just being parked up and left to rust away in the yard as it had passed to the local British Legeon and was seen elsewhere in the village. Indeed LOE 300, bought from Jackson of Castle Bromwich in 1957 looks in this view a bit like a proud old soldior too sticking out it's chest and showing off it's medals gained in it's youth long ago.

August Bank Holiday in Blackpool: Waiting for the Heavens to open up

This was an awful dull wet early-Eighties day and because of the contrast provided by puddles and reflections it was much easier to take photographs once the impending rain fell providing I kep't my lense dry. In the heavy gloom No.12 HE 8054 (PWB 252R) a Yorkshire Traction Duple Dominant Express bodied Leyland Leopard pauses outside the Collesium Bus Station long enough for me to get a shot of a English Electric tram dating from 1935 that had been rebuilt by Blackpool Corporation in 1935 returning to the depot next door in Blundell Street. Despite the weather I was quite pleased to get this view all the same as it was not always easy to get buses and trams together except on the Promanade.

Articulate about RN 7801

Well I cannot articulate as I don't know a great deal about this RN Volvo articulated bus but I expect it has a Salvador Caetano body as the very flat portercabin slab-like sides and wide pillars either side of the entrance/exit doors remind me strongly of those mid-Eighties Lancia trolleybuses that look as though they were cut and folded and made of cardboard from off the back of a Weetabix Packet. Those trolleybuses could be seen in Porto and Coimbra but I'm not too sure about the location of this beauty. No doubt my RN fans will know.

Sunday in Amsterdam: Sunshine and the Dutch DAFs are out!

Sorry about the terrible pun but even though I've been to Holland a number of times I'm not an expert on it's buses but this type was usually a DAF when seen in Amsterdam, although very similar Leylands could be found in other parts of the country such as the Rotterdam Area. But I wouldn't go looking for I'm sure they're long gone, you will just have to pick Daffs instead.

Saturday 8 March 2008

Those we have loved: Those Stagecoach Stripes!

Stagecoach Stripes: Remember at the time how we loathed it but now times have moved on we've come to view it with a certain affection; anyway I certainly do. My sentiment is helped by having forgotten how this pushy company used it's size and financial might to bully smaller rivals into submission as happened here when it quashed Lancaster City Transport because it wanted it's traffic and modern garage. I must say though that it took Stagecoach a long time to sley it's white elephant and replace it's back-of-a-matchbox livery with something so much more eye-catching and vital. Surprisingly the ECW Bristol VR looked quite reasonable in Stagecoach Stripes but somehow Alexander bodies like the R-Type seen here on an Leyland Olympian chassis, the also ubiquitous P-Series and little Dash single-deckers too not only looked smashing they summed up the company at that time in the Nineties and I see it's spread out well managed and always clean looking fleet almost like another 'BET' Ribble or Southdown.

Thursday 6 March 2008

Laufen Lunchtime

Mid-day during the school term is always the best time to see Swiss Post Buses gathered outside railway stations and Laufen in the Jura is no exception. Like most Regie Garages this one with about twenty-four buses had a fewnormal Saurer RH buses like P24297 a shorter mountain-bus but also the bigger urban three-door variety. But by the early Nineties as more of the ubiquitous Mercedes O405 and not so common NAW BH 4-23 gathered here the Saurers migrated to placed like Lugano. But this example P24297 remained here the longest and when I took this view it was the only one left, but it later ending up at Chur where the next time I saw it had suffered accident damage which might have finalised it's demise. Post Buses usually look immaculate so it's difficult to age pictures but this was probably about 1994 and I remembered this place from my school days as we passed through here stopping briefly on a school trip to Basel and Schaffhausen in 1965, though unfortunately I was sitting on the wrong side of the train to properly enjoy the spectacle. My school mates cried out "Look Post Buses" but also being towards the front of the train all I only just caught a glimpse of was a row of Saurers from the then still new 1963-5 P25507-25530 batch just waiting to be spotted. I was able to record none of them and they wonder why childhood is so difficult! Interestingly the PTT re-used it's systemised registration numbers and once more there were buses here with possibly those same numbers as before, albeit sadly more of these more mundane Mercedes O405's. All the examples here though date from Laufen's first delivery of the type in 1988-9, thirteen buses numbered P25269-25281 making up over half the allocation.

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen: Scottish City Link

Looking very impressive indeed in the smart and distinctive Scottish Citylink livery was Fife's Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen coach No.563, one of a pair originally ordered by Western Scottish but never used.. It had gained a so-called cherished numberplate but was delivered as A163 TGE and numbered FLT 5. Taken on a fairly dull day in about 1988 the light was even worse with it being parked inside the doorway of Kirkaldy Garage, but on a rare visit one doesn't worry too much about loosing a bit of print quality when taking an interesting vehicle like this: Anyway I don't. I've decided to add another tag to cover favourite types or batches of buses that I liked for one reason or another. Sometimes there is a story behind it but in this case I just liked these grand and imposing looking Leylands.

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Grey Green & Norfolk Motor Services

For many years before it started running service buses George Ewer's and later the Cowie Group's Grey Green Coaches was famous across East London for it's East Anglian Express services via Ipswich to the breezy coastal resorts like Caistor, Walton-on-the Naze and Great Yarmouth and . These used to depart from the Pentonville Road Coach Station in Kings Cross but following it's closure the terminus was moved to the more central Victoria Coach Station. Partners on the service included Norfolk Motor Services from Yarmouth who supplied this blue and cream Plaxton bodied Bedford whereas the typical Grey Green Leyland Leopard used on this service in 1980 bore Duple coachwork.

Sunday 2 March 2008

Warstone's Green Bus Service

Green Bus of Great Wyrley is well known for it's fleet of elderly but extremely smart secondhand Leyland Leopards. Sadly they have nearly all departed and replaced by much more mundane Mercedes minibuses. But when they were still available before the Leopards, Warstone found the less powerful lighter Leyland Tiger Cub ideal for it's gentle routes down the country lanes of Staffordshire and built up a decent sized fleet of them. Here soon after they arrived in 1980 is No.3 one of a trio of former Burnley and Pendle Northern Counties bodied Tiger Cubs BCW 465-6/9.

This is a bit of a special occasion as it's some time since I added any new picture galleries to my website but I have just made a completely new one for this interesting little operator. I hope you will take a look!

Lisbon: Get them before they've all gone

When I went to Lisbon in 1986 there are just twenty of these AEC Regent V's left wth Carris, and slightly less of the AEC Regal single-deckers. But that was enough for me to get some rides and take some photographs, and as can be judged by the wonky front of No.875 these very British buses had by this time more or less been shaken to bits on the bumpy roads..

Ho Hoe! Two pretty girls and a Leyland Leopard

Recently they have made improvements to the old harbour area and along the Plymouth Hoe restricting vehicle access somewhat which is a pity as it was a good place to photograph coaches in rather more interesting locations than just the concrete and tarmac of the bus station at Bretonside. Another bonus was as well as the seaside atmosphere, there were often if one was patient girls coming along too like this pair about to walk past this fine Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard in the well known fleet of Silcox Coaches of Pembroke Dock in South West Wales. Is it just me but unlike in the world of today with it's Amarda of imported high-floored imports that remind me slightly of baby whales I do really miss the crisp straight lines of simple but sleek vehicles like this former National Travel (South West) coach. Of course another reason might be that they were usually built on for my generation at least a much more charismatic AEC or Leyland Chassis.

Saturday 1 March 2008

Trent: Meadow Road Workshops

Trent is a survivor from the BET days when operators were given proper and meaningful names, indeed most appropriately too for as well as serving the Trent Valley from Burton almost to Newark it's main garage is still situated in Derby close to the centre beside the river in what were once the water meadows. Even during the in many ways rather mundane NBC days this operator with it's well presented fleet always managed to seem slightly superior which perpeptuated the individualistic aura of it's red and cream BET Days. When this interesting photo was taken of the sunlit workshops towards the end of the Eighties the operator had already been privitised as can be witnessed by the National1 wearing the new ayres-red and silver livery. As well as an Atlantean also carrying the new livery were a pair of Bristol RELH6L coaches now fitted for 'OPO' also carrying ECW bodywork as was a Bristol VR further inside. Probably pride of the fleet was A417 the preserved 1939 BMMO 'SON' whose Willowbrook body had been rebuilt in 1979. Last but not least, although Trent might have seemed rather a proud company it was not too snobby to buy the odd secondhand 'bargain basement' London Transport DMS type Daimler Fleetline to help it through what were to become challenging times as the Free-Enterprise spirit of Deregulation hotted up.