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

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Midland Red: Ghosts of the Past

Maybe there are always too many changes or time travels just too fast but as far as the bus scene is concerned too many good things get swept away for ever. Once Stafford was the northern outpost of the giant Midland Red which famously operated 1900 buses and coaches mostly of it's own manufacture. Almost nothing remains as a reminder of this great company in Stafford as even the old concrete bus stop poles are slowly being replaced by new metal ones as often kerb sides are raised at the same time to enable wheelchair access on the new generation wheelchair friendly buses. Worse still not only was arson suspected when the Pilgrim Street garage was gutted and many of the buses destroyed but the company at the time, British Bus tried to blame it on aggrieved bus-spotters who had been turned away. But there is one reminder that keeps those glory days alive and that is the Midland Red Stafford out-of-town area route numbers went from 823-875. The last mentioned the 875 went from Stafford to Penkridge and when the Birmingham-Dudley-Wolverhampton-Stafford 196 route was cut in the middle at Wolverhampton at the end of the Sixties so this end could be worked by Wolverhampton Garage as a single-deck OPO service it made sense to give it 876. I've heard new Scania buses are earmarked for this service so like the routes from Cannock not long ago christened 874-5 but since revamped with new buses as the 74-75, no doubt the 876 will become 76. The routes out to the Heywoods, Uttoxeter and Hixon still carry 841-842 but they are not originals either as this work came with Stevenson's and Staffordian in the Nineties As a final twist, in this view taken about six years ago of East-Lancs bodied H914 XYT , this bus came from Cowie's Grey Green the small London company that was the tiny acorn that grew into the huge Arriva.

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