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 31 August 2008

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the Lisbon Sun

A deceptively quiet view of the Lisbon rush hour where No.118 in the Barraqueiro fleet a Utic-Leyland-DAB was resting between jobs.

Saturday 30 August 2008

PTT Setra Bendi or Gelenkbus

For it's Post Bus fleet the Swiss PTT tried two of these Setra SG 221 UL articulated buses in 1986 at Nesslau. But obviously they were not a great success as future orders were for small batches of more basic Mercedes O405G and the two trial Setras were moved to Sion where they enjoyed undemanding lives travelling along the gentle valley floor to Ardon a route that follows the railway, the main highway and the River Rhone towards Martigny

Friday 29 August 2008

A dull Summer's Day in Reading

This Reading MCW Metrobus with a far more unusual dual-doorway Northern Counties bodied Bristol VRT following and the Courage Brewery behind that might not be too exciting but one certainly gets an fascinating view of the town's choice of buses of the Seventies plus of course the road disappearing far off in the distance. I've a feeling this was the Watneys Brewery till it was taken over. Black and white photography is the best for catching the untidy nature of our old towns with their bumpy patched up roads and crumbling uneven pavements making otherwise nice buses to ride in like No.159 of 1979 a veritable rattle-box as in a low gear it moaned and groaned it's way through the traffic.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Happy Birthday christopher

August 28th is my Birthday so here is a nice memory of Stafford in the early Nineties when Staffordian Coaches before they sold the service to Midland Red North operated three of it's four secondhand Leyland Leopards going passed my house on the H.Nicholls route to Tixall and the Heywood's that this operator formerly knows as Greatrex took over in 1966. Probably the smartest and the smoothest sounding of them all of them was PBO 675R which hummed along a Plaxton Supreme Express 'Grant' bodied example that started life with that well known Welsh Independent Hills of Tredegar. As the driver was a friend of mine I always rode for free which was nice.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

A10 is not quite perfect: But being there was A1

I read recently that West Midlands PTA were very pleased with their fifty odd Alexander bodied Volvo Ailsa buses and would have liked to have bought more but for political reasons they had to stay British and especially as the current standard bus, the Metrobus was built right on it's doorstep at Washwood Heath. There is some evidence of this as a borrowed new Strathcyde Volvo-Ailsa Citybus was painted in West Midlands colours and operated alongside the existing Swedish products from the former Midland Red Garage at Oldbury. I was glad to catch such a good shot of the bus still carrying it's Strathclyde fleet number A10 as it left the Bull Ring Bus Station in Birmingham as the direction of the bright sunlight was a bit tricky. I had to play with the contrast too to make it really sharp as at the time I was trying to get Ian Allan interested in my photography but even though they did use this one I'm afraid as you can all judge I didn't quite make the grade or as someone once told me, they didn't have a double-barrelled surname. True or not it always seemed to me like a cosy little club where they took it in turns to publish books using their own photos, sometimes time and time again to get the reproduction fees. Indeed the first time they used one of mine they attributed it to another author so that initially at least they got the 1.25p fee. (LOL)

Sunday 24 August 2008

Bournemouth Yellow Buses

It's interesting how many operators although feeling the need to make progress still hung on to their best old buses for as long as they could. Whereas London Transport couldn't get rid of it's vast fleet of two and a half thousand Daimler Fleetlines quickly enough former Municipals like Bournemouth (Yellow Buses) and Swindon (Thamesdown) held on to them into their dotage. The same could not said for the Leyland Olympian like the Marshall bodied example seen here even though it was usually also fitted with the rugged frugal Gardner engine that lay behind much of the Fleetline's popularity. Indeed even though these twenty 1980 Yellow Buses examples Nos.180-199 were newer many of the trusty Daimlers outlived them on Bournemouth's streets but few would have realised as believe it or not the town's Atlantean and Fleetline buses had carried this timelessly attractive style of Alexander and MCW bodywork since 1965 and not too many would complain if they still made them today.

Saturday 23 August 2008

A treat for my RN Fans

The Bus Station at Vila Real do Sto. António with some typical local RN buses in 1984 including 9604 one of the 'electric-razor-foil' fronted Volvo B58-60B coaches bodied by Salvador Caetano I particularly like. As well as a second Volvo and a pair of UTIC bodied AEC's all taking a mid-day break, passengers board UTIC-Dab-Leyland 9216 for Monte Gordo an gentle run a few miles along the coast

United Tours: Turkish-made MAN (MANAŞ 590HO-R)

My visitor from Israel, Lert who tells me so much about the country's buses I've posted might be surprised to see that I actually know this one. I was reading through his comments and he mentioned one of these and I thought, yes I've got one of those. So folks as you see you're efforts aren't completely wasted and I look forward to them.

Alton Towers

Staffordshire's best know tourist attraction came under the microscope of the media this week following a fatal accident when a Plaxton double-deck coach full of overseas workers on a day out from a farm in Peterborough ran off the road and overturned falling down a bank and into a garden. Had it's fall not been interrupted by a historic Austin truck awaiting restoration it might have done even more damage as it landed in someones garden close to a house. Fortunately coach and bus accidents are comparatively rare but when they do overturn it can seem as dramatic as a plane crash. One thing is certain, even though Alton Towers brings prosperity and jobs to this rural village like a honeypot it certainly does attract masses of coaches from far and wide. I only went to the pleasure park once with a group of friends but I quickly became bored with the rides and feeling a bit sick headed for the much more exciting coach park where mostly mid-life or older vehicles had come from as far as Cornwall. I don't suppose this four came as far as the Webbers Leopard that was here too, but this is an interesting line-up nonetheless with firstly a Yorkshire based former Aston's of Kempsey Wallace Arnold Bova Europa followed by a former National Travel East Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance of Eastcliffe International and then two similarly bodied Leyland Leopards with the last of the four being an ex-Barton machine..

Friday 22 August 2008

Roselyn: A regular Plymouth visitor for many a year

Much has changed in the Plymouth bus scene over the last few years but one gentle reminder of it's at one time many regular excursion visitors probably as much for locals shopping was Roselyn Coaches of Cornwall whose same familiar smart duo-green Van-Hool bodied Volvo was still turning up at Bretonside Bus Station last Summer and wearing that 237 AJB registration number I remember it aquired from the coach that did the run before it quite a few years ago. L.J & B.W Ede of Par had eight AEC Regents in 1986 in it's fleet of Seventeen and six of these came from the Government's Aere at Harwell in 1980. Also owned then was C571 HCV which might even be this beauty as they don't rust down there and especially older Van-Hool's. Taking pictures against the sun can be fun but with all that contrast and difficult shadows they work much better in black and white where one has more licence to be quite arty and creative. However I try to be different taking chances and this is how we have to see things too, and I like to think a strong lively composition made this sun-saturated scene work well.

Strathclyde: Alexander R Type Citybus

This brick red colour has been described as 'tomato-soup' and did not look too unpleasant on this Alexander R-Type Volvo Citybus pictured in Glasgow in 1997 where a little black relief and bold lettering gave some contrast. Also I might venture to say the advertisements helped to give the bus some cheer too. As you can see they might live in Scotland but they can't escape our English Beer from Burton-on-Trent.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Driver stop the bus, I want to go to the bank

Yes believe it or not this is not the Town Hall or an expensive hotel it's the palatial Schweitzer Bank in St.Gallen dating from towards the end of C19 complete with feature-fountain draped in symbolist water nymphs. Presumably those customers with just ordinary accounts had to go through the tradesman's entrance around the back. I'm sure as a poor English tourist one would not be too hopeful of getting the best exchange rate here, probably better to follow my example and use Migros. Trailer pulling No.121 probably dating from the late-Sixties was photographed in 1990 not too long before these once attractive Saurer trolleybuses with attractive brightwork embellishing their fronts were withdrawn only to see further service abroad as was often the case with beautifully maintained former Swiss rolling-stock. By 1991 the trolleybus fleet here consisted of 29 articulated vehicles for the three routes and the oldest now dated from just 1984 so I was glad I returned to Switzerland in time to catch much of the old interesting stuff as it was rapidly disappearing.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

The Olympics: Time to get a Video!

How times have changed since the Eighties when people were still to buy their first video recorder to save the 1988 Olympics. Of course not only didn't girls all want tp look like babes and celebs the buses in their NBC colours, as in this instance the red LeylandOlympians and Bristol VR's of West Riding in Leeds looked a lot more the way British Buses used to look.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

It's Liverpool: A change of direction

Those who follow my exploits will know that in the afternoon I have been doing a fifty-mile school run taking me around the fringes of Wolverhampton. But my employer has had to hand back some unprofitable contracts including mine and it looked as though I was going to have to struggle for suitable jobs. However they have agreed to find me work including what I cut my teeth on driving mini-buses the Airporter. So today I headed off at 5am for Liverpool Speke Airport but I never stopped for any photos as it poured and poured! Still now that I will be getting out and about a bit more again maybe now might I not only get a few nice tips off my customers but maybe I will get chance to catch shots of some of the variety and more unusual buses on my patch like this Arriva (NW) DAF wearing one of East Lancs most pleasant designs seen about three years ago at John Lennon Airport.

Monday 18 August 2008

Halls Coaches: Harrington AEC

I don't know a great deal about Halls Coaches but there was a W. Hall trading in Biddulph and obviously they were fairly local to Stoke-on-Trent because as well as being fairly familiar three of their coaches attended an open-day and bus rally staged at the now closed large PMT garage at Clough Street in Hanley and held at the end of the Eighties by POTS. What I do know is they must have had a soft spot for AEC and the coaches attending were all Reliances including the two seen here fitted with that elegant classic the Grenadier. ABO 145B was one of six delivered to Western Welsh in 1964 as touring coaches. I see from my old Ian Allan Bus Fleets (South Wales) that from this batch Nos.144-149, I only needed still to spot 145 and 149 when I finished. When I did it I always felt some justification including earlier owners when I 'copped' another bus but could not move my sighting forward to the next owner as that would be really cheating. I guess if I were a young teenager again those Arriva, First and Stagecoach buses would be much much more attractive to me if I were collecting their numbers, but sadly we have to grow up I'm afraid, even Me. So Western Welsh No.145 will just have to stay blank rather than being underlined because the past is the past. People do spot preserved buses but I cannot see the point as it's hardly very challenging, it's rather more like going fishing and then throwing in a hand-grenade if they won't bite!

Sunday 17 August 2008

Not the Sixties but exciting times at the Colliseum

No it wasn't the Sixties but at the end of the Eighties as the NBC was being wound down Blackpool Coliseum Bus Station was still a pretty exciting place. Of course I didn't really think so as I was a child of the Sixties and that ended when all those glorious BET and even the equally pleasant 'Tilling' liveries disappeared in the early Seventies. But here in about 1989 many reminders in the names and look of the coaches remained, and looking back now it almost seems like that 'Golden Age' never ended. I spent some time here amongst these typical NBC Duple and Plaxton bodied coaches as I had just acquired a hand-held tape-recorder and despite the seeming tranquility of this shot vehicles were being moved around. So I caught all those delicious sounds of ticking-over and revving of Leopards low on air as slightly apprehensive drivers shunted coaches and buses out of tight spaces to get at their homeward charge egged on by and equally concerned veteren Ribble coach driver. Also of course there was that characteristic groan of Leyland brakes which sounded as though they had all worn down to their brake pads. Most of the coaches to be seen in Blackpool came from the North such as the Yorkshire Traction Leopard parked behind the odd one out another Leyland belonging to Luton and District. The YTC vehicle stands out too even from here because they fitted them with those all-white wheel trims. Probably best of all and as pleasant a sight of Blackpool as it's famous majestiv Victorian Tower was that pair of smart Ribble coaches; it's just a pity they weren't Standerwicks to make me it a perfect day.

The Holy Grail: Didn't know you were a RC: No I'm RN

Well not quite, but many wonder why we bus photographers take pictures in their quest looking for the perfect bus and maybe the best answer is because they are there. But there are some vehicles that turn up that might even stir the fascination of those who would not usually give a bus a second glance unless they were trying to cross the road that is. This venerable elegant old Volvo seen in the dry dusty town of Mertola I have shown before in a differnt view as it is a real favourite of mine. Probably too old to receive RN colours one can still imagine how No.9405 must have looked when it was new with that American Fifties automobile inspired grill. Though the antithesis of the more restrained British approach this flamboyant look was also widely to be seen in the countries of South America, the Far East and of course employed by the Japanese as a stylistic template as it's dated export cars and trucks laughingly first rolled off the boat. Indeed sophistication inspired by growth, exposure to the world media plus demand has brought backward countries like India into Today, but not so long ago park one of these in Delhi and they might have thought of it as their Holy Grail and asked, is it the new Bova Futura?

Saturday 16 August 2008

East Staffordshire: The Pompey Atlantean Brew

In the stupid Seventies when change for changes sake was all the rage with the new name of the local authority Burton Corporation became East Staffordshire. The latest buses too were a tad different from the conservative solid old maroon and cream crash-gearbox Gardner 5LW powered Guys and Daimlers of old. Roy Marshall the new General Manager had brought with him the slightly odd red, off-white and green livery that had been favoured at his previous post at Gelligaer in the Welsh Valleys. The fleet was updated too with vehicles more suited for one-person-operation including six MCW bodied Leyland Atlanteans from Portsmouth, buses that were also being bought by Stevenson's whose yellow and black buses were also to be seen in this the Midlands most important brewing town making the total tally nine. Appropriately a local product is being advertised at the Swan, a rather imposing Bass Pub situated at the far end of the Trent Bridge. These buses were purchased in 1975-6 and a couple of years later a small batch of new batch of East Lancs bodied Atlanteans arrived. Even though No.4 has it's OPO sign illuminated it looks as though the bus is actually carrying a conductress.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Cricklewood where once we sought buried treasure

It's sad I know but all my best childhood memories relate to seeing buses and anything else that happened in family or school life was merely an aside. Maybe when I die rather than burying me they will just sell my remains for scrap. Each summer as a family we would go to London and stay there for the best part of the week. Mother would visit the fancy shops, my father would go around the museums but believe it or not I would buy a Red Rover every day and try to see as many of those thousands of red RT, RTL, RTW, RLH, RM, and RF. as I could. As a schoolboy they rarely let you go inside London's Central Area 'red bus' garages and sometimes you might leave with absolutely nothing as at the former tram shed Fulwell with a yard between the road and the buildings where there was always a inspector posted outside to stop us even going through the gates. Sometimes bemused staff would ask why we didn't just wait for the buses to come out on service but I think 'out of bounds' garages had an excitement all of their own and besides teasingly just in view were usually the dusty roofs of withdrawn buses lurking at the back which we would never see again and therefor had to be something extra special. This view taken in the winter of 1979-80 of Cricklewood Garage from the roadside looking down the grassy bank still reminds me of my first exciting spotting trip to the Capital in 1962 when I came here with my notebook. In those days in London during the holidays I was always bumping into other schoolboy spotters and some were obviously 'in the know' and a couple of them were camped out on this very spot which smelt of grime and railway smoke as like the celeb watchers of today they hung around as they believed a very special bus was hiding in there just out of sight. Years later when driving passed again when working I was reminded of that childhood day when we hoped legendary RT 1 might appear. In 1962 Routemasters had yet to arrive for the 16 and so those buses with the code W on the side were still all from the 4825 strong RT type AEC. As you can see the only RT to be seen in this view was RT 2958 with a Weymann body and looking like some ghost of the past it was in fact just a publicity bus. Parked alongside were the ubiquitous RM's and Metrobuses that made up the allocation of about one-hundred and which by themselves would not have got me out of my cab to face the cold for a photo except of course perhaps MCW Metrobus No. M1 which indeed was at Cricklewood.

Stagecoach and the little Bulley

There is a lot I admire about Stagecoach with it's good modern clean fleet, strong sense of identity confident businesslike approach and it's respect for enthusiasts and heritage. It does have a down side however and that is it is very predatory and sees this as it's right but woe-betide anyone foolish enough who tries to tread on it's toes. The West Country has always been a bit of a flash-point with Stagecoach and First Bus trying to win points as they squabble over the very limited areas where there really are rich picking like those at the seasonally bustling Torbay. But it's is ill-advised for the little operator to have a go as they are bound to come off the loser but as if already crying "Wolf!" before they even started Bulleys did try in the Late-Nineties. They decided to take on the Perth based giant running lucrative open-toppers along the seafront between Torquay and Paignton but Stagecoach was having none of it. As can be seen from this view of an always rare and in this case smartly turned out Massey bodied Leyland Atlantean that once belonged to Colchester, there is a long queue of traffic stuck behind the stationary bus because each time one of their open-toppers departed a spare Stagecoach minibus took the stand forcing the enemy to just drive on! It seemed the police kept out of it on the street at least, but I feel it would not have done any harm for a warden to impartially move on those blocking buses that weren't actually doing anything as these are bus stops for departures. On the other hand if they did move them on Stagecoach could threaten to pull out of Torquay altogether letting First in, but I very much doubt it as the council might just call their bluff.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Unlucky Wednesday? A good job it not Friday-Thirteenth

Well I chose this one today as a theme as this splendid MAN D 2556 UH double-decker in the shape of 3838 has suffered more of a prang than a major accident in Kreuzberg therefor not really qualifying for the whole Christopher Friday-Thirteenth- bus-turned -upside-down-thirty-people-dead-treatment. Still it was a new shiny bus of that year 1990 and the knowing can see from it that the two very different public transport operations of the Communist East and Capitalist West had yet to be integrated as bus services like the 41 in Free Berlin had yet to have 100 added to it. Also believe it or not, despite people not watching how they pull out, double-parked cars and delivery lorries making movement difficult this was still The Good Old Days when there was still comparatively free flowing traffic in both the East and the West and life was by post Reunification standards laid-back. However even in those days bus driving in West Berlin was considered a stressful job and not only were bus drivers well paid, like policemen they got to retire early. Later the Berlin crews went on strike for more money because of all the changes but the two large former East Berlin garages continued running because still on lower pay they could not afford to stop work.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Fancy a Praiamar Expresso Luv?

Sorry I always play with words when I think I'm abroad. I scanned the whole image with the front of the Barraqueiro DAF too but there are a lot of horrid white marks on the print so I scrapped it and decided to investigate the Portuguese girl further instead who was busy talking. Although not as satisfying as more conventional scenes this kind of image captures a corner or a moment in time and of course much of that violet painted Salvador Caetano bodied Volvo, a colour that seemed quite fashionable at that time in Portugal. I think this is Lisbon as I shot a few of the Barraqueiro vehicles and the remnants of tram lines and the local Volvo RN buses make me think it must be so. No doubt my local bus fans will let me know if I'm wrong and also perhaps supply the girl's phone number although I expect she's aged since 1984, but I'm the eternal optimist so you never know she might still have a younger sister.

What is Bedford OB in Swedish?

I expect it's the same just pronounced slightly differently. This one was seen in Copenhagen in 1982 and equally well-rounded makes an interesting contrast to the more familiar classic with the Duple Vista Bodywork we saw in the UK. I don't think I get many Swedish visitors to advise me but I suspect this vintage bus working for Gamble Olfert formerly ran for SJ the nations bus line.

Monday 11 August 2008

United Counties Olympians in Bedford

Bedford is one of many towns where the buses succumbed to those Stagecoach Stripes but when I went there a bit before that in about 1986 it's local operator United Counties had still yet to privitised. As bus enthusiasts we probably didn't realise how lucky we were as even though the National Bus Company was strict about livery the companies under it's umbella were allowed to continue long held practices like the way they organised and displayed their fleet numbering and even the way they chose to apply them to the vehicles. Like many of the former BTC 'Tilling Group' companies United Counties used metal plates but very nice for the enthusiasts was the way the company added an individual coloured background to show the depot too. Ahead of Privisation United Counties reverted to it's pre-NBC Tilling Green but with a not terribly imaginative diagonal stripe of three colours but at least the bold crisp lettering was nice. But yes it's still a shame that this view isn't in colour as you would be able to see these Bedford based ECW Leyland Olympians just like the old days carried fleet Nos. 609 and 610 on a background plate of light blue.

Sunday 10 August 2008

Felrense 48 in Porto

Evening Rush-Hour in Porto and the interesting buses keep coming including this one of many AEC's to be seen in the Summer of 1984.

P.S I've been corrected as this bus should be No.46 and so Thanks

Saturday 9 August 2008

I'm lost, where are we?

I think we're near Keynsham, that's spelt K*E*Y*N*S*H*A*M. Those of you who are wondering what I'm talking about are obviously not old enough to remember Horace Bachelor and his 'Inter Draw Pools Winning Method'. But like today it was pretty horrible and wet and bears testimony to the fact that sometimes I did stop in the pouring rain waiting for a bus to come along so that I could photograph it. This one Gardner powered No.5114 was a pretty typical ECW dual-entrance Bristol VR as favoured by Bristol Omnibus operating from the biggest garage in the city, Lawrence Hill with the code LH. But as well as that it is very much a picture of it's time in the latter half of the Eighties when the likes of British Gas and as seen here British Telecom were flexing their newly privatised muscle. Very soon the newly broken up bits of the former National Bus Company would be hoovered up by the heartless Yuppy empire hunters with their prospectuses and mobile phones and removed from public ownership for simply stupid give-away prices. Indeed they really were going for a song and small groups of former local NBC Management were mortgaging their homes to buy company number one and by the time they had sold off a bit of property on prime sites they had enough lovely lolly to buy the next ruining more of the former infrastructure and so it went on.

Zurich : Timeless Tram

Zurich's immaculately turned out trams always seemed to have a timeless quality about them such as this example No.1381 which in the early-Nineties was already over forty years old. Taken in the early evening rush hour I think this atmospheric busy shot of one of these beautiful old trams approaching the stop called Central complete with typical Swiss tidy wiring is surely one of my all time favourite tram pictures.

Friday 8 August 2008

Tamworth Garage and the X99

Arriva is celebrating Eighty-Years of it's Tamworth Garage in Aldersgate and as I popped down there last Sunday to see what was going on, I thought today I ought to post a proper red Tamworth bus from those much missed Midland Red days. Tamworth's most important run was most of the duties which it also shared with Coalville on the hourly two-hour-forty-five-minute long X99 Service from Birmingham to Nottingham, also taking in Sutton Coldfield, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Castle Donnington and Long Eaton. Not surprisingly there were at least half a dozen comfortable front-line red and black painted dual-purpose machines on the allocation at TH and in 1963 49 seater LS18A Willowbrook Leyland Leopards arrived at both garages to replace smaller BMMO S15's, some of which were less than two years old. The first generation of these powerful Leopards did the workings till in 1971 a new generation of these Willowbrook bodied Leopards started to arrive Nos. 6394-6445. Now part of the NBC sadly the company had dropped not only those distinguished black roofs but the dark-red roofed replacement scheme that superseded it from 1967. Notwithstanding brand new all-red 6401 looked just the ticket as it swung out of the Bull Ring Bus Station. The fact that it was a coach as opposed to a bus was displayed by the silver transfers and opposed to the ordinary yellow variety, a subtlety no doubt lost on the general public.

Thursday 7 August 2008

Buses in the Seventies: But which way to go?

As these road signs seem to suggest with Leyland stuck in a British-Leyland rut, during the Seventies operators didn't know quite where to go for the sort of reliable buses they wanted. Even if Leyland still built the buses they liked for political reasons they probably wouldn't let them have them. So along came a number of manufacture's like Dennis, Foden and MCW all trying to stem the breach and grab a market share. None of them really hit the bulls-eye to start with and Foden soon fell off the board altogether. Dennis made some friends with it's Dominator and MCW too when it teamed up with Scania to produce an exciting new sophisticated single-decker called the Metro-Scania and this the Metropolitan double-decker. Although fast and lovely to ride in these buses were thirsty and not 100% reliable and I'm not sure but there might have been some corrosion problems too. However after Reading took 33 of these Nos.101-133, in 1983 they knew a bargain when they saw one and bought 21 cheaper second-hand examples from London Transport who were becoming experts at throwing money away. I wouldn't risk it but were two of these no-entry-signs to be misaligned like that I doubt whether the police would be able to prosecute the motorist for turning the wrong way down a one-way-street but they might just get you for something else. This was the Eighties, probably the number of road signs here have doubled and they have added some metal railings for good measure just in case you walk into them or want to cross the road.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

MAN; A Poor Man's Mercedes?

Many see MAN as a cheap substitute for a Mercedes-Benz bus or truck but personally I prefer them as they always seem to have a bit more character about them and a bit more bite when it comes to those important bus sounds. Maybe being British I always stick up for the under-dog. SWG the town operator in Giesen, during the Eighties had quite a few plus newer Setras too. I had a lady friend who lived here and she could never quite understand my wanting to photograph buses all the time, but having said that we are still good friends.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

No Cricket for Mike in Atherton: Another wet day

Rain is no fun for bus enthusiasts either but with nowhere to go I can at least prepare some photographs. This view was taken in Autumn 1969 shortly after some Bristol LH6L buses arrived at the main Lancashire United depot in Atherton freshly delivered from Northern Counties just down the road in Wigan. Even though especially in those days I omitted to photograph many of the interesting bus types I regularly saw at least with others I didn't forget the back end. In this case though the rear end was probably more attractive than the flatish front but it was more of an excuse as well to get a shot of the Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard coach No. 214 wearing 'Manchester United F. C' as it's destination sheltering just inside. It seems these twenty dual-doorway LH's Nos. 318-337 were the only examples delivered to LUT although they did quite like the bigger Bristol RESL with the Gardner engine.

Monday 4 August 2008

What comes first: First Bus or a thirst for Girls?

I don't know how it happens but some days every time I take a photograph a bunch of girls step across spoiling the view. Anyway I'm sure you don't really want to see another boring First Barbi Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart like I think R416 CCV also enjoying the sunshine in Plymouth last year. Most of the nice buses have gone but somehow I always enjoy this city. Sadly digital cameras can't work out what's going on and hate this kind of movement hence the blurring caused by the delayed shutter but it is still fun taking them.

M & D: Knightrider Street: SC31-32 Together

Not surprisingly Maidstone and District had a fairly large garage at Maidstone on a site shared with a Victorian building that was companies head office in Knightrider Street. My guess is there were about 60-70 vehicles allocated here. It was always worth a visit too for new vehicles were delivered here and it had an interesting varied selection of the fleets AEC, Daimler and Leylands. Should you ask me which ones spring to mind first it would have to be two Willowbrook bodied AEC Reliance 2U3RA which as part of M & D's first delivery of 36ft single-deck buses in 1962 (S1) and S2-5 1963 should have been S6-7. But Instead the last two arrived as SC 31-32 dual-purpose coaches for express work and were allocated here at least in 1967-8 when I studied in the town. In the background is a brand new Duple-bodied Leyland Leopard as at this time in 1968 much to the regret of many, M & D had transferred it's single-deck and coach loyalties to Leyland from it's traditional supplier AEC of Southall.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Dug a Volvo & The Baker Twins

The distinctive liveried coaches belonging to Bakers of Western super Mare are a regular sight on Britain's Motorways including the M5 which passes through Somerset. But of course Wallace Arnold once an even more familiar is no more after it's operations were merged with that relative newcomer called Shearings.

RN Another from the dust and heat called Mertola

Anyway I think this is another view of Mertola, but the trouble with going on holiday abroad is often the sun shines relentlessly everyday whereas in the UK one can compare the shots by the density of the clouds and the size of the puddles. This once very fine looking but still nice solid Volvo coach was tucked in between two grey dusty trucks. I'm sure following RN's adoption of this cool fruity peach fruit salad colour scheme ice-cream sales must soared in Portugal. Maybe they should have taken out a stop-me-and-buy-one franchise but I guess it might have seriously affected journey times!

Saturday 2 August 2008

Tunbridge Wells: Southdown Leyland PD2/12 805

Favourite buses of mine were the twenty-four East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD2/12 buses delivered to Southdown in 1956 Nos. 789-812. These of course for many years were the stalwarts on the long 122 Route that went all the way from Brighton to Gravesend fifty-six miles away. This along with the 119 which just went as far as Tunbridge Wells was also operated by the local operator there Maidstone and District. A school friend lived in Crowborough and whilst staying with him we took one of these fine Southdown buses into Tunbridge Wells and caught M & D's offering back which was there equivalent PD2 but this time with a lightweight MCW body. Anyone who has ridden on these buses will know which one gave the smoothest and more rattle-free ride.

Friday 1 August 2008

Bern a Bus History: Eighties Seventies Sixties

As well as catching four Bern buses in a row sitting in the winter sunshine, age wise they are standing exactly in ascending order going from left to right. No.182 the Ramseier & Jenzer bodied Volvo dates from the Eighties whilst the orange painted Hess bodied FBW No.50 dates from 1975 and the recently repainted FBW artic from about 1967-8 and finally No.170 of 1965. This was numerically the final bus of this large series of about 60 similar FBW buses that first entered service at the end of the Fifties. A late survivor together with others going into the Nineties was No.113 which dated from 1959. Naturally the oldest type was my favourite here and although one or two were still in all day service on my first holiday visit early in January 1990 on subsequent I usually had to catch them in the two daily rush-hours to get tape-recordings for my collection.