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, 30 September 2008
This cut down Alexander Y-Type bodied Leyland Leopard made a very stylish breakdown-tender for Kelvin Scottish. No doubt this scene will make sense to local enthusiasts as there were a lot of changes within the Scottish Bus Group in the Eighties but I'm pretty sure it was taken at one of Central's garages like Motherwell to the south of Glasgow where the failed Alexander R-bodied Metrobus was being collected from. The old trainer is a Bristol LD6G Lodekka of 1961 that started life as Western Scottish No.1634.
Monday, 29 September 2008
It took a while for me to get used to the Crosville Wales livery but at least it stood out a bit from the rest and was not too dissimilar to the Arriva aquamarine and sand colours which followed. This former ECW bodied West Riding Leyland Olympian DOG 513 was working one of the more profitable routes to Bangor in 1998. In that year there were still five of these buses allocated to the garage there where the other double-deckers, the fast dwindling VR still managed to outnumber them with nine examples.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
The heat, the noise of traffic and bus fumes. Still a nice place to be in 1984 when Lisbon could still boast plenty of British buses like this, I imagine Utic bodied AEC Reliance which was No.6394 in the RN fleet bound for Buceslas.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
As well as the more obvious transport delights that Blackpool had to offer like it's trams, Leyland PD3 half-cabs and then Routemasters, the Corporation also ran a large fleet of the comparitively rare AEC Swift. Sadly all these Marshall bodied AEC's have gone but on a sunny day we can still enjoy watching barefoot girls eating ice-cream perhaps.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Rather in the same way that in Britain sunglasses are more of a fashion item than of any practical use in other hotter parts of the world where they seem to have nothing else even windscreen wipers are there more as a prayer than anything else. Joking apart it is not a good idea to run for too long without wipers and I'm certain unless they were buying them from British Leyland in the Seventies there would not be a long waiting list. Although this view was taken during one of Israels more peaceful periods as usual army personnel are ever present travelling about on the buses including this well used Dutch lantern-screen Leyland Royal Tiger
Cornwall has something of a reputation for it's old buses, anyway it certainly did in the Seventies and Eighties when there were plenty of small operators running these elderly machines. In about 1980 just off the main A30 in North Cornwall I spotted these three interesting vehicles slowly decaying in the corner of a yard. To the left is what was previously one of Gliderways of Smethwick's fine Harrington bodied Leyland Leopards. At the other end is a Weymann bodied Leyland Tiger Cub from Portsmouth and like the Cavalier alongside it the small Albion Nimbus squashed in the middle was also bodied by Harrington of Hove and once ran for Maidstone and District.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Perhaps it's a good thing that young people no longer seem to wear nothing but denim but still it did look good on a long pair of female legs. Taken perhaps at the end of the Seventies this rather upright small sized MAN coach visiting Berlin and belonging to Paul Kanz looks rather like a relic of the late Sixties.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
A fond look back to Chester City Transport whose very traditional smart dark maroon almost brown half-cab Guy Arab buses once graced this historic city with their charm. Captured on film in the early Eighties it looks as though this Northern Counties bodied bus had just come out of the paint-shop ready for hopefully it's last couple of years. Very typical of the fleet were also Daimler Fleetlines with the same make of bodywork to be followed by more of the same on the later Dennis Dominator chassis.
Monday, 22 September 2008
A R&J bodied Volvo B10M articulated bus threads it's way past a normal-sized rigid brethren as it's driver waiting time to leave for Blinzern struts the pavement in the late mid-90's winter sunshine. Even though on my trips to Switzerland I used to stay in the delightful Swiss Capital I didn't get so much opportunity to photograph the buses as being out all day it was usually too dark by the time I returned in the evening. Even so with bright sun and awkward shadows most of them are atmospheric rather than good record shots but I feel in every collection there is space for both as in reality same buses are very similar to each other and a feeling of place and time is more important.
Friday, 19 September 2008
In the Sixties Maidstone & District took a large number of MCW bodied Leyland Atlanteans before turning to the Daimler Fleetline in 1963 numbered DL43-56 and DH 490-632. These two clean looking Medway examples with large numbers on their domes for the Chatham Monitoring Cameras Nos. DH 624 and 626 were amongst the last delivered in 1963. Some thought M & D buses looked better in NBC leaf-green and white but I personally loved the dark green and cream of the BET days. Perhaps the biggest change was the lack of those ubiquitous advertisements for the Kent Messenger Newspaper.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Many must dread the snows of winter but resorts like Davos in Switzerland pray for bucket loads of the white stuff even if it does make driving difficult. By the end of the Nineties the old very Swiss FBW town buses had gone and been replaced by the cool looking white and silver painted Scania 113's one would expect to see in this sophisticated resort.
Actually this the earlier livery with more white and some grey as well as the red. In my opinion it is much more attractive than the latest version with just white in the centre. There are still a few Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts running about in these old colours including No.74 from the 2004 delivery.
As a bus enthusiast some driving jobs suit me just fine like the local collections on the way to Birmingham I did the other week down to Shearings large coach station at Exhall near Coventry. In the background is a Euro Cruiser one of the last remaining traces of the once mighty Wallace Arnold following their merger several years ago. This little Mercedes is the bus I normally drive.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
One of a small band of most fondly remembered coach operators of the past was the red and white coaches of Ellen Smith of Rochdale with a Leyland inspired leaping cat as it's motif. Today it still functions but as part of Rossendale Transport one of the few remaining former Municipals , it is a very different beast. Still I'm sure this Mercedes Rouru coach on tour last year must have been a most welcome sight in Plymouth as this tourist market seems to have died the death. Maybe it was partly due to the terrible Summer but I saw hardly any vehicles bringing day trippers to the city, not even a Shearings from Torquay.
Monday, 15 September 2008
Because of a number of low bridges and especially one at Stoke most of the PMT double-deckers were lowbridge or lowheight like this Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline of 1964. These thirty-five fleetlines from 1964-5 were the last new double-deckers bought before ECW Bristol VR's ten years later. Before it became part of the NBC vehicles carried type letters in front of their numbers and not only was this L 1021 buses always wore the legend PMT on their sides. However towards the end of it's life like the rest if the fleet it carried the rather unsentimental NBC branding POTTERIES but no doubt despite the poppy red livery the people of Stoke still fondly called them the PMT.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
The family in this ccene look more as if tey are returning from the beach but in fact this Utic bodied AEC of Sequeira, Lucas and Venturas has finished it's break and leaves to take up service during the hot Porto Rush Hour in Summer 1984.
Friday, 12 September 2008
With the break up of the National Bus Company leading to many of it's members shedding their coach fleets other operators that one wouldn't consider coach operators built up their own fleets or started operating them from scratch as everybody wanted a share of the goodies and nobody could predict exactly how the bus market would go. One of the best known newcomers with municipal coach units was Blackburn Coachways whose vehicles wore similar colours to the bus fleet at home. No.320 a plaxton 3500 bodied Leyland Tiger was seen entering Exeter Paris Street Bus Station in the early Nineties on a West Country tour.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
An interesting selection of vehicles could be seen one wet Saturday Afternoon in Bath. Nearest the camera are two Leyland Tigers giving us a contrast between the earlier frontal treatment on the Pilgrim Coaches of Southampton example whilst the more local Bristol Omnibus vehicle in the livery of National Express wears a grill that in my opinion at least is not so attractive and distinctive. Perhaps the best bus is the former King Alfred Roe bodied Leyland Atlantean that was in service here cut down for the open-top city tour. Last but not least in this Eighties view is one of Yelloway's gorgeous Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance coaches homeward bound for Rochdale.
In the Eighties BVG in Berlin experimented with methanol as an alternative fuel on this 1982 Mercedes and No.1387 carried the message on it's sides. When still quite new the bus is about to leave one of the smaller garages with about 120 buses at Lichterfeld. Sadly with cut-backs it was closed several years later which was a pity as it was both modern and quite attractive.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
I rather liked the traditional old dark red and metallic blue livery of Percivals coaches of Oxford and Cambridge before they went for white with blue scheme as it reminded me somewhat of the colours once worn by my local coach firm Greatrex Tours of Stafford who had a similar sized fleet of about thirty vehicles. A smart and still fairly new Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard was seen unloading at Luton Airport at the start of the Eighties.
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
It's not so easy photographing buses in bad weather but the idea certainly appeals to me. In summertime despite the gloom it is still often bright enough to get reasonable results but if it's really wet one needs to take cover as I did here beneath a bus shelter in Colchester Bus Station in 1979. Still it was worth the effort as this former Nottingham City Transport No.69 of the Suffolk operator Norfolks of Nayland, one of a pair of Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline from the first Nottingham batch of 1963 before it evolved it's Standards was certainly worth getting slightly damp feet for.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
I'm glad to see that I am now able to welcome a few Swedish bus enthusiasts to my Bus World Blog and even though I don't have a huge stack of photos from there, now that we're in 2008 they have reached that certain age that makes them interesting. I have quite a few more but as my regulars know I like to slowly trickle them through so you wont go away. Far more numerous items at home though are my views from Denmark as I spent a lot of time in the 80's visiting towns and photographing the buses in all those often striking traditional liveries. So here are two more Scandinavian favourites, a red Volvo Amazon (a girlfriend's father had one in the Sixties) and one of my most favourite HT types the Leyland-DAB with the large route-number box. BL2d No.475 was new in April 1970 allocated to Valby and seen in 1982.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Favourites of mine amongst Swedish buses are these Scania CR110M Integral vehicles built at it's factory in Katrineholm. I think most of these dated from the late-Sixties and Seventies and a few were still running around in 1986 when I visited Gothenborg.
I expect this AEC belongs to Moreira Gomes & Costas, from Avintes, Vila Nova de Gaia whose buses seemed most numerous amongst the many Independents as they queued up ready to pick up home goers during the Porto, or if you are English the Oporto Rush Hour back in 1984.
Friday, 5 September 2008
Numerically at least 1850 a MCW bodied bus of 1963 was the very last of these Leyland PD3's delivered to Ribble. When new it entered service at Morecambe and towards the end of it's life it was seen not very far away inland at Lancaster where it was doing a local service to Newmarket Avenue. One of the good things about black and white photography is that it's easy to forget that the proper colour had been replaced by that NBC poppy-red and the bus still looks a lovely sight.
Thursday, 4 September 2008
I don't travel on buses very often these days so it was really enjoyable to take an interesting bus ride in Devon on First's Mayflower Link between Plymouth and Dartmouth two hours away. The drivers certainly earn their money as this route is a slow roller-coaster ride of steep hills, sharp bends and painfully narrow roads as we squeezed through quiet villages or swished passed overhanging trees in what seemed like lanes. Also on offer were some spectacular views of the wild unspoilt countryside across which Buzzards glided or we nervously glanced down steep rocky wooded banks at the sea far below. For the drivers it doesn't pay to take their eyes off the road for as well as the oncoming cars and motorcycles come equally big Plaxton bodied Dennis double-decker 93 Route Buses coming the other way. In a perfect world they would plan it so they met in the right places but with buses running late inevitably one should meet at least one in absolutely the worst place. Luckily there were a couple of policemen on board our bus making their way to busy Dartmouth where the town was enjoying it's Regatta and they stopped the traffic so the other bus could reverse into a better passing place. However advanced they are this backbreaking work certainly doesn't suit modern buses like these examples that when new battled their way more comfortably through the streets of Bristol as our embarrassingly example T812 LLC broke down on the way back with slipping gears.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
In 1992 Berlin's BVG bought ten Neoplan N4014 single-deckers 1001-1010 and put them to work on the prestigious 109 route from the central Zoo area out to Tegal Airport. Later they found themselves relegated to suburban services in the East where they joined most of the other Neoplans including some three axle single-deckers N4021 Nos 2501-2518 working from the large bus cum tram depot at Lichtenburgerstr. Of interest as well as a Fifties Mercedes car in this early Spring Kurfirstendam scene are the colourful Guardian Angels who patrolled the streets and subways at that time. Whether they made the streets safer I'm not so sure, but it certainly made the place seem a bit like an American import.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Barry is not far from Cardiff on the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel and before the advent of the National Bus Company was home to about fifty Western Welsh buses, but by the end of the Eighties this once very BET Leyland and AEC dominated little corner of the now NBC National Welsh territory had become far more like it's other main constituent Red and White operating many ECW bodied Bristol VR's and using that operator's former numbering system like this bus H (Highbridge) R (Rear-Engined) 818, and no doubt making a lot of noise as it climbed out of Barry in the sunshine on it's short journey way to Penarth just along the coast.
Monday, 1 September 2008
I am quite fascinated by numbers and some appeal to me enough sometimes even to prompt a photo. I have a favourite number but that I tend to photograph more than anything else perhaps, but on this blog at least I think you would have to look very hard to find it. In theory though on our travels we should see far more buses carrying No.1 than anything else, but even though I concede they are a lot more common than say No.9999 they don't turn up all the time. Of course all the low fleet numbers should be equally common as there is little point carrying numbers if a fleet contains say less than ten vehicles. Another factor to consider too is that often the low numbers are kept for service vehicles or some operator's are not that humble and they have nothing less than 101 or even 1001. I guess it is our interest in this kind of trivia that gives enthusiasts their reputation for being anoraks but still we don't get soaked to the skin as we await bus No.2 or is it 22202?