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
Friday, 31 October 2008
The driver of this otherwise quite smart looking Leyland Titan must have thought his change was rattling and clattering a bit more than usual, but before he arrived at Greenwich across the Thames in South London there might well have been a terrible crashing and breaking of glass as the front bulk-head windows collapse inwards. This bus was formerly T167 in the London Transport fleet whilst behind it is the less sophisticated ECW Olympian built for provincial operators with less exacting standards but which London also bought once Titan production ceased. The Titan dated from 1980 whilst the Olympian was from about 1985.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
At least the yellow driver-training livery stands out and adds a bit of cheer as PMT Willowbrook bodied leyland Leopard passes through Tittensor heading towards Stone on a horrible wet and snowy day back in the winter of 1979-80. In the background is the large premises of Bassetts of Tittensor, once also a well known PSV operator bus now it sadly only concerntrates on the main haulage side of the business. These ten Leylands and another ten outwardly similar AEC Reliances were PMT's first 36ft long single-deck buses in 1962.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
I often do my posts to reflect the weather and the mood it puts me in, but today with snow and rain outside the window and it's still only October maybe something more cheerful might not go amiss. Also I admit even though I have the views available I tend to ignore certain parts of the country like those very non-Northern buses in the London area. So as an attempt to put matters right here is a familiar enough looking London Routemaster busy at work as part of the LT coach fleet working the open-top tourist tour in the Nineties. A better look will reveal that this RMA as it was called was somewhat unusual in having a front-entrance with power-doors rather than the usual open rear platform. It must have carried quite a number of tourists in it's time as RMA 65 the final one built of the class were formerly equipped to pull luggage trailers to and from London Airport from the West London Air terminal in the Cromwell Road. I think the terminal was closed some time in the Seventies and these extra and not too elderly Routemasters were transferred to the main red fleet. Despite their lean years and comparatively easy former lives I expect because they were so non-standard by London standards trade union opposition led to them being relegated to rather unglamorous work like becoming rather scruffy driver-training buses where like with the former Greenline RMC coaches their manual-semi-automatic gears would be useful for learners. Also their short-length was unattractive to LT but as you can see the Eighties saw a boom in tourism and a few like this smartly turned out example were reborn at a time when older Routemasters were being withdrawn to show off London could still parade these fine buses at their familiar throbbing AEC-engined best.
Mid-Warwickshire was one of those concerns that wasn't with us for long, less than ten years in fact, but unlike many others that quickly came and went later following the green shoots of deregulation this firm was quite memorable as not only did it come at a time in the Seventies when new bus operators of any interest entering the market were not so common it ran an interesting fleet of buses and coaches in an area to the South East of Birmingham based near Meridan a village reputed to be at the centre of England. Also of interest was that when it started running it's first a Meridan to Solinull service in 1973 it had the honour of being the sole Independent Company running a bus route in the West Midlands County, something that is hard to imagine today. As well as at Water Orton nearby one could usually find a number of buses parked on the large muddy and pot-holed parking area at the side of the Lincoln Farm Transport Cafe including this one, one of it's best know vehicles a rare 36ft-long Willowbrook bodied Daimler Fleetline single-decker that came from the Road Transport Training Board a non-p.s.v. operator. The fleet included some of the very late examples of the AEC Reliance coach as well these older buses. Altogether there were about about thirty vehicles and the livery was maroon and black or maroon and dark blue.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Lugano had an interesting trolleybus fleet and of course buses too including this small Mercedes that looks like it may have been No.51 pictured busy loading for Cornaredo outside the main railway station high up above the town in 1990. Traditionally transport undertakings in Switzerland liked grey or silver roofs but that gave way to the rather brighter cream as a second colour in the Sixties and Seventies but I rather liked the subtle blue and grey still used here in Lugano and although this bus was quite old a more modern application can be seen looking very smart on the newer normal sized Mercedes 0407 next to it.
In the Eighties the National Bus Company replaced the Bristol VR and Leyland Atlantean with large numbers of the new Leyland Olympian all with ECW or fairly similar bodies by Roe. These included a good number with coach seating for longer services like the West Yorkshire examples used on the long 843 route to Scarborough. Here No.1854 is pictured leaving Leeds Vicar Street Coach Station with some rather naff very day 'Festival of Britain' style NBC signs on display. Britain had a long way to go to achieve the standards of street design enjoyed in European countries like Holland and Denmark.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Although the Copenhagan operator HT was responsible for running the buses in the three city zones many of the middle and outer area services were still worked by their former companies under licence. A good example was the Da Bla Omnibusser of Holte which in 1989 was working the hour-long 191 from the busy interchange at Lyngby to Holte. However many short journeys though like this one to Nybrogard worked by a Van-Hool bodied Volvo B10M would take less than ten minutes.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
When sold this former City of Oxford AEC Reliance didn't travel far moving to the well known fleet of Chilton Queens from Didcot at the southern edge of it's area. This operators main routes headed into Reading where TJO 55K was pictured outside the railway station in the Eighties.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
United Counties operated the 200 Service from I presume Northampton to Birmingham which terminated at the Bull Ring Bus Station rather than the operator's Digbeth Coach Station. I reckon that is because it was classified more as a local shopping coach as opposed to a long distance travel service. As you can see it did stop outside Digbeth but many years ago when Midland Red ran the Limited-Stop X96 between Northampton and Shrewsbury a distance of over ninety-miles and which took five-hours buses from either end used to meet-up inside the Coach Station where the crews going in opposite directions from Shrewsbury and Rugby used to swap over for the return journey home. From 1963 the X96 was usually entrusted to dual-purpose Leyland Leopard buses but by the Eighties even though the Midland Red livery had given over to a National Express White the vehicles used were still the same faithful Leopard like Duple Dominant bodied coach No. 230 from 1978.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Most PTT garage bus allocations were fairly standardised especially the smaller ones but Uznach was an exception with in September 1992 a very mixed fleet of about thirteen that included Mercedes 405's, Saurer RH, NAW BH2, NAW BH4, MAN SM11 Saurer DUK buses plus a seven-seater Land Rover with a snow plough. The building itself though with the cream painted glass windows was typical of the older premises. That could be frustrating should one come when there was nobody about but in certain instances such as Scoul and Sion each stall had it's own bus and the number was most helpfully written on the obscuring glass. Many times coming on a Sunday I've tried looking through cracks and key-holes trying to identify my quarry. New in 1992 P25370 preparing to go to Reichenburg was one of a pair of O405's along with P25371 whilst the Saurer I think was P24222 at this time also one of two along with P24210 both dating from 1979.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Before Stagecoach and First Group livery put an end to the fun buses in Manchester sported a number of different but quite similar livery styles that must have been quite confusing and little help to anyone who was not an expert. Here at the Victoria Station terminus one would never guess that the cheerful sparkiling brown and orange is the old GMT livery and the tired looking 'tomato sauce' variety was the new improved recipe that came from Strathclyde with it's General Manager. Interestingly all four buses are different double-deck types being an Olympian, a Daimler Fleetline, a Metrobus and most probably an Atlantean all now owned by Stagecoach and carrying their branding added to the fleetname.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Trent converted a former Midland General Bristol Lodekka into this fine tree-lopper which like it's buses looked immaculate which was quite something in the NBC era. A28 518 JRA was seen at the main Derby Meadow Road Garage.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Progress is not always so brilliant, I would much rather travel on an old bone-shaker of a tram with it's windows open to the elements than to be sealed up in an air-conditioned glass box on wheels. But on a cold winter's day in Russia it might be quite a different story and modernity and comfort would be welcomed. No.273 was of Bogie Americano type delivered between 1926-8 and built by CCFT whilst the bogies came from Bergische of Remscheid of Germany. What a wonderful place Porto was with it's ancient trams, British Buses and even double-deck trolleybuses.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
This coach is a real gem indeed so much so I know little about it. Built in the early Fifties it might have well been a Regal rather than a Reliance and was first registered in the London area. My guess though when comparing details with other contemporary vehicles is that it might have bore bodywork by Mann Egerton but that is a pure guess as they were better known for bodying fine cars like the Bentley and Rolls Royce and few buses remain. This AEC was seen at the Nuneaton Avenue Road premises of Lloyd in the late Sixties whose once well-known interesting fleet of blue and cream buses and coaches numbered in the region of Eighty.
With deregulation of the bus market in the Eighties operator's up and down Britain used all sorts of gimmickry to attract custom and one of the better ideas was the purchase of London's rugged reliable and popular Routemaster double-decker for promotions or regular use with a clippie. Sadly because operator's could only get hold of the short variant holding about five-eight passengers the economics of low fares and two-man running didn't always weigh up. But some operators loved them like Southend which always turned out a smart fleet including No. 114 former RM 2005, which was viewed along with the back end of a now also much missed bus the Daimler Fleetline of which Southend build up a decent sized fleet including some badged as Leyland with lowheight Northern Counties bodywork.
Friday, 17 October 2008
Copenhagen of course is not a bad place to see coaches from all over Scandinavia including Finland which tend to be rather more elusive further down in Europe compared with let's say Sweden. They often carried very different coachwork too like this rather boxy unusual looking Scania bodied by Ajokki and belonging to Ikaalisten Auto Oy seen in sunny 1982
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Even though sadly new AEC buses had not been available since the Seventies when British Leyland did away with them, East Kent had ten ten-year-old Reliance coaches rebodied by Berkhof in 1983-4. Originally carrying the Registration HFN 28L No. 8197 bore a Duple Dominant coach body whilst parked next to it and much closer to home from Combe Martin when seen in Plymouth was Loverings A207 JTT a Plaxton Paramount 3200 bodied Leyland Tiger also of that 1983 vintage.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Southdown was always associated with Leyland coaches and that tradition continued through the NBC era. At fist they were painted in that all-inclusive boring white but as time went on more local colours were added to the various operator's improving the image considerably. Even as this spotless Plaxton 3500 bodied Leyland Tiger shows this much esteemed fine Sussex operator was still something to be reckoned with. However who would have thought that Shearings Pleasureways whose fleet included slow noisy lightweight tin-can R1114-5 Fords really would one day actually be what seemed like a joke calling themselves 'Kings of the Road'. But that has come to pass for they are now by far the driving force in what's left of the UK coach tour industry even through a formality swallowing up the likes of Wallace Arnold. I first thought this was a Ford too but as TND 431X was a Volvo B10M with similar Plaxton Supreme bodywork I guess this one No.429 might well be the same. The shot was taken in the mid-Eightes on the M1 Motorway probably at Toddington Service Area.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
An old Bern tram meets a modern suburban light-rail car just outside the city in the early Nineties. I read as modernisation continues here in the Swiss Capital there are plans afoot to bring this other operator's cars right into the old city.
Monday, 13 October 2008
Probably after London types most enthusiasts favourite double-decker might be one of these. The well known Lincolnshire Independent Appleby ran this well travelled Southdown Leyland PD3 Queen Mary open-top bus on the sea front service at Scarborough when I visited there at the end of the Eighties and compared to the other more recent rear-engined buses working this highly competitive run was certainly the star turn. After Appleby's this fine bus went on to serve with Wallace Arnold as a publicity bus but saw some open-top service work in Torquay with them too.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
It was a dull and dank late-autumn afternoon too back in the Eighties when I last visited the smart Kent town. As you can see there were still a few old Leyland Leopards of Maistone and District running about including Marshall bodied 3459 on the 231 to Edenbridge.
Friday, 10 October 2008
These blue and orange AEC's in Lisbon or Porto remind me of another keen operator of that make called Smiths of Reading which operated about eighty-eight vehicles. However private firms with more than fifty vehicles were nationalised as part of Portugal's orange and cream RN fleet, but there were plenty of small ones left to add to the variety when I visited there in the Eighties. RN buses were even more common in the South such as here at Faro.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Warstone of Great Wyrley ran many interesting buses including this MCW bodied chassisless Leyland Olympian single-decker. In the early days their smart traditional looking dark green buses visited Stafford on Market Days taking the back road service to Penkridge along country lanes taking in the village of Acton Trussell which used to be served by double-deckers on a local service 873 by Midland Red in the old BMMO days. This bus No.14 arrived in 1975 soon after Warstone's started running buses and came via Haydern of Chirk.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
One of the nice things about exploring Copenhagen's larger suburbs like Lyngby was not only seeing the number of former Independents buses still wearing their original colours but in the process the Danish capital's operator HT had acquired some interesting buses too. These included a pair of Volvo B10M-60 buses with VBK 50 bodies dating from 1980. This pair Nos.6006-7 became part of HT in 1982 when Hjortekaer Trafik was taken over but when I was there again at the end of the Eighties little had changed and they were still wearing that smart dark green and working their original routes like the 185 to Holte and Bakkefaldet.
Monday, 6 October 2008
Well it was not that bad but we used to get a lot more fog than today in the Seventies. Think of Bassetts of Tittensor and one thinks of maybe Fodens the Bristol LH or the Leyland Tiger and Leopard coaches or even Bedfords. But perhaps their best known coach was this odd man out being an AEC Regal that was very similar to the London Transport RF buses being built in the early Fifties. Painted on the front of it's well rounded Plaxton bodywork was the legend 'Speedy' which suggest this AEC's heavyweight equivalent to Leyland's Royal Tiger was also something of a flyer. It was pictured in Stone just north of Stafford on a cold foggy winter's day with another fine AEC this time an Alexander Y-type bodied Reliance of Potteries creeping past in the morning rush-hour. Fortunately both RMB 240 and DVT 167J have become preservation candidates with the Regal being in the care of the museum at Wythall near Redditch.
Sunday, 5 October 2008
From the end of August to October it should be a busy time in Blackpool as trippers come to enjoy an Indian Summer and see the famous Illuminations. But this year has not been the only washout and as you can see we had some pretty awful wet weather in the Eighties too. At least on this one of Blackpool's last new delivery of Leyland Atlanteans from 1984 the large bonded plate windows of it's East Lancs body afforded wonderful views of the rain. All the damp holidaymakers have to decide now is whether it will be an early Fish and Chip Supper or a nice cup of tea next.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
It's all go during the summer months on Greek islands like Mykonos which all seem to have a quite different character and charm. Thought of as the Greek Capri as well as being famed for it's white windmills and mascot Pelican, Mykonos has a good deep harbour big enough to support expensive boutiques selling clothes and trinkets for the Mediterranean cruise ships that berth here whilst it's more colourful cosmopolitan side makes it a gay and nude beach paradise. Indeed there are even two famous beaches, one mixed where tourists like us gathered called Paradise and the other for the more brave called Super Paradise which was very gay and colourful. To them you could take a breezy ride on a boat or stand and bake inside rugged buses like this typical Greek locally bodied forward-control Mercedes where the bouzouki music somehow managed to make itself heard above the rattles and groans from the hard working German engine. Still 1981 was a long time ago but I expect Mykonos is just the same, but of course the old buses might still be there on the quayside but sadly they will be a lot newer than this classic beauty.
P.S. Sorry this is Ios, but I'm sure you won't mind reading about Mykonos instead.
Friday, 3 October 2008
The National Bus Company allocated a large number of Plaxton Grant-Bodied Bristol LH coaches to it's West Country based Western National and associated Devon General fleets including 3313 a narrow 7ft 6ins wide example with a Supreme Express body. Seen at Plymouth Bretonside between duties it looked very smart and more like a coach than a glorified bus wearing Western Nationals bolder post-privatisation livery. As usual some attractive women appear as if from nowhere walking into view. Why does it always happen to me....lol
Thursday, 2 October 2008
Buses are only new once and it's always nice to get pictures of them at about the time they enter service. In National Bus Company days a seemingly brand new Potteries Leyland Leopard Grant-Coach Duple was caught passing Stafford Gaol on a private hire in the summer sunshine of 1978.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Although there were always plenty of post buses waiting there at departure time in Wadenswil outside the station, the garage itself with an allocation of seven was some distance away high up in the hills above the town and Lake Zurich at Hutten on the route to Menzingen. Even when I was first there in the early Nineties it had already been for some time a typical in this part slightly less interesting Mercedes stable. However as happens elsewhere on the postal network usually there was an older often non-standard bus too that was officially the garage spare. At the end of it's life with the PTT 1982 P25829 moved from it's home at Winkel (Bulach) to perform that role here. Had they not told me where it had not moved to I might have missed this Suarer RH too. In the end there were only ten I never saw and when I first started seeking them out in 1990 already five had been sold so I did well to see so many. By this time in the mid Nineties I only needed a few so at this closing stage a photo became quite a common accompaniment too and especially when it was a nice crisp bright snowy winter view showing also a more typical Mercedes but the low-key functional nature of these post bus garages which many would never think of making a record of.