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
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Monday, 28 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
It takes a lot to disrupt public transport in Switzerland, but on this occasion it came close. I arrived in Davos by bus and fresh snow had fallen on sheet-ice after the previous day's thaw froze solid over night. It was so slippery I almost did the split as I alighted the bus.On the left is a Saurer RH and the other one is NAW built after it became part of Mercedes.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
No it doesn't exactly seem like yesterday but more like Fifteen Years Ago. It upsets me at times but it's hardly surprising that the bus scene has changed so much since my youth. Towards the end of 1979 I got busy with my camera recording the buses from my teens before they departed from our streets for the last time. At this time in Liverpool Ribble was still running it's full-fronted MCW bodied PD3's out to Litherland and Old Roan and Crosville too had a few half-cabs like FS Lowdekka DFB 219 of 1966 heading out to Prescot on the border of St Helens.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
If one is superstitious this might just be a bad bus anyway as it bore the Devil's 666 number. Another couple of reasons for it's unpopularity was that not only was it destroyed by fire but of more concern to the local economy was that after buying these it's first two trial Leyland Olympian buses horror of horrors the Scottish Capital's fleet of Lothian went to ECW in England to body a large order whereas most had logicaly presumed the bodies would be built by Walter Alexander nearby at Falkirk like the hundreds of previous Edinburgh Atlanteans. No doubt Eastern Coach Works won it as they could produce them at a lower cost or promised quicker delivery. One of those two-door buses can be seen in the background heading down Princes Street, but might I add Edinburgh's loss was our gain as in the immaculate local madder and ivory livery they were probably the most attractive examples of that type to be found in service anywhere.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Yes this for me rare Phillips of Ruskington coach parked at Pitcher Bank made my day as I had the good fortune to have my camera with me too. I was particularly fond of smart Leylands like this Duple Dominant bodied Tiger complete with it's wheel-trims and a later added Leyland badge. However I remember there was a problem as I couldn't get a decent enough view from the front because of the tree or maybe there was also another bus parked in front. Okay there was the sun-lit profile of half the coach but as it was it looked wrong like half a picture but then to my delight the lady stepped into shot adding that spark of interest to the composition. Yes I know it's a terrible vice when one starts letting photographic considerations get in the way of those shaky snaps but I'm glad now I tried to make good photographs if possible. The coach was a bit of cracker too as it was new to National Travel NE before being transferred within the NBC to West Riding and no doubt many would remember seeing it.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Towards the end of the Nineties things were changing fast in Switzerand as foriegn interlopers were quickly replacing solid Swiss types. Bern took a large fleet of these MAN articulated buses and they made quite an impression.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Reading Transport has always had an individualistic flavour and that continued into the Eighties and beyond with it's liking for nearby London bus types like the Titan and later Routemasters and as we can see here the products of Optare. From the Leeds based manufacturer we can see a Spectre, Delta, Metrorider plus there is a coach-seated Leyland Olympian for the London Service, a former Alder Valley Bristol VR and no less than three of Metrobuses: What more could one want in a photo! Actually I try to get shots with plenty of buses in them and unless it's a special view the maximum is usually eight.
Monday, 7 December 2009
I have always been partial to AEC and Leyland coaches smartly painted in the colours of Independents. Of course they've pretty well all gone now as is the sort of small operator who took that much trouble. Peacock's Coaches of Dumfries operated this former Wallace Arnold Plaxton Supreme bodied Leopard on it's bus service routes.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Until 1969 Exeter City Council wouldn't allow 30ft double-deckers to operate in the city so consequently Devon General not only did not have any Leyland Atlanteans here till the final G-reg batch, services out to Torbay had to rely on short AEC Regents like this Willowbrook bodied example seen towards the end of it's working life in NBC livery.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
This was a real Greater Manchester rarity as Volvo-NC Countrybus 701 was it's only one and was seen in Wigan where I also got spat on by lunchtime yobs departing on an Atlantean. They missed me but as a child I always though Lancashire was always such a friendly place. The trouble is yobs are everywhere.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
One of the reasons cited for Arriva's rather bland aquamarine and sand livery is that it is women-friendly. I guess then this rather colourful former Ribble Park Royal bodied Leyland Atlantean of the newly formed North Western was very much 'boy's toys'.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
It's always easier to pull up somewhere one shouldn't in a van as you can always say you stopped to ask directions. I expect it's even more difficult to get away with it now in London where one of the vast army of over-eager traffic-wardens appear from nowhere desperate to build up their weekly tally of fines. So I don't really miss distance driving any more but back in the Eighties my van often found itself in views too for a quick photo parked on double-yellows. This pause taken outside the Tate Gallery was to record the two Plaxton bodied coaches belonging to the well known operator's Tappin's of Wallingford, Oxford and Kenzies from Cambridge. But in the end I snapped these two passing DMS Class Daimler Fleetlines, one still with London Transport as DMS 469 whilst the other was in the blue and flags livery of sightseeing operator Cityrama.
Monday, 30 November 2009
Actually one of these three smart looking long Routemasters was parked, RML 885 being from the first trial batch introduced on the 104 in 1961. I must admit Gold Arrow is a rather silly names as a double-deck bus stuck in traffic is just about the opposite.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Not surprisingly in mucky weather it was possible to see dirty post buses arriving back at the garage but with legendary Swiss efficiency they usually went out the next day again spotless. Here is a more uncommon type of view as Brig's Tusher bodied Saurer RH P24400 was being filled up with diesel after a long day trudging through the wet snow and slush. Being from the final batch of these buses of 1984-5 I photographed this one in 1998 when they were starting to get quite rare on the system. Most of the P24400-P24415 batch were further up the Rhone Valley in Sion but if I remember rightly P24400/1/5 were operated here.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Probably most enthusiast's favourite Birmingham area Independent was North Birmingham Busways with it's attractive and smartly maintained fleet of Leyland Atlanteans, a type generally never particularly common in England's second city. This was a late example being delivered to Greater Manchester PTA as No.8700 in 1981 and bearing a typical Manchester-Standard Northern Counties body.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
They were not quite so strict as they are today I suspect or rather one was probably less likely to get found out but I expect the crew of this Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard of National Travel NW URN 209R were not getting sozzled and only calling in to drop off their bags at their cheap overnight digs in London. Dumbing out the sound of the ceaseless traffic no doubt being above a pub a pint or two would have been most welcome before climbing the narrow wooden stairs to bed. With rather a typical spit-and-sawdust London working-men's look about it . The White Ferry House is or was on the corner of Sutherland Street close to Victoria Coach Station.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
New buses are probably not as interesting as really old ones but time makes these then newsworthy views rather nostalgic too as they were only new and paint-perfect once. A tall lorry was parked in front of this Daimler Fleetline seen at Knutsford Services on the M6 but No.6682 clearly shows it's sign of the times Leyland-Fleetline and British Leyland branding trying to convince us that it is not really a Daimler. However equipped with a Leyland engine this Park Royal bodied bus might as well have been one. Delivered to the West Midlands PTA it was part of a batch allocated to Acocks Green Nos.6679-6690 in late 1979.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
These Mercedes 0303 coaches were very popular with Swiss Post Office contractors and were a familiar sight in PTT yellow. No doubt the driver of this one was enjoyig his lunch-break when it was pictured just north of Lausanne in the Nineties.
Monday, 23 November 2009
It takes quite a lot to turn my head these days, anyway bus-wise but I'm always a bit awestruck when I see one of Transdev's Burnley and Colne stylish Wright bodied Volvo's. The long established limited stop route from Manchester going back to early Ribble days has been christened 'The Witch Way' after the famous Witch's of Pendle. I think truth has it they were not really witch's but one of the women contested the ownership Rights to some property or was owed a lot of money and it was a good way to clear the problem. It's a good thing that people can't do that sort of thing today where money is equally precious.
Three contrasting Daimler Fleetlines stand outside the West Midlands PTA former Birmingham Corporation bus garage at Miller Street just off the Walsall Road in 1980. No. 3511 of 1965 was typical of it's period and unless one could actually see the more rounded side-profile they might have mistaken this Park Royal body for MCW. As for the more attractive PTA standard bodied bus of the Seventies on the right it was very hard to tell those two same bodybuilders apart this time but 1979 No. 6975 was an MCW. I expect though a real expert could spot tiny detail differences. Looking somewhat out of place was former Midland Red 6282 one of a batch of dual-entrance Alexander bodied buses of 1971 that nearly all were transferred to the PTA with this example coming from Sutton Coldfield Garage which closed when West Midlands PTA looked to make economies.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
I can't say I'm a great lover of Christmas but I've learnt to enjoy it. One of the nice things about it though is the New Year comes next and if nothing else at least thoughts of Spring. In this rather damp and murky West Yorkshire view with the Winter Sales still on in local shops maybe Christmas had been and gone. I've a feeling this murky shot of a West Riding Leopard must be from Wakefield and it may even be entering the town's bus station as there is another of the operator's buses in the background. Plaxton Derwent bodywork was quite rare on NBC vehicles but delivered in 1972 I expect it was ordered when West Riding was still Britain's largest Independent operator.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Favourites for me in Zurich were the fifty year old Boggie-car trams that were by 1990 in their twilight years. They jerked and juddered and the sounds they made as they sped along was simply delicious. Why is new always better just because it's warmer, quieter, more comfortable, quicker more safe and probably more expensive?
.....It beats me.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Alf Moseley the Loughborough coach dealers is best known for being the importer of Portuguese Caetano products but this line up in his yard are all decidedly British Bedford and Fords with Duple and Plaxton bodywork. The one exception of course is the former Maidstone and District Harrington bodied AEC Reliance 385 BKM which would be my choice of these oldies taken at the beginning of the Eighties.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Unlike the BET Companies which had been taking the Atlantean since 1959 and the Fleetline since 1963 It wasn't until about 1968 that the nationalised Tilling Group companies started to seriously take deliveries of Bristol's rear engined double-decker the VR. Consequently as half-cab double-deckers became scarce it was often the old Bristol Lowdekkas that still seemed to be the most numerous. Still a hot-spot in the early Eighties was Bristol where they were still quite commonplace working throughout the day like 1964 FLF No.7166 AHY 782B seen in the city centre.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Flight delays and a long wait at Birmingham Airport afforded me to opportunity to take some nice atmospheric views of visiting buses including this West Midland's Daimler Fleetline seen shortly after privitisation and still waiting for it's new logo to be applied.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Sadly yet another former British Municipal operator has sold out to the big groups. Thankfully the lucky bidder is not one of the big three and the Go-Ahead Group retains local identities so it could have been a lot worse. It will be interesting to see what changes occur and whether the double-decker will make a come-back here. At one time Plymouth ran no single-deckers till the Leyland National came along, and following generations of half-cab PD2's came the Atlantean. However three Olympians were tried but they didn't find favour here and all including No.173 seen here at Milehouse were initially sold to Stevenson's of Uttoxeter before finding their way down south again when they were bought by Wilts and Dorset.
The once Bristol VR operated First 81c 'Tortpoint Ferry' Service from Plymouth gives the operator an excuse to indulge us with even more of those slightly sickly fruit yogurt Barbi style colours. However in much of the country these Mercedes mini-buses are becoming more of a rarity but here in the West Country these rugged cheap to run vehicles are still something of a favourite with both First and private operators like Western Greyhound.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Even Britain's historic villages don't look quite so charming on a cold wet winter day but the sight of a yellow and black Stevenson's coach might have cheered things up like this Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard which once ran for the Pontefract Independent South Yorkshire seen perhaps in Lullington.