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, 27 February 2009
There was quite a long period when the First Group confined it's once eye catching 'Barbi' corporate look to brand new vehicles that matched it's specification and at the same time it's many fleets retained their former identity often just modifying their existing layout to incorporate the First Logo or to add a splash of extra colour too. Some of the results were very pleasing and fresh as can be seen here on this Peebles based Leyland National caught hurrying away from Edinburgh Saint Andrew Square Bus Station bound for Penicuik. In Britain we were all to familiar with these integral buses in NBC red or green but National Mk1 buses were not so common north of the border as the canny Scots folk preferred to stick with their more orthodox tried and tested Alexander Y-type combinations particularly the dependable Leyland Leopard. Before the Scottish Bus group like the NBC further south was broken up in 1985, Lowland had been the southern region of the large Eastern Scottish and even though it's fleet was the smallest with just one-hundred vehicles it's operating area extended from just outside the Edinburgh conurbation to Berwick-on-Tweed on the border of England.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
This could well be Gossau, one of numerous small sleepy towns or large villages stretched along the mail railway line between Zurich and Saint Gallen in the far North East near the German and Austian border of Switzerland. I expect nothing much changes and Post Buses still wait for trains to arrive before heading towards desolate sounding places like Waldkirch. I expect the church is still the same too but as elsewhere with good roads and modern transport it may still be quite peaceful but is no longer wild. Often if I was changing trains and had a few minutes to spare I would check out what was outside the station like this local Contractor's Volvo working for the PTT, a bus I also saw one day in St.Gallen too. Perhaps more of interest today are the Saurer trucks in the background as they are all part of the nostalgia for that unique Swiss-i-nes that is quickly melting like the snow.
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
In the snow's of early 1982 one of the nicely proportioned Roe bodied Leyland Atlanteans of Metrobus the trading name of the West Yorkshire PTA pauses somewhere I was passing on the road to Halifax from Leeds or Bradford.
Once part of the former East Berlin a connected by the S-Bahn is the pleasant small town of Oranianburg and when I went there a few years ago there were few reminders of the past apart from this thinly disguised Ikarus hiding beneath it's pensioner's blue-rinse used by the local operator OVG. At lunchtime students board the bus to Henningsdorf.
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
A Leyland Leopard belonging to Crosville in National Express colours leaving on the 825 which I think was to Holyhead on Anglesea, prepares to slog it out out of Digbeth as a fairly new Duple Caribbean bodied Tiger in the attractive metallic blue livery of Premier Travel heads off on the much more gentle flat run east towards Cambridge. The Leopard dated from 1979 but because of the high-line continental styling on the Tiger few would have guessed there was only five years difference in their age.
Monday, 23 February 2009
I don't take enough interest in the current bus scene to know everything but my guess is this rather attractive Mercedes Benz 814 has bodywork by the Optare subsidiary ACI as a block of them were registered together at the same time. This Silverline coach is in those classic silver and blue airline colours that remind me a bit of Samualson New Transport who used to be based at Eccleston Place next to Victoria Coach Station. YX54-BHA carries a registration of a earlier generation of buses that once visited here when Birmingham Airport was known as Elmdon as Midland Red BMMO D7's from the 1957 batch were numbered 723-772 BHA and Digbeth's 4732/8/41/52 and no doubt others passed through on the 159 to Coventry. However even this shot has become the stuff of nostalgia as following the car bombing a few years ago at Glasgow Airport only taxis and shuttle buses get this close to the terminal and we have to pay to use the car park whether we're picking up or dropping off.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Looking through my photos I'm left with the impression that RN buses were usually smartly turned out but the smartest ones seemed to be from Evora like this spotless Leyland that looked as though it had just been returned from the paint shop.
Friday, 20 February 2009
One of the effects of deregulation was that operators needed new low cost buses and one answer to this was to rebody older vehicles with more life left in them. There seemed to be a shortage of useful single-deckers too and Flyde next door to Blackpool, like Southampton rebodied some elderly Atlanteans. When Fylde was absorbed in to the larger Blackpool fleet in the Nineties the former Bradford Corporation PDR buses once fitted with Alexander double-deck bodywork stood out as their fairly recent Northern-Counties retained the two tone blue latterly used just up the coast.
No of course even the most notorious areas of Liverpool aren't as dangerous as living in the poverty ridden cities of Brazil I expect. This VDL Wright bodied bus Arriva uses a rather more attractive more blue coloured version of it's usual corporate livery for it's airport services from the city centre and to Manchester. Up till the Seventies each Vehicle Licencing Centre had it's own set of registration letters and most big towns had their own personal identity to make one feel at home. Today it is done by the region but even the buses on Merseyside don't carry a more local marque as these buses starting with C for Cymru are registered in Wales next-door perhaps I expect because of it's close links with the former North Wales operations of Crosville Wales nearby. However I still like looking at registrations and a reminder of the good-old-days is the totally random BKF at the end which indeed would have been from Liverpool as they had a whole block from KA to KF including quite valuable if you owned one, K on it's own.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
On the northern outskirts of Nottingham stands the former mining village of Bulwell where not only was there quite a large bus station Nottingham City Transport even had a small bus garage. When I took this view in the mid-Eighties the allocation seemed to be comprised of these Nottingham Standard bodied Leyland Atlanteans like this East-Lancs bodied example AN68 No.600 which seemed to typify this mainly double-deck fleet.
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
These Aabenraa bodied Volvos were the standard Danish Railway's bus at the begining of the Eighties and four of them are see here in Kolding working the Town Service which when I came in 1979 was still being worked by it's own DAB-Leyland buses. Kolding and Horsens were sub-depots of Vejle with a total allocation of some ninety buses. I have to say like the post Bus I rather like railway buses as they have a rugged big company image and tend to be scattered around the country whichever it may be somewhat disproportionately in little pockets of activity.
Sunday, 15 February 2009
One bus rally I always used to enjoy was the rail and bus gathering at the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster. Sadly the bus side was killed off by our insurance liability claims culture after someone sued the organiser's for compensation after a minor incident. Vehicles used to come from far and wide as you can see here with a former Swindon (Thamesdown) Northern Counties bodied Daimler CVG6, a rare Roe Dalesman bodied AEC Reliance of West Riding, plus a once common ECW bodied Bristol RELH coach that operated for United Counties.
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Amongst the towns and cities I visited in Portugal Aviero stands out somewhat as it has a distant set apart feel as if maybe it might be somewhere in South America with only tenuous links to the homeland. Perhaps it had strange influences because it is a port which give it the air of the frontier town, also too it has a faded ghostly charm like many towns that were once far more important and prosperous. Some of the buses were slightly unusual too like this rather attractive AEC with a rather narrow fronted high sided squared body that I imagine was built by Utic. Some other nice machines here too including a big Mercedes and that classic Citroen 1D, but we had better not mention the carefully ridden rather underpowered looking motorcycle awaiting the next bus photographer or pothole so the yellow helmeted guy coming home from work could fall off.
Friday, 13 February 2009
In the early Seventies Midland Red having ceased construction of it's own advanced but also quite unsophisticated single-deckers and it needed a no-frills equivalent to replace it's 30ft long S14 and S15 types buses on country routes. Lightweight Ford R192's with Plaxton Derwent bodywork seemed to be the answer and the company built up a large fleet of them with an initial large batch of one-hundred. However they were not intended for a long and busy life and operator's who chose them paid for it later with increased downtime and higher running costs. They looked what they were and made an interesting contrast with the bus at the other end of the spectrum, the integral Leyland National pictured behind it in Rugby. Perhaps the ideal single-decker was something in between the crude and the contentious, and fortunately Midland Red had those in the bucket load too the rugged and reliable Leyland Leopard.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
I have Family living in Devon so the journey to Tavistock not too far from Plymouth has been a regular one. I've driven, taken the train or even National Express coaches. But my fondest memories were the days when Mother was alive, and I mention this as it would have been her Birthday today, as one could go all the way on one of Yelloways fine Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance coaches. Also as well as brief halts like here at Taunton there was also a meal break at Bristol Marlborough Street Bus Station where I could easily use up a whole roll of film.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
I always had a soft spot for Scottish Bus Group member Fife with it's well presented red and cream fleet of buses. In the Seventies and Eighties much of Britain might have been under the grip of the NBC spell with it's Bristol VR's and Nationals, but here north of the Border there was a nice mix of more traditional former BET, BTC and very Scottish products like the Volvo Ailsa and of course Alexander bodywork. The R-Series of bodywork seemed to suit the Ailsa and it's successor the Citybus best of all.
....they all shop at Marks and Spencer. I expect the canny one's who took their free or discounted shares when the industry was privatised and then who sold them off at the right time certainly did, perhaps being able to pay off their mortgages too. At this time of Deregulation in an ironic twist it was the middle managers who re-mortgaged their properties to grab a stake in the Privisation process who grabbed a far far greater windfall. Even though all the buses in the line-up are all in Newcastle PTE yellow they don't all carry the same names as the first two buses were from the NBC but had carried Tyneside yellow as part of their operating agreement.
Monday, 9 February 2009
With the exception of mainland Jutland above Germany where Aarhus is the largest city with in the Eighties a population of 250.000, the rest of Denmark is a series of big and samall islands and moving between them made the country seem a lot bigger. Today many are connected by spectacular modern bridges but as seen here a trip to Copenhagen via the ferry at Ebeltoft would have added 1.40mins on to the journey of this Ahidskau DAB Leyland in 1982. It even took five hours to get to Copenhagen by train which was far quicker and to get from the top of Jutland on a Sondergaards Rutebiler to the capital would have taken a bottom numbing nine-hours!.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Friday, 6 February 2009
Well I think this snow was turning to slush but who cares when here are two of Maidstone and District finest buses from the fifties. Firstly one of a batch of thirty-six vehicles delivered in 1951 this Leyland PD2/12 carried a Farrington body and some of these survived till 1970. Slightly newer but looking rather more modern was this even more elegant Park Royal AEC Regent V of 1956, one of fourteen similar buses in the fleet. These older buses were preferred on M & D's longer country routes like the 5 Service from Maidstone to Hastings which took almost two and a half-hours. The rear-engined Atlanteans and Fleetlines on the other hand tended to be found working on more urban routes such as as around Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and particularly Hastings and the Medway Towns. It was not until 1957 that this operator made an effort start matching registrations with fleet numbers and as the AEC's numbers ran from DH 476 to 489 carrying registrations VKR 468-481. It was easy to confused forgetting as to which was which especially in the following years when some sort coordination became the general rule.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
It doesn't seem that long ago since we last had a decent amount of snow here in the English Midlands but it must be as there were still plenty of Leylands still in service with Arriva here in Stafford towards the end of the Nineties. Towards the end of their lives various types seem to have been centred here including Leyland National2's, former North Western (Ribble) Duple Dominant Leopard coaches, the East-Lancs rebodied Tigers like this example and the Lynx, particularly the former Stevenson's stock. Before rebodying No.1740 AAX 590A was formerly a National Express coach with a Duple Laser body that came from Rhonnda in 1993. No.1013 H408 YMA was one of a pair bought by Stevenson's from The Wright Company of Wrexham in 1994. The other Lynx in the background was one of several well used examples that came from West Riding which was also swept-up as part of Arriva. Also just visible is a Dennis Dart, the chassis type which now makes up the whole Stafford allocation if one doesn't include a handful of Mercedes-Benz minibuses.
Two Badgerline double-deckers head off out of Bristol in the Eighties. Most NBC Leyland Olympians had ECW bodies but some for one or two operators including London Country and Bristol Omnibus had a Roe version of the body which was easily identified by it's more rounded windscreen. Also on a 'Swift Link' limited stop service but to Bath where this small batch of MCW Metrobuses bought for evaluation was based was one of the five.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Yesterday no buses went out on the streets of London because of the icey conditions. As you can see a bit of snow doesn't bother them in Switzerland, indeed if they don't get plenty of the white stuff it spells disaster for the economy. Alpine winters tend to be cold and crisp but in North East Switzerland they get more of the grey miserable English days but a lot colder. Still an enjoyable ride on one of St Gallen's Saurer RH buses might warm the spirit such as this 1983 Ramseier & Jenzer example.
Monday, 2 February 2009
It seems as though yet another of the few remaining former Municipal operators has finally fallen, this time Preston to it's old adversary Stagecoach who have done much to make sure it was not making decent profits in recent times. Not surprisingly like Ribble who also had it's headquarters in the town this operator was traditionally a very Leyland Motors stronghold. The town built up a large fleet of Atlanteans with either East-Lancs or like this example Alexander bodywork. Their numbers ran from 101 to 177 and No.102 must have dated from 1975 or 1976. At least for the time being it would appeal Stagecoach intends to keep the depot at Deepdale Road.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
In NBC years Midland Red probably because it still ran a number of now non-standard homemade BMMO buses was particularly dogged with maintanance problems resulting in a shortage of servicable vehicles. In 1979 Stafford Garage used some borrowed Leyland National buses from the nearby PMT plus this leaf-green example that came all the way from Bristol Omnibus.