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 May 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
Warstone's of Great Wyrley in Staffordshire had a reputation amongst the bus enthusiast fraternity for operating a fascinating fleet of elderly vehicles in a beautifully turned out traditional livery. Most of the vehicles came from the smaller Municipal fleets and were Leylands whether they be half-cab PD3's or Atlanteans or more typically East Lancs bodied Leopards like this former Rossendale bus. Behind is similar bodywork on a Bristol RE chassis and still in Halton (Widnes) red and cream colours and belonging to the four vehicle concern of Pedley from Hammerwich which were used on culled Midland Red services here in Cannock and at Tamworth. Today a slimmed-down Warstone still operates but most Mercedes mini-buses.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
A popular attraction for the visitors of Plymouth has been a boat trip to the Naval Dockyard and here in the late Eighties an orange and cream Smith's Happiways Van-Hool bodied Leyland Tiger heads the queue. Later this company would become the familiar Shearings we know today with that distinctive blue livery.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Brugg near Baden in Switzerland was a good location to see the yellow post buses, but the only P-Reg examples to be observed were these three-door Saurer RH's that came in from the village of Frick where Aarau had a sub-depot with eight buses.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
The transition from Midland Red North to Arriva today had been full of twists and turns which have been reflected in the numerous liveries worn by the buses. Since the fleet lost that NBC poppy-red it has not been the predominant colour but at one point under General Manager Chris Hilditch it was decided to restyle the whole fleet on the legendary Midland Red of old when BMMO buses were almost all-red with gold lining-out and DP's and coaches had black tops. It didn't go well as firstly they bought a poor quality darker red paint which soon looked shabby and the effect was ruined by those unsympathetic blue destination blinds. Although similar examples had it former Stafford rebodied Tiger bus No. 1719 rebodied by East Lancs never had a black roof but the enthusiasts who bought it added one all the same. This view was taken in Stone when the bus was doing a free bus service as part of the POTS Barlaston Rally in 2008. Sadly it was not there this year and the fact that I saw it heading north up the M6 motorway on trade-plates a few weeks ago strongly suggests that it has had to be sold but hopefully not for breaking.
Monday, 25 May 2009
The green and cream buses of Newport in South Wales always had a strange fascination as the livery was very similar to my Dinky Toys fleet of half-cabs buses which are still in the cupboard. Sadly by the Eighties all the not dissimilar unusual life-size Fifties Longwell Green bodied PD2's had gone but Leylands were still to be seen as the Corporation bought some Alexander bodied Atlanteans plus a Leopard. However apart from a couple more Leyland coaches in the shape of Tigers a liking for firstly Metro-Scania, Scania itself and MCW's own Metrobus kept Leyland firmly out of future orders. As you can see my old superb Voitlander camera was on it's last legs but thankfully like West Mon and Cardiff in Wales the former Municipal fleet of Newport just down the road is still with us today.
Many older people go on holiday to the same destination every year, maybe it's where they spent a glorious honeymoon many moons ago when the world was a nice simpler place. Of course blackpool is still there but the Coliseum Bus Station in not and more sadly they cannot arrive the way they once could on dependable Yelloways of Rochdale.
Saturday, 23 May 2009
A little speciality of mine was photographing Leylands complete with their badges and Leyland wheel-nut covers and as you can see this freshly painted RN bus in Evora ticks all the boxes. Perhaps it was the mid-Summer heat or it's distance from the larger cities but unlike other parts of Portugal everybody here seemed a lot more laid back and in rather less of a hurry which was rather refreshing and enjoyable in itself. Even the buses didn't rush away too fast giving me plenty of time for photography in the town.
Friday, 22 May 2009
Fortunately the minibus heyday is long passed but they were quite interesting times are new liveries appeared as often the big companies set up special small-bus units to counter the moves by rivals and newcomers alike. Bee Line was set up by North Western to operate to the south of Manchester. The Mercedes might not have been much loved but the rather basic big Dodge like No.42 was much despised by everyone
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
It's amazing what an attractive livery will do to improve these rather functional looking Wright Handybus bodied Dennis Darts. As is the custom within the big groups older buses get relegated to the uet backwater areas like First's rural Norfolk of Eastern Counties and in the days before even old buses had to wear a version of Barbi this former red London Bus was happily trundling around Kings Lynn.
Monday, 18 May 2009
These more modern trams are not as beautiful as the old more traditional rounded types and you might wonder why I keep taking photographs! Terrible isn't it how these girls always seem to get in the way.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Of course Bakers of Weston-super-Mare are still very much with us and wearing the same attractive colours. Sadly though that stalwart that seemed to turn up everywhere we went in summer Wallace Arnold has gone now being part of the enlarged Shearings group. Volvo replaced the Leyland Leopard as the prefered choice in later years and an Eighties example from about 1988, F443 Dug was seen in the Nineties at the Services on the M5 motorway heading towards home.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
From 1959 PMT ran an old Massey bodied half-cab Foden PVDG6 it acquired with the business of W.S Rowbotham on it's old run the steep route up local landmark Mow Cop from it's base at Biddulph Garage. That bus dating from 1952 was No.H812 and many years later in 1978 PMT acquired a brand new Foden as the Potteries with it's hilly demanding operating territory was deemed an ideal area to test the durability of some current designs alongside the tried and tested. An Alexander bodied Dennis No.700 was also set to work in the area but this Northern Counties bus No.900 is the best remembered. I think efforts were made to preserve it which would have been worthwhile as only eight of these trial buses were built as the local truck maker from nearby Sandbach tried to re-enter the Leyland Group dominated bus market at the end of the Seventies.
The small town of Nykoping with it's typical Danish railway station on the island of Lolland provides rather a good backdrop for this rather attractive Scania carrying the name of that even smaller town's local Independent heading home to Nysted not far away. It has attractive bodywork named after the town where they were built called Ringsted. Also at work is a Leyland based 1970's DAB town bus which is probably owned by the local railway company like the ubiquitous later red liveried Aabenraa Volvo all working happily together under the umbrella of STS the local area transport authority.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Not only do enthusiasts miss the first sight each Spring of their first Wallace Arnold coach I expect their many customers for mid-life well cared for secondhand coaches do too. Happy Days of Woodseaves were amongst these and had about four of these EWW-T Duple Dominant bodied Volvo B58's.
I must admit I never really took to the dutch inspired Bee-Line livery with it's cartoon busy bees as part of the logo and it might sound like a bit like a contradiction in terms but this muted yellow with dark grey seemed a bit dull and drab. Maybe unlike say Badgerline down at Bristol it just seemed to lack flair and imagination giving the whole concern a transitory come and buy us out feel. The fleet inherited a lot of Leyland Nationals from Alder Valley and went on to buy Metro-Riders and Dennis Darts but my favourite new buses were a batch of these proper Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympians bought soon after the new company was formed. One of these looking rather empty was seen leaving Reading Railway Station one Saturday Afternoon and would pass close to some expensive real-estate on this the London stockbroker-belt and convenient film star hop to Hollywood via Heathrow or even down the road to Elstree Studios. Yes the wide Thames Valley is the most affluent area of outer London but I've heard Sandbanks near Poole is now the most expensive place in Britain to buy property. Of course pockets of Central London like Westminster and Chelsea are even more pricey per-metre but close to Camberley where this bus is heading is the very Art-Deco sounding outer suburb of Virginia Water which gives you all that for the same money plus a large rustic villa or bungalow, garages, garden and of course swimming pool. No with some much affluence once beyond the rougher housing estates this is not really good bus operating country.
Monday, 11 May 2009
Eastern Coachworks discontinued these cream coloured window gaskets shortly after this Maidstone and District Bristol VR No.5813 was built in 1974 because they didn't look very nice. But to the contrary in an era that shunned proper liveries it did much to cheer those almost unrelieved bland poppy-reds and leaf-greens. I think it was one winter afternoon in about 1983 that I took this rather pleasing view of smiling people and litter-free streets in affluent Kent.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Well at least this one with it's high wheelbase won't get grounded but I hate them, maybe it's because everything big and trashy comes from America, but more to the point if I wanted to arrive in style I would much rather alight from a Rolls-Royce with some dignity. This monsterous creation had turned up at Uttoxeter for the horse racing earlier this year. In the background is a Mercedes of D&G one of the smaller companies that like Stevenson's did has expanded rapidly taking up the work that the big groups like First Group doesn't want to fight for in marginal areas like rural Staffordshire.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
With buses that seemingly go on for ever like these old Leyland Royal Tiger Woldmasters in Porto but with a relatively short body life due to the poor roads it's hardly surprising that the City should have stylish new Caetano bodywork added to create almost new buses. I saw them soon after this was done in 1984 and it was nice to see they had removed the characteristic Leyland Badge off and put it back on the reinvigorated vehicles like No.495.
Thursday, 7 May 2009
It's a pity the speed of the approaching Tyneside PTA Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian spoilt the sharpness of this view where I tried to get a bus and the huge cranes, a now sleeping relic from a once prosperous shipbuilding industry on the Tyne. I guess it must have been quite noisy here at times but what view these houses had out of their bedroom window when the Geordies got up in the morning!
A fine sunny day in Plymouth and the Royal Parade is always a good place to take photographs. Of course the people I get in my shots don't change so much but the buses certainly do and I expect many drivers are glad these Dodge minibuses like No.3 of Plymouth Citybus are now just a memory.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Although we are slowly getting there, bicycles and cycle paths are much more common on the Continent than Britain. Potsdam not far from Berlin is very flat and ideal terrain for the more energetic traveller. As you can see it also has modern trams and by British standards exotic beasts like the three-axle MAN in the out of town Harvel Bus service fleet.
This bus of 1978 was the first of a whole generation of these rather idiosyncratic Saurer RH buses in the PTT Regie Post Bus fleet. The bodywork orders were shared out between the various Swiss bodybuilders and even though this one was by Hess I doubt if anyone could tell them apart. P24199 was seen at it's depot of Chur in the Nineties where it spent most if not all of it's life. However by the mid-Nineties it was transferred to the museum fleet following withdrawal from there but sadly it was broken up at Bern and one of the better condition final batch of 1985 buses from Sion preserved by the company instead. At one time a Post Bus Museum was planned to be built at Meiringen right in the heart of Switzerland but with the more cost conscious climate following Privatization there seemed to be a lack of interest in preserving the good old days. Now still stored in a warehouse I expect no doubt they will get around to it as not only is Transport something the Swiss have always done well those yellow mountain buses are even more Swiss than that cheese with the holes in it.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
North Wales which is far less populated than South Wales with it's once heavily industrialised Valleys and is therefor not quite so renowned for it's interesting Independents. But there were still a few with similar nice fleets of second-hand buses including Purple Motors of Bethesda. You will be pleased to learn they were not painted purple as their colour was more of a maroon. Leylands and sometimes AEC were the usual choice and here in about 1983 we see a recently arrived 1975 Duple-Dominant bus bodied Leyland Leopard that had come from Safeguard of Guildford. Also there is a 1959 East-Lancs bodied Leyland Tiger Cub that came from a Municipal in this instance Lancaster via Chester, plus another Tiger Cub of 1962 with a Willowbrook dual-purpose body from the BET fleet of Trent based in Derby where it had been No.170. It is no good trying to find them today as they were yet another operator gobbled up by the big boys, in this instance Arriva.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Yes this is post No.1000 so I thought I had better find you something a bit special like this Brush bodied Maidstone Coprporation Daimler CVG6 from 1948 seen some twenty years later. Not only was it one of by now only three buses in the fleet that weren't Leylands it still wore the old ginger and brown colours that suited this rather smelly town with it's brewery and toffee factory. I've a feeling too this was one of the buses that was lent to London Transport when it was new to ease a chronic bus shortage. Also of interest are the collection of vehicles manufactured by BMC, the Peugeot 403 Taxi with it's cherished number-plate, and of course the horrible new Sixties office block marking the start of the ruination of another once charming English town.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
I'm not sure how many ups and downs there really are but there are certainly some good ones as coaches from the south exit the M6 Motorway at Stafford and trundle through the counties green and pleasant countryside on ancient windy A-roads like the A518 heading for that mecca of similar ups and Downs fun, the famous amusement park at Alton Towers. It is probably about a two-hundred mile round trip for this Heyfordian Jonckheere bodied Scania, but the foolhardy come far greater distances than Oxford to make themselves feel nausea or even sick on the punishing daredevil rides like the Ghost Train. My friends loved it and I would go again but only as far as coach park.