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, 30 August 2009
Retired coaches often find new lives as motor sport transport or display units. I was baffled at first but obviously this former Yelloways AEC Reliance beside the Blackpool Pleasure Fun Fair was being sponsored by Petox Pet Foods.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Somewhat surprisingly with it's urban operations especially around Leicester under NBC ownership Midland Red was not allowed to buy new double-deckers and was made to buy large numbers of it's state-owned flag-ship Leyland National bus instead. However the operator managed to win one useful concession as it was able to continue buying it's comfortable much liked dual-purpose bodied Leyland Leopards. These were particular useful as can be seen here at the former Barker Street Bus Station in Shrewsbury where they were ideal for it's longer runs like 1973 S27 No. 217 heading west for Oswestry and from the second batch of these Marshall bodied buses 1974 S28 No.358 travelling south to Ludlow. In the background is former National Travel ECW bodied No.1501 ANA 91Y another of the fifteen Leopards at SY in 1984.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Basically that is what bus operation is all about and in the early Eighties the West Yorkshire PTE was having a highly visible campaign. Also to be seen is part of an advert for the Royal Insurance Group a regular user of bus advertising in the North. The nearest bus is a typical WYPTE standard AN68 Atlantean with a Roe body, but No.2437 the Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline across the carriageway was a former Bradford vehicle
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
No it was the V Festival at Weston Park which brings all the traffic for thirty miles to a standstill but on the plus side for me at least brings some double-deckers back in to Stafford. No doubt the trusty old Metrobus2's will not be back next year and maybe WM Buses will have a new owner too. At the moment there are still about sixty in service with West Midlands but at the end of the month it will be down to forty-five and by the end of the year none. On 28th August I get my bus-pass so shortly afterwards I will be making an expedition to take a few rides on buses like 1984 No.2830 before they go.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
People used to really knock the poor old MCW Orion family of bodywork in the Sixties. I know it was rather plain looking and of course often unpleasant to ride in due to it's flimsy lightweight nature. But I feel even though standards of noise accessibility and comfort might have improved over the decades not always have the designs of our buses. East-Lancs has produced some rather uninspired buses in it's time including this example whose incongruous appearance isn't helped by Mayne's rather bitty livery highlighting the broken lines of the bodywork. The biggest problem here is that it's no good mixing gentle curves with such a jagged profile as the top of the bus doesn't go at all well with that curved windscreen. Indeed everything looks as though it was added on as an afterthought unlike the rather more sleek Alexander-Dennis Enviro on a similar Trident belonging to Stagecoach Manchester. This view was taken a couple of years ago and sadly Mayne's no longer run it's buses only coaches and so they now also operate in Stagecoach colours.
There are always plenty of visiting coaches to be seen at The Zoo in Berlin and with it's borders being so close not surprisingly many of these come from Poland. No doubt after being imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain for fifty-years, after the travel restrictions were lifted nobody minded too much if their old Autosan coaches were not quite state-of-art.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Built between 1963 and 1967 these urban semi-integral buses were once very common in Sweden but sadly I was too late to photograph any of them except this old bus loaded with bikes and full of noisy kids seen in Copenhagen in 1982.
Outside Birmingham and the industrial Black Country the biggest centre of operations for Midland Red was Leicester where there were three garages. The busy St Margaret's Bus Station was the hub of the Leicester operations and as a youngster I was too excited by the buses I might see to notice the grim utility appearance of the horrible concrete bus shelters. However they did their job keeping out the wind and rain and should a nice new bus collide with them I know which would have come off worst. Half way through own built D9 production Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetlines began to appear and these became the standard double-decker for the fleet. One of the garages with about seventy buses was situated right beside the bus station in Sandiacre Street where this bus No. 6116was allocated along with 6115 and 6117. Under the NBC standards dropped and in the more watchful old BMMO-Midland Red days you would have been able to see that the bus was bound for Uppingham via Belton.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
I'm sure my RN fans from Portugal will heartily agree that in the early Seventies SELNEC made a good choice when it selected this orange and cream livery for it's combined Manchester area bus fleet. I admit they were quite cheerful colours and looked rather pleasing on this ECW bodied Bristol VR with it's cream window mounts which had been ordered by the old North Western Road Car Company. The trouble was like with the big groups today and even RN, the new look swept away all the fascinating variety and individuality that went before. When Wigan was added SELNEC became known as the more memorable Greater Manchester Transport but stood for South-East Lancashire and North East Cheshire PTA. The now preserved bus was blinded up to work the Stockport to Altrincham 80 Service but was seen last year at the Meadow Hall Bus Rally.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
At London's Victoria Coach Station just as things had quietened down after the evening rush-hour activity started to quicken again as the Evening long distance departures started to gather. As well as National Express former United Automobile services to the North East there were of course plenty of coaches heading for Scotland. At 8.pm in Summer it is often still light enough to take photos and I was able to catch a shot of Northern Scottish NPEX71, a Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard waiting before getting ready to return to Aberdeen.
No I'm afraid it wasn't that attractive South London operator but unlike most all-over advertisement liveries on buses the one British Telecom employed on this Western National Bristol VR was far more attractive than the usual leaf-green still being used by former NBC companies at the end of the Eighties which can also be glimpsed in this photo. Also at Bretonside were two Plymouth Atlanteans showing the two styles of bodywork from Park Royal and East Lancs on it's later AN68 type buses.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
One can almost imagine those older buses that used to gather ready for departure outside the traditional looking station buildings in Chur. But now in Switzerland buses like P26023 on of the two the more comfortable Setra's bound for Bellinzona now depart from a raised platform connected by an escalator at the end of the platforms and one is ready to board in seconds.
I don't think the people of the tourist areas of Yugoslavia were as materially or spiritually impoverished as other poor souls imprisoned far behind the Iron Curtain in the middle of a cold and dusty nowhere but the greater affluence of Italy and Cosmopolitan Trieste just the other side of this ugly checkpoint must have been tantalizing for these people from Zagreb who had made the long pilgrimage on this well used Mercedes O303 coach. Of course like myself they might have just been the lucky ones, either way how quickly we have forgotten the old divided Europe twenty-years-ago.
As Chesterfield had a very mixed fleet of both highbridge and lowbridge double-deckers one is left wondering how they avoided the almost inevitable de-roofing accident. Even though they did not carry an H or L prefix to the fleet numbers they were as you might expect kept apart. Front-engined highbridge buses were numbered from 200 and rear-engined vehicles 300. So as you would expect 1955 Weymann Daimler CVG6 No.195 was by conductors one of the much hated lowbridge buses which caused them many headaches both mental and physical.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
It seems to be the end of the road for this the oldest bus at Arriva's Stafford Garage which is a pity as it was only taken off the road after the Ministry pulled it up because of an oil leak. Always a popular bus it always looked in excellent condition and various people think it ought to be saved. I agree because these attractive early Carlyle bodied Dennis Darts were never common and this one found it's way to Arriva having started life with Williamson's on the Shrewsbury Park and Ride. Now it stand awaiting it's fate minus blinds at the bottom of the garage yard parked up against the fence.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Even though I still have plenty more bus and tram photo views to come from my 1984 Portugal trip at some time or other my prized collection of RN vehicles will come to an end and then most of you won't bother to visit my blog any more. But that time is still some way off and this week I've found your a bonus Utic bodied AEC No.6649. It's good to see buses with full loads like this one bound for Bucalas informing any more intending passengers that it is full-up.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
The laws in European countries are very much the same you might think or maybe some are enforced whilst others are not. When it comes to crossing roads in Britain we have a very easygoing attitude whereas in places like Germany and Switzerland this kind of behaviour would if you are lucky just get you a good ticking off from a policeman. Anyway I'm glad our nanny state hasn't taken all the danger out of life. A familiar sight in Stafford are a small batch of four or five of these short Plaxton Pointer Dennis Darts used on the No1 Service by Arriva which crosses the town.
It's always a bit sad to see our favourite bus types reaching the end of their days so it's some consolation at least when they are put to other uses. Few will fail to notice that this Optare Delta with Stagecoach at Exeter is a driver training bus. The all-over red livery is somewhat out of place but maybe like many of the old buses that migrate down here it was previously in London.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Because of the difficult and poor lighting conditions photography inside bus garages is never an easy task. However any technical deficiencies should be forgiven as the views are often most rewarding like this one of West Midland PTE's Lea Hall Garage. Situated near Kitts green it was the last new garage to be opened by Birmingham City transport in 1955 to replace the small thirty-nine vehicle Barford Street Garage and to serve the expanding new housing estates in the the Castle Bromwich area of the city. Perhaps the most interesting vehicle to have been allocated here was 3228 the added demonstration Crossley Bridgemaster of 1956. However by the mid-Eighties the buses might have been rather less exciting but as with the rest of the West Midlands fleet the allocation of Daimler Fleetline and Metrobuses in blue and cream still had a reassuring Birmingham look to it. In the foreground was a so-called Ford Transit bread van minibus, but fortunately even though it liked the Metrorider the operator didn't ever go for small buses in a huge way.
Monday, 10 August 2009
One of many former London Transport DMS type Daimler Fleetlines became the usual choice to work the Uttoxeter to Stafford service, but for a short time before they arrived in quantity sometimes the more interesting former Maidstone Massey bodied Atlanteans would appear including former No.43 which I remembered seeing new when I was at Art College there. The town's fleet of Atlanteans came on to the market when the formerly ultra conservative Borough Council decided to replace it's quality double-deck fleet with rather less rugged lightweight Bedford single-deckers. Naturally Independents like Stevenson's were always quick to snap up well cared for mid-life buses like this example seen at the start of the Eighties.
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
I wonder how many of you remember seeing the smart blue and silver coaches of Premier Travel which for a short time after deregulation became a common sight in Stoke on Trent when they came through working joint services with Yelloways of Rochdale. The Metrobus was such a great success for MCW it is easy to forget they built other models too apart from double-deckers including the purpose built Metrorider minibus and even a taxi the Metrocab. With the demise of the struggling Leyland Bus after it was bought out and dropped by Volvo, it's a pity that Birmingham based MCW didn't enjoy the same kind of success as Dennis as it certainly had the muscle. Sadly the single-deck coach version of the rather attractive Metroliner never really took off which was a pity as the second version of it was rather attractive, indeed it's simple lines still look remarkably crisp and pleasing today.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
I know I tend to knock the big UK bus groups and not least Arriva for it's slightly unpleasant livery. But I must also add that they and their workforce have been pretty good to me in recent times as they have let me travel with them for free on the bus to events. This shot was taken one sunny Sunday Morning as a merry band of us prepared to set off from Cannock Garage in Wright bodied VDL No.3741 for the event held at Wollaston Park in Nottingham.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
It's easy to look at the modern bus scene today and get a bit depressed as for me at least most of that youthful excitement has gone. But I've realised how lucky we are as not only is there so much stuff to read and also see on the net plus of course something we would never have imagined accurate diecast models of individual buses to collect. But better still we can still ride on our old favourites of course, it's not an everyday experience more of a special treat only when there are historic events. For the people who live in Berlin in the Wannsee district they can ride on a vintage bus everyday on normal service as the local preservation group work one of their old Bussing's on the 218. Those who have to use it every day I don't suppose always fully appreciate how lucky they are but whenever I go out there to stay with my brother I take a least two trips on these my favourite BVG buses from the Sixties and Seventies. You should too because they have all the character and are endued with wonderful noises and the sort of more solid and comfortable interior modern buses lack.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Arriva seems to take a wider variety on new buses than the other big groups and so for the enthusiast at least that is a plus in their favour. New buses in Staffordshire are some distinctive looking Optare Versa's branded X38 as their designated route travels along the main A38 trunk road between Burton on Trent and derby. Operator's likes to show off their new buses alongside the veterans at bus rallies and one of these appeared at the POTS Barlaston Bus Rally earlier this summer.
Monday, 3 August 2009
This rather ugly former blue and cream West Midland's MCW bodied bus No.4721 looked rather out of place in Southampton as 3472 working for the privitised Wilts and Doreset bus company, but in reality the Gardner powered Bristol VR chassis was very similar to the many far more elegantly proportioned ECW bodied examples here like the bus in the background.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Sadly the sort of coaches I liked are now something of a rarity but I loved going to Blackpool where I could photograph our traditional British coaches in smart time evolved individual liveries like the smart colours of Grahams Coaches of Stoke on Trent seen on this Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard. Of course some of these colour-schemes survive but too many coaches have a feeling of not belonging in their plain white dealer based colours.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
In the overlapping questionable grey areas where in the Twenties and Thirties the large operators territories met and which had not been deemed financially worth fighting over one usually found a wealth of small operators plying their trade. Places like Hereford surrounded by countryside right in the corner of Midland Red's vast empire was a classic example and it boasted a number of well known small operators like Wye Valley Motors and as seen here G.H.Yeomans Motors. They were a lovely sight too in the early Sixties when they ran fine old interesting double-deckers and even new single-deck buses in a dark green and cream livery not dissimilar to another favourite Warstone's Green Bus. By the Eighties even though they were still a familiar sight in Hereford Bus Station the vehicles were a much more mundane collection of Duple and Plaxton bodied Bedfords. But that is no more as even though they retained their coach travel business they later sold their bus services to the privatised Midland Red West. As with EFO 300W Yeoman's tried to get registrations in the series *00.