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
Saturday, 31 October 2009
An unusual bus in the Stagecoach fleet was this Wadham Stringer bodied Leyland Swift built around the Terrier light truck chassis. It came from the former Accrington fleet of Hyndburn and was seen in Burnley working one of the former Burnley and Pendle routes to Rosegrove in the Nineties.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Lothian transport lost it's last Leyland's some time ago and now as the last high-floor double-deckers have been withdrawn it also marks the end of the this superb and extremely smart madder and white livery dating back many tears. However one the the final batch, a Volvo Olympian has been preserved as a heritage special occasions bus. When I took this photo in the Nineties Edinburgh was still enjoying the roar of accelerating Leyland Atlanteans.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
I'm surprised I have not more Danish bus fans as like in Britain everything seems to have changed since the Nineties. Jutland presented a wealth of bus companies all in different liveries. However not far from Copenhagen on the edge of it's HT controlled operating area was the well known Viking town of Roskilde which could provide a wealth of different bus companies including a town fleet too which included this Aabenraa bodied Volvo B10M No.22
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
With the advent of the National Bus Company some big well known names disappeared altogether like Crosville and Western Welsh. But as Privatisation approached and large groupings were spun off into more manageable chunks old names of the hardly known reappeared. Both Wessex and Shamrock and Rambler had both been coach firms with little to do with express work except when on hire yet it was still good to see their names around again in the late-Eighties. The three-axle MCW Metroliner was impressive without being too flashy but unfortunately was not a huge success on National Express work. Many were later cut down as open-top tour buses in London for which they were ideal. As for the late ECW coach bodied Leopard it ended up with Midland Red North who had also been bought by S&R's new owner Drawline where in red and yellow it looked most odd alongside the Stafford allocation of poppy-red Leyland Nationals.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
I'm afraid in Britain with it's love of the motor car Public Transport is considered more of a nuisance like those cyclists and hoodies than as a viable means of getting from A to B. Consequently it has taken longer to convert to low-floor disabled-friendly buses and unlike places which we used to laugh at we don't have aids like real-time information at bus stops outside the large cities, indeed often at bus stops there is no information at all. In Potsdam one never has long to wait for a tram.
Stafford's main bus route is the No.9 which runs via the Town Centre and Railway Station from the large Highfields Estate to the SW of the town beside the M6 to the Hospital and University to the East. The twelve-minute frequency dates back to the days when Chaserider Ford Transit mini-buses in the town ran every few minutes. This route under Arriva became council-sponsored and gained a fleet of eight dedicated new buses, and with the exception of 2338 from Shrewsbury these low-floor Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts Nos.2329-332/4-8 have become the oldest in the town that haven't come in being exchanged as cast-offs from other garages. The batch still mostly work the No.9 but now it runs half-hourly as another half-hourly Town Service No.1 makes it every fifteen-minutes to the Hospital and the half-hourly Cannock services also serve the Hospital. Still it seems a long time if you just miss one as the Cannock and No.9 tend to come together.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Like the first leaf-fall of Autumn it's always slightly upsetting when we see the first withdrawal of our favourite buses. It's not only for when we remember them as being brand new as a reminder that we too are getting older but before too long as part of our eveyday they will be just a memory. Whilst quite a few of the previous generation were still running about 1984 MAN 3501 in the Berlin BVG fleet might probably have been about first normal withdrawal of this next major type to go as it was one of three pre-droduction prototypes. However I took this view at the old compound at Indria Ghandi Str. about ten years ago and for all I know one or two might hopefully still be hanging on.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Yes Autumn is here again and many a London commuter has been attracted to the pleasant countryside of beechy Bucks (Buckinghamshire) and leafy Berks (Berkshire). Chilternlink was the marketing name given to the former green London Transport Amersham area services of the NBC and this short economy specification B-Series National was typical of the thirty buses allocation there at this small Buckinghamshire town
Monday, 19 October 2009
In the actual Post Office (PTT) owned bus fleet there were just over forty of these rather attractive and very Swiss NAW B4-23 buses built to the old restricted standard dimensions for mountain roads at the former Saurer factory by then owned by Mercedes-Benz. Not surprisingly about half of them were allocated to the Regie (Owned) Garages in the Graubunden particularly at Davos, Thusis and Scuol. More unusual was an almost identical Hess bodied example of 1990 found working with a PTT Contractor in the Canton too and I had to look at the manufacturer's plate just to check to see if the still new GR 4125 had already been sold off from the main PTT owned fleet before I had time to tick it off my list as occasionally happened.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Heading along Blackpool's Golden Mile was this former Greater Manchester Duple Commander bodied Leyland Leopard of 1972. They had withdrawn these by then in the mid-Eighties and I suspect it might have been here for a bus rally as other heritage vehicles passed as well. Sadly not many Commanders have made it into preservation today so maybe they all rotted away before anyone thought about saving them.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Way back in Christmas 1965 a Dutch based Bussing coach of Malser was having some of the winter weather washed off beside the River Seine in Paris. In Britain our vision is slightly blinkered and because of more recent imports we only think of Van Hool and Jonkheere but the Benelux Countries had a number of other quality coachbuilders like Stoelen, N.V of Joure, and of course the superb designs of Verheul to be found on AEC Reliance 691 coaches of Vavo-Greyhound in the late-Sixties.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
On Deregulation the former West Yorkshire PTE expanded slightly when it acquired the York based services of the former NBC West Yorkshire. Call it standardisation but often it's a way of getting rid of unpopular types and a number of the PTE's Leyland National2 buses found their way here. I don't know the story but no less than three can be seen in this view with York Minster in the background.
Monday, 12 October 2009
Believe it or not in Stafford minibuses have featured with the various owners of Midland Red and of course more latterly Arriva since 1983 but no more. In the early days they were Ford Transits, but there have also been horrible Dodge and Northern Counties bodied Renault's too. But in more recent times the only slightly more glamorous but unquestionably very reliable Mercedes workhorses have featured prominently including far travelled second-hand 608's from Stagecoach Group where this one started life on the South Coast with Southdown before moving to East Midland. The modern local Arriva fleet is very much dominated by the Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart,
There are vehicles that I quickly dismissed when they were new that I grew to love, but i'm afraid that doesn't apply to this East-Lancs bodied Volvo of Blue Bus of Horwich. Of course it is always nice to see Independents buying new service buses and a double-decker to boot but it severe profile is not helped by the cold harsh colours of it's livery that was similar to Derby, The red element didn't improve things either but First's GMT(North) buses in that tomato soup with purple lettering was not much better. To think in Bolton as well as the Corporation with it's stunning ' Ralph Bennett' visionary Atlanteans there were two other superb fleets at work here, LUT and Ribble.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
Even though Stagecoach was the first to paint all it's fleets in a corporate livery at least like the previous National Bus Company it retained individual company names for a while and it's quite reassuring to see what was obviously a former Ribble Duple bodied Leyland Leopard carrying the much respected Ribble name. However this bus passing through slightly posh Heywood at the foot of the Pennines and the residence of ITV's Coronation Street stars originally wore the all-white National Express (West) livery before being demoted to dual-purpose status. Funny isn't it how we much we hated these Stagecoach stripes but somehow looking back at it nice old departed vehicles it starts to look raher lovely.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Berlin has a very good day and night transport system by British standards but not only do people take the more healthy option and use their bicycles a lot more the city is almost as flat as Holland. It's certainly better than using a car and should you leave it unattended at the side of the fashionable Kurfirstendam at least you won't come back to find a parking ticket. I expect with the arrival of more three-axle MAN Lion double-deckers all of this earlier type of MAN from the Eighties will be gone by now.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Now that we're coming in to the winter season there is snooker on television again but this time it's coming from a new venue called Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. I was there many years ago in the late Eighties delivering on Christmas Eve or thereabouts and stopped to visit the Art Gallery at Kelvin Hall and to take a few bus views before the 270 mile journey home. Glasgow is not a pretty city at the best of times and it can be very grim on a cold damp December day. The Scottish Bus Group companies had not been included with the formation of the National Bus Company in England and Wales and consequently apart from Glasgow Corporation becoming the Strathclyde PTE there still lots of nicely painted buses wearing their traditional colours. However it would not be too many years before Deregulation would hit the streets here too and as elsewhere in Britain the local bus fleets would gradually become members of the big groups namely Arriva, Stagecoach and First. So okay it might be horrible outside but rather than watching the snooker I would rather be out here beside the venue but back in the past taking pictures of the buses as they were like this Alexander R type bodied MCW Metrobus in it's attractive blue and cream livery. Alexander Midland was to become part of Stagecoach along with Western Scottish but First bagged first prize as it bagged the city's Strathclyde Buses.
It was the middle of September and high up on the Jullier Pass in Switzerland and menacingly the winter snow was already making it's way down the mountain slopes and before too long as usual the pass would be closed to the Post Buses buses making their way on the lengthy service from St.Moritz and Chur. Two similar buses pass and 1982 Tuscher bodied P24287 coming the other way was typical of the PTT owned Saurer RH buses found in The Alps during the Eighties and Nineties.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
I wasn't a huge fan of Derby's buses and especially the current cold blue and grey which was no improvement on the more dignified traditional olive green and cream. But interest came and nicer liveries too when following the purchase of Blue Bus of Willington the Corporation added coach types including some smart AEC Reliance Plaxton grant coaches for the Blue Bus routes to Burton.
Monday, 5 October 2009
A number of the Municipal fleets in the South Wales Valleys had such a liking for Leyland products they were at various times almost 100% like Merthyr Tydfil with it's half-cab Titans and later Leopards also bodied by East-Lancs.. A second-had aquisition was this short Duple Dominant Leopard which had been Chester No.77 and arriving with not dissimilar brown colours to Merthyr's old traditional maroon livery it looked as though as an economy it had on been partially repainted. Now numbered 239 and advertising the Welsh language Eisteddfod singing competition it is easy for us to see when this view of it was taken as it halted somewhere off it's usual haunts whilst doing a spot of driver training.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
After the Nation Bus Company was re-privatised some former companies went for a new modern or snazzy image whilst others tried to recreate a spirit of the past. This Southdown did with the use of it's old apple green and cream livery but it's application and appearance did not really do a great deal to evoke the true spirit of this once much loved operator. However it was pleasing enough and helped to make this 1975 Leyland National No.69 seen in Eastbourne look rather pleasant.
As a percentage Portuguese Caetano bodies are not as numerous as they once were in Britain. They were first imported by the Loughborough dealer Alf Moseley, and were quite a hit as no doubt the first rather over-ornamented style of bodywork appealed to former devotees of another coach-builder the then in 1969 already defunct nearby coachbuilder called Yeates who used over-decoration and lots of Fifties American inspired ugly brightwork to spice up products from the lower end of the market like Bedford, Commer and Ford. By the time the Algarve had arrived on the scene Caetano styling was much more subdued as can be seen on this 1982 DAF of Majestic Coaches of Walsall. Judging from the Leicestershire registration this one came from Moseley's imported stock.
Friday, 2 October 2009
As this Alder Valley bus was immortalised as a diecast model by Britbus in it's former attractive Aldershot and District colours I presume it must also be preserved as they often choose the saved examples to mimic. Back in the early Eighties seen in a withdrawn state at the Lower Thorne Street compound beside what was once the Thames Valley Bus Garage in Reading following an extended life as a trainer this Alexander bodied Dennis Loline of 1962 still looked as though it had life left in it yet.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
I suppose once the Iron Curtain fell tour operators could have made a nice little depressing itinerary of environmental disaster areas for outraged citizens to come and snap instead of the more usual sunsets and churches, one of these being a completely dead silver coated lake beside a former East German colour film factory at Bitterfeld. As one party hovers along the edge of it using more film the driver of the chunky looking MAN coach takes a short nap.