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
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.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I suspect the people of Berlin don't think twice about it any more as the criss-cross the former Berlin Wall and all that seems to remind us is when buses from the other side in a different livery appear like this Harvel Bus Mercedes Citaro No.513 at Wannsee
Monday, 9 November 2009
Like it's Scottish rival Edinburgh the city of Glasgow had a large fleet of Alexander bodied Leyland Atlanteans but here they never looked quite as lovely as in the nation's Capital's immaculate madder and white livery. Strathclyde PTE introduced this rather unexciting 'tomato soup' red colour which later moved on to Greater Manchester as well with the transfer of the manager within the First Group.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
I knew Johnny Bird a long time as he was once a driver with Midland Red at Stafford. I remember when I was about fifteen riding on the platform changing the semi-automatic gears on a BMMO S17 for him as we headed out through Sutton Coldfield towards Brownhills and Cannock on the 104 Service which Stafford Garage did. When Harper Brothers became Midland Red Johnny moved to Heath Heyes and the later garage at Delta Way stayed till he retired through ill-health. Shortly after Deregulation he organised a Sunday day-trip to Ramsgate where as you might expect I headed with camera to the large East Kent garage called Thanet. The Midland Red coach unit at Shrewsbury was already in trouble through mismanagement and now closed it's fleet transferred to Cannock which meant we could use Hotspur liveried Plaxton 3500 bodied Tiger 1509 for our trip. Despite the murky weather on the coast it was great Autumn day out and we even saw a Sinclair C5 looking like something from a cartoon coming down the street. It was a long day though as there was an accident on the M20 which meant we were stuck for well over a hour.
For a large organisation like the PTT it would not have made commercial sense just running one route in Basle and having maintain a garage for sometimes as few as five buses. But before the Swiss postal and telecoms were spilt up and the latter privatised, the often unprofitable post bus service was not regarded as an issue and where there were not enough vehicles to justify a base a small row of garage units could easily be accommodated within a telecoms compound. This became a problem for the split-off Die Post bus operation as they had to move out of the now Swiss Telecom site at St Gallen with nowhere else suitable nearby to go. Basel was about the only PTT Garage I never visited but I knew what it was like as the train southwards to Laufen went right past it and occasionally there was a glimpse of a bus parked down below as the elevated railway track high passed above. On my first visits to Basle at the start of the Nineties the fleet was all those lovely Saurer RH's but these were gradually all replaced with more suitable but comparatively dull Mercedes O405's for this urban run out to the Airport. Nevertheless despite that and the awful weather this was not such a bad quick exit and back from the station as the driver of this bus kindly gave me a couple of bus-motif lapel badges including my favourite the Haifisch FBW C40U.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
As it says on the front of this bus caught in Portsmouth just as it was going dark, those Stagecoach Stripes were a bit hard too on the eyes when they were applied on buses where they did not belong. Southdown who used to run this South Coast fleet was renowned for it's subtle apple-green plus cream and gold lettering whereas Stagecoach went for a less restrained already dated American approach. Looking back those stripes didn't look so bad especially on more angular Alexander products which in more than one way Brian Souter was to make his own, but this poor ECW bodied former United Counties Bristol VR looks slightly embarrassed like some glamorous former movie star caught off-guard on the doorstep by the milkman in her rollers and dressing-gown.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
The canton owned bus operator GFM of Friborg ran a mixed fleet of buses in this rather attractive livery and small Van-Hool No.44 was seen departing from the railway station terminus for what sounds like an imaginary name of Chesopelloz.
Monday, 2 November 2009
After several years pause it was the thought of not recording the death-throws of these fine half-cab buses that persuaded me to get out my camera again. It was just in time too because former Salford MCW bodied PD2's and Lancashire United Guy Arabs would not be running out to places like Leigh and Pendlebury for much longer in 1979. As was often the case undertakings like Salford were wary of the new fangled Atlantean and Fleetline and continued to buy the reliable buses they could rely on as well.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Way back in the Eighties thankfully the idea of a universal standard Eurobus was if anywhere just a dream in the mind of perhaps bus manufacturer's like Mercedes-Benz, and luckily for us countries like next door neighboring Spain and Portugal could have been a thousand miles apart having totally different buses and ways of doing things. However even Spanish manufacturers managed to make the odd conquest as this Pegaso carrying the name Pinho in Aviero seems to suggest.
I think if I had to list my favourite British Independent coach operators Robinson's would have to be in the top ten along with the likes of Yelloway, Ellen Smith, Abbott of Blackpool, Gliderways, Wallace Arnold etc. This Eighties image contrasts Duple and Plaxton coachwork on Leyland Tigers taken at Sandbach Services which served as an interchange between coaches.