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

Thursday 30 December 2010

Amport & District

Since Pedestrianisation we are no longer used to seeing traffic in many our town centre streets and large vehicles look out of place like this Amport & District Plaxton bodied Scania coach VN55 NFT visiting Stafford with the army. However at one time not only did buses pass along our main street it was a major trunk route from the North West to London and the South West carrying heavy lorries too.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Devon General's Willowbrook bodied Atlanteans.

The very early Leyland Atlanteans bodied by the MCW Group and lookalikes by the others have a reputation for being rather uninspired. But as the sixties unfolded matters improved and other bodybuilders did some attractive designs. One of my favourites was by Willowbrook of Loughborough who supplied Devon General with six new buses in 1966. Not only were these buses better looking than the earlier MCW and Roe Atlanteans in the fleet they came equiped with more powerful Leyland 0680 engines needed on steep hilly routes around Torquay.

Monday 27 December 2010

New standee buses for London

In the mid-Sixties London Transport tried new bus types including the AEC Swift or named for LT at first the Merlin. Sadly these less dependable stablemates would push out the ultra-reliable RTL based on the Leyland PD2 also to be seen here at Victoria. The first fourteen surprisingly had Stratchens bodywork and introduced both 'opo' and the continental concept of standee city buses to London operating short distance Red Arrow routes.

Sunday 26 December 2010

Porto: Evening heat haze.

I don't know if I've posted this image before but at the moment I can't bring much new stuff as my scanner needs to be re-configured as it doesn't normally work on Vista. However I rather like this view of a rather smart AEC entering Porto on a journey from Aluger.

Thursday 23 December 2010

May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas

Of course snowy images are not so effective this year but I'm sure Swiss snow is a more expensive luxury product or maybe it was just their Saurer and FBW buses that were better like this Saurer RH P24267 from the Eighties alongside a Nineties NAW BH 4-23 fellow PTT Davos stablemate. The NAW was a continuation of the small specialist alpine bus following the takeover by Mercedes-Benz but despite that these quite attractive buses found a following.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Swedish coaches and Danish blonds in Aarhus

Some people prefer coaches to buses but I like both and when it's to make a decent photograph it doesn't matter either way. I'm glad I did as for instance when I caught some of my 'buses and girls views' I snapped some vehicles that I might not have bothered with but which  have become a lot more interesting with the passage of time.
Probably but I can't really remember if I was also after the tall slim Danish blond girl in Aarhus but one doesn't see many Volvo's like this from Sweden perhaps bodied by Kutter carried on the front.

Hants & Sussex AEC Merlin in Portsmouth

Despite their short lives with London Transport these AEC Merlins and Swifts did not achieve the kind of popularity enjoyed by better buses like the DM Fleetline finding new owners. Hants and Sussex not only ran them but kept them looking smart too and on a rare visit to Portsmouth managed to snap one before it went too dark one December afternoon.

Monday 20 December 2010

Learning in all weathers

Despite it not being a wonderful quality photograph I still rather like this wintry 'get in front and jump out to take' shot of PMT yellow Leopard trainer 927UVT which had trundled through Tittensor on the A34 with Bassett's Roadways in the background.

Sunday 19 December 2010

A Manchester Atlantean in Whitstable

Following Deregulation Greater Manchester Atlanteans and Fleetlines too seemed to appear in many fleets. Fortunately the Northern Counties 'Standards' looked good in any livery including East Kent whose new colours reminded us of pre-NBC days. ONF657R was No 7657 but now 7557 as it paused across the road from the cafe where I used to have breakfast on Fridays in Whitstable before driving home via London for work.

A Black & White Christmas

Actually it should be 'black and blue' as I tumbled on a high kerb last week as I was running for a bus and ended up in hospital where I had six stitches on my chin and another on the bridge of my nose. Thankfully nothing was broken but I'm feeling very sore and bruised and not in a party mood. In 1969-70 a Black & White Daimler Roadliner enters Victoria Coach station.

Friday 17 December 2010

Eastbourne: Memories of Summer

Enjoying the sunshine at Eastbourne in the 90's was this Van-Hool bodied Leyland Tiger carrying the registration letters of it's owner Ivy.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Historic Bern

Switzerland has done much to shake off it's old image and there was nowhere more conservative than Bern it's capital where the biggest disturbance was elderly trams pulling trailers as they slowly as if half asleep snaked through the medieval streets grinding and squealing as the went.

Out Christmas Shopping in Knightsbridge

December many years ago and in Knightsbridge I think they shop for the festive season all year round. A not very old London Buses Metrobus M1180 B180WUL of 1984 is not afraid to use it's size to justle it's way through the lunchtime traffic. It was heading for Turnham Green where it was one of fifty buses garaged there. No doubt I was trying to get the girl on the crossing in the shot too and she almost got away.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Is it Biel or Bienne?

In Switzerland Biel is right on the border where German and French cultures meet hence on maps you often see both spellings Biel-Bienne but for most it's Biel as it's rather more German. Outside the station was this very Swiss looking Ramseier and Jenzer Volvo bus which was bodied here in the town.
The later generations of rear-engined Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline were very much the same shape but frontal styling made for variety. One of the most attractive with a less square feel was built by Charles Roe in Leeds for the local West Yorkshire PTE and it looked rather nice in Warstone's Green Bus Company livery which was by the Nineties looking a bit too colourful. SUA 121R was seen in Wolverhampton at the time when the fleet and it's operations were growing.

Tiverton & District

The Leyland National could look rather attractive in a pleasant livery like the red and cream scheme applied by Tiverton and District to former London Bus LS 220 No.2811 THX 220S.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Snow! What Snow?

I don't think the local Post Bus drivers in the Swiss Alps would be much daunted by our recent snows in the UK as they are well prepared for it. This PTT Regie NAW BH 4-23 meets trains at Zeigelbrucke or maybe Wangen on the main line from Zurich to Chur and then returns to it's home at Uznach in the early 90's.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Lothian Leylands

In 2009 eighty-years of Leyland operation ended at Edinburgh as Lothian Transport withdrew the last of it's Alexander R-Type bodied Olympians. When I took this view in the Nineties there were still plenty of Leylands to be found including these rather attractive Atlanteans like AN68 No.636 GSC636X.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Manchester's Olympian Coaches

Greater Manchester PTE had a number of Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian and Metrobuses fitted with coach seats for private hire and longer services. I thought the livery was rather attractive and still looked good even when it had aged like the buildings here in the middle of Manchester. No.3265 D265JVR carries the deopt letters BY for Bury and you can see from it's sides that it was now part of the First Group's 'Greater Manchester North' fleet whilst Stagecoach took charge of services and garages to the south of the city.

Monday 6 December 2010

In those days in the Seventies the busy and often slow The Head of the Valleys trunk road in Wales carrying all the heavy traffic from Port Talbot and Swansea was not all dual-carriageway unlike today and all you saw was belting rain and bleeting sheep. Being stupid they used to wander in the road and I heard a story about one that was run-over in the night and being very messy nobody on this occasion would move the corpse off and it slowly got pounded into the tarmac creating a new bump. As you can see today the sheep might be just the same at  Merthyr Tydfil but unlike the coal and steel lorries of my day, eight-leg Fodens and Atkinson Borderers those clean white-goods trucks have got a whole lot bigger but sure some might say not always better.

Noddy Holder might love Christmas!

But it's no much fun doing your Christmas Shopping when it cold, miserable and yesterday's snow turns to slush and your trouser-bottoms and feet get soaked. Still in the winter of 1981-82 in my little town one could enjoy the roar of those National Mk2's which at least sounded like real Leyland Buses again. No.807 was the first of five at Stafford which were later joined by 812-814 from Shrewsbury and finally Tamworth's 823-825.

Sunday 5 December 2010

At Montreux VMCV Trolleybus No.10

The main route and perhaps only route worked by these eighteen Saurer trolleybuses dating from 1956-58 not surprisingly was that which gave the system it's title WMVC running 12.8km along the shores of Lake Geneva from Vevey to Montreux and beyond to Villeneuve. After giving forty years of service these rather fine machines were replaced by the same number of low-floor Van-Hool/ Kiepe articulated (gelenkobusse) vehicles.

Railway Owned Guy Bus in Porto

In Portugal as well as being able to see railway owned buses at Porto these included relatively uncommon Guy's like No.7 whose familiar shaped Utic body looked  strange in white stripes.

Friday 3 December 2010

Caroline Seagull

Looking at the registration number of this coach belonging to the Norfolk operator Caroline Seagull it would be easy to be tricked into thinking it was a former East Kent AEC Reliance as that operator had some old Park Royal bodied express coach rebodied by Plaxton. However I imagine somewhere along the line the rebodied AEC's went for scrap and similarly Plaxton Elite bodied Ford coaches took their 'cherished' marques instead which was a pity. 536FN was seen enjoying a summer day in London resting on the Thames Embankment.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Yorkshire Woollen District-West Riding Alexander T-Type

Alexander T-Type bodies were not very common outside Scotland but as well as somewhat surprisingly Eastern Counties having a few more could be found in Yorkshire and along with Traction, West Riding-YWD had eleven too. This view was taken at Birstall perhaps and the lightly loaded Leopard would encounter deeper snows than this over the Pennines.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Foggy day in Hinckley

Midland Red South was quick to paint it's dual-purpose Leyland Leopards into bus livery and probably No.216 had been reseated as it was classed B49F. It was seen in Hinckley not far from the A5 on a foggy day..

Monday 29 November 2010

All change at Potsdam

At first the signs of change were quite slow after Reunification in Germany as firstly the girls start to think about getting a new look. As for the buses the old Ikarus stalwarts started to appear in new more colourful liveries and were joined by not just some new buses but many secondhand examples like the Mercedes-Benz articulated bus in the background.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Things can only get better

People still go on about horrible the lightweight 'Orion' family were. Apart from those rattles draughts and steamed-up windows they never bothered me and seeing them everyday was living in paradise compared to the most nasty souless monstrosities called a Minibus. Amongst the worst of the breed this unsophisticated Dodge was not even as nippy as a bread van being the sort of thing British Gas park outside your house when annoyingly digging up the road. As you see I've found a different little gem in this view taken in Manchester of 1889 D889MDB.

Maidstone & District 5422

Until the late Sixties Southdown, Maidstone and District's nextdoor neighbour was a bit of an exception having a fleet of not just interesting buses but of a proudly turned out high specification too. Although M&D had a lot of the more unusual and good quality to enjoy it had it's fair share of the cheap and cheerful including these 'rattle-box' lightweight MCW bodied Leyland PD2/12 buses of 1954. Indeed many of the earlier much loved thirty-six rugged Leyland Farrington bodied examples of 1951 outlived them some still looking smart and running till 1970. However unlike some DH422 RKP903 lasted long enough at Maidstone to receive it's new computerised fleet-number that was introduced in Autumn 1967.

Saturday 27 November 2010

.....but not just any old London Bus

No doubt these two visitors to Eastbourne on the South Coast were pleased to see a London bus. However little did they know that it's not a true London bus as it was one of a small batch of five Leyland Titans tried by West Midlands PTE alongside the MCW Metrobus and then sold off to London who was the main user of this advanced type. Whereas the Olympian was built as a flexible chassis for operators to choose the bodywork the Titan was conceived as an off the peg double-deck equivalent to the rugged all-in-one National for the large PTE fleets. Delays launching the model didn't help and many operators preferred the more cheap and cheerful Metrobus to expensive vehicles like WDA2T seen here from the London Selkent unit which by this time was probably in the hands of Stagecoach.

Friday 26 November 2010

Stafford Greengate Street becomes Whitegate Street

Watch the misery on the news caused by the snow on Britain's roads, railways and airports and they finish off with the sheer joy of children who can play in it as they  don't have to go to school. It seems they are not the only ones who enjoy it as judging by the number of wintery views I find we transport enthusiasts too seem to love going out with our cameras to record it's magical beauty, perils and cold dirty unpleasantness. No doubt this amount of snow would seem like nothing to most Nordic drivers but here in Britain an inch of the stuff might as well be a foot. Back in the Eighties the driver of PMT Leyland Olympian No.742 A742PMT has made it safely to his destination fifteen miles from Hanley. But to be fair Stafford usually gets far less snow than outlying districts.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Post Auto departures from Chur

The new covered Post Bus Station in Chur above the railway station at the far end linked to all the platforms for easy access is not only a huge improvement on what went before but it more of less symbolises the constant investment to make the  modern efficient Swiss transport system even better. However for me I prefer to look back to the days when the cobbled forecourt was the gathering place for characterful Saurer and FBW buses dating back to their early origins. Yes a wonderful place full of historic charm to take nostalgic photos but alas no doubt not quite so welcoming when in a rush or in the snow and rain. At the beginning of the Nineties Saurer RH's were still king of the Alpine roads and here the only Setras one encountered were coaches working the long tourist routes such as those in the background bound for Bellinzona in the South. A standard PTT RH can be seen in the background too but the Regie owned fleet also took twenty of the other style more usually found with the PAH Contractors. However it was easy to tell them apart as the PTT examples like 1982 R&J bodied P25649 going to Flims Waldhaus and Laax had more yellow on their fronts whilst the others had a black lower dash panel..

Tuesday 23 November 2010

New National2 Buses for the Red Arrow

Apart from the standee Red Arrow buses it is only in recent times that red single-deck buses have become a familiar sight in the West End. When they were introduced in 1966 they were AEC Swifts or as London Transport preferred to call them Merlins. At the beginning of the Eighties the second generation of these were all replaced by noisy Leyland National2 buses like LS 443 GUW443W.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Byrens of Leek

Jim Berresford and his bus operations of Berresford Motors and later Stonier are almost legendary but as well there was another small unit close to Cheddleton at Leek called Byrnes. Three members of that fleet can be seen at the depot a petrol-engined Ford Transit plus two AEC Reliance semi-coaches, one bodied by Willowbrook VDB940 and the other WFN517 by Park Royal which started life with North Western and East Kent respectively in 1963 and 1961.

A pair of No.101's

The recently privatised Midland Red West had been starved on new full-size buses running mostly elderly Nationals and Leyland Leopards. Things were to change when fifty brand new leyland Lynx buses joined the fleet in about 1988. The first of these was No.1101 G101HNP allocated to kidderminster and it is seen leaving the Bull Ring Bus Station in Birmingham where it has to negotiate West Midland Travel 8101 A101 WVP one of ten Metrobuses once used on the 'guided bus' Tracline experiment.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Another Royal Wedding

It's hard not to think of our British Royal Family when we see the name of the exclusive  Swiss ski resort Klosters and so you have to thank the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton for the inspiration for posting this winter scene. On a day when the white stuff was more slush than snow in 1998 one of the then new Mercedes-Benz Citaro type was seen busy at work for the local PAH contractor of Die Poste GR69301 between journeys to Serneus-Dorf.

Taking the tired Commuters home: Smiths of Sittingbourne

Of interest to me in the Nineties was the assortment of operators and coaches working commuter services into London. One of the firms from Kent was the black, white and grey vehicles from Smiths of Sittingbourne like Tiger regular B46XKJ.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Keighley and District in Leeds

One of my favourite pictures of friendly Leeds Girls and a smart Keighley and District ECW bodied Leyland Olmypian of 1984 B522 UWW. This bus has just passed the entrance of the former Vicar Lane Bus Station that belonged to it's original owner West Yorkshire. This operator also ran services under the title Keighley and District in that town but unlike with the Blazefield operation the buses jut carried the name and otherwise retained the normal 'Tilling Red' and cream fleet colours. Taken in the Nineties Surprisingly some of these buses are still in service today in 2010.

Monday 15 November 2010

Barbi in Overdtive

The so-called pink and blue Barbi look that adds a bit pf colour to the overall grey First Group buses is not horrible just perhaps a little dull when we see little else. However when those Barbi colours go over the top as in this special livery to promote their Tamar Link buses that go across to Cornwall from Plymouth it can all get a bit sickly like too much sweet raspberry and blackberry yogurt. Fortunately good graphics keep it all looking very professional and we can even enjoy a murmuring of nostalgia as buses like this of the faithful Mercedes-Benz minibus like First Devon and Cornwall S529RWP gradually become a rarity on our streets.

Friday 12 November 2010

A blue bus of Therkidsens in Lyngby

The Danes liked to name their local bus companies after the colour of their buses. But it would have been no good if Therkidsen of Bagsvaerdhad done this as the 'Da Bla Bus' at Holte also visited Lyngby. Most of this small fleet of I guess about ten to fifteen buses were DAB Leylands but the fleet included in 1982 this recent Aabenraa bodied Volvo to work their main route the forty-minute  165 from Vaelose to Hellerup.

Thursday 11 November 2010

AEC and Leyland's in the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is a bit of a rarely explored yet interesting backwater on the borders of England and South Wales just across the Severn Estuary  As well as some beautiful countryside it could also boast a number of interesting bus companies including the dark blue and white coaches Edwards of Joys Green. In the yard cane be seen both a.Plaxton bodied Leopard and Reliance, plus the same again with rarer heavyweight Duple Viceroy bodywork. The Duple bodied Leopard EUG474K came from Wallace Arnold whilst it's AEC sister came from the National Travel South East fleet based at the old Timpson's garage at Catford.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

A former West Midlands Metrobus at Stockport

Prior to the introduction of Arriva corporate livery some of it's buses sported rather cheerful liveries like this MCW Metrobus belonging to Bee-Line whose name was chosen as being suitable for it's initial fleet of busy little minibuses. No.817 KJW 288W loads at Stockport for nearby Manchester on Service 197 in the mid-Nineties.

A chilly lunchtime call at Chester

As a National Express Duple bodied Leyland Leopard pauses at Chester on a winters day a gentleman stretches his legs and smokes his pipe whilst another coach this time a Leyland Tiger with a Plaxton body belonging to PMT  A75 JFA departs on the long trek north up to Glasgow.

Monday 8 November 2010

Alton Bus Rally

Look back over the Summer I had some good days out including this one to Alton which was the furthest bus trip I took with my friends in their preserved Midland Red Leopard JHA227L. This town once had one of the four Aldershot and District garages so not surprisingly the former BET Group company was well represented here with both Dennis and as you see here AEC buses. Most of their AEC Reliance's had Weymann Hermes bodywork like this example No.370 Reg. XHO370 from 1960

Busy getting wet in liverpool

I'm afraid  I dont follow vehicle news and your guess is as good as mine whether this wright bodied bus of Arriba is a Volvo. VDL or Scania. These day I go out looking for interesting atmospheric views and this day was as miserable as it looked in Liverpool.

Sunday 7 November 2010

A Mercedes-Benz Coach in Porto

When there was so much bus variety as there was in Portugal it was easy to overlook the most common types like this Mercedes seen in Porto. However with the passage of time even these like it's operator becomes a thing of interest.

Friday 5 November 2010

Lunchtime in Newcastle

Late in 1979 it looks like the girls in the office are going off for a lunchtime drink in the centre of Newcastle on Tyne. I was working but my delivery address was not difficult to find as I had to go to the head office of Norweb which is that large building on the corner of Northumberland Street. Newcastle Corporation was the main constituent of the local Tyne Tees PTE and the majority of it's buses were Leyland Atlanteans with Alexander like 313 VCU313T seen here or the from the front look-alike version by MCW..

Thursday 4 November 2010

Swan Song for the RMA Airport Bus

After they were no longer needed for Heathrow LT had trouble finding good work for it's sixty-five strong RMA class. And rather like other odd men out from the past the 500 wider RTL's called the RTW many ended up on training duties. It's a pity they weren't a more useful 30ft long like prototype RMF 1254, but no doubt the unions condemned the bigger bus towing baggage trailers. However at least Stagecoach East London knew a good bus when they saw it keeping them smart like RMA35 NMY635E so we could enjoy seeing them on the 15 as it passed Trafalgar Square.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

A Panther back from the dead

They say that a bite from a black mamba can put you in such a deep comma you might accidentally get buried alive. Well it seemed that buses like the Leyland Panther was finished but it was surprising what was given a new lease of life following Deregulation. Former Preston RTF436L with unusual Pennine bodywork looked rather dashing in it's smart new Citibus colours however I just wonder how many times it was to break down especially as I took a ride on one of these and it kept stalling when stationary?

Getting ready for Christmas

Don't be fooled the Christmas decorations might be up but because it's cheaper to do it that way in Stafford they usually go up in August. Still I don't suppose it's bad luck just so long as they delay making us feel even more miserable by not switching them on till December. I suppose it's nice to have something other than twelve days of snow to mark the middle of winter. I used to hate the unimaginatively applied NBC poppy red and plain white gtraphics on PMT and Midland Red but today I find those old buses rather bright and welcoming compared to the rather dull colours applied to Arriva and First in the town today. Believe it or not after the delivery of this 1981 batch of Leyland Olympians PMT only bought a mere handful of new double-deckers and so still being the newest the Hanley based examples spent many years on the longer routes like the 260 to Stafford. No.740 Reg. A740GFA passes through the Market Square on it's return journey to the Potteries.