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 January 2010

Long lived Queen Mary's

Surprisingly the rather clever idea of buying convertable open-top double-deckers never really caught on, perhaps seaside operators prefered to store the usual elderly more-or-less time expired conversions instead during winter when the workload fell. But examples from the two best known operations from Southdown with it's Queen Mary Leyland PD3's 400-429 of 1963/5 and Devon General's 1961 'Sea Dog' class MCW bodied Atlanteans 925-933  not only gave sterling service but their novalty value and usefullness gave them interesting extended careers as they could be used not just on the coast but for sightseeing in cities, a VIP platform at sporting events like Ascot, a welcome home platform for triumphant footballers or even of course for the manual-gearbox PD3 an operator's tree-lopper cum training vehicle. Strageley enough former Southdown BUF 425C spent some time with Wallace Arnold which included service work in Torquay before taking on a similar roll with Appleby who had a large share of the Scarborough sea-front service. This restrained livery suited these rather elegant buses well and riding on top with the sounds of seagulls and the cackle of the exhaust the 50p fare was money well spent.

Rail Replacement Blues

Let this be a warning to you, weekend rail travel in Britain, especially Sunday's is not a good idea in snowy conditions as it helps to make the usual cold carriages, long delays longer and irritatingly slow shuttles more unbearable. Still it gives me something to photograph like this rare visitor from Wolverhampton in Stafford awaiting it's unfortunates. In 1985 West Midlands Travel took five of these rather basic but sturdy looking Alexander P-Series Volvo B10M buses and the same number of the new Leyland Lynx for comparison. As much for political reasons I expect the under-developed poorly constructed Lynx won the day winning a large order but had this Anglo-Swedish ugly duckling been chosen instead it might have turned out to be a nice little nest-egg to carry the newly Privatised former PTA through difficult times. Indeed you could call the two types chalk and cheese.

Santarem: RN 4957

Not surprisingly after so many posts I'm starting to get a bit low on Portugal pictures from 1984 and especially your much loved RN buses. However here is one I don't think I've used before and it's a rather nice lazy hot view of the dry and dusty streets of Santarem making a stark contrast to the snowy scene outside.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Nottingham Standards

In Nottingham it is reputed that there are more women than men. It certainly seems to case but even if they don't interest you Nottingham's 'Standards' seemed to add variety as each delivery of buses was different. This was evident when the city built up a fleet of it's own customised Leyland Atlanteans but the unusual Danish built Leyland Lions and these Volvo D10M's saw the end of the characteristic Nottingham raked rounded fronts on double-deckers as rather more conventional buses arrived like Alexander R' Types and of course Lynx single-deckers marked a complete change in direction.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Crewe: A bit of enlightenment

I'm afraid the railway town of Crewe is about as appealing as the name suggests but this fine Victorian frontage to a civic building probably the town library most eye-catching. Also note how the cheerful red and cream livery of the PMT Minilink Ford Transit minbus brightens this rather wet scene taken in about 1990.

Rush Hour: London Bridge

The rush-hour is always a good time to visit the London Embankment as many commuter services pick up here. Regulars on the Kent run were Smith's of I think Sittingbourne who supplied this Plaxton Paramount 3500 bodied Leyland Tiger B46 XKJ in their black grey and white livery.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

The Bus Departed

Sadly a favourite of mine the MAN buses in this picture taken at Zoo Station in Berlin have all go but when I go there this Easter no doubt there will still be oppotunities to snap the girls with whatever comes along.

Contrasting Setras at Yverdon

The new and the old at Yverdon at the bottom Lake Neauchetel in Switzerland. These two Town Buses photographed in the early Nineties show how much Setra styling had changed within the lifespan of a bus.

Monday 25 January 2010

Midland Red in Shrewsbury

Considering this is an enlargement from a primitive 'Junior' old Ilford Sporty negative it's not at all bad. The main reason for it's increase in size is because a publisher wants to use it to illustrate a book of pop lyrics as there is a song there about Barker Street Bus Station in Shrewsbury. This garage was mainly single-deck but about ten double-deckers were on the allocation to work fairly easy town services. However of the 350 D7's delivered SY Garage recieved in 1957 4747 from the last batch new no doubt for the one long run out to Hereford on the X34-5. However in the Sixties a number of new D9's arrived of which 5028 was the first in about 1962.

Saturday 23 January 2010

The day the Circus came to Town

And no doubt holding up the traffic.

Girls in Amsterdam

Apart from taking photos I was always too busy  to get into the buses in Amsterdam but these DAF's in their more traditional browny-red colour made a pleasant change from the more usual yellow based liveries. On the other hand maybe I took the picture because the colour almost matched the girls coat here outside the main station.

Friday 22 January 2010

Eavesway's Leyland Demonstarator SHG 810X

Eavesway bought this former demonstator off Leyland, the Duple Dominant bodied Tiger waits near the new Cathedral in a empty street with no yellow likes never mind parked cars and this gives the view a historic feel.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Bern FBW 140 at Helvetasplatz bound for Eigerplaz

I'm sure these FBW buses delivered to Bern bewtween 1959 and 1965 didn't owe them much. By this time in the early Nineties No.140 must have been forty years old and from the old black shaded fleet number might not have been repainted for many years or even not in it's life as this is how they looked in 1964.  This bus was slightly unusual because most of them carried roof mounted advertisment boards. Bound for the spectacularly sounding Eigerplatz the arrival in the quiet suburbs must have been something of an anti-climax.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Manchester: You would think there are thieves about

Someone is making sure nobody is going to ride off on his bicycle.

Three leaving Liverpool

It might look as if I was trying to be a bity arty with this shot but in fact because of the direct bright sunlight I had to get some cover from the direct sun behind the road signs. As you can see much of Liverpool's architectural heritage is boarded up and crumbling. Interestingly the National Express East,  Willowbrook Spacecar bodied Leyland Leopard bound for Leeds seems to come almost from the same designer as the French Citeron. Meanwhile another locally based National Express Leopard heads off on the marathon journey to Glasgow whilst a Ribble Atlantean does a local to Liverland.

Tired looking tram in Dresden

Taken in the early Nineties the former East Germany still has an eerie empty feel about it but to be fair Dresden tram 831bound for Wolmitz was photographed on a Sunday.

Monday 18 January 2010

Trying to squeeze one more image out of the film

I'm sure we've all tried it an found ourselves with half a negative. On this occasion in Leicester I got lucky as I shot thirty-seven or even thirty-eight. However there was a price to pay as there is a black hole in the picture where I pulled off the film from the cassette as I pulled it along. But I still like it as it's a fine view of one of that city's fine PD3 buses plus another Leyland a marshall bodied Leopard from the other local operator Midland Red. It was 1979 but despite the fine condition of twelve-year old MCW bodied Titan like it's sisters and the BMMO D9 it would sadly only last another year or so.

Sunday 17 January 2010

Saturday 16 January 2010

White snow turns to slush

I haven't taken many photos of buses in the recent snows so I took a picture of this one passing rather than catching it and especially as I needed some excercise. The cold weather is certainly a good excuse for warming up on hot curries. This 1993 Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart started life with Merseybus and is now the oldest Arriva bus at Stafford where it was returning from Uttoxeter on the 842 Service. The use of 8** digit route numbers is about the only reminder of the old Midland Red that once served the town but of course it never worked these services as they were the province of Independents like Wheidon's Green Bus.

Rail link to Heathrow

In about 1980 Alder Valley provided this dedicated Willowbrook bodied Leyland Leopard 99 GGM 99W for it's Rail Link service to Heathrow Airport from Reading.

Friday 15 January 2010

Trolleybus with a Smiley Face

By the time I took this view of VMCV No.7 in 1989 these eighteen Saurer 'solowagen' trolleybuses dating from 1956-8 used on the regular service alongside Lake Geneva were due to be replaced by the same number of new low-floor VanHool/Kiepe vehicles. I remember these well from my schooldays in the Sixties but no longer does Switzerland have that feeling of never changing which was one of it's joys as a transport enthusiast and no doubt should I return many of the later non-Swiss buses would not have enjoyed anything like such long lives before being booted off to Romania. No.7 might have been thirty-years old but it looked ready for another thirty and no doubt would have outlived their high-tech modern replacements too with few problems.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Routes to Willenhall: A brand new Metrobus

It must have been fairly new as it seemed many West Midlands Travel buses at that time were falling prey to graffiti vandals adding their yobbish tags to buses. This view of MCW Metrobus No.2887 on a round-about route to Willenhall via New Invention includes other older regulars to be found at Walsall at this time with a Bristol VR in the background, a type which was being replaced by even less standard Volvo Alisa buses transfered in from other garages like 4743 bound for Wolverhampton on the former joint trolleybus route that goes directly to Willenhall.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

New and old at Gelterkinden

For a long time the PTT Area garages of Gelterkinden and Aarau were bastians for the rapidly dimminishing Saurer RH as the 'Garage Bosses' there had no time for the new fangled imports from Germany. Of course it had to end and at first Setra's like P25852 arrived but later the ubiquitous Mercedes Citaro became standard. Sadly even Switzerland has to catch up with the modern world and it's seems it's wonderful transport system like everywhere else seems to be a target for the mindless graffiti taggers and vandals. Still I'm sure you can still get your head around wonderful Germanic place names like Wegenstetten.

Monday 11 January 2010

New buses in Dessau

After Reunification it seemed ramarkable how quickly the old East and West Germany started to look alike with the clothing, the busy streets and of course the buses. It didn't take long for the once ubiquitous Ikarus to disappear, indeed if I remember a number of new ones were left unsold. These were replaced with a mixture of used older buses from 'The West' and of course new examples like this new MAN with the added luxury of not just 'colour' but a digital display too. No doubt their modern suspension would be welcome on the still bumpy or cobbled streets.

January Sales lifts the gloom in Wakefield

Well not quite as it's a pretty cold and depressing view that might have been helpfully enlivened had the West Riding Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard had it's headlights on. This style of bodywork was not so common within the NBC but the bus order dates from the time when the 300 vehicle Wakefield operator was still the largest Independent in Britain with it's headquarters at the inappropriately named Belle Isle.

Saturday 9 January 2010

1906 Boggie-tram in Lisbon

It seems tram 349 was working the 15A and not the 15 as that one goes to Cruz Quebrada, but unlike the tourists no doubt the locals in Lisbon won't get lost.

Friday 8 January 2010

Sweet Dreams: Buy Cadbury or Optare

I read in the Financial's that there is a buyer sizing up Optare and it's share price rocketed accordingly. It would be nice to think that a new owner might grow the company but just as easily we could lose it. However as it is struggling at the moment but with new products in the pipeline I can't see it being melted down unless of course it's Kraft on their tail. Dennis made it's mark with the Dart whilst Optare revolutionised the minibus market by providing a cheap yet sophisticated alternative to the crude 'bread van' Transit. They went on to build single-deckers to the same formula but have yet to enjoy success with a double-decker especially as the promising Spectra flopped.

Driver, now it's time for a three-point-turn

Most NBC companies opted for a rather bland canary-yellow for it's training fleet but Bristol opted for a rather more distinctive inky-blue colour which probably made these Bristol FLF's look better than their harder worked leaf-green bretheren.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Basle No.62

Modern buses more or less come off a production-line like cars but in the old days not only were the products of each bodybuilder quite different it could differ from order to order. In the late Sixties or early Seventies the Swiss city of Basle started to take a number of these three-entrance Hess bodied FBW buses.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Thamesdown: What's in a name?

Even though the title has been around some years now few outside Swindon would know or care where Thamesdown is. Perhaps it portrays a new clean go-ahead high-tech image but I would rather remember it's railway heritage instead of today's acres of tinted plate glass.  I'm so glad they never did it to Crewe. Swindon Corporation buses never ventured far beyond the Borough whereas Deregulated Thamesdown  coaches were free to go all the way to Bristol like this former Green Line Leyland Tiger looking rather smart.

Monday 4 January 2010

Hidden Gems!

I don't let things like a fence in the way spoil my shot if it's the only way I can do it, the secret being to be honest and make it part of the composition. Actually I always wanted a picture of the rare East Lancs bodied Leopard coaches of Halton too but on this occasion not only was there this fence in the way it was even worse as there were bushes too so I had to settle for this beauty instead. One afternoon I saw one parked outside Tillington Hall Hotel in Stafford but this dummy didn't have his camera. The Leyland PD2 Playbus once belonged to Liverpool Corporation.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Lisbon: Everybody has something to say

This chap was handing out political fliers and was obviously so proud of his cause that he insisted in getting in my shot of Carras Daimler Fleetline 850.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Uznach: One of the last Saurer DUK's

Although by this time in about 1994 the PTT( Regie) owned Post Bus fleet had pretty well lost all it's once common Saurer DUK buses a few still turned up working for it's contractors (PAH) like this example seen loading at Uznach late in the afternoon where not too long ago the PTT Garage here had a few too.

Friday 1 January 2010

Glasgow belongs to me.....

.....and you can keep it!
No it doesn't look great on a nice day but on a horrible cold wet winter day I would rather be somewhere else. But to be fair to Scotland's largest city the warmth of the people compensates and no doubt there will be one or two sore heads in the city from the New Year celebrations last night. A blue and cream Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline of Midland Scottish heads out of the city for Gartcosh. This was one of those occasions when I was working and with a long journey ahead of me home I literally pulled up at the side of the road and took the odd photo here and there. Still fairly random views like this that are a bit fuzzy in my mind often have far appeal than those taken where buses usually gather in bus stations and at the garage.