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

Friday 30 July 2010

Wonderful Copenhagen 1979

Another view from my 1979 trip is of a very smart one year old Leyland-DAB in the centre of Copenhagen with another one going the opposite way.

1979 Copenhagen HT Volvo 887

I must admit I tended to look down on this rather square Aabenraa bodied Volvo's in the Copenhagen fleet of HT as they lacked the character of the earlier well rounded Leyland-DAB BL1-2 Series buses that reminded me of Leyland Panthers bck home. The last of those DAB's was No.510 quickly followed by the first of these in 1970. However as you can see No.887 was still only one year old in 1979 and I came to rather like them as they made a distinctive 'whine'.

Bern 701: A bit of a one off?

I'm not an expert on the trams of Bern but from the outside at least No.701 stood out as being different and I expect it must have been the prototype for the next generation.

Monday 26 July 2010

Happy Days of Woodseaves

With Deregulation Happy Days Coaches of Woodseaves near Stafford reminded us of it's former days as G.H Austin when it started buying second-hand buses again. As before most were Leylands but a couple of rare sixty-one seat high-capacity  Wadham Stringer bodied Bedford YMT's appeared from Maidstone Borough Council including TKM 111X. To be truthful thses buses and usually shorther were not exactly rare as the British Forces and other none PSV users had them but they were ceratinly not common as a service bus.

Saturday 24 July 2010

Lisbon: Follow that Tram!

The rebodied and like this rather newer trams in the Lisbon fleet seemed to lack the character of the older rolling stock of up to fifty-years their senior. These single ended 'open plan' trams of nos 283-304 and 306-322 with bus seating dated from between 1954-57 weighed almost ten-tonnes and carried 26 seated passengers and the same number of standees.

Our mild Devon Riviera

In the bright sunlight with it's solid white buildings and palm trees Torquay can seem a bit exotic. But despite the racy Stagecoach stripes this  Bristol VR is as conservative as ladies who take afternoon tea. LWU468V is working one of the best known local routes, the 12 to St Marychurch.

High Stakes: London Transport's 8387 buses and the Numbers Game

A spotter who is sick of London is sick of it!


But it was certainly an exciting prospect for me when we first came to stay for our yearly short-week holiday in the Sixties. Even when my parents rested their aching feet at the Ivenhoe nearby I was posted notebook in hand on this corner of Gt Russell Street. That was a long time ago and it was 1962, no RM's on the 73, just RM 4** series on the 127 and very early double-digit ones from Poplar on the 23 crossing towards Holborn. Of course I was still a bit too young to dally with the likes of Christime Keeler and Mandy Rice Davis so instead reluctantly I had daily wonderful Red Rover adventures and I filled no less than sixty-three pages and 'copped' someting like 1500 buses that week.Some going and especially when by the end of the week I must have seen the one's coming passed the hotel far more than just once crossing them off the list.

A Hurried Toilet Stop in Taunton

Anyway that's what I told the lady traffic warden I had to do who was busy writing out a ticket as I had left the car for literally a few moments close to the Bus Station on double-yellows to just catch these two beauties, a former Trent Leyland National2, and a rarer former Eastern National Alexander bodied Tiger. Somehow I got a way with it, maybe she felt sorry for me imagining it all running down my leg! LOL
I'm pleased I did though as Southern National was by this time part of the First Group, and soon this pleasant lettuce-green and cream livery with it's hints of Southdown would soon be replaced by boring old Barbi and very horrid Barbi2. Really I should have stopped longer as not only in Taunton quite nice it's quite a trek down the A38 to return to the quickness of the M5 motorway southwards

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Plymouth: Journey's End

Wessex Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard SND294X arrives at Plymouth Bretonside Bus Station after a long run from Bristol. Wessex was a not very well know local Bristol coach firm running a fleet of lightweights but after selling out to the National Bus Company came to prominence as National Express used the title for it's local base.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

The M&D bosses visited their Kentish bus empire in this Commer

Named The Knightrider after the Maidstone & District head office and garage situated in the street of the same name was this their splendid and rather modest petrol engined Commer 'Director's Coach'. Harrington bodied it in 1951 with just sixteen seats, the same as an LDV mini-bus of today!

The man from Boots the Chemist

...developing them liked to put his dirty paws on my Ilford Sporty negatives. Still even with bus missing too I have to say that as nice as it is to see these wonderfully restored machines parked together on the grass or even on the road somehow it's not quite the same as how they were in their day. From school in Somerset my range adventurously Sunday- hitch-hiking took me not much further than Petersfield where I think this was outstationed at the Southdown garage.

Monday 19 July 2010

Post Bus and Postie

At the main Swiss PTT Post Bus works in Bern as well as servicing the buses and other road vehicles, there was also a small workshop where the postman's mopeds were also sent from right across Switzerland for repair. One of these passes Endingen Garage where a typical PTTa Mercedes O405 P25363 waits for it's driver to take up it's next journey.

Friday 16 July 2010

Staffordian 161

When Greatrex Tours became Staffordian following it's sale to the Austin family the new owners upgraded the fleet and that included the arrival of  two of these Berkhof bodied Volvo's.

West Midlands Travel Leyland National 850

Overseen by local 'characters' selling the Express & Star', working a service in the old Midland Red 'Black Country' 2** series is West Midlands 1850 TVP8 50S a Leyland National boarding at Wolverhapton Bus Station for Dudley. The letters PL tell us that the vehicle is allocated here to Park Lane Garage.

1801: Not Berlin's finest bus but I miss them.

As is often the case I tend to take buses for granted till they start to vanish and then they no longer seem so mundane as one has to seek them out for that final ride delicious ride that stirs all those taken for granted memories. Once almost every West Berlin bus seemed to be one of these rather dull Wagon-Union bodied MAN SD200's built between 1975and 1985. Rather like the contemporary Ikarus single-deckers across the dividing wall in East Berlin an attractive front disguised rather a functional design. But they did have character and especially as the engines made a pleasant whine which reminded me slightly of the UK MCW Metrobus an even more favourite bus. No.1801 dates from the 1982 and was photographed in the model's heyday when still quite new and just look at the old 'Bauhaus' inspired bus stop. Like the Berlin double-decker the brewer Schultheiss is another local icon. I've been repremanded for drinking it when 'cool types' swig Becks Lager, but what the hell I can buy that at my local Sainsbury's and what would be the point of coming to Germany if  I just want 'roast beef'.

Odense: I'm always Sucker for a brand new bus

Some brand new buses stand out more than others and maybe it's because I'm getting older that I don't seem to notice them so much. On the other hand when they were all painted in strong primary colours they really gleamed like this recently entered in service dark red Volvo belonging to DSB, the Danish State Railways in 1982 which bore a nice fleetnumber too 666. Previously most of the fleet had been bodied by Aabenraa but as well as a few on Leyland DAB's the fleet also started to feature DAB bodies on it's customary Volvo's.

109 Biel

A rather attractive view of Biel with it's tidy street of clean while buildings a well wrapped lady in  fur coat and a very Swiss looking Volvo bus with Ramsier and Jenzer bodywork heading for Nidau.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Shades of Wallace Arnold

Here at Plymouth Bretonside had I waited a few hours the sun would have moved around but of course this WA related line-up might have dispersed. It's not as distinctive but I much prefer the Shearings classy gold WA livery to the brash blue and so it's sad that they are now doing away with WA branding. Apart from First's K615 LAE, a Northern Counties bodied Olympian this Hookways former Wallace Arnold Leopard was the only Leyland I saw in Plymouth last week. An interesting vehicle as PSU 938 dates from 1977 as WUG 128S and these special narrow Plaxton coaches for the Devon lanes were rebodied. Pending withdrawl JMT on Jersey wanted them but they were still too big for the Island and sadly they could not get approval. Still it was good to see one at one of it's regular WA haunts with local SW operator Hookways.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

New Buses for Plymouth

Well as these low-floor East Lancs bodied Volvo's were new in 2002 they are not exactly new but they mark a welcome return of suitable up to date double-deckers for all-day service with Plymouth as the elderly existing  fleet had been relegated to schools and contract work. Citybus is fortunate in that after it was put on the market it was bought by Go-Ahead which doesn't just 'slash and burn' with the removal of assets and then runs the operation on a shoestring, instead it takes a more sensitive approach to it's operations cherishing the heritage too. Indeed apart from the sight of these redundant modern double-deckers that came from Go-Ahead's London operations and a few other strangers in the camp one would never guess that CityBus had been sold and no doubt this reflects the sheer quality of this purchase. Coincidentally even though it doesn't mean anything in itself this bus No.408 at Devonport carries the registration of PN02-XCO reminding us of all those old Leylands that carried *CO which were allocated to the Plymouth Motor Tax Office.

Monday 12 July 2010

Wolverhampton: Flight's used to operate Flight-Link

The application of Flight's zig-zag stripes gives the Duple body on this a Volvo coach a slightly exotic 'Continental' touch. Much of what has been preserved is rather repetative and it would be nice to know a few more unusual vehicles had been saved the breaker's torch like this example from at that time Birmingham's finest operator.

Saturday 10 July 2010

San Antonio: The Beast!

Apart from their maker being Pegaso I'm no expert on the buses of Spain so I don't have too much to say about this vehicle used on service by local operator Damas in San Antonio except perhaps it might be striking but hardly beautiful.

Halls: Harrington Grenadiers on Parade

A POPS rally at PMT's long since closed  Hanley Clough Street Garage in the mid Eighties.Local Potteries concern Hall's Coaches turned up with no less than three AEC Reliance Coaches including the former Western Welsh 145 a Harrington Grenadier and even nicer KTC 330C.

Lost Liveries: First Bradford

When the First Group adopted it's Barbi colours for the entine bus fleet a number of attractive liveries were lost and a few shockers too. One of the least attractive was that found on Bradford's buses, and at that time towards the end of the Nineties on plentiful Olympians which I'm sure making those once familiar Gardner engine sounds we are starting to miss.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Royal Blue paused at Yeovil

Yeovil Station September 1966 when I started at a new school in Somerset, another view taken with my primitive Ilford Sporty camera of Royal Blue Bristol LS 2214. This was the nearest town but once I have exhausted the bike rides my weekend day out explorations thumbing-it took me as far as Plymouth, Cheltenham, Reading, and Portsmouth. With a cheeky smile and a college-scarf around your neck it was so easy to hitch-hike in those days when the world was perceived as a safer more friendly place.

The bus to Douro

Another gem from Porto for my Portuguese friends.

Western National 86 Plymouth to Barnstable

This Dennis Dart was photographed in the days when Western National still ran from Plymouth to Okehampton and the N.Devon coast. But life must be more dull today for the Tavistock drivers who rarely stray beyond the various less pretty runs in to Plymouth. As elsewhere the often quite pleasing individual First company liveries have been replaced by a corporate greyness. Also gone is the traditional looking garage over the road here in Tavistock.

Saturday 3 July 2010

A view of the Seafront at Brighton

I couldn't get a nearside view of this Southdown VR beacause of a rubbish skip so I moved over an took the Brighton seafront instead which was even better. These ECW bodied Bristol VR's like 594,  TNJ 994S had removable roofs for open-top work in the summer

A National Express Bova

The various contractors brought with them some much needed vehicle variety to National Express in the Eighties. Amongst the delights were these at the time rather futuristic looking Bova's like VWX 370X operated by Wallace Arnold on it's foray into express work. They were a partner in the British Coachways consortium which was formed to rival National Express but it failed not helped by poor facilities like the open-air car park London terminus at King's Cross which was not a patch well-appointed central Victoria Coach Station. So Wallace Arnold's interest mean't it got involved in Rapide work for a while.