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

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Do I do buses and girls?

Well that reminds me I do, here is a Reading view of a recent Alder Valley Leyland Leopard wearing that unpopular Willowbrook 003 bodywork. It was working the long established and important railair link from the main line from the South West to Heathrow Airport. As you can see in this early Eighties scene Lady Diana fever was rife which meant quite ordinary girls wanted to dress like a princess too even if it meant wearing a dated twin set and pearls like their old Gran once did. Today of course the idols they follow are more likely to be Paris Hilton or Lady GaGa, rather more sexy but somehow I quite applaud when I see them well groomed and ladylike in heels for a change.

Cotterills of Mitcheldean

As well is in urban areas a few Independents managed to run double-deckers in service. At one time Cotterills of Mitcheldean in the Forest of Dean bought new buses but later additions were secondhand like this smart MCW Metrobus GBU 6V in their chocolate brown and cream which came from Greater Manchester where it had been 2006 on the route to Cinderford.

Lancashire United Seddon

Built in Oldham the truck maker Seddon tried to make an impact on the bus market and won some notable orders particularly as the NBC took for Crosville 100 badly needed new single-deckers to speed OPO. Independent minded Lancashire United Transport didn't always follow the normal flow of things and ordered some Seddon RU's too with rather dated looking flat-fronted Plaxton dual-entrance bodies for one-person operation. This 1971 bus No 392 New in 1971DTC 740J was seen close to it's home depot at Swinton and lasted twelve-years.

Monday 30 August 2010

Blackpool a Mecca for those Scottish Coaches

 Blackpool was a great place to spend a sunny August Bank Holiday with the arrival of coaches from far and wide especially Scotland. Strathclyde is not readily associated with coaches so it's nice to have a view of the Alexander TC-class Tiger C16. Getting in people too meant I could also fit in enough of the once common Bedford or Ford with it's Duple Viceroy.

Sunday 29 August 2010

NBC's new colours: Trent in Matlock

Twenty buses at Matlock and about thirty-five further afield at Buxton were transferred to Trent of Derby as their share after North Western Road Car of Stockport was wound up when their new owner's the National Bus Company made changes. One way to look at it was that Trent inherited many of North Western's former prettiest routes in the rugged and hilly Peak District. More of a problem though was that much of it was not good operating territory which probably is why Matlock was sent these redundant Leyland Tiger Cubs from the main Trent fleet, and with Alexander Y-Ttype bodies it was a combination that was rare outside Scotland. Here their coach type bodywork would be a plus but their progress would have been slow over the hills despite the low seating capacity. Still looking smart in Trent colours though we see at the bus station HRC 105C and 106 plus part of yet a third example.  This depot had previously run mostly the more powerful Royal Tiger but under North Western they were already being replaced by a new generation of Gardener engined Bristol RE's and SJA 346J No.346 a 1971 Marshall bodied example had just received in 1974 what was quickly becoming the norm the unimaginative poppy red of NBC.

Saturday 28 August 2010

More Portugal: Come on, wish me a Happy Birthday!

With the exception of perhaps the town buses of Lisbon and Porto I'm getting a bit short of new views of Portugal's buses. However as it's my Birthday today I thought I would offer you all this little slice of celebratory cake. It's a Volvo but apart from that I can't tell you much.

Same Day: Today August 28th my Birthday

Yes I remember the day well, buswise this was my Birthday Treat being a smart Tiger but how many years ago? But it was the end of the 90's when I caught this Mayne's coach dropping off in Moss Side LIB 6437 (C437 YBA) just before the light started to fail at tea-time

Friday 27 August 2010

West Midlands MCW Metrobus 2149 in the Birmingham suburbs

We can take some of our best shots in the winter sunshine as long as there are not too many shadows. In about 1981 a recent WM Metrobus GOG149W 2149 picks up on the Tyburn Road. In those days most cars were still British and look at those British Leyland Minis. The Tyburn was where they used to hang criminals in the old days and executions were popular public events with a carnival atmosphere. No doubt not everyone thought it was fun but they should have thought about that before they stole those shoe-laces!.

Plymouth City Transport

At one time the Municipal bus fleet of Plymouth was 100% Leyland and also there was a time when most of the fleet was made up of Atlanteans. This view was taken in about 1980 which was very much their Heyday. Many were supplied with a style of attractive Park Royal bodywork which was more usually found with the National Bus Company. GDR 203N No.78 was paused outside the large bus garage at Milehouse.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Hutchinson's Scottish Pullman

Growing up reading the fleet news in Buses Illustrated as well as our school tables we learnt our operator listing rhymes such as for this coach firm 'Hutchinson of Overtown' seen working a Deregulated 'Scottish Pullman'service out of Glasgow Buchanan Street large busy Bus Station in the mid-Nineties. A number of firms had a go but most ended up handing their services to the all powerful Scottish Citylink formed from the intensive operations of the mighty state owned Scottish Bus Group which judging from what happened elsewhere in the Uk was pretty inevitable.  Duple's final offering the 320 and as here higher 340 was one of it nicest designs and looked fine on Hutchinson's Volvo F775 FYS.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Pool Meadow Coventry

Even though except during the War Midland Red never had a garage at Coventry it was a busy and important hub with buses mainly coming in from places like Birmingham, Leicester, Leamington Nuneaton and Rugby. Some of these were quite long routes too and it took numbing two and a half hours to reach Lichfield on the half-hourly 765 which also called at Tamworth and Nuneaton where 5153 was based. It was one of thirteen of these Weymann bodied Leyland Leopard LS18 buses of 1962-3 based there and the arrival of one of these fine beasts with a good heater was a welcome sight compared to the crude single rear wheel lightweight BMMO S14's type that preceded them on this route from that garage. The order should have been split 50-50 but of the 5145-5244 only up to 5169 actually materialised as a Weymann with the bulk coming from Willowbrook of Loughborough.
N.B. Sorry about the poor quality it is a basic schoolboy camera photo.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Thomas of West Ewell (Surrey)

Liking smart Leylands often catching glimses of it I always wanted a photo of this Plaxton bodied Tiger coach but because of the traffic or lighting conditions it always evaded me. Eventually I caught up with it near the Tower of London, it's a pity but I can live with a bit of blur as it speeds passed if it's appropriate. However I can only just read the number C913 UPB.

M1441London's trial buses

In the early Eighties to help dictate it's future purchasing policy London Buses tried nine new double-deckers from three manufacturers. The three V-class Volvo Ailsas and Leyland Oympians L1-3 were new types for the Capital but the three Metrobuses were already a tried and tested bus hence the high fleet numbers carried M1441-3. However they were the later Mk2 type with a slightly lower specification and different looking front with a long narrow grill. 260 Olympians arrived but the trials didn't make a lot of difference as Britain's largest bus company was soon to be deregulated and split up into nice bite-size chunks ready to be sold off. M1441 now part of 'South London' crawls towards Camberwell whilst one of those Olympians that was ordered L212 head towards Elephant & Castle and Central London.

Monday 23 August 2010

Long Shadows of Autumn

Warrington has a habit of buying secondhand buses to enhance it's fleet and these included a former Lincoln City Alexander bodied Leyland powered  Bristol RELL. Taken in about 1990 RVL68L was being used on Cheshire County Council sponsored work.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Lothian: Edinburgh's Coaches

Edinburgh's Lothian Regional Transport is best known for it's madder and white double-deck buses but it has operated a quantity of smart black and white coaches too. The bright sunlight proved to be a challenge when taking this view of Duple Dominant bodied LeylandLeopard coach 248, NSX 248T at The Mound.

garage D'orsay Chesieres

Here is an interesting view from Switzerland in the mid-Sixties of the sole vehicle of  the local Villars Tours. As well as the nicely curved MAN coach we are treated to the slow pace of village life where rumour had that it they regularly dug up the road to keep the Italian workforce employed. Interesting garage signs too and I would have thought GM would have sold it's cars here as a German Opel rather than far away Luton based Vauxhall from the UK. This garage was right next door to where I was at school as I was fortunate enough to go to Aiglon College.

Saturday 21 August 2010


The Sixties was a time when we destroyed our Victorian heritage to replace it with nasty tarmac, concrete and low quality high-rise living. Few modern cathedrals to living were built in that era so this bold beautiful statement of local civic pride must not be lost to future generations. The present Preston Council say that the bus station is in the wrong place and has become shabby and draughty, but I'm sure a few thousand spent on improvements would pale into insignificance compared to the cost of erecting such a huge structure today. Also local residents have voted it their favourite building in the town so as usual the powers that be have their own agenda and do not care about it's real importance. Not only is this really fine cutting-edge architecture it needs to be saved too as is about time in Britain we changed our attitude to public transport to something more positive as they do in Europe. Once it's gone I dread to think what will go in it's place, probably another thrown up 'twee village style' red brick folly of a shopping centre with it's fake clock tower and litter fountain. If it happens I don't want to go there again for sure. Whatever happens Preston Bus has gone as another former Municipal falls to the competitive muscle of Stagecoach. At one time like Ribble who were also based here the Corporation had almost only Leyland buses but by the Nineties after production had ceased their numbers were being thinned but as you can see here plenty of buses like 1980 Alexander bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68 UHG 141V still looked extremely smart. Indeed no bus is really pretty but it was a lot nicer than the tall faceless ugly motel it hid maybe warning us of what to expect on this hallowed site.

A local gem at theAlton Bus Rally

With the exception of stand-alone Midland Red who built it's own fleet,  Aldershot and District was the most unusual of the BET Group bus companies and I feel it's need for lowheight double-deckers and conservative nature suggested that somehow it had spiritually at least just narrowly escaped being part of the Nationalised BTC empire. But it was fortunate that it was not so for there would have been those ubiquitous Bristol's here wearing that rather staid 'Tilling Green1 and cream instead of these lovingly applied fresh looking country colours on it's Dennis and AEC fleet. Yes Dennis famed for it's fabulous fire-engines had it's factory at Guildford here in Surrey and naturally, A&D was by far it's best and most loyal PSV customer. A few Dennis Lancets went to East Kent and the rather expensive Loline based on the Bristol Lodekka found favour elsewhere too but a  typical A&D rarity was this this uncommon Dennis Lance k3 with East Lancs bodywork seen at the Alton Bus Rally where the company once had a smallish garage. Indeed it was worth going all that way for this event as I had never seen any of these before and it's a shame the queues were so long for rides as I might have 'hopped' on GOU 845 from this 1948-50 batch 124-147, however Lolines which I had only ridden on a couple of times before were quite plentiful helped pass the time .

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Eccleston Road: Journey's End

No doubt all the British express coach drivers will know this impressive approach to Victoria Coach Station in London and also have a tale or two to tell about the cheap digs and hotels they had to use nearby in the big bad Capital. However this relatively local Hastings a District Duple bodied Leyland Leopard would normally be able to return home the same day with commuters.  On this occasion though the Kent driver was  parading along sunny Eccleston Road on private hire work yet almost by habit still taking the very familiar route making it something of a 'busman's holiday; no doubt,.

Once the buses in East Lancs looked like a rich Chocolate Cake.

From the mid-Sixties Municipal operators modernised their livery as modern types arrived. Sadly the older buses usually looked better as they were but thankfully Rossendale PD3/East-Lancs No.37 missed out and looked magnificent as it motored past the garage and bus station in Rawtenstall in 1981-2. Many town fleets up here in North and East Lancashire carried these rich brown or maroon and cream colours including as well as here, Burnley Colne Nelson, Preston, Lancaster, Ramsbottom, Bolton, Wigan and of course the wonderful BET controlled Ribble.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Mayne's to Ashton

Mayne's have been running buses in Manchester on the road to Droylesdon since the 1920's and continued to ply their trade till quite tecently. But sadly they sold their bus routes to Stagecoach which was a great pity but at least it gives me a reasonable excuse to post one of my buses and girls pictures from a few years ago. However even though we no longer see red and cream liveried buses like F113 NNC  an Northern Counties Volvo at Piccadilly today Mayne still operates it's fleet of coaches in the area.

Room on top on Santorini

Onlookers look concerned as their precious luggage is bundled on top of a Mercedes bus for their bumpy ride to Santorini Town. However I imagine few items ever fell off unless it was mine.


When I first came to Brig in the early Nineties there were a few of these Setra 215's to be seen but the local PTT fleet of the Swiss Post Office here was still mostly classic Saurer RH.  But by the end of the decade they had all gone and P25062 displays it's Deregulated 'Die Poste' livery showing us that it by this time in 1998 was in the second half of it's working days here.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Niddries: Day trip to Blackpool

The third of my four boarding schools was at Great Budworth in Cheshire and for our transport needs Niddries was chosen. In those days they had Plaxton bodied Bedfords including a Leyland 0400 powered VAL. By the Eighties unlike Northwich Town they had graduated to the Fist-Division with thisVolvo B10M with the more attractive first stle of Duple Laser.

Friday 13 August 2010

It's Yorkshire Traction No. 1

When there's a rail strike an already busy Victoria Coach Station bursts at the seams and a whole load of Policemen, Officials and Inspectors are required to make sure everything grinds to a halt smoothly. I'm not sure what Yorkshire Traction No. 1 6078HE was a they resused the numbers and by then in the early Nineties Leyland Tigers might have given way to the likes of newer Volvo B10M's with similar Plaxton 3500 bodywork.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Driver Training in the Welsh Valleys

It has more or less dissappeared now but once the South Wales Valleys was very industrialised with coal mining and steel making. Sadly it's bus interest has declined too and all that is left of the many local Municipal operators is in the large towns of Cardiff and Newport. The attractive fleet of Rhymney Valley came about following the merger of three of these belonging to local Urban District Councils. Galligaer was one of them but here we see one of the seven former tiny Bedwas & Machin fleet, Massey bodied AEC Regent V No.5 422 CAX which had become a trainer at the Mill Lane garage of the biggest of the three Caerphilly which contributed thirty Leylands. As I said all this is just a memory now.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Ikarus fly away! The ugliness of East Berlin

Some of the older areas of East Berlin had a kind of rundown nostalgic charm a kind of world of ghosts of history. But the stuff the Communists built was ghastly souless and the vehicles are best forgotten. Standard fare for the Eastern Block were these Ikarus coaches which were usually at least a little smarter than this example with the now demolished 'Palace of the Republic' behind.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Former East Staffordshire Dominator in Swindon

After the demise of the Daimler Fleetline Thamedown the former Swindon Corporation was rather partial to the not too dissimilar Gardner powered Dennis Dominator and snapped up East-Lancs bodied LBF 232V which was ousted after the also renamed to East Staffordshire (Burton on Trent Corporation) was surprisingly sold off to the at that time still small but ambitious Independent Stevenson's of Spath.

Maidstone & District in Penshurst

Maidstone & District S303 a 1960 Weymann bodied AEC Reliance passed through Penshurst on the 93 Tunbridge Wells circular to Edenbridge one damp Saturday in September 1967. Despite being in bus livery this batch of buses in fact had dual-purpose coach seating for forty.

Friday 6 August 2010

The bus to Herlev

It might be grainy but I love this view taken at Hillerod to the north of Copenhagen of a very attractive Carson/VBK bodied Volvo dating from the Sixties seen in 1979.

Big and small at Frauenfeld

Even Switzerland has to find ways of saving money and dial-a-ride minibuses become a useful tool for the Post Office. A VW stands alongside one of the Mercedes-Benz 0405 buses that formed most of the local PTT Garage allocation at Frauenfelt in the early Nineties.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Arriva in Tamworth

The Arriva depot at Tamworth seems to be well blessed with new buses like this 2008 Unibus bodied Scania about to work the old Midland Red 765 route to Lichfield. When I was a schoolboy it ran all the way to Nuneaton and Coventry and took about two and a half hours to make the trip.

Lancashire United Transport

Preserved buses tend to have a rather artificial 'rosy grow' so it was nice to see this pre-war Leyland Tiger of Lancashire United Transport at the 'Trans Lancs' Heaton Park Rally last year looking slightly worse for wear as it would have been during the long war years

Monday 2 August 2010

Duple 320 and 340 at Bretonside

Wilfreda of Adwick-le-Street had a pair of these Scania coaches with Duple 320 bodies delivered in 1989. No.37 G21 HKY was parked alongside a re-registered Leyland Tiger of Mayne's F55 HNC at Plymouth Bretonside showing us a comparison between it and the bigger Duple 340.

The Optare Delta: A modern Classic

I don't think many modern buses will be remembered as being classics but the attractive and pleasant to drive Optare Delta was perhaps an exception. PMT tried ten alongside unsuccessful Leyland Lynx buses but neither got a big order as the operator went for more smaller buses like the ubiquitous Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer combination. The regulars on the trunk service to Stafford from Hanley which at one time even reached Leek to the north-east included SAD 802, H802 GRE .