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

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Eagle of Bristol 931DHT

Eagle of Bristol operated this nicely turned out Van-Hool bodied Volvo B10M which was seen in Oxford in the early Nineties

Thursday 22 December 2011

Southdown in the cold

We seem to have forgotten that we used to have proper winters in the past. This was 1969-70 when I was living in a basement flat in St.Georges Drive not far from Victoria Coach Station. Even covered in snow Weymann bodied Tiger Cub 1131 still looked very smart if not totally inviting.

Girls at Wansee

In these dull months it's nice to have a reminder of Spring and Summer like this lunchtime secene at Berlin Wannsee

Monday 19 December 2011

Winter sunlight in La Chaux de Fonds

There are a number of Swiss towns I particularly like and one is La Chaux-de-Fonds in the west quite high up in the Jura Region near the French border where few tourists venture. It is this area where they made the expensive Swiss watches, but I liked it because the town was still running FBW buses plus trolleybuses and there was also a post bus garage nearby. The old Swiss buses had almost gone in 2000 but this Swiss bodied Volvo B10R in an attractive blue, yellow and white livery at least looked Swiss.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Stagecoach Fife: A Welcome Break o the M6

No doubt a welcome break for a cup of tea and what my mother termed "Just going to powder my nose" for these elderly travellers stopping at Sandbach Services on the M6. Before going to Fife No.504 ILL 3504 a Van-Hool bodied Volvo B10M was new to Shearings as E636 UNE.

Saturday 17 December 2011

London, best views are not always from the top deck

Although you see a lot of standing traffic bus photography doesn't always capture the true spirit of London. Turn the camera sideways and a different hustle and bustle of people some on holiday or just going about their daily routine appears. With an upmarket traditional look I always thought The Big Bus Company was the smartest of the open-top tours especially as an enthusiast. KJD109P was one of London Transports Daimler Fleetline DMS class which they hurriedly sold off much too the delight of less fussy operators and at one time most of the capital;s open-top tours were entrusted to these buses.

A no smoking bus maybe....

.....but the passengers don't have to follow it, but the rebuilt  Gardner powered Greenway would have been a big improvement on the notoriously smokey National1. Blackburn 423  though had been one of the first National2's as Midland Red 807 at Stafford Garage which came with a less problematic but loud Leyland 680 engine. As well as this a former Stafford Mark1 National 637 was also rebuilt as a Greenway but stayed with Midland Red.

Friday 16 December 2011

Thirty year old Bedford Val Van-Hool Coach

Stafford town centre doesn't seem to attract many coach visitors these days but just before Christmas there is a daily invasion of coaches from all over the county bringing schoolchildren in to enjoy a Panto held at the Borough Hall. Sadly there is not much sunlight and too many deep shadows and in about 1999 I had to time my click perfectly to get a view of Val's RAR690J a remarkable then almost thirty year old Bedford Val which I guess was by then in semi-preservation.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Old cats and Kittens at Ellen Smith

During the 1980's when Elites and Dominants ruled the roost older more interesting Leylands slowly rotted away beside Ellen Smith's garage near Rochale including a Duple Eliabethen and a Harrington UDK551 Tiger Cub.

Monday 12 December 2011

Samualson's New Transport KLR457D

Sadly some of the smaller BET/BTC operations are almost forgotten like one of my favourites Samualson's whose coaches looked magnificent in blue silver and white. Indeed my favourite of all  London coaches were Harrington Grenadier bodied Leopards DYM452-455C. Samualson's moved to it's home here at Victoria Coach Station when they were bought by it's owner's London Coastal Coaches in 1936. AEC's had been normal but after the Grenadiers Leopards continued to be bought but future deliveries like KLR457D had Duple Northern bodywork.

Friday 9 December 2011

RLH 24 in Basel

One of the nice things about double-deck sightseeing tours is that they use otherwise defunct types keeping them in use for a bit longer. But some are very special like former London Transport RLH 24 doing a tour in Basel in 1990. Normally London developed it's own buses like the RT and Routemaster but at times smaller numbers were needed like these lowheight buses Provincial buses. Of course a batch of seventy-five of these Weymann bodied AEC Regents would be a huge order for most operators but London at one time  had over eight-thousand red and green buses.

Thursday 8 December 2011

December 1986 & a horrible day in Glasgow

When taking bus photos whilst working my visits to Glasgow have been scarce hence this terrible December day for my first attempt in about 1986. With such dull conditions it was hard to get any contrast to lift the scene or mood. But as the people at the bus stop for Ruchill might have told you, the camera doesn't lie. Glasgow City Transport and it's successor Strathclyde PTE took large numbers of Alexander bodied Leyland Atlanteans including UGG387R No. LA 1168.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Arriva F301AWW in the snow

It might not have snowed yet this year in Stafford but at the moment it certainly feels cold. One thing we all seem to agree on though when it does come it's always worth the cold hands and feet to get some less  unusual views of familiar buses. The bonus comes when like this former West Riding Lynx they have been a memory.

Monday 5 December 2011

JNA404 Manchester's old buses

The over zealous use of the red paint spray gun might have really spolit the appearance of the later MCW bodied buses in Manchester but the earlier stock like this solidly elegant streamlined Leyland PD2/3 at Rochdale Road Garage seemed totally unabashed by it. But the no-nonsense feel of  MCTD added much to the grimy northern warmth of the city in the Sixties. Today whenever I see a sparkling former Manchester bus something tells me I'm being cheated because newness did not last long.

Friday 2 December 2011

Happier Days for Hospital Nurses in Stafford

It's sad that Stafford Hospital has received so much bad publicity, but as you can see it was not all bad for us. But actually this was the time when the hospital was in Greyfriars nearby and attractive young nurses were a more familiar sight in the town centre. Happy Days Ford BCX426K was new to Hanson of Huddersfield.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

New Leyland Panthers for the City of Lincoln

My first visit to Lincoln many years ago coincided with the recent arrival of it's first Leyland Panthers bodied by Roe.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Day out in Statford on Avon ANK 319X & ANK 320X

A sunny Summer Sunday and a pair of  Carsville's Plaxton bodied Leyland Tigers arrives in Stratford on Avon on a day trip.

Friday 25 November 2011

London Sightseeing Tours

One of the good things about sightseeing buses is not only are they often older and therefor more interesting they bring a bit of variety to the streets. Comparatively speaking Leyland Atlanteans have never been a  common sight in central London but quite a few carried tourist such as this former South Yorkshire PTE example SWB 286L. As it crosses London Bridge from the top deck tourists are afforded magnificent views of more than just the wide River Thames

Thursday 24 November 2011

Blackburn in the Nineties

Sorry I couldn't get the whole of the Dennis Dart in Guys! Blackburn was always a good town for bus variety and that was still the case in the Nineties and some of the girls weren't half bad either like this blond braless stunner who had been shopping in W.H.Smith.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Old Routemaster Coaches become Trainers RMC 1499

I always rather liked the Green Line RMC class so it was rather depressing when these buses looked so neglected in the Eighties after being turned over to training duties. RMC 1499 was seen at Ponders End Garage.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Thankfully an end to the Torbay Minibus

I must admit I like to post photos that relate to the time of the week whether it be Saturday, Sunday or a weekday. This Sunday was in July 1998 when the more balanced Stagecoach fleet had largely swept away most of those boring minibuses it inherited from Harry Blundred's Devon General and partly replaced them with older and much more enjoyable proper buses like this Bristol VR LWU468V seen in Torquay.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Ford Demonstrator PNO603V

In 1980 National Travel East had this Plaxton bodied Ford demonstrator on loan and PNO603V was seen heading out of Bradford on a London Service.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

SMT Volvo Ailsa CSG776S in Edinburgh

As time has gone on for me buses have become progressively more dull either through appearance or modernity. Thankfully there have been exceptions too as in Scotland where there were plenty of these splendid quick Alexander bodied Volvo Ailsas with their screaming little turbocharged engines to make each ride a memorable experience.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Fishwick's National2 WRN413V

A Preston teatime and members of the attractive Fishwick fleet are difficult to photograph due to their sombre neutral colours obscuring them in long dark shadows. With it's base at Leyland not surprisingly Fishwick's were a loyal Leyland customer and a large number of new Workington built Nationals were bought too including early Mark2 buses like WRN413V.

Monday 14 November 2011

A GMT Olympian heads for the Arndale Centre

When I was a boy one had to know where to go in Manchester City Centre to see all the different operators. Just outside a few yards from the city Salford Bus Station was literally just a stone's throw away and here one found the delights of Lancashire United, Leigh, and on Route 8 Bolton Corporation. When it closed this service and others finally made it and terminated in Manchester at the Arndale Centre nearby.

Friday 11 November 2011

Green Line from Heathrow in the Nineties

Formerly B271KPF this London Country NE Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger was leaving London Heathrow Airport on Green Line 724 to St Albans.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Pool Valley: Southdown Winter Sun

Pool Valley for many was Southdown, and here I caught East Lancs bodied PD2 No.200 catching the glare from the low winter sun coming off the sea across the promenade as it departed for Peacehaven. These were my favorite fleet deckers as they were my first proper taste of the company as I went to stay for New Year with a schoolfriend at Jarvis Brook near Crowborough on the iconic 119-122.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Routemasters and Tourist London

Like the pigeons Routemasters seemed to gather around Trafalgar Square much to the delight of the tourists. Few would have noticed that well turned out RML 2527 was owned by BTS and not London Buses.

Extreme Sports: Bus Photography!

Well it's not that dangerous unless you decide to keep nipping over the carriageways of the M25 to get your shots. But as with skiing and motor sport where there are infamous dangerous bends and obstacles our hobby has it's perilous places too.  I see from other Flick postings that I am not the first person to come a cropper trying to get a decent view of vehicles departing from Marlborough Street Bus Station either catching the shadows or like this getting it blurred. Pity really as I wanted a nice view of Southern National RDV419S because by that time it was almost the last of it's breed with the NBC.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

A Southend Tiger at Piccadilly Circus

Following Deregulation Southend operated a number of coaches on express services to London including a number of former Green Line Plaxton bodied Leyland Tigers like No.561 A103EPA.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Plymouth Citybus: The School Run

Plymouth Citybus operates a modern fleet of buses but as well as these there is a pool of older stock kept for schools and student contracts. Many of them are double-deckers but in the Nineties there were also three former National Travel (S West)  Leopard coaches including KAD352V seen finishing it's homeward run in Tavistock.

Monday 31 October 2011

Trent Leylands at Derby Bus Station

Derby as well as being home to the hus company Trent, the town as it was then was famed for it's architecturally iconic art-deco influenced bus station dating from the early Twenties. Of course despite this it has recently been demolished in the name of progress! The bus operator's didn't like it much though as being a curved shape it was not suitable for modern large buses. However these three Leylands looked happy enough in this Sixties view.

Mercedes Post Bus on Airport Servive in Basle

Here was PTT owned Post Bus P25505 departing from outside the impressive railway station at Basle on the single route to the Airport. Saurer RH's had been been the regular performers but from the early Nineties Mercedes-Benz 0405's like P25505 became the norm.

Friday 28 October 2011

Crew Change at BVG Zehlendorf Garage

In the Nineties Volvo must have hoped for great things when it secured an order for a batch of buses off the huge BVG. But in Berlin today the scene is still dominated by MAN double-deckers and Mercedes based vehicles like the articulated Solaris. The brighter Dutch inspired yellow based livery was a great improvement on the previous porridge colour used by German city bus fleets since the early days.

Bus Wars Competition in Wigan

I feel much of the fierce competition following Deregulation was rather childish, anyway that's how I see the way the former Liverpool and Manchester PTE's invaded one another's vast territory for neither side could have gained much from it. But it certainly gave us enthusiasts a bit more to see and wonder about like for instance was Merseyside trying to steal a bit of the old much missed Lancashire United Magic too? Merseyside PTE had standardised largely on Leyland Atlanteans but as they were phased out more other double-deck manufacturers appeared including MCW with the Metrobus like No.0811 F811YLV which would have offered a rather pleasant ride back to Liverpool from Wigan just situated in the former Manchester area.

Sunday 23 October 2011

WMTravel Coach Seated Metrobus

When West Midland's applied grey to it's new coach seated Metrobuses to make them stand out it was rather effective, but as with First Group when the whole fleet slowly turns to grey it can be slightly dull. Having said that it might have seemed an eternity but following Deregulation many liveries seem to alter all the time including Travel West Midlands.No.2959 D959 NDA was on the longer type limited stop 900 Service to Coventry which they were bought to do.

Thursday 20 October 2011

1968: The Manchester bus for the Seventies

Whereas under pioneering General Manager Ralph Bennett the nearby crafted East-Lancs bodied Bolton Atlanteans had looked fresh and exciting a move to Manchester produced the even more modern and bigger 'one person'  Mancunian in it's bold red and white livery which had looked positively surreal when it first appeared on the streets. Leylands started to arrive before Fleetline orders and stole most of the glory like No.1024 worked the 19 the first route.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Shiver: Winter is coming down your road

Every cloud has a silver lining and just think of all those fab festive bus scenes you can shoot. As for myself I love the snow these days as I have a nice warm bed, then afternoon snooker to watch on the TV and in the evening with a hot cup of tea I relax and white chaos on the news. Seriously though I wouldn't take to heart the warning of terrible weather again this year as in truth nobody knows what the weather will do more than a couple of weeks ahead and now it is is so unpredictable they can't even follow past trends. In this view Geoff Arrowsmith heads back into Stafford from The Heywoods in Staffordian Leopard ex Nat Travel East YWE514M

Eilat's Breakdown Tender in 1979

This might be just a cut down and customised Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster, but this beefy recovery vehicle belonging to TAN at Eilat certainly looked the business. I'm not sure what Voca would say about the large tyre mounted on the front but with so much sand drifting about in the desert obviously there are times when it had to push them out as well as pull and tow.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Fleetlines in Brum

Despite NOV791G having been delivered to the Birmingham City Transport fleet and four years later VOX131K to the West Midlands PTE there are obvious similarities between these Daimler Fleetlines.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Merseybus Ailsa 0073

Merseyside PTE bought a number of small batches of various buses in the early Eighties including some Alexander R-bodied Ailsas. No.0073 was visiting Liverpool from the Wirral on service to Hewall.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Best Friends on a City Break in Berlin

I really miss the older Berlin double-deckers but with their steering and entrances on the correct side of the bus right across Europe they are favoured over modern former British bus for sightseeing conversion. MAN 1909 still belonged to the main BVG Berlin operator but it has now pulled out of this competitive tourist business. However there are still a number of former Berlin buses at work here.

Saturday 8 October 2011

A glimpse inside Midland Red Stafford Garage.

Apart from just one double-decker, recently arrived former Trent Fleetline 2541 which quickly moved on to Ludlow and Hereford all these buses were typical of the Stafford fleet in the Eighties.  After Deregulation as well as Mark1's all eleven MRN National2's were here and the pod-less type was ideal for the 824 to Lichfield with that low bridge at Colwich. 807-811 were new here. Of  the JHA-L Leopards 225 was also new here and was later joined by spare sister 224 when Oldbury Garage was transferred to WMPTE. But by this time both had moved on and their replacements 207, 247 and seen here 221 became regulars for a number of years. Also new came later N-Reg 340 and 360. Unlike the Fleetline which was not very 'opo friendly' the Leopards were always popular.

Thursday 6 October 2011

National Express C182 RVV at Digbeth

Despite the nameNational Express never really wanted to own any of it's coaches but had to run one or two to have an operators licence. The first of these were a pair of unusual Caetano bodied Leyland Tigers, one of which was seen about to depart for Manchester from below the firms HQ which was at Digbeth.

Monday 3 October 2011

Art Students chatting in Saint Gallen

As I've mentioned before pictures of buses and girls together are often loosely called a Jowitt. But of course like all good photographers he had a style all of his own and I have to admit many of my views have that 'Jowitt Feel'. This one from Switzerland is typical with the girls taking centre stage in this softly lit street scene with lots of reminders that for us Brit's makes it seem somewhere slightly more exotic and romantic. And there just as you start to daydream you see a strange trolleybus perhaps heading to the next shot!

Chaserider & Happy Days Buses in Stafford

I was never a big fan of the London Transport DMS which looked rather plain  boxy and unimaginative and especially when compared to the modern rounded designs that came from builder's like Alexander. However in hindsight I'm sure some of the reason for this was that they were far better constructed than some of the more attractive when new 'fair maidens' particularly from East Lancs and Northern Counties. No doubt this helped endear the to all the operator's who said 'thank you very much' when LT threw them to one side. OUC 35R even found it's way to Happy Days of Woodseaves.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Clynnog and Tevor

At Plymouth Bretonside helping out on a National Express duty from North Wales was this Plaxton bodied Volvo coach YSU446..

Wednesday 28 September 2011

DB railway bus at Giessen

The DB German railways owned buses could be seen at many locations and Setra DB-23-904 seen here in Giessen still painted in a traditional dark red and cream represented the old order whilst less characterful newer buses in a less pleasing shocking reddy-pink colour keep it company.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Badgerline 816 SHW leaves Bristol for Chepstow

What do you do when you see something you want to photograph but are on the wrong side? Well I think it was better to take this wide view rather than get run over. I must admit I must have looked a bit of a fool standing on that wall  between the carriageways moving backwards and forwards getting shots from all directions but we are bus enthusiasts aren't we and we're not supposed to act cool! This Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard on it's way to Chepstow crossing the Severn Bridge into Wales wore the un-dated registration from off an earlier Bristol FLF Lodekka in the Bristol fleet to hide it's years and would have been a late Seventies T-W series coach.

Monday 26 September 2011

The many colours of Midland Red

Paint suppliers must have rubbed their hands together with glee during the Nineties as new owners wanted to make their presence felt or operator's couldn't decide whether the latest livery was better than the last. Here at Ditherington Garage the Midland Red Shrewsbury allocation would with the  exception of 'park and ride' buses soon become boring Corporate Arriva. But using this photo as an argument some might say it was not really such a bad thing.