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 30 January 2011

More Schooldays

After Switzerland I spent two terms in Cheshire at Great Budworth where I was close to the Warrington-Northwich 135-6 Service. This regularly employed the ten fine AEC Renowns to be found  at Northwich. No. 127 plus 115-117 were from the second 1964 batch of fifteen Park Royal bodied buses of which not all four examples arrived here when new. Probably some were displaced in the Stockport area by Fleetlines when still quite new. However secondhand Daimlers were to arrive here too in 1966 plus a few months later some new examples.

Back to school on our FBW Alpenwagen

I was very privileged to have to gone to school in Switzerland at a time when most people in Britain didn't even go abroad for their holidays. I have to say a lot of that expensive education was wasted on me but I still love Switzerland and of course the buses from those days. Luckily P24001 one of our two Post Buses at Chesieres has been preserved as a 'wedding bus'.. I think the PTT kept this fine FBW C40U Alpenwagen there for our school as Aiglon College used it for most of it's private hire whether they be educational trips, excursions, sport, or better still taking us down to Aigle Station at the end of term. Sometimes as well as the usual older  bonneted Saurer it saw service too on the five-mile zig-zagging journey down to the village of Ollon in the Rhone Valley where there was a tiny mountain railway halt. At week-ends one of our favourite pass-times was stupidly cycling down here at break-neck speeds negotiating hair-pin bends named like Pennyfeather after boys who had crashed there  knowing that later on Sunday afternoon tired we could all pile on to the bus and our bicycles would be returned in it's trailer ready for another death-defying schoolboy adventure..

Saturday 29 January 2011

Hino crosses High Level Bridge in Porto

Part of a constant procession of buses coming in to the nearby bus terminus beside the railway station to take the cummuters home.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Berresford's Bournemouth Atlantean

Withdrawn buses far outnumbered the runners at Jim Berresford's Cheddleton premises and for many of those in service it seemed just a matter of time before they were parked up for the last time. However interest was always maintained as more recent secondhand buses arrived. By the early Eighties Leyland Atlanteans had arrived including some from Bournemouth with MCW bodies like AEL178B which at first glance could be mistaken for Walter Alexander.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Over the Berlin Wall

Today it's almost hard to imagine that once one crossed the Berlin Wall it was a different world seemingly many miles and even years away. Here with the Brandenburg Gate as an backdrop a Hungarian built Ikarus coach passes a very similar BVB service bus. As for the lines of Trabants they today look as though they might be attending some enthusiasts rally.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Arriva Fleet; Huge Cuts at Stafford

Following a disagreement with the Borough Council over funding Arriva has decided to reduce it's fleet in Stafford from sixty buses to a mere sixteen plus two spares. The Garage will then only work town service routes with some frequency cuts, starting later and which will all finish by 8.pm. Becoming a sub-depot of Cannock no doubt there are plans to move the garage to smaller premises and many of the longer services will be transferred to this garage too where there is unused capacity. The unreliable former Stevensons route to Uttoxeter will probably go to Burton with a couple of buses being housed at the Spath outstation with the Telford to Stafford route going to Wellington. No doubt this will bring a bit more variety into the town bus wise but it can't be very nice for the crews who have to re-apply for the few driving jobs that will remain after February.

Flying the Flag

As in Britain too in Denmark much has changed in the bus scene since the Eighties. In those days there were many more small bus companies which took a great deal of trouble to present smart and unique liveried buses. Of course they were all different but many had a lot in common too with the fashionable stripes and typeography treatment on white. However on Jutland Dyhdahls Ruebiler Leyland-DAB JZ 94015 went one better as it had a row of four Spar flags fluttering away at the back!

PTT; Back End of a Bus

Unless you are one being told you look like the back end of a bus is hardly a compliment. Of course that expression goes back to the days of pre-war double-deck back-loaders with their square windows and slab sides. Since then a lot more thought has gone in to bus design especially the coach. Here enjoying winter sunshine was a quartet of vehicles showing some of the variety that could be found at Bellinzona in the Nineties. The PTT's own bus fleet only contained six Mercedes 0403 buses bought in 1979 and 1981 to work the town service. Next to it is P26003 a Setra S215HM by this time largely replaced by new coaches and others like the recent high-floor Neoplan next to it on the long route to Chur across the mountains. Last but not least was a by now much rarer Saurer RH, this example one of five also acquired for the important Chur service in 1983 P25350-4. 

Friday 21 January 2011

Grey Green at Stamford Hill

Like many Independents T. Cowie's 'Grey Green Group' had a mix of more refined heavyweight coaches for top line work and cheaper lighter vehicles for the more mundane 'bread and butter' work like carrying policemen and schoolkids around locally. Duple Dominant bodied  bodied Bedford YMT YYL793T was typical of the fleet under previous George Ewer ownership but these were the last of the type. Tried here in the early Eighties were examples of the Leyland Tiger and Royal Tiger plus the sophisticated 'flagship' coach the Royal Tiger Doyen as witnessed by A839SYR seen at the Stamford Hill Garage. But although more powerful and advanced none could compare with the more dependable rugged Leopard and with Leyland products no longer being as good this operator like others took the more sensible course and turned to the excellent Swedish Volvo B10M.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

That look of Surprise

As usual I was on the lookout for girls to add to my bus pictures when in Porto this shapely student emerged from the rush hour haze. Sadly her look of bemusement doesn't quite do her justice and believe it or not she was even more attractive than the recently rebodied angular Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster by UTIC.

North Western 517

Sadly many BET companies did away with their more attractive liveries with the advent of spray painting. Even North Western Royal Tiger 517 appeared at Matlock in all-over red for a while but fortunately this stayed a one-off and that very pleasant cream relief survived till the NBC erea.

Sunday 16 January 2011

One caught just passing through

It always pays to take a camera with you and I was fortunate enough to catch a shot on the walk to town of this by then most likely sold Leyland Leopard still in attractive Roberts 'Vale of Llangollen' colours. Based at Cefn Mawr just outside Wrexham they also had a small 'Vale of Shrewsbury' off-shoot too.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Saurers at Gelterkinden

Alongside PTT Aarau the village of Gelterkinden was something of a pure Saurer RH stronghold as the local garage management rebuffed the more sophisticated newer types from Mercedes-Benz and Setra delaying their introduction and eventual takeover. These solid and functional yet classic Swiss Post Buses had a timeless look about them that was seemingly neither modern nor old fashioned. These buses like Hess bodied P25826 of 1983 differed from their similar looking 'apline' counterparts in being both longer and equipped with a third exit.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Barclays Bus

Barclays bank has converted this MCW Metroliner double-decker into an attractive 'customer service' bus and it was seen stumping up business in Manchester last summer.

Sunday 9 January 2011

It's January, so where's the snow?

In January we are usually bracing ourselves for snow but after more than a generous helping in the period before Xmas we are enjoying the sort of rather balmy conditions we would usually consider cold. In the Eighties one of Stafford's three new Chaserider claret and red painted Duple Dominant bodied Tigers had picked up some whitish relief along with the passengers.

Blackpool: A meeting of Eighties Volvos

As a holiday destination Blackpool might be continuing it's long slow decline but it is still a favourite for weekend trippers in the summertime. This attracts coaches from far and wide like these two Volvo's in the period after deregulation which spawned a healthy variety of colourful and different approaches to livery. EWV 665 D-GHY probably 2506 was new to the recently Privatised Badgerline as part of it's first big order for full-sized buses which also included similar D10M buses to this example branded for the express service to the seaside town.

Thursday 6 January 2011

A Bere Regis & District Beadle-Commer coach

Unlike Barton there was nothing flamboyant at Bere Regis and District but not only was it also the lagest Independent in it's locality the Dorset fleet was full of interest and elderly variety like this Beadle-Commer KPR 688 seen at Dorchester

Wednesday 5 January 2011

The Swedish Winter

Both by Swedish standards and indeed by recent British standards at -1%c this was quite a mild winters day in Goteborg but it certainly looked and felt cold. Those feelings are not helped by the cold colour scheme found on the city buses and trams like No.521 seen here in the Eighties.

Monday 3 January 2011

Southdown Country

What could be better than a traditional pub with local beers and Southdown on your doorstep. The Carfax at Horsham where they had a decent sized garage was an ideal remembered setting as can by witnessed year old Leyland Leopard 1228 waiting to do a 'Private Hire'.

Saturday 1 January 2011

New Year's Geneva Oddity: An interesting Saurer Leyland Dab

From a transport point of view I don't celebrate New Year as like most of you it's just more downhill interestwise as old friends disappear. Also one's mind tends to go as well but you could all be forgiven for being confused over this Swiss British Danish Geneva Leyland-Dab-Saurer photographed on 1st Jan 1989.