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

Thursday 30 June 2011

Bowens in Plymouth

It seems a little quieter these days and with reduced interest but Plymouth's Bretonside Bus Station has during the season attracted coaches from far and wide, older ones on local day shopping excursions we still see but also once hordes front-line touring coaches from the major operators. From the Midlands came EEW125Y a DAF belonging to Bowens visiting as part of a holiday based in Torbay. To my eyes at least these Jonckheere Jubilee bodies look better as time goes on, maybe it's because they exude a bit of character something that seems lacking in many modern designs.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Liverpool L646 at Lytham St Annes 'Fylde'

In the Seventies and Eighties once well supported Municipals had to trim their budgets and even the new buses weren't as reliable as the old ones so one answer was to buy second-hand. Sometimes this was rather fortuous as Liverpool's stylish Atlanteans looked rather attractive in Fylde's blue livery.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

M&D double-deck variety at gillingham

Maidstone and District managed to run an interesting fleet right through the NBC years. As well as the ubiquitous Bristol VR one of many former Sixties BET Northern Counties bodied Fleetlines heads off whilst centre stage is taken by one of the popular MCW bodied Atlanteans originally ordered by Midland Red. I understand that these late PDR buses had advanced features and much in common with the forthcoming AN68.

Brighton Belles

The Brighton Lynx was still new when I took this view in about 1990 so you can tell how long ago it is since I last went  there. I wish Brighton hadn't discarded it's red and cream livery and especially as at that time similarly painted Brighton & Hove was going 'green'. However the cheerful red and cream was due to make a return and still is one of the best post-NBC liveries making those VR's and later buses look better.

Sunday 19 June 2011

PMT Mercedes L608D Minibus in Hanley

In the Eighties the bus industry didn't really know where it was going. The National Bus Company had been broken up and sold off and with not much money about companies were pensive at what the future might bring. A bit like cracking an egg for an easy rewarding meal operators saw the minibus as a cheap easy way to create a new friendly image and build passenger numbers. Of the minibuses the Mercedes 608 like the Bedford OB of earlier times was a trusted and faithful workhorse that saw it through these hard times as Deregulation signalled the battles and uncertainty ahead. PMT in the Potteries was more ambitious than most and as well as looking at expansion it starting building bodywork in it's workshops on not just smaller vehicles like C128VRE but larger Leyland Swift midi-buses too.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Funny things happen when one likes buses!

I photographed these two Green Line Leyland Tigers at Heathrow Airport, Berhhof bodied B108KPF and  ECW WPH 125Y never imagining both would in a few years time be rebodied by East-Lancs as buses at Stafford for Midland Red North.

Thursday 16 June 2011

East Staffordshire Council Daimler 96

By the early Eighties half-cab buses were getting difficult to see outside London. Usually the last few examples were maybe still operating on perhaps just one route with clippies or like this example in Burton carrying school kids and students. Britain's 'home of brewing' is pretty flat and undemanding hence the choice of less powerful Massey bodied Daimler CCG5's like No.96 GFA96D

Monday 13 June 2011

Maidstone & District Dominators

I never really got into gadgets like zoom lenses but I must admit that if one finds an interesting view to scan the results can be quite good. I like this view of a Willowbrook bodied Dennis Dominator hard at work climbing Star Hill in Rochester for Maidstone & District. Like Potteries this operator with a demanding terrain had been chosen by the NBC to carry out trials with Metrobus Mk2 buses and Dominators alongside the normal Bristol VR. Even though the NBC stayed with Leyland and standardised on the forthcoming Olympian additional second-hand Dennis's arrived at M&D which themselves had been subject of type trials on Merseyside for the PTE.

T748 tops Shotters Hill in washy early morning sun

I'm so glad I got interested in black and white photography again and took my camera with me on my driving trips. On this occasion I had time to choose a good place to stop for a minute or two to catch one of these still new looking Leyland Titans like T 748 working from Bexleyheath Garage before making my first call at 8.am.

Saturday 11 June 2011

A view from the top: After the fall of the Berlin Wall

I don't really see myself as being a snob but I do tend to turn my nose up at the Neoplan. Maybe it goes back to the days when they looked like their bodies were just sheets of glass mounted on to old American car parts and chrome-plated kitchen fittings. Strangely enough today I tend to prefer the vulgarity of bright work and metal strip as seen on this Severin+Kuhn Berlin tour bus of the Seventies to the offerings of the dumbed down 'plastic age' we live in now with it's smoked glass and boring characterless liveries.

Bristol: Just add colour

The recent event held at the Bristol Harbour Quays attracted a rather more mixed crowd than the sort of colourful bus anoraks we usually find. So these enthusiasts didn't look so out of place amongst the foreign visitors and slightly artistic types sampling a bit of transport heritage. Everyone has their own idea of taste and style but I'm sure few will fault the subtle application of green and cream on this Southern National Bristol VR AFJ766T that makes one long for those proper liveries like that hinted here of  Southdown's apple-green and cream. Sadly like so many other companies it fell to one of the big boys who if it survived long enough applied a 'spot of First Barbi' to spoil our photography.

A cheap but hazardous way to travel in Berlin

Berlin is a very busy city these days and there is not much room on the congested roads for cyclists so perhaps it's fortunate that they have their own cycle-tracks and can use the bus lanes. Here a brave woman takes her life into her hands as she crosses the road in front of an unloading BVG Solaris articulated bus at the Zoo.

A hiccup for First: Bring back Barbi!

Although First's 'Barbi' livery is quite well designed it's biggest failing is it is somewhat dour and soon looks scruffy when neglected. Sad then that it eventually replaced some very attractive earlier First Group liveries such as Caldaire and Badgerline. When in about 1999 separate identities were a thing of the past I saw this pretty dreadful colourful scheme in Rochdale on a Marshall bodied Dennis Dart of Pioneer.

Friday 10 June 2011

the smartest buses in Cheltenham

In this mid-Nineties view it's a pity that the movement of this smart Pulhams Plaxton bodied Tiger was enough to blur the front as it rounded a corner in Cheltenham. However it was too good to throw away and more so now that their Leyland's are history.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

On the way from a wet Cardiff to a wet Newport

A Cardiff East-Lancs bodied Leyland Olympian makes a journey to Newport on a filthy wet day in the days when we grumbled that Four Star petrol was 41.7p. This frequent service, the No.30 has been jointly operated by the two former municipals for many years, of which they are the only two left from many in South wales.

Saturday 4 June 2011

RML 2492 at Hounslow

Red RML operation was not confined to busiest central London routes as they could also be found a long way out too such as in Croydon, Uxbridge and here at the Hounslow terminus working on the long 37 back to Peckham. RML 2492 stands next to a more typical suburban bus RF 437 here in this Sixties setting.

POPS at Hanley: Keeping those memories alive

The Sixties and the early Post-Deregulation period before the 'corporate age' set in were my favourite times bus-wise. The latter being a kind of final colourful flowering or 'indian summer' with new and rekindled identities liveries, almost surreal developments and hedonistic expansion, and of course Leyland's attempt to rekindle our affections with a return to it's cat badge culture before the under-fed and no longer so sprightly feline was run over by the more businesslike Volvo. All that is a distant memory now. Or is it? Thankfully not only can we keep it alive thanks to video and places like Flickr there are friends who gather and even take us to events for which I'm truly grateful. Sadly the Tiger saw little of the success of the RTW of the Leyland PD2 family or Leopards seen here at  POPS Rally at Clough Street, Hanley in the 80's.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Premier Travel's Cambridge Coach Services to London

Some maintain that Yelloway was everybody's favourite but I'm sure those in East Anglia might disagree citing Premier Travel as being the best. I'm not taking sides but the Cambridge operator ran an interesting fleet of buses too for most of it's existence. Following Deregulation PT wanted a share of the busy London commuter market too and some older vehicles were marketed as Cambridge Coach Services including AEC Reliance WEB409T.