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

Monday 31 December 2012

BKT803C: New Year, cool memories like the snow

The new year is one of those times when we remember what we did so I tried to find something apt. This suitable seasonal image of  M&D Weymann bodied AEC Reliance BKT802C 2540 brings back memories as when I took it at Victoria early in 1970 I was living nearby in St Georges Drive. Also for the 1964-5 New Year I was staying with a schoolfriend in Crowborough when I got my first proper taste of M&D just a short ride away on the well known joint Southdown and Maidstone and District 119 and 122. The celebration was a posh black-tie affair at The Felbridge at Forest Row near East Grinstead so perhaps I should have searched for something from Godstone Garage

Sunday 30 December 2012

3024 pauses at the Pedestrian Lights

It doesn't seem five-minutes ago that this batch of Berlin MAN double-deckers were new but dating from the Nineties they are now just history too. 3024 was on what is probably the best known route in the city as not only is it the best for sightseeing it connects the heart of the old West Berlin to the best known landmarks in the old East Berlin.

Saturday 29 December 2012

New NAW bues at Schwarzenburg

After Christmas I used to hop on a cheap ski-flight and have a week in Switzerland trying to see as many post buses as I could. The trouble was even with a Swiss-Pass there was only so much I could see. So if I arrived in Bern early I used the opportunity to visit those places that didn't fit in as part of a day out like the somewhat isolated sleepy little town of Schwarzenburg. Despite being mountainous this was not a popular tourist area and no doubt the Swiss skiers enjoyed having the local pistes to themselves. Sadly the towns four elderly 1972-3 Saurer DUK buses had been recently been replaced by new Mercedes powered NAW Bh4 buses built at Arbon, but at least there was still a proper all-Swiss Saurer RH there making up the five. The trouble was I had two hours to wait for a train back but I'm glad I went as the PTT closed this garage a couple of years later.

Anxious Moments: No Room at the Inn

On a busy Friday as mid-day departure time approaches it looks as if all the Midland Red coaches bound for London are full, but this anxious family group might just be in luck. Of course this was not the classic era at Digbeth when the distinctive red and black BMMO CM5 and CM6 coaches proudly stood out from the rest but time is a strange thing and now we almost miss these NBC white Seventies Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopards as much: Well not quite.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

PTT AWB Bern: Ghosts of marques that once stood here

I went to school in Switzerland in the Sixties during what was for me at least was the heyday of the Swiss PTT in some ways my favourite bus company. Right next door to the school at chesieres-Villars and my classroom fuelling my interest were based two buses, an antiquated looking bonneted Saurer L4C and a much more modern and very powerful looking FBW C40U 'Haifisch'. But sadly for me there weren't really many more nearby, indeed there were just three isolated singly based smaller but similar bonneted Vallais-type Saurers also running down to the Rhone Valley below us off the mountain sides. As it was in reality a day's bike ride away, the fact that Sion with a reasonable allocation was just beyond those jagged white mountain peaks didn't make it seem much closer either. But apart from the holidays the post buses were my biggest interest at school. During boring lessons and prep I drew on the tables too and dreamt of one day finding them all but because they used mostly contractors (PAH) even searches of the map hid where the proper owned P-reg buses might run. Whenever we went on school trips by train every station we went through was observed lest it might just reveal a tantalising glimpse of something. Of course this not knowing made it more fascinating and the famous PTT was as different to a British bus company as an equally individualistic Switzerland was. Official posed photos were available but information about interesting bus stuff like the garages was not just rare I felt it was almost a state secret. Anyway when I wrote to the PTT they wrote back telling me it was confidential, but at least they sent me a big package of bus related material. When I went back in the Eighties I tried to retrace my steps, ask questions, fill in the gaps using my camera and imagination. From my photo from the Nineties as you can see by the empty tool spaces, marques like FBW had become just a memory at the once busy works at Bern where many of the properly trained driver mechanics were posted during the winter to completely service up to fifty of the 500 buses. At the time in some ways I thought I failed to find what I was looking for but looking back apart from seeing newer buses I still caught most of it including wonderful Saurers RH's and even a few classic FBW's before the PTT was split up and the once financial umbrella of the telecoms network sold off leaving the buses not just a different yellow but to a true fan never quite the same.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Bassetts gleaming in the winter sunshine

What to add on Christmas Day? Well this photo of a Bassetts of Tittensor Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger XCS764X is a favourite of mine as not only was it one of those quick stops when I was just driving passed it also sums up how many of us like to remember coaches looking rather traditional in an attractive easy to recognise livery.

Saturday 22 December 2012

Are the Chinese taking over South Manchester?

Here is a picture from my Top Travel Transfers Airporter days of my lovely old Transit which I still miss being passed by a Stagecoach Dennis Trident. The destination must have been changing for the return journey from Chorlton-cum-Hardy but at that moment it looks as though it's another case of Britain being over-run by other ethnic groups.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Bennetts:Picking kids up after Christmas Treat

The last term week before the Xmas Holidays is a busy time for coach operators as they ferry the various school kids into Stafford from around the county for the seasonal play or pantomime. A good but tricky task successfully  photographing some older coaches in the narrow strips of sunlight between the heavy shadows. Prefer the new one or not, rather like Bere Regis the previous brown livery helped to disguise the mud on this former East Kent Leopard.

Sunday 16 December 2012

B45 NDX:Stevensons' picking up a baragain

In the Eighties a new generation of double-deckers came along to replace earlier rear-engined designs like the Atlantean. Operator's often tried small batches or even odd examples for evaluation. The Unregarded buses were often sold off much to the delight of bargain hunters like Stevensons of Uttoxeter who took this Ipswich East-Lancs bodied Olympian B45NDX arriving in Stafford.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Berrys on the Skiing Shuttle to Switzerland

Motorway service areas are not the most inspiring places for bus photography but when you drive for a living it's handy. But with the passage of time even these become more interesting if one can get people in or failing that the trucks of Yesterday. At Sandbach from Wellington in Somerset a  Berrys Plaxton bodied Volvo C308CYA was heading for a more undulating and white Switzerland on I guess a skiing holiday on a Chequer Travel Shuttle.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Porto what a wonderful place with very British looking Lancia trolleybuses, a Sixties department store sitting happily beside a Gaudiesque Art Nouveau front cinema and of course that baking heat.

Monday 10 December 2012

Rossendale Olympian in Bolton

Rossendale seems to have run more secondhand buses than new ones but amongst the exceptions was this Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian M529RHG seen in Bolton at the end of the Nineties.

Sunday 9 December 2012

The End of 6229

It was rather upsetting to see the Plaxton front of former Midland Red WHA229H in this state at far end of Martins yard at Middlewich for this Leyland Leopard had been new to Stafford in 1969 and something of a flier. At the time odd other ones from the same batch had been rebodied so I had some hope as it was only about twelve but alas I believe it was not one of the lucky ones.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Slushy Conditions on the 216

Regular trips for me were to Heathrow with Air Freight whatever the weather. Snowy winter conditions for black and white photos were always an attraction and here was one of those days when I came back with something appropriate without too much effort. I rather liked these LT Bristol LH's like BL50 OJD50R and they still looked attractive with that white relief even when dirty.