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 December 2013

A Happy New Year from both of Me!

I'm not sure why I bother as were it not for the statistics I wouldn't think anyone wants to see my vast achive of transport photographs. But sadly I hardly get any comments these days which is a bit depressing. I keep it going as thankfully I also have a more interactive group of friends on Flickr and in part I just cut and paste the captions on to here. Blogger doesn't always work properly either and I started doing a search check before posting to avoid duplications but even the Google box on my page doesn't work any more. Anyway as I might just as well be invisible nobody will notice this one which provesI have a more interesting life away from buses as Jojo as these days I live much of my life as a happy well adjusted transsexual. My friends own former Midland Red Leopards JHA 227L and SOA 674S and I go with them to numerous rallies in the summer months allbeit usually as Christopher.

LD8: A Skeleton of the Past

I can't tell you anything more about this Midland Red LD8 in Sid Taylor's  scrap yard at Snow's Yard, Stafford in 1967 apart from as a photo it's a bit of a favourite of mine. One of the reasons why the local authority wanted it rellocated was it's closeness to the General Infirmary and as well as noise the practise of setting fire to these timber bodies and of course wooden floors. Unusually withdrawals started when these quality buses were just twelve years old which seemed very wasteful for a Leyland bodied PD2. Not just that few saw further service but fortunately one has been preserved and fully restored at the Wythall Transport Museum south of Birmingham.

Monday 30 December 2013

1695: Merseyside Verona Green in Southport

The formation of the PTE's meant that a large number of our favorite Municipals were absorbed but at least this Merseyside East Lancs bodied Atlantean JWM 695P seen in the town coincidentally carried what had been a Southport registration.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Venture of Hendon

I always remember Venture of Hendon from the Sixties as they had become a part of the now long gone Lewis Cronshaw Group which was formed in 1965 to take over the licences of Earls Court Holdings and included Valliant Direct as well. I don't know what happened to the others but the Venture names was alive and well on this Plaxton Paramount bodied Volvo B10M seen at Stratford on Avon one Sunday in the Nineties. Sadly I can't tell you much about it as it had gained an new registration to hide it's age.

Thursday 26 December 2013

These days because of access restrictions it's usually not possible to get the best shot in bus stations today but I often found the bus or coach the focal point for more interesting compositions. But time moves on and that was perhaps 1996 already so even this fairly mundane Trathens Van-Hool N316 BYA seen at Exeter Paris Street Bus Station deserves it's place in the photo file as worth having. Once the lower level was reserved for coaches but in recent times the now less intensive and busy express duties have room alonside the out of town bus departures of Stagecoach.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

WHat did Santa bring you?

Nothing quite as big and exciting as this. At the start of the Millennium the Swiss PTT was replacing it's old 'lock-up style' garage units at places like Delemont in the Jura and replacing them with the sort of facility that can cope with something a lot bigger than the old bonneted Saurers whose size was often restricted by the strict size laws of the canton where they ran. However as well as the alpine passes I don't suppose this massive Setra beast would have been happily weaving it's way between the badly parked cars on the Swiss equivalent of Wednesfield's Ashmore Park Housing Estate either.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

BKT 803C: Cold trip down to Kent

These twenty 1965 Weymann Dual-Purpose bodied AEC Reliances of M&D used on London Express Services were firm favorites of mine and BKT 803C was caught at Victoria Coach Station surrounded by an unpleasant sprinkiling of snow in the winter of 1969-70..

Monday 23 December 2013

LNK787L. Treasures in abundance in Cornwall

Cornwall in the Eighties seemed something of a haven for interesting old Leylands in good condition. Maybe it was a mixture of kind climate and canny operators restrained by the limitations of seasonal work who knew there were a few miles left in these reliable old girls yet. Looe was something of a mecca for Harrington's too but here I also found Liskey's Plaxton 12m Leopard LNK787L on the quayside.

Sunday 22 December 2013

A few days before Evesham Garage Closed

A private hire return journey from for Top Travel in about 2006 took me to Evesham. I hadn't been there for a number of years and I'm glad I went as unaware I took this photo of the bus garage just a couple of weeks before it finally closed. At one time there were 24 buses here but by the time First closed it half of the garage had been leased off. Sadly the old S6 and S14's had long gone and the Stagecoach Olympian R172 VPU was only there because it had a broken upstairs front window.

Saturday 21 December 2013

B135 ACK: Getting away for Christmas?

Well she certainly looks happy to see her coach pull up in the snow outside Stafford Station on it's long journey from Burnley to London. Delivered new to Ribble for National Express work this Duple bodied Tiger had lost all it's Rapide branding and was probably due for replacement. I just hope it was nice and warm, but judging by the lack of passengers Xmas had probably been and gone by then. Along with Blackpool Burnley had been a Standerwick base and express duties continued from there in National Bus days. However after Deregulation the former NBC companies turned away from most coach work and contracts like this went to expanding Independents who so this as good bread and butter work like Yates of Runcorn etc...

Friday 20 December 2013

P25202: Slip and slide in Davos

In places the Swiss drivers cope easily with the sort of snow we get in the UK, but on this occasion in Davos it was particularly treacherous as it had rained on the previous day's snow then frozen hard overnight and the weather turned back to snow again leaving about four inches of the fresh fall on top of  a slippery thick layer of solid ice. Just arriving in the town we had to swerve and almost lost control as the rear of an articulated bus jack-knifed across the road and a few yards on an approaching out of control car slithered over just missing us. Even for pedestrians it was difficult not to do the splits or land on your bum. Still life goes on and the driver of this Mercedes 0405 post bus P25202 on normally easy town services to Davos Dorf  no doubt would welcome the end of his demanding shift requiring high levels concentration.

Monday 16 December 2013

D406 NNA This Bread Van was not so Nimble

Like the minibus craze the home delivery bread van has been consigned to history. Not all the small buses were as bad as the rather basic Dodge normally used by the Gas Board to carry all the noisy equipment they use to dig those annoying holes but they all now symbolise a low point in the bus industry when operators took on too much and cheap and cheerful seemed the best way to pay the way. At least D406NNA looked quite smart in the bright North Western livery as it rattled through Manchester.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Preserved Midland Red SOA 674S

I always enjoyed the Seven Valley Railway Kidderminster event but of course when I photographed SOA 674S back in the Nineties I never realised I would end up doing so many miles in her in the trusted hands of future owners Wag and Mick. As time went on the Leyland Leopard came to dominate the heavy duty coaching needs of the NBC and this one with a Plaxton Supreme body was very typical though I think this is the only one preserved on the road like this wearing standard poppy red and white d/p colours.

Friday 13 December 2013

532 A flash of pink and Gothenberg Trams

Maybe she isn't young and beautiful but this Swedish Blond dressed in warm colours contrast nicely with the gloomy cold looking winter scene giving it more edge.

Thursday 12 December 2013

A Church Spire Too: It must be a Parish

Fortunately with my own darkroom I didn't have to worry much about wasting strips of bulk-film and indeed it seemed a good idea as I would get to see the finished results sooner. As it turned out it was a wise move as I probably might not have bothered to snap this tidy Plaxton bodied Bedford in Oswestry in about 1983 and today these untidy backgrounds are full of interesting period detail to enjoy. The town was on the fringes of the vast Crosville territory and it's rather ugly wartime hanger type garage can be seen to the left, but Parish did the town services in this small North Shropshire town and was well know for it's former London Transport RF type.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Let's be thankful that the city planners in Cardiff haven't yet moved the bus station to somewhere where it is 'more needed' and then they could build a beautiful shopping centre under that multi-storey car park for all those more important car drivers who don't use the bus or train. Fortunately greedy local politicians and speculators don't always get their way. Sadly when I was last there in 1992 so much had changed since the days when nearly everything was shades between red and brown. Still there were still things of interest including CTX390V a less common combination of Alexander bodywork on a Bristol VR. As for the girls they would have teenage kids by now or even be grandparents!

Sunday 8 December 2013

MRJ 296F. Salford Atlantean

Fortunately unless it is destroyed the bones of a city persist through the generations and viewed from a safe distance arriving by train makes it seem reassuringly familiar. But then it became slightly sadder as the little things I most loved from old Manchester have gone including Salford Bus Station situated in a hollow and literally a few steps down from it's mighty red bus big neighbour, and then of course it's stark but advert-free and well maintained bottle green buses and what seemed as they inhabit the cloudiness of my photo negative a credit card, mobile-free,  unsuspecting Lowryesque people mostly still waiting for the Swinging Sixties to arrive in 1968.

Friday 6 December 2013

Two ends of the coaching spectrum are represented here as a still pristine high end Bova of Central West Midlands meets up with an elderly Plaxton bodied Volvo NMJ284V of Marchants of Cheltenham on a football charter at the Darlaston Inn near Tittensor.

Post Bus atYverdon bound for it's home at Echallens

If you want pictures of Swiss Post Buses the mid-day station forecourt departures produce plenty of activity. In the early Nineties at Yverdon with an allocation of about 30  there were still plenty of the lovely Saurer RH but it's two smaller sub garages to the south closer to Lausanne at Echallens and Thierrens housed ten of them all modern Setras. Luckily one can plan a complicated day out in Switzerland and the Rail Information put it in the computer and in moments you have your itinerary printed out which you need as one can do a lot of hanging about listening to cow bells.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Coastline 266 rumbles through a dull December Pompey Day

Unfortunately with visits when it's just an opportunity that has presented itself we have to make do and hope for the best with our photography. As you can see on a dull December day at 14.30 in Portsmouth I was pushing my luck with a shot of this Stagecoach Coastline Bristol VR JWW 266W but I have no regrets as it caught the pre-Christmas mood. Surprisingly I used to hate those Stagecoach stripes but tinged with slight nostalgia I've learnt to live with them and at least the white base stood out in the poor conditions better than it's former post-NBC Southdown green

Monday 2 December 2013

PMT Minibus C126VRE Masquerading at Red Rider

Rather like Stevensons also of North Staffordshire, the Privitised PMT also expanded into new areas nearby. With a local division called Red Rider that sounded rather like something more intriguing like a highwayman of old or even someones CB-Radio call sign in reality it presented us with things like this not so exciting Mercedes Minibus bound for the lovely sounding Gorton Market- Now how Manchester is that!

Saturday 30 November 2013

Rawtenstall All-Leyland PD2 No.19 RTC 823

It's fortunate in our novice days many of us didn't quite stick to the rule book and took correct photos Flickr and Blogger would be a duller place without unusual views. It is impossible to balance the contrast on this one taken in Accrington in 1967 but because I just wanted to take a photo regardless of the shadows ensures it  has an innocent endearing narrative quality.

Friday 29 November 2013

Berlin Wedding: Car Fumes & Nicotine

A wide Berlin thoroughfare in the Wedding District in 1990 and where as one might expect the hair gelled back HB smoker in the flowery shirt always gets the beautiful blond. They were a top selling brand but only seasoned smokers will tell you if they really do taste like a soft pencil.I never did find the nearby BVG Muller Str Garage from which 3652 worked from.

Thursday 28 November 2013

GUP 931N: United biggest user of the Bristol LHL

As well as the highly populated industrial conurbations near the coast where the background VR was ideal, in the North East much of the United area was rural and it could boast the NBC's largest fleet of small Bristol LHL's with well over 200.  Typical was GUP931N No.1629 seen in Darlington with an ECW body as was usually the case.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

SWG 1-14 Giessen: Some are just banal?

People often ask us why we like buses and occasionally I just photograph them because they are there like this very ordinary M.A.N seen at the terminus on the outskirts of Giessen which is a very ordinary provincial German town. But to put it another way, if I don't who will and every bus deserves at least a photo because someone somewhere will like it hopefully.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

DTC 740J. Lancashire United Seddon

In later years double-deckers the Lancashire United fleet seemed fairly well standardised but that didn't apply to single-deckers as there were Leyland Leopards and Tiger Cubs, Bristols and even fairly uncommon Seddons like Plaxton bodied 392 DTC740J. I've a feeling this might be near Swinton Garage but I might be mistaken

Sunday 24 November 2013

L207LDV: Harry Blundred's little mini-bus Empire

As older bus enthusiasts we all tend to live a bit in the past but judging by the lack of pictures here on Flickr few mourn the passing of the 'Minibus Revolution'  when even the humble bread van became the ultimate transport solution to some. Harry Blundred was the best known advocate flooding Pompey and South Devon and parts of East London  with the often unsuitable things. There were even dual-entrance Iveco Transits like this and had his eccentric empire not tumbled we might almost have seen the double-decker version a  Ford Transit too! Fortunately when Stagecoach took over the more sensible mix of types reamerged but not too surprisingly some of the newer oddities lingered on long enough to carry those also not too missed Stagecoach Stripes.

Thursday 21 November 2013

C888 FON: WMPTE Metrobus in Walsall Corporation Blue

West Midlands Travel celebrated it's Municipal heritage by painting buses from the various areas in their former colours. They made a good job of it too and we can see that the Metrobus Mk2 would have looked rather attractive in the unmistakable old Walsall Corporation colours of mid-blue with yellow beading.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

B79 WUV: Selkent Leyland Titan T1079

With it's tall buildings the streets are usually more likely to be in shadow than bathed in sunlight. This of course can detract from picture quality but it would be boring if we just found a good spot to take photos from an stood there a long time. Also of course like this scene opposite the Vicotria Apollo Cinema there is just as likely to be something of interest.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Lincolnshire or Roadcar what's in a name?

By the time I took this photo of Lincolnshire Leyland National 2828 in Lincoln the Privatised company had become known as Roadcar, maybe it hoped to expand beyond it's traditional Lincolnshire area but as far as I know it never really did, eventually getting snapped up by Yorkshire Traction. But think had it been the other way around YTC might have become known as 'Traction' or even of course it's nickname 'Tracky'. At least thankfully Lincolnshire never became 'Roady'. lol

Monday 18 November 2013

FUA 375Y: Wallace Arnold Bova Europa

Some Wallace Arnold tours used to call in at the sprawling village of Penkridge at  lunchtime for a bit of refreshment, and the angular lines of the first generation of the Bovas certainly suited their chunky graphics and livery. The Europa of which WA had fourteen gave way to the much more stylish Futura. I wouldn't pop down there for a top-up, fuel has gone up a tad bit since the Eighties and there would be no point planning to park your truck at the most famous landmark 'The Sunset Cafe' either because that has long gone as have most of the lorries which hurry passed on the busy M6 almost within earshot. Indeed even that most familiar and pleasing sight a Warstone's 'Green Bus' elderly Leyland is very much the past. But believe it or not people still flock here from far and wide as there is a twice weekly traditional outdoor market.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Think, when did you last see an 0405?

Well actually just yesterday as National Express West Midlands still run them in Wolverhampton as they even reached the UK. Being 'N-Reg' they are getting very old but it is not that long ago that they were still running Mark1 Metrobuses so they don't give up lightly on good buses. But once they were everywhere in Germany but now I imagine they are scarce in the wealthy EEC countries finding new homes a few years ago in the less prosperous economies to the East and in the Balkans still trying to catch up and unable to afford new ones yet. Of course we took these rather square Mercedes-Benz buses very much for granted but my friend at the Die Post in Switzerland told me they were a very reliable bus and yes I quite miss them as they were pleasing to ride on. Fortunately unlike many buses today at least they came in different colours too and this yellow example was seen close to the Bahnhof in Dresden in about  1996.

Saturday 16 November 2013

L510 BNX: City Pigeons

Believe it or not amongst my many perversions, err I mean talents I can boast to being a published poet. In my little book by Outposts 'The Magic 88' there was also one called 'City Pigeon' and if you get sick of looking at the East-Lancs bodied MRN Dennis Dart or Gazza on the side the Metrobus you can count the pesky things festooning the ledges with their droppings on Wolverhampton's Victorian buildings.

Friday 15 November 2013

7 WTJ: Not so common Viewmaster in Birmingham

In June 1990 this smartly turned out but top heavy looking Plaxton Viewmaster bodied Tiger of Welsh Independent Brodyr Williams was about to turn into Digbeth Coach Station at a time when busy Fridays traditionally brought in some unexpected variety for us enthusiasts.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

L646 LEU: Every wonder why the bus gets there first?

A long queue of traffic quickly builds up behind this First Group Northern Counties bodied Volvo Olympian still in Bristol Cityline colours as it heads down the Gloucester Road into the city. These were the last generation of buses before the merger with Alexander but I never found them as attractive as the less fussy Manchester Standards which preceded them.

Metrobus MK2 2520 picks up in Pelsall

My era was pre-NBC and the PTE's but there are many buses since then I got to like very much such as the West Midland Travel Metrobuses like No.2520 picking up a healthy load bound for Walsall seen in Pelsall a village famed for perhaps having the last old-fashioned 'fingerpost' road sign in England with hands at the tip pointing the way. No doubt the highways department would love to rip it out but when these things slip through the net long enough they become listed as historic sites.

Monday 11 November 2013

NMB 70P Monochrome all weather photography

The freedoms of digital photography and glorious colour have made bus photography much more simple but it is no way nearly as versatile as black and white where one could be more expressionistic and capture the romance of the seasons where the same colour  image might usually suggest it was better not to bother. Here the grey tones beautifully portray the delicious misery of a wet day making us still want to be there to enjoy damp socks surrounded by much more fitting chocolate brown Chester buses including Dennis Dominators and this short Leopard with it's rare but attractive Northern Counties bodywork.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Edgware Road: Some can park where they like!

I was going to say one wouldn't get away for more than a minute or two parking on a monitored bus stop on the main Edgeware Road today but the observant will see the Audi is indeed being ticketed. However it will not be paid as the tell-tale flags on the dash indicate that the unconcerned selfish driver probably has Diplomatic Immunity and if they respond at all the poor and needy in some Third World Country will have to cough up through their taxes. Still recording day to day situations like this gave me an excuse to photograph a rather less interesting than most Gold Line Mercedes-Benz minibus F629 XMS.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Pre-Barbie First Group buses offer variety in Halifax

One of the interesting things about the First Group before everything became much more grey was the wealth of operator and even local liveries as seen on former West Yorkshire PTE buses. Of these the also glimpsed brighter Halifax version with the Alexander Dash body was the nicest with not shown here Bradford's dreary blue and red being horrid. Seen here on a Plaxton bodied Scania I think, the usual combination G460JYG 1460 from the Huddersfield base was somewhere in the middle being okay.

Thursday 7 November 2013

497: One familiar Danish Railway bus in Roskilde

Sadly after the United Kingdom deregulated it's bus industry in the Eighties other countries in Europe followed suit with sell-offs and reforms. A good example was Denmark where as well as numerous small Independents that have gone the once large and familar DSB railway bus operation was broken up and sold off. Looking unmistakable in it's all over red livery was this Aabeneraa bodied Volvo so typical of the Eighties and early Nineties seen in Roskilde.

Former Leicester Leyland PD3 in Rugeley

Blue Bus Service ran one of the former Leicester East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD3's on local service in Rugeley.

Monday 4 November 2013

Bolton Corporation Leyland TD1 WH 1553

Of the many transport events held each Summer the final big one in November staged at the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum is not only one of the best for rides these include a number of proper mouth watering vintage buses like this classic all-Leyland from 1929. As well as an open staircase at the back these buses had what become known as a Piano front as the upper deck resembled an upright-piano. Unfortunately the queues for rides were quite long but as people stood back to let the less auspicious rides go I  contented myself with a front upstairs ride for almost an hour heading out into the countryside to Saxilby on a flat-fronted Lincolnshire Roadcar ECW bodied Bristol VR.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Trolleybus 791: Bustling Lausanne

Lausanne is probably the most multi-national city in what was a very conservative Switzerland. But Europe has changed a great deal since I took this in the mid-Nineties. NAW was set up by Mercedes to build Swiss specification buses and trolleybuses at the old Saurer works and one would hardly guess from No.791.

Only the best for us: Silver Service EPM122V

National Express seems to have much of the long distance market sown up but following Deregulation, Independents keen to expand and even Municipals wanted to have a good. Silver Service operated this Lincman branded former Green Line AEC Reliance on it's Mansfield to Liverpool service.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Preparing for the Mid Day Rush at Lucarno

As is usually the case on the Continent in Switzerland they take an extended lunchtime break which is long enough for people to go home. Arriving to collect a few of them was this post bus arriving outside the sunlit railway station at lovely Lucarno in the warmer Italian zone. A few of these narrow Mercedes 0303 Midi-buses could be found in the main PTT fleet but they were very popular with the many PAH contractors who found them ideal for the small loadings and narrow roads.

FLJ 155D Chairs the Bus Escape Committee

Worrying times for these former Hants & Dorset ECW bodied Bristol Lodekka FLF's beside the railway line at Martins of Middlewich in 1980. But all is not lost as many of these solid old buses have passed to the dealer as they have more work left in them. Some of course might not get sold whilst less tidy examples sometimes get 'thrown in' to a purchase as a spares donor or if worse comes to the worst the scrap man who will salvage the engines which reputedly were exported to power the 'junks' at Hong Kong.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Often I post photos thinking who would like this and when I do my rounds of bus rallies there's usually a Merseyside Buses stand manned by former former Wallasey crews who in a friendly way will tell you that it was not only the best but the friendliest garage. As one brouses they hear tales of getting the pride of the garage a Duple bodied Leyland Tiger coach for the last run at night through the Mersey Tunnel, but much more mundane on the cross Mersey service was this Leyland Olympian on the Liverpool side with no doubt one of their mates driving it. Well I appreciate them for in a tatty box I found a huge pile of yellowing PSV News Sheets from the Sixties which are always an interesting read during the cold winter months with all those MCTD and Crosville allocations, not bad three-quid fo such a huge bundle of bus nostalgia!.

JUM 83V: Yorkshire PTE' Buses meet at Halifax Bus Station

Halifax Bus Station in about 1980 where WWB103G  a rugged former Sheffield Leyland Leopard still works the various joint inter-city Yorkshire Motorway express services for SYPTE , whilst confusingly West Yorkshire PTE's new Northern Counties bodied  Daimler Fleetline JUM83V carries a Birmingham maker on it's side even if it is a Metro Bus too. In this monochrome photo you might think both buses wore the same colours but the liveries were quite different. South Yorkshire PTE's brown and cream with red wheels looked most attractive when it was newly applied and clean but quickly looked scruffy, somehow WYPTE fared rather better with it's verona green and cream but they did tend to keep them looking tidy. Still for me it was the traditional pre NBC and PTE liveries every time as I hated these rather naff wishy-washy pastel colours but at least you didn't have to record them with the limitations black and white photography.

Friday 25 October 2013

Berlin Zoo: Late Summer Heat 1982

When still quite new in 1982 BVG SD82 double-decker 1937 was seen at The Zoo Bahnhof on an evening rush-hour extra to Spandau. After reunification all the West Berlin route numbers had to be altered, many by just adding the digit one-hundred to it, but sadly the 'E' which in German means extra too was discontinued as it would not fit into the destination screen.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

JEH 184K Stafford in the Early Eighties

In the late Seventies the arrival of a smartly turned out company using what usually might be regarded heritage vehicles seemed like a breath of fresh air after a monotonous diet of Midland Red poppy red NBC types especially Leyland Nationals. I particularly liked Warstone's three Northern Counties bodied Tiger Cubs of 1964 which came from Burnley but looking back today I must admit I have a bit of a hot-shot for those PMT Bristol RESL's of which No.184 JEH184K would have 'rattled the windows' with it's booming exhaust note as with a cloud of exhaust smoke it turned out of Stafford's Market Street at the Market Square which was my favourite spot for bus photography in the town.