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!