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

Wednesday 31 December 2014

M&D: Exactly Fifty Years Ago

I'm sure I'm only forty years old but believe it or not I took this M&D Atlantean DH 530 in Tonbridge Fifty years ago when I went to stay with a schoolfriend in Crowborough fort he New Year 64-65. We had a day out to Brighton too and that was my first proper introduction to Southdown territory as well. So long ago but in my minds eye it should not change as first impressions are those that set our mental template.

Monday 29 December 2014

Cricklewood Garage

Today of course it's hard to understand why we wouldn't have wanted to have a photo of those Metrobuses parked in a row outside Cricklewood  Garage but at the time of course, a defunct type the Covent Garden Museum RT was the point of interest here. Taken I guess in about 1981 there were still Routemasters here and even Leyland Nationals.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Devon General Aec Regent No.511

Despite having a large fleet of Leyland Atlanteans, Devon General could boast long and short AEC Regents with a similar style of MCW, Willowbrook or as in this case Park Royal bodywork. One Saturday in 1979 or 1980 NBC poppy-red liveried  CTT 511C was seen arriving in Exeter from Newton Abbott.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

United My Christmas Puzzle

Seen after it's takeover by United was this Plaxton Derwent bodied AEC Reliance of Wilkinson of Sedgefield seen in Stockton-on-Tee KPT 875C No.4002, it also brought Leylands into this BTC typical ECW bodied Bristol fleet..

Now I have a puzzle for you as in my Ian Allan British Bus Fleets I have found two lots of United and Durham buses with exactly the same  registration within the 990-999 EHN series.

St Johns House : Liverpool Memories GKA 32N

I think this also was Dec 23rd many years ago perhaps 1981 as I was in Liverpool that day for I was close friends with poet Carol Ann Duffy in those days whose Birthday it was and here she was living with Adrian Henri  I always loved this spot for taking photographs and especially as it was about the last haunt of the Ribble PD3's on Aintree's Old Roane and Litherland routes. With lots of ugly shopping development nearby sadly this attractive corner was to lose the rather splendid St Johns House too as just like the last Ribble 'Tanks' it's days weres numbered as shortly it would be turned into another scruffy open air car park. Of course the Atlanteans had many years to go which was a good thing as the 'Scouser Streets' don't sound the same without them.

Monday 22 December 2014

Clydeside Leyland Leopard BSJ 916T

I suppose it was my initial interest in the vast Midland Red empire that has given me a fascination for big sprawling bus companies which usually had a mixture of high density urban operations and branches going out into the middle of nowhere. A good example was Western Scottish but sadly like it's similar NBC cousins by the Nineties it was chopped up as can be seen from this Leopard pictured in a sunny Glasgow now with Clydeside which at least gave it a reasonably attractive livery.

Saturday 20 December 2014

National Express West Midlands Spectre T418UON

Christmas already! No it doesn't seem like yesterday when we were enjoying summer and I'm glad I took plenty of photographs. One day they're here and that will probably be the story of the MCW Spectre's at Wolverhampton as I can't see them lasting much longer. 4018 is seen on Stafford Street on one of their regular haunts the 33 to Northwood Park.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Maidstone Tin-Fronted PD2 No.12 412DKM

With both Leyland PD2's and Atlanteans bodied by Massey Brothers of Wigan the County Town of Kent became 100% this combination for a spell. The bodywork certainly suited the 'Midland Red' tin-front on 412 DKM making it look attractive despite the dirty winter slush early in 1968.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Nykobing Denmark STS

This is the town of Nykobing on the island of Falster to the south just across the water from Germany. The small town had a typical Danish mix of DAB-Leylands and Aabeneraa bodied Volvos. Waiting to depart outside the railway station in 1982, one wears a reddish livery often used on railway buses whilst the other one with the same owner is in a different livery for town work. Indeed Bybus means town bus.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Far from home: Truro Falmouth & District

When I was at Eagle Travel in Stafford we used to share the parking area with Coach Aid and alongside our old B-Reg Volvo was a much smarter Plaxton coach from Truro Falmouth and District. TIL 4710. Whether it was just a breakdown recovery of dealer stock I'm not certain as used vehicles passed through them all the time.

Monday 8 December 2014

NOE 553R. Midland Red South

Taking photos of buses can cause plenty of interest and amusement. I think I'm also being given the two fingers by someone on the Leyland National as it unloads at Nuneaton, but never mind it didn't happen too often.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Manchester: I remember when Sunday was dead!

I remember when in Britain's towns and cities Sunday used to be very quiet, but now it's no longer a day of rest. I feel sorry for the local residents who now never get any peace. This was Manchester in August, but yesterday a December Saturday one could hardly move for bodies. I went to the Christmas Cracker but almost didn't make it for as it was icey I thought I would take a bus to Stafford Station. It shouldn't have gone that early but the bus didn't turn up and I realised I now might not get my train even if I ran. And I did, a whole mile in wig and boots and just made it as the train was a couple of minutes late. It was a good thing I took some make-up with me as when I got to the museum it had all washed off as I was still perspiring heavily all the way to Stoke. A nice day though, bought a Gt Yarmouth Atlantean and the new Cumberland all-Leyland Royal Tiger coach. A real bonus though I also picked up a couple of Ian Allan ABC 'British Bus Fleets' from 1963 for a quid each, always useful for looking things up and I don't worry about a few underlinings. Indeed the dealers should charge more as we could never go back and spot them ourselves, so they did us a favour. lol

Better known as a budget long distance express service people must have forgotten why Stagecoach started 'Magic Bus'. When cut-throat competition was rife they repainted older vehicles like this Alexander Dennis W645 RND into this livery to offer cheaper fares along student corridors without tarnishing the main brand. Despite that I still think they look quite smart.

Friday 5 December 2014

Key Coachways NWG 113F

A highly unusual vehicle to see in Stafford was this Albion Viking with Alexander Y-Type bodywork and still more or less in Midland Scottish blue livery complete with depot plate. Whether S is for Stepps or more likely Stirling I couldn't tell you without doing a bit of research but it's new base was Rugeley as Key Coachways had started a lengthy Saturday shoppers service to Telford.

Derby's unwanted Olympians at Lincoln City Transport

Following Deregulation it was not just canny Independents like Stevenson of Uttoxeter who were snapping up hardly used misfits from the larger fleets, Municipals like Lincoln were snapping up bargains too like this unwanted East Lancs Olympian A208 DTO from a trial batch at Derby, others going to Warrington who had a liking for good secondhand stock. now that budgets were getting tight. Poor customer relations and less than perfect products reluctantly dragged operators away from Leyland finding the vehicles from the likes of Volvo, Scania and Dennis more attractive.

Thursday 4 December 2014

New Stockport Leyland PD3 No.71 KJA 871F

By 1969 they might have been archaic but in that attractive red and white livery finished off with black Stockport's East Lancs bodied Leyland PD3's were elegant beasts. Fortunately KJA 871F has been preserved and was pictured when new of probably the Corporations best known route the direct joint 92 to Manchester.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

WMPTE Guided Bus off The Rails

The rather cold blue and grey colours rather suited the underpasses and stark concrete surroundings of the old Bull Ring area in Birmingham. WMPTE A104 WVP was one of a special batch of Metrobues built to go on the guided busway, an scheme that was quickly abandoned.