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 28 September 2016

National Welsh Cross Keys Depot

To be honest I can't remember which garage this was as I was just passing but I think it was Brynmawr with a typical mix of NBC vehicles of the time in the mid-Eighties and the Plaxton bodied Bristol  RELH6L looked particularly inviting The police were here making enquiries and later I saw another officer down the yard at Chepstow and even though he was twice as far away as these two he had a good old go at me for invasion of privacy because he was in the picture. Times have changed and the police these days like to be treated like the rest of the community but then in more rural communities I think some might might not have felt above the law but believed they are the law and had a bit of a chip on their shoulder to those who did not bow down in front of their panda car. I have since been told this was Cross Keys so my heading has been changed.

Monday 26 September 2016

Merseybus National near Clock Face: Turning back the Years to 1989

I was never a big fan of the Leyland Nationall1 especially the boring very similar NBC ones which seemed to sum up the company. However those with other operators at least weren't so overbearing and could look quite pleasing in a more pleasant livery like when Mersey Bus tried to break away from all those shades of green reviving a historic scheme from tramway days. 6061 was seen not far from Clock Face just outside St.Helens on an autumn afternoon in maybe 1989.

Friday 23 September 2016

West Yorkshire PTE Alexander Metrobus UWW 519X

One tends to think of the standard Metrobus built with an MCW body in the factory but it was also available as a chassis only and a number of operators had them fitted with attractive Alexander R type bodywork like this West Yorkshire PTE example seen in Leeds approaching the bus station. The Metrobus had it's merits but corrosion plagued them and I wonder if this variant was any better. As can be seen from my van in the background this was somewhere I liked to call into when I had done my delivery at Meanwood and had a lunch for pence at the YEB meter test station. It was always easy to park here in the Eighties and it was free too but I bet it isn't so easy today. Driving is not fun!

Thursday 22 September 2016

M.A.N Brioni Pula 114

Not many bus stations can boast majestic Roman remains as a backdrop, usually it's J.D.Sports or a multi-storey car park but Pula in the Croatia certainly can. This Seventies MAN might have been new here but I suspect the earlier generation buses alongside came from some German city.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Rossendale F339 VSD

Most of the many Lancashire Municipals had been decimated over the years, either absorbed into the two PTE's or gobbled up by predators like Stagecoach but at least in arms-length form Rossendale not only survived it managed to spread it's wings into other towns as well as it's traditional base at Rawtenstall. Numerous used vehicles could be seen which added to the variety including this Duple bodied Volvo seen in Blackburn.

Monday 19 September 2016

Northern Atlanteans in Oxford MPT 298P

During it's NBC years apart from three Stratford Blue Atlanteans that came via Midland Red, City of Oxford didn't buy any of the type indeed it was unusual believe it or not by not taking any Leyland Nationals. However more used Atlanteans arrived from Northern General but despite not being low height buses they did seem to merge into the landscape without being noticed too much alongside the similar ECW bodies on the many Bristol VR's at work here.

Sunday 18 September 2016

CRU 103C: Bournemouth Sunshine Bus

Some events seem to be cursed by terrible weather most notably Showbus, but quite the opposite seems to apply when it comes to the POPS Running Day held each Autumn at the Gladstone Pottery Museum at Longton. With such glorious weather it seems rather apt that this coach-seated former Bournemouth Leyland Leopard should have more glass in the shape of over-head  quarter-lights a feature not common on this type of BET style body.

Cambus Royal Tiger Doyan at Coop Flamingo Stafford

So many of Britain's formerly most respected companies and institutions have fallen by the wayside over the last few years including  the shopper and savers friend the good of Coop. They had a small department store in Stafford which included a restaurant called The Flamingo and as can be seen from this visiting Cambus Leyland Royal Tiger Doyan they catered for coach parties as well.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Mainline C678 JWE in Sheffield

Long Shadows in mid-afternoon and a gold tint to the sunlight tell us it's an Autumn Saturday in Sheffield in this Nineties view of a Mainline Dennis Dominator and attending bus spotter.

Thursday 15 September 2016

What's half an X96?

This ECW bodied Leopard was seen in Shrewsbury on the X96 once one of Midland Red's renowned and such useful stage carriage services that crossed from end to end of the system using easily identifiable comfortable saloons with their stunning black top on red. To understand how vast the territory was this route was ninety-six miles long to Northampton but in truth crews travelled only to Digbeth where they returned on the bus coming the other way. By the time this view was taken the service had been cut back to Birmingham and following Deregulation it became the preserve of Shrewsbury Independent Williamsons who also used Leopards continuing one tradition at least as back in 1963 it had been entrusted to the Willowbrook LS18A and SY had 5178 and 5186.

Wednesday 14 September 2016


Close to where the old bus station once stood is this Arriva Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart. Sadly with modern digital displays ut's hit and miss whether we are able to catch the route information which I feel makes a bus just that more interesting.

Monday 12 September 2016

D319 DEF: Remembering the Unmemorable

Because they didn't press the right buttons I used to find the legions of Duple and Plaxton bodied Bedford and Ford coaches distinctly unmemorable. I think for many the same thing happened during the minibus invasions but as I've said before I expect some of you might be interested to see them again after all they were not just part of bus history they were about as we lived our lives and must trap memories. As here in this Stafford scene we can probably recall vehicles from batches but I'm sure few will remember this one-off Dodge registered in the North East which came from Cleveland Transit and which bore a Northern Counties body.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Harsh Words in Hamburg

Apart from a bit of flowing Art Nouveau styled writing on the side of this bus in an attractive rich brown advertising livery all the type-faces are very hard and lacking in ornamentation in a very businesslike German way.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Liverpool Lasses: Arriva MX13 AEL

Sadly even with a decent digital camera these shots are not always our best as not only does one have to quickly catch it before the moment is gone the light is invariably wrong. I prefer to photograph people from the front but at least from this angle it is more informal and we are left wondering what they are like. In true Jowitt tradition I have my priorities right and the bus is playing second fiddle in this view of an Arriva Wright bodied Volvo on it's away over to West Kirby across the Mersey on the Wirral.

Friday 9 September 2016

Beauty and the Beast LSK 835

No I'm not going to drawn into saying anything i shouldn't as I'm much to nice for that. I'm thinking more about the leviathan in National Express livery, certainly it strong form looks good in that familar white livery and it may fit in nicely alongside the Daliesque Birmingham Bull Ring shopping centre but is it's brutality attractive? Well if nothing else I can feel a bit of nostalgia coming on as I'm sure I've seen this registration LSK 835 on various generations of these express coaches. I've come to accept that today is today and we can't bring the past back so it's best to try and enjoy it. I imagine it's a Caetano body they usually are.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

HT DAB 717 Bound for Valby

HT DAB-Leyland No.717 dated from 1976 and was seen in Copenhagen in 1982 bound for Valby where it was garaged. As you can see my girlfriend there at the time always walked on and I was forever trying to catch up.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

The Bolton 'WOW Factor' at Southampton: WOW 546J

When in the early Sixties Ralph Bennett worked with the body builder East Lancs to produce an attractive modern bus for his fleet at Bolton it set a precedent amongst other Municipal customers for bearing their own base colours of course similarly liveried buses could be found as far afield as Blackburn and Merthyr plus as we see here at Southampton where they had a large fleet of Atlanteans. In later years as can be seen from the way paint has been applied to the bus following the classic Bolton livery layout was reversed with I feel had a detrimental overall effect.

Monday 5 September 2016

Arriva Closes Stafford Garage

It has actually happened Arriva has closed it's garage at Stafford. It had already been downgraded a couple of times to an outstation of Cannock but there has been a bus garage in the town since the 1920's when the fast expanding Midland Red arrived to be joined a few year later by  PMT. Arriva says it has done everything it can to get people on to the buses, and that is true as buses often don't turn up and if one looks at the fares they charge it's hardly surprising the town has a problem with too many cars. On the other hand D&G operate the now combined former Stevenson's and Greatrex service to Great Heywood and on to Uttoxeter which despite it's rural nature one often has to share seats as the buses run almost to capacity at various times of the day. But here after they took it over from Arriva not only did they cut the fares to make them more attractive buses miraculously almost always run to time. A team of regular drivers are also a feature and I cannot count the times they have waited for me when they've seen me running in my heels. Right to the end Stafford had it's own allocation of Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts but as can be seen here on August 26th Cannock buses were drafted in to help out like Wright bodied VDL 3740. Final closure was on 2nd September 2016 a day which also saw services at the other end of Staffordshire in Burton on Trent pass to Midland Classic. I think as the Arriva hold weakens we might see more significant changes in the not to distant future especially as First isn't doing a very good job in the Potteries either. Will National Express West Midlands spread it's wings or maybe even Stagecoach might see some potential here especially as they are experts at getting fresh blood out of a dying Stone.

A Leyland National at Bromley bound for Downe

I suppose by traditional standards a fleet of four hundred buses was pretty small beer by LT standards, but unlike the more familiar Leyland National2 buses to be found hurrying through the traffic on Red Arrow services in the heart of London it is quite possible to forget that our Capital had any of these universally common buses such a familiar sight right across much of Britain. As one might expect they were usually to be found in the suburbs like LS93 seen in Bromley heading for sleepy Downe.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Oldham Corporation Roe bodied Atlantean at Trans Lancs

List my top ten favourite things and it might just include parks, a love nurtured by childhood visits with my grandpa to feed the ducks here in Manchester. I think if a bus rally in one helps encourage people to enjoy all this urban greenery why not. I have certain reservations though as not only do buses not really belong standing on grass should it turn to rain there is not much cover and no even if the owners are usually a friendly bunch they don't usually encourage 'orrible kids' and muddy feet all over their pride and joy. A problem here at Heaton Park is every September the buses are lined up this way with the sun behind them to make photography that little bit harder. I didn't go this year but we shouldn't grumble as volunteers put in a lot of effort to make sure events run smoothly, indeed without them there would be no rallies. As a teenager I always liked the plum-pink on the Oldham Roe bodied Atlanteans like OBU 163F but little did I know later in life it would be in my clothing range as Jojo.

Getting on top of things in Bath WO14 OFV

The bus world is so different from when I was a kid, after all mentally come to Bath expecting to see hordes of Bristol K's, Lodekkas, LS and MW's and one finds as well as First now run's things a newcomer called Bath Bus Company is actually owned by RATP the Paris transport operator, how wierd is that.  I don't find it upsetting as I don't live in the past and it's quite interesting in it's own way the evolution of things but as for the buses well maybe I'm looking more for buses and girls pics.

Saturday 3 September 2016

Hyde Road Bus Garage Manchester

Of the former seven Manchester Corporation bus garages I remember from my teens only two remain in use, Queens Road with First Bus and the extensive site at Hyde Road now occupied by Stagecoach which includes a vast open space at the rear once offering mouthwatering glimpses of rows of withdrawn buses and trolleybuses. Not far from Piccadilly Station the trains into Manchester often slowed here but just as they were about to grind to a half off they would trundle again before one had even written down a single number. Of course it's many years since I last spotted buses but I'm sure here at least some things never change.

Bingo! It's a Leyland

They are becoming a rare sight in 2016, but as well another one with Select to be found in Wolverhampton, Coastal Coaches has this similar Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian still in use. Here it is on a Bingo Call. I have tagged this one 'numbers game' as it appeals to my sense of humour.

Friday 2 September 2016

National Travel West Midland Platimum on the 937

In the old days for their limited stop and area express services operators like Midland Red here in Birmingham used to supply black-roofed coach seated single-deckers. Today the fashion has returned and in special liveries to make them stand out the elite buses of the fleet often fitted  with leather seats and with little niceties like Wifi now offer a little luxury to the traveler hopefully persuading them to leave the car at home in Brownhills. All the major groups have embraced this upmarket idea but there are still far too many routes which as they say in these parts 'go all around the Wrekin' and now take even longer to get there than with Fifties half-cabs, for instance it takes about an hour to go with Arriva between Lichfield and Cannock but as the crow flies it's just about seven miles. .

Jennings of Bude URU 651X

When Southern National closed it's small garage in Bude that I noted held thirteen in the Sixties local Independent Jennings found a use for it. But the vehicles that replaced the green Bristols were quite different and a Plaxton bodied Volvo coach is seen in Exeter on a shoppers service.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Colourful Leeds Buses: A reminder for those who went out without Breakfast

Leeds in the 90's with buses in 'bitty' liveries which was a characteristic of the time with plenty of not too helpful branding as new Group owners lke First who tried to make their own mark on it's purchases like the former WYPTE where we see a NC bodied Scania, but only the Keighley and District Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian is actually saying anything much with route information but that K on the front always reminded me of the same motif on the box of Kellogg's Cornflakes. A reminder for for who went out without breakfast I suppose lol,