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

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.


Ross said...

It surprised me after deregulation when the X96 ended up as a tendered service; although I never really remember it being massively busy I'd always assumed it held its own, but clearly I was wrong.

Mind you, Midland Red (North) nearly killed itself in that first year after deregulation with the massive expansion into the West Midlands and into Derby, so I suppose that in the aftermath of the "Night of the Long Knives" anything which was only marginally profitable was doomed.

Somehow it never seemed quite right seeing Williamsons' coaches in the Bull Ring Bus Station, though.

Still, even if the X96 had survived in MR(N)'s hands, I doubt Arriva would have persevered with it. I read in the latest Omnibus Society Midland branch newsletter that Arriva have deregistered the 116 between Birmingham and Tamworth (via Kingsbury), which in the old days used to perform better than the 110 via Sutton Coldfield. I suppose traffic patterns change over time, but I can't help but feel that Arriva doesn't always seem to make much effort to actually go out and get custom. :(

christopher said...

Ross, I'm not so sure the X96 wasn't viable in BMMO days at least for it was just like any other stage service except of course not carrying local traffic. Arriva have really been cutting back too in the Midlands now that Stafford garage has gone and Midland Classic have taken over Burton. It seems even Tamworth garage doesn't pay it's way any more and the only one that does is Wellington or is it Telford now.