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

Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Mis-Spent Youth: A Head Full of Buses

Here is a shot I took at Alton a couple of years ago of a Hants and Dorset Lodekka. Even though the various BTC 'Tilling' operators were a bit boring operating the same rather conservative buses each operator had it's niceties. Hant and Dorset scored well as even in 1967 it had a fleet of interesting rebuilt elderly open-top deckers plus a host of single-deckers with rather quirky full-fronts added, then there was that little sun-visor above the cab window, and not forgetting a definite thumbs-up from enthusiasts colour coded fleet number plates showing it's depot, which in the case of 1961 FS6G No.1450 was the small garage at Woolston in Southampton. Now my wings have been clipped a bit whilst I do my stint on chemo I've been getting all my PSV Circle listed depot allocations together and to pass the dull afternoons have been going through my old spotter notebooks from the Sixties to see where I scored and what I missed. As I'm just doing this operator I'm a bit of an expert till I move on to the next one Wilts and Dorset and forget it all. I don't know why but it's amazing really as for some reason I missed all the gorgeous open-toppers which were stored in the big garage beneath Bournemouth Bus Station when I visited the town. No point fretting we can't go back but one place I never thought I had been spotting was here at Alton and I was delighted at that, but that was the trouble with hitch-hiking as a hurried and random visit can be quite forgettable especially when one has to get back before it gets dark. Yes even looking through old tatty notebooks can bring back memories and be revealing.


Philip said...

Assume your pic was taken at a recent Alton Running Day. Traditional 'green-liveried' Hants & Dorset bus services never reached Alton in Hampshire. H&D first got to Alton in 1972 when, under NBC auspices, it fully absorbed Wilts & Dorset and thus reached Alton on former W&D route 107 from Basingstoke. H&D's livery was changed to NBC Poppy Red at this time. BET company Aldershot & District was the dominant operator around Alton and had a garage there - A&D morphed into Alder Valley in 1972 under NBC. Southdown served Alton from 1955 with lengthy route 38 from Portsmouth which covered BR's withdrawal of the Alton - Fareham train service. The 38 was abruptly withdrawn in 1973 due to unsustainable subsidy costs. Alton was the only place where Southdown and Wilts & Dorset bus routes met up and both operators outstationed a bus at the A&D garage. Independent Warrens Coaches (Altonian) ran a few local country routes. Nowadays bus services around Alton are largely in the hands of Stagecoach South.

christopher said...

Hi Philip thanks for your comments. you sound like a H&D expert so I wonder if you could answer a couple of questions as I noted down No.1115 and also I think 1116 stored at Bournemouth in early 1967 when both had already gone by Dec 1965 according to my Ian Allan ABC.

I have a good collection of EFE's from that era and I have the H&D downgraded coach and the other thing I want to ask is should YEL 226 be doing the 106 from Bournemouth to Swanage if it carries a black on orange Lymington plate but I expect it was just EFE not bothering to get the details right as usual if it was not LT.


Philip said...

According to PSV Circle H&D Fleet History PK 781 Bristol K5Gs 1115/1116 (FRU 826/7) were withdrawn from passenger service 10/64 and 12/63 respectively. They were converted to driver training vehicles retaining original fleet numbers in 11/64 and 10/64 respectively - 1114 (FRU 825 had been so converted earlier in 1/61. They were sold for scrap in 8/70 (1114), and 5/72 (1115/6). The Dec 1965 Ian Allan ABC probably did not list trainers.

Route 106 was a high summer seasonal service between Poole and Swanage. It would have been worked by a Poole depot vehicle with black on blue fleet number plate.

Hope your treatment goes well. Maybe we can look forward to a Wilts & Dorset picture?

christopher said...

Sorry I missed this reply Philip, but I'll see if I can find you a Wilts and Dorset if you are still watching.