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

Friday 28 April 2017

4552: I'm afraid Numbers just make me think of more numbers

This is National Express West Midland 4552 but when I see these buses I can't help thinking of the old Midland Red as the numbers mirror some of the fleet. 4552 was notable as it was the very last of a series of 200 D7's built in the mid-Fifties but it was not a bus that graced the bumpy Black Country streets as it was a sandiacre St. Leicester bus for much of it's life but it did later move on which included a spell at Digbeth. I'm sure I will rather miss these Alexander-Dennis 400's when they go as they are almost as familiar as the local Metrobuses were in the Wolverhampton area. Their numbers (forgive the pun) have been dented somewhat as Wright bodied Volvo single-deckers have made an impact. 4552 was seen on Wellington Road in Bilston. 

Parks of Hamilton in Copenhagen

A cyclist passes a pausing Van-Hool B10M of Parks in Copenhagen on a Global Tours contract. As you can see there was no health and safety paranoia here, indeed the cyclist doesn't even need to watch where he is going. Another Volvo this time of HT passes but as you can imagine they get used to errant cyclists.

A National Express Rapide Neoplan Leaves Chester C178 CET

Passing through Chester on the 532 was I expect a well worn SUT Neoplan. Today this service is certainly a long one going all the way from Edinburgh to Plymouth but unlike ths one it sticks to the M6 and does not call in at Chester. Those Crosville Olympians in M&D style green and cream lifts the spirits as does the Chester double decker. Indeed despite it just being mid-summer in perhaps 1990 it even looked as though the sun might come out.

Monday 24 April 2017

B44 PJA: Is Fazakerley a bit of 'Scouser' for Exactly

Following Deregulation there was a lot of tit-for-tat rivalry even between the biggest operators much of it pointless. GM Buses of Manchester even set up a depot in Liverpool to do the extra work in the area as MTL buses plied their trade in Central Manchester as can be witnessed by this NC bodied Leyland Olympian with the depot code letter L on the front.

Friday 21 April 2017

Red Arrow S443 GUW 443W at Victoria Station

London Buses had about 500 Leyland Nationals but they were not a familiar sight in Central London till a new fleet of Red Arrows arrived in the shape of the National2 who's lively engine roar culd be heard some distance away but I expect these lively buses were quite popular with the drivers.Ok i know someone will tell me different.

Monday 17 April 2017

An Insight at Plymouth Bretonside: C151 SPB

Following Deregulation the marketing men went a bit mad with new names and liveries. I think they should have reinforced well-respected existing names like Green Line instead  for had I not been an enthusiast I would never have guessed this Berkhof bodied Leyland Tiger belonged to London Country. It was seen at Plymouth Bretonside bathed in bright light whilst alongside it was one of Wallace Arnold's oddities a Mercedes O608 with a Plaxton body. I guess this was very much a one off and must show how much the Scarborough bodybuilder must have valued this major customer. I imagine it was bought for the Torquay operation where a little coach like this was the ideal tool for squeezing down those Devon country lanes.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Ny Easter Quiz Question: The Answer

I asked if anyone could guess which BTC/Tilling operator with a seventeen bus allocation at one of it's depots found on my 1967 PSV News Sheet on every single bus had at least one number nine in it's registration. The answer was Southern National at Seaton.

696 EDV 559D
980 KUO 993
986 KUO 999
1341 LTA 997
1342 LTA 998
1343 LTA 999
1344 MOD 971
1607 LTA 976
1762 RTT 981
1847 LTA 957
1851 LTA 994
1877 RTT 996
1913 UOD 496
1914 UOD 497
1915 UOD 498
1945 VDV 779
2613 911 AUO

Word Play: Don't Call me "A Lag!"

No I didn't say anything but what looks like two sisters in Copenhagen look very disagreeable and don't look happy despite the sunshine of Copenhagen. With all the blinds pulled down it must have been quite warm on the Belgium Galexy bodied Renault here for the St Josef Fanfare.

Friday 14 April 2017

Scrap Midland Red C3 at Sid Taylor's Snows Yard in Stafford

Based in a large old quarry with grand views from the edge of mainly condemned Birmingham City buses,  Bird of Stratford on Avon  was probably the best known of the more traditional muddy scrap yards in Britain before the Yorkshire lads elevated it onto an more industrial scale. But another significant one in the Midlands was here at Stafford where Sid Taylor was well placed to collect the scrap Midland Red buses from the Lichfield dump fifteen miles away. I picked up the old tax disk off 3977 the LA Prototype which had been lying in the dried muddy clay and now wished I had kept it despite being so faded it was hard to read. Probably more worthy of being saved would have been one of these Willowbrook bodied C3 coaches as I'm not sure any are in preservation which is a pity as Black and White of Cheltenham had similar bodies on some AEC and Guy's. But  I think one of the problems was the timber frames rotted away and even some of the BMMO's had been rebdied in 1962 by Plaxton to update the touring fleet for even though not too ugly did look dated.  Although I say it myself, not a bad photo for my very first camera an Ilford Sporty with no adjustments just a viewfinder with point and shoot

Berlin: Cities Change Too Much for My Liking

I'm lucky as I don't feel my age too much so far as ageing hasn't slowed me down to greatly apart from being on chemo at the moment of course. But the worst thing by far is how the world changes for innovation might excite us when we are young but somethings we wish would never change like my favorite buses and even the ordinary ones like this 1978 Berlin MAN double-decker on the Ku-damm in about 1982. I know it's sad but I don't really even want to go to a fantastic city like Berlin any more, but on the other hand you haven't met my brother who lives there and that puts most visitors off lol. The 19 was at the time perhaps the busiest route in the city as it went from end to end of this always busy thoroughfare and also short hop tickets were made available for shoppers so buses were always full. This one was not going all the way as it was garaged at Cicero str..

Thursday 13 April 2017

A Post Card from London: Two Routemaster's at Victoria

I'm sure most tourists would prefer to see the famous sights of our Capital but for bus enthusiasts it is far more satisfying to see some nicely turned out buses like these two Routemasters at Victoria which I always regarded as perhaps the London bus and coach mecca. Despite these RM's looking very much the same and their registrations being so close together one thousand more Routemasters were delivered between them and it's quite hard even to imagine such huge bus types going to one operator in the UK today as LT had about 2800 RM's in total if you include the BEA fleet and it would seem at times most of them have been preserved as one will keep popping up in my travels!

Wednesday 12 April 2017

FEK 1F: GM Massey bodied Leyland PD2 in Wigan

It was no secret that both the earlier Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline were a load more troublesome than the old half-cabs they had come along to replace. In Lancashire many of the municipals tried to either order just a few of the rear engined buses preferring  to stick to the old order as happened at Wigan. Consequently when it was absorbed into Greater Manchester they inherited a fleet of often not too useful buses including the shorter PD2 like this Massey bodied example and no doubt they continued to work the same old routes but I'm sure the conductors enjoyed a stay of execution.

YJ65 EVX Minsterley Motors Optare in Shrewsbury

As a passenger I tend to find Optare products no worse than the others today, like them they seem to rattle like mad around the entrance area but are usually fairly warm and comfortable. But one of these of D&G turned up once on my service and the single seat behind the driver was cramped with a tall rail to inhibit movement and there was nowhere to put any shopping and one had to sit uncomfortably all cramped up. it was awful and it might have been a bit better but there was none of the usual luggage area on the front nearside wheel arch either. It's about time manufacturers did something to make doors fit properly they used to in the old days. Maybe they just skimp on cost but I would like to see more packing on the stanchions poles to stop them creaking and rattling too, bloody buses today they are just boxes bolted together, quick to build easy to scrap.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Darlington Daimler CCG5 and a Very Stroppy Traffic Copper

By the time I took this rather grand view of No.2 302 VHN all the other Darlington half-cab types had gone but these fine teak-framed Roe bodied Daimler CCG5 buses were worth the detour off the A1. The pavement steps no doubt built up in a stepped way was to keep the rain water and horse droppings off the skirts and footwear off the better heeled pedestrians but it helped me with my composition and in a way it reminded me of Chester. it was a memorable day for when an hour later I returned to my van a traffic policeman was waiting for me and thought I was a piss-taker for I had been stuck in traffic whilst right behind his car and peering down a side-street I spied a parking area. Little known to me was that to get to it I had to make a 'no right turn'. As i was already passed it I did not register the road sign and I told the aggrieved copper this but he still didn't believe me. Then I said I was a professional driver why should I blatantly break the law and risk my licence and he just said "Balls!"  After several attempts he couldn't make me admit to doing it deliberately and reluctantly went on his way. I had Stafford written on the side of my van so I was a stranger, why do these people always pick on us I always try to be courteous, it's the same with macho motorists who think one is some kind of ignorant moron when one has to change lines because they are lost especially in places where they tell you to get in lane first before where it  actually goes.

Someone might know the Answer: My Difficult Easter Quiz a real Gem

I could have just posted this amazing find for whilst going through my old PSV News Sheets typing out individual garage allocations i stumbled upon something worthy of Qi so I thought we could have a little fun with it.The remarkable thing is I had found a depot which housed seventeen buses and every single one had the number nine in it, indeed there were twenty-six number nine digits in the registration number but two lots of three buses were in sequence.I know buses moved from depot to depot so it might have not stayed like this for long but the chance of number nine appearing on all seventeen bus registrations is like getting all the no score draws on the football coupon stumbling into millions of quid. This one will no doubt only appeal to the older bus anoraks among us as the date was May 1967 and your only clue is it was one of the BTC/Tilling Group. I will post up the answer to my little mystery on Easter Sunday so lets see if anyone else knows which company and garage it was. 

Monday 10 April 2017

Let's go on Bristol SULA4 278 KTA to Noss Mayo it sounds interesting

I seemed to move away from buses in about 1973 when everything seemed to get watered-down as a new much scruffy era engulfed everything except the more proud Independents as buses became just a utility. But I resurfaced largely to catch the last of the half-cabs and a few others I like such as the Bristol SULA4 and as you can see one of these was still at Plymouth in1980 as was the odd FLF. 278 KTA was leaving Western National Laura Garage to make a journey to the intriguingly invitingly sounding Noss Mayo.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Derby's Blue Bus Services Tiger A444 DTO at Blackpool

Following Deregulation much of the bus industry didn't really know which way it would all go and operators tended to hedge their bets with diversification like Derby who having bought out Blue Bus of Willington used that well respected name for a coach division. They always looked smart too like this Plaxton Paramount 3500 bodied Leyland Tiger seen at Blackpool.

Saturday 8 April 2017

BHI Bussing Bus at Berlin Zoo

At one time there was rash of buses in Berlin in all-over advertising liveries, they certainly added a bit of variety but were hardly sexy.  The bus on the other hand a noisy Bussing was my favorite in the fleet.and the norm till a new generation of MAN buses came along in 1974.

Friday 7 April 2017

No way to treat a Lady! North Western A40 SMA in Liverpool

It seems one is never too old to collect bus numbers, well at least it keeps them off the streets lol. I'm not sure it would really appeal to me today the same way it did when I was a teenager, and it was a needs must hobby for we didn't have much spending money unlike the 'spoilt' children of today and so we  had to make our own fun with just enough pocket money to make the odd trip and buy our Ian Allan ABC's. Also of course we had to make huge efforts to get about as we didn't have anything apart from a bicycle or save up just enough to buy a rover or budget rail ticket. I always thought the Laser was rather sleek and sexy but thankfully the chap who modified this former Crosville Tiger for bus work never became a plastic surgeon as he might have been sued for incompetence. 

Thursday 6 April 2017

The Sign is wrong: No it's not a Coach

It always annoys me when people call a coach a bus, but I have to admit unless it's touts selling tickets to tourists one rarely hear people refer to a bus as a coach. However some buses are quite comfortable today like this upmarket 'Stagecoach Gold' Enviro seen at the Cheshire Oaks on it's way between Chester and Liverpool. At one time bus services would have been pooled to go passed factories and coal pits but today it's shopping centres, so yes times have certainly changed and even gold was a cigarette or brand of coffee. But the gold and blue livery on this bus certainly looks smart as one would expect from Stagecoach, it has certainly moved on since those stripes.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Crosville Buses Down and Out in Wrexham

Here is a little black and white photo at Crosville Wales (Cymru) Wrexham Garage. Taken in about 1987 these Bristol LH's and a rather more interesting former Southdown Daimler Fleetline had come to the end of the road. Not the easiest place to get around one of the mechanics told me the boss had gone for lunch and I would be okay to take some photos of the many buses if I was fairly quick. He didn't have to say it twice.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Not Just a Scania A Norweigen Viking

Copenhagen being so close to Sweden and connected to the rest of the European mainland was a mecca for visiting coaches especially the rarer sightings from the rest of Scandinavia like this Scania from Norway in a popular Viking inspired livery and at work for Travellers which of course we get in Britain. Behind it is another well-traveled coach from Switzerland.

Sunday 2 April 2017

First Western National Dennis Dart on London Road Tavistock P443 TCV

First Bus drivers are a very very friendly bunch as I'm sure you will all agree which is why I wondered why the driver pulled his blind down not wanting to be in my photo. As one might expect most drivers are just fine but there are a few who can be quite rude and the two worst places that spring to mind were Halifax and Blackburn where more than the odd one took evasive action with attitude. Now I live as Jojo it doesn't seem to be so much of a problem, perhaps they are just not used to female enthusiasts and humour me. Okay I know what some of you might be thinking but you don't need to say it lol. This is quite a nice view all the same of a Plaxton Pointer Dennis Dart as most of these Tavistock pictures tend to be taken in the vicinity of the bus station but this was right at the other end of the London Road close to the war memorial and a wet road does wonders for an otherwise pedestrian view.

Shades in Shrewsbury: Midland Red MRN

There was a time following Deregulation when buses kept coming along with for the public a brand new name which had little real meaning and a hurriedly applied different livery. Of course it didn't usually solve any problems as it was still probably late and manned by the same unfriendly or rude driver who now had an 'improved timetable' which made him even more late as he hadn't learnt it. Midland Red North seemed to struggle with image and direction but of this lot I think the most attractive was the National with the white band and the traditional 'Midland Red' was all it needed to show it's heritage and certainly a lot better than the one which was not only completely the wrong red the paint quality was so poor it lost it's sheen in no time at all. Other buses here include a smartly turned out Optare for the park and ride and the curse that is still with us today Arriva's aquamarine, a 'nothing' annoying colour just vile. First's Barbi might be a bit cold but at least it was cleverly designed and even those Stagecoach stripes looked good on most Alexander types which they made their own like the PS, the Dash and the R Type decker. Still I don't suppose most people worry about such things.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Classic Ellen Smith Harrington Grenadier Leopard CDK448C

Seen at Showbus 2016 at Donnington Park.

Colour Coordination in Roskilde

With it's distinctive DAB body at first glance this bus could be mistaken for a DAB-Leyland but by the end of the Eighties there were a number of Volvos as well especially with DSB. Outside the DSB station in Roskilde everyone seems to want to echo the colours of the bus, photography can be a strange thing.