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 31 August 2017

A Barand New Dennis Falcon in Nottingham

Nottingham was always innovating or trying new types. Indeed it was sometimes hard to keep up but despite being obviously one of theirs it certainly had a different look about it. But it was a bit special being a rare Dennis Falocon one of two fitted with East-Lancs bodywork 396-397 and tried alongside two of the Volvo Citybus with similar bodies 398-399. Obviously brand new 396 was seen in 1985.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Hyton & Dawson Lex Maxeta bodied Bedford YMO

Maidstone Corporation was one of those glorious conservative Municipals who ran a smart fleet of sturdy Massey bodied Leylands. But I imagine they must have had anew general manager who preferred  the 'cheap and cheerful' approach and out went all the proper buses and the town was invaded with Bedfords which like Ford's weren't really suited to intensive workings. Anyway many of the Bedfords soon found new homes including perhaps the most interesting this rare Bedford YMO/S with Lex Maxeta bodywork which was seen in Leicester with local Independent Hylton & Dawson.

Friday 25 August 2017

Tigers Gather at Heathrow

The Leyland Tiger was only in production for a few years compared to the stalwart Leopard but they were certainly common in later years within the NBC. Coaches used to gather at Heathrow as a transport hub as the airports became an important destination for Green Line in the London area and National Express. Here we have three makes of bodywork, first being the rather attractive Duple Laser of National Welsh whilst the Green Line Tigers have the most common Plaxton body whilst the Berkhof was rather more unusual and few would survive as most of these coaches were quickly rebodied following Deregulation and B108 KPF would become an East-Lancs bodied bus with Midland Red North.

Thursday 24 August 2017

BVG 2627 at Spandau on the 145 to Berlin Zoo or as here Zoolog...Garten

Traditionally most German town buses had been painted a rather indifferent shade of cream with perhaps some black lining out. But the age of Reunification brought fresh thinking and Berlin's BVG adopted this yellow, grey and white scheme which was obviously influenced by the similar liveries in Holland. It didn't look too bad either on this articulated Mercedes 0405G at Spandau unloading before making another trip back to the central Zoo terminus. Berlin has streamlined it's network and it might be easy for understanding taxpayers and commuters but they have cut bus services where they overlap with the U-Bahn and in later years there was no longer a direct bus service on this route which made it harder for tourists trying to get around on the buses.

Minerva Rundfart Volvo in Copenhagen

A rather typical European coach from the Sixties was by this time in 1982 an elderly Aabenraa bodied Volvo belonging to Minerva Rundfart with it's endless rows of small side windows and probubly dated from about 1967-68. Indeed it looked in original condition too with it's traditional neat letting and understated subtle traditional livery. By this time most tourist coaches in Copenhagen were fairly modern in bright liveries so I wonder if there was a bus enthusiast at work here for this sound looking vehicle should have been preserved.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Bedford SB Duple Vega with Down at Mary Tavy

To some this old Bedford gently decomposing in the middle of E.P Down's Coaches yard at Mary Tavy in Devon was just an eyesore but for bus enthusiasts it was a reason to stop. Eventually I did and just in time as shortly afterwards it returned home to Lancashire as a preservation project for it's first owner.

Sunday 20 August 2017

A Greenslades of Devon ' Red Herring' at Alton

At first glance one might think this Harrington bodied AEC Reliance of 1964 with the Exeter BET firm of Greenslades was the slightly more modern looking Grenadier but still being built alongside them was the earlier Cavalier and Greenslades opted for Grenadier fronts on them. One could make these requests to a smaller builder as to them perhaps and order for fivve bodies was highly valued whereas the larger concers much just 'show you the door'.

Jedwin's Former Ribble &MRN Leopard WCK 144V

Still in Midland Red North colours or at least one of the liveries worn by MRN was this Duple bodied Leyland Leopard once again on the home ground when seen in Blackpool. Once a Ribble vehicle they used to operate a number of special services to this popular seaside resort from right across it's area. Jedmond was one of those operators who filled the gap coming from the Yorkshire side and probably stopping at Burnley etc.

Friday 18 August 2017

PVT 225LPMT Bristol RELL ECW at Newcastle

PMT like a number of other former BET Group companies was a bit late taking the Bristol RE's and it was to be only for a short whilst the operators waited for 'the miracle bus' the admired and much hated Leyland National Mark1. Perhaps buying RE's was one of the  better moves of the NBC as it asserted itself, as in recent times PMT had bought some rather troublesome buses from the early lowheight Atlanteans to the notoriously bad Daimler Roadliner.  Behind is the Foden NC double-decker which was sent to PMT as like the Medway Towns the demanding urban terrain of the Potteries was considered ideal for bus trials. Also of course those people in the Potteries could quickly spot a dud when they saw one.

Cave's Willowbrook Warrior bodied Bedfords

A rarity seen in Birmingham was this Bedford YRT whose Van-Hool coach body was replaced with a Willowbrook bus body

Thursday 17 August 2017

Early Sixties Bedford Holds on in Wrexham.

Cornwall was always a good place to find normally time-expired buses and coaches because the mild climate meant there was never any salt on the roads in Winter. Another good region to find them was on the sparcely populated  English- Welsh border. This time it was not so much the weather to thank but not so good for the operators concerned was the fact that they probably couldn't afford anything else where operation was more about margins than profit and old Bedfords were easy to look after and cheap to run. Good places to hunt were in the Forset of Dean and towns like Shrewsbury and here at Wrexham.

DSV 61&V Lothian Transport Atlantean in Edinburgh

With greater wear of components  hilly terrain must be quite a problem for many bus operators but as a photographer it can lead to more interesting shots. A visit to Edinburgh could give one lovely feelings of nostalgia as Lothian buses continued the fine tradition once the norm amongst a number of Municipals of taking a pride in the bus operation in this instance it took over from Edinburgh Corportation. Sadly as elsewhere the Scottish capital city has to keep up with times and these attractive Alexander bodied Atlanteans are now just a memory as were the other Leylands which once dominated this fine fleet of which I note there were 700 buses in 1964.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Green Line Tiger ECW on Eccleston Bridge, Victoria

I suppose for most people the centre of London is Trafalgar square or Oxford Street but for bus enthusiasts it has to be Victoria with it's bus station beside the station, Victoria Coach Station and we must not forget the Green Line departures from Eccleston Bridge. Here was a good spot for photos and there were often other coaches to get in the shot too like this MCW Metroliner of Eastern Scottish passing a Green Line ECW bodied Tiger bound for Windsor on the 701. After Deregulation and the sell off of the various London Country units Green Line fragmented and went into decline and  more focus went on to the airport links and busy commuter corridors.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Lugano FBW Trolleybus 117

As well as railways Switzerland has also always been a but if an enthusiasts mecca for Trams and trolleybuses. This example dating from the late Sixties early Seventies and still in a livery that fitted that time was in the now defunct network of Lugano,

MRN Redline Rebodied Tiger B103 KPF

Before Stafford was pedestrianised this used to be my favourite spot for bus photography in the town. Looking back when clean and fresh this 'Drawline' livery devised by Ray Stenning was rather attractive and suited the rebodied Green Line Tigers which flooded the town. Most spend some time at Stafford, allocated or working from Cannock but I thought 1723 was going to be an exception but early on it was moved here from Crewe and was unusual as it still had it's Leyland front wheel trims. It was working a former Happy Days service.

Lancashire United Daimler 4615 TF in Bolton

Of the early rear-engine Atlantean and Fleetline bodies I still find these Northern Counties examples the most pleasing, of course it looked even better on a Guy Arab of which Lancashire United had many as initially it only took small batches alongside them of these more troublesome buses. From the second batch of five instead of six this 1963 bus No.142 was seen in Bolton in 1979 or 1980.

Monday 14 August 2017

Warrington Narrow Leyland PD2 East-Lancs BED 732C No.51

A dismal damp day in Warrington and one of it'snarrow bodied East-Lancs bodied PD2's loads for Longford in 1979.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Aldershot & District 1953 Dennis Lance at Alton

Of course all old buses have a certain nostalgic charm and especially much missed operators like Aldershot and District. But looking through modern eyes we much prefer classic bus designs to an updated image. This Dennis Lance tries to look modern but just looks quirky and even an East Lancs body which in those days had an attractive look it doesn't really do much for No.220. To ride on and to listen to it was a bit like an under-powered Bristol K-Series and A&D were getting rid of these after twelve years. But it's good that unusual buses like this 1953 bus have been preserved as seeing them make distant events worth travelling to.

Friday 11 August 2017

B900 WRN Stagecoach Lancaster

Perhaps it was because buses were becoming more mundane certain vehicles stood out as being different. Now belonging to Stagecoach this Duple Dominant Leyland Tiger had been unique in the Ribble fleet having originally been destined to be the tenth bus in a Midland Red North order. Apparently it was retained by Leyland to try out various modifications. With Ribble I remember it spent a lot of time around Blackpool but by now had to moved to Lancaster when it was heading for the wilds of Ingleton.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Badgerline Volvo B10M Alexander D112 GHY in Taunton

One of the first things the newly privatised  Badgerline did was to break away from the old order when it came to buses and signed a contract to supply a fleet of singles, double-deckers and coaches in it's Western-super-Mare area which included support. I don't know if it was a  success or not as it was not repeated again but despite their austere looks these P-type Alexander bodied B10M's were a good bus and a joy to ride on. Sadly Badgerline and it's sister Bristol City Line became one of the core companies of First Bus and soon took on that 'Barbie livery greyness'. D112 GHY was seen in Taunton in the rather attractive green and yellow livery

Ex-Southdown Fleetline in Wrexham with Crosville

Bristol lagged a long way behind the other UK manufactures like Leyland and Daimler with it's rear engined front entrance double-decker the VR. Consequently operators in the nationalised BTC Group had no choice but to buy convention half-cabs. No doubt the engineering staff didn't mind at all but the problems came when OPO was introduced widely on double-deckers as all of them were unsuitable. One solution was to take buses away from the more fortunate former more up to date BET fleets like Southdown and send them to places like Wrexham in Wales which was still full of Lodekka FS buses etc. On the face of it this Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline was moons away from a Lodekka but of course they had one thing in common and that was most often a Gardner engine.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Skibby Rejser Setra in Roskilde

Because of it's museum for them and connections with the Vikings this arguably makes Roskilde perhaps after Copenhagen the best known town in Denmark. It was certainly memorable as a bus location as it was just on the fringe of the conurbation's PTE HT area, but as well as a DSB dark red railways route from Ringstead where there was an outpost, it could boast a number of Independents. Most used the usual DAB's and Volvo B10M's but Skibby Rejser from the village of the same name coach boast this smart Setra.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Leyland Tiger: Hollinshead of Biddulph Stoke on Trent

Hollinshead of Biddulph was one of the Potteries many interesting Independents. A coach firm rather than a bus operator, nonetheless it always ran a the odd AEC or Leyland as well as lightweights. A bit of a curse really as the re-registering of coaches means it's hard to decide where they came from, but Moseley of Barnsley rings a bell.  This Plaxton Paramount bodied Leyland Tiger dated from the early Eighties and would have been a Y or a A-C reg. Old Mister Hollinshead said he planned to remove the Leyland badge as 'trophy hunters' often damaged the grill trying to steal them. It's a sad old world sometimes!

Monday 7 August 2017

First Western National Tavistock Outpost

The Western National garage at Tavistock beside the bus station closed on 5th May1973 by which time it's dwindling allocation had shrunk to just ten. In BTC days it  had been about fifteen and the fleet at the end included two Bristol FLF's and RELLs,  the rest being smaller types like the SULA4 and LH. Usually one finds in most towns the bus population has shrunk but in the Nineties a new outstation was opened at Tavistock which held about eighteen buses which was more than in better times. I wouldn't call it a bus garage situated down a country lane beside the river it was basically a fenced yard with a portacabin which is the usual arrangement for First's various smaller outposts. Despite competition from Plymouth Citybus it managed to stay open and as far as I know it's still in use by Stagecoach. I think the increase in bus traffic in the area was due to better service levels into Plymouth and the expansion of rather desirable Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor as a place to live. First shuffled it's spare buses around which made for some interesting local variety including this former West Yorkshire PTE Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Tiger A665 KUM from a batch of 23 Nos.1651-1672

Sunday 6 August 2017

70's Neoplan: All Glass and Polished Chrome

These Neoplans from the Seventies were very much influenced by glitzy America with all that polished chrome and glass. In a way I quite like this one as both the more subtle maroon relief and wet weather at Berlin Zoo manage to soften the blow!

Saturday 5 August 2017

Polish Autosan at Berlin Zoo

Sheffield Omnibus Atlantean CPO 345W

Often Independents buy second-hand buses and then like the livery so much they adopt it as their own. I think this must have happened at Sheffield Omnibus where they must have bought some Atlanteans off Preston who wore this livery. However even though it looks like one of those buses East-Lancs bodied Atlantean came from Portsmouth who used the former Municipal maroon and white. Sheffield Omnibus was always smart and I like the subtle graphics which always add a bit of class or look of quality.

Friday 4 August 2017

Staffordian Ford Duple OCA 433L at Picher Bank

At various times it has been fascinating to be a bus enthusiast but it has it's lows too. For myself just before my time the wonderful Fifties with coach operators sporting Burlingham Seagulls, Duple Vista bodied  Bedford OB's and Dosal finned Harringtons and so many rarities from small bodybuilders often local must have been great. But then came the boring lightweight era of the Bedford and Ford. Thankfully for us Duple changed it's designs regularly but Plaxton's Panorama basically stayed the same. Having nobody suitable to inherit the business Greatrex was bought out the Austin family who owned Happy Days. But they at least introduced DAF's, Leopards, and even an Iveco to the renamed Staffordian, but as you can see they also retained a number of Greatrex Fords plus Duple bodied OCA 433L. As for the Chaserider National, one would have to wait a long time for a bus to Hyde-Lea Coppenhall today as it doesn't run any more a far cry from the Sixties when there was still a decent Midland Red Sunday Service using double-deckers.

Thursday 3 August 2017

Harris of Grays Volvo F98 RAR

Frank Harris started running coaches from Grays in Essex as long ago as 1925. I don't know if they are still operating but they certainly were in the Nineties and could be seen far and wide like this fine Van-Hool bodied Volvo B10M on a dull day in Amsterdam.

London Buses Dennis Dominator

As production of the long established Leyland Atlantean and Fleetline ended operators including London Buses looked for a suitable replacement. As part of their trials three Dennis Dominators entered service and were also unusual in having Northern Counties bodywork. B103 WUW was caught when still looking new in Whitehall.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Prague KT 8 9027

I imagine most of you will think of Prague trams being in that familiar red and cream livery but here are a whole range of advertising liveries. As well as the Tatra trams on view is one of the earliest of KT 8's which first arrived in 1985.

Fife Leopards and Nationals in Kirkcaldy

The Scottish BUS Group wisely seemed to manage to not be lured in by the charms of the Leyland National preferring more orthodox buses like the Leopard in the background. However Fife having bought only thirteen raised it's total to thirty-five when the improved National2 arrived. One of the earlier Nationals can also be glimpsed in this view taken at Kirkcaldy. By this time Fife had added more cream to it's predominantly red livery and I feel it looked quite smart.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Northampon Transport Bristol VRT Alexander CNH 57T

Northampton had no less than thirty-six of these distinctive looking Alexander bodied Bristol VRT's.