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

Monday 31 December 2018

Maidstone Corporation Daimer CVG6 LKJ 777

When I was at Maidstone Art School in 1967-8 the Corporation had a 100% Massey bodied Leyland fleet apart from three old Daimler CVG6's and Brush bodied 77 was still wearing the much more tasteful and pleasant ginger livery when photographed. By the time I left another three G-Reg Atlanteans had joined the fleet and the old days were gone.

Friday 28 December 2018

West Midlands Dennis Trident Y754 TOH

Despite Birmingham trying to make the place more people-friendly it is still a city of concrete and draughty tunnels as seen here close to the Bull Ring as a Dennis Trident emerges from the gloom.

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Felix of Stanley Lynx in Derby J564 URW

Felix of Stanley was one of the many Independents that avoided the temptation of growth following Deregulation and consequently stayed in business perhaps longer than the more ambitious and more foolhardy operators who either couldn't cope or got swallowed up in the malaise. So still a familiar sight at Derby in the 90's was this interesting later series and rather appropriately for Felix a Lynx, one which had some fame as a well-travelled Leyland demonstrator.

Monday 24 December 2018

Recent Arriva Mercedes Minibus at Winnington Northwich

For a few years now I have driven through Northwich and never made the time to stop especially as most of the Arriva buses from Winsford that serve the town are familiar types. But just before Christmas I left home slightly early so I could catch this a rare minibus, a Mercedes with some some reason a London registration and it was seen at Winnington with some of what is left of ICI in the background.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Preserved Stagecoach Ribble Volvo Olympian P234 VCK

Taking part in this year's Ribble Running Day at Morecambe was this Northern Counties Volvo Olympian in those once controversial Stagecoach Stripes.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Brisol Omnibus FLF LH 7267

The Bristol FLF never seemed more at home than in the city of Bristol itself and indeed BOC bought over three-hundred of them with a few surviving on a lay service into the early Eighties.

Friday 21 December 2018

White Christmas! Select Olympian J722 GAP

Snow at Christmas in much of Britain is a reality very often and the concept is just another unwanted import from America where they have much colder winters in the north. Generally here it's even bright and sunny or just as likely to be wet and miserable just like in this view from January 2015 as the well known former Stagecoach Leyland Olympian of Select made it's way through Moss Pit on it's way into Stafford.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

DAB Articulated bus to Meandowhall C104 HDT

Articulated single-deck buses have yet to gain popularity in Britain. The Mercedes Citaro buses introduced in London proved so unpopular they had to be quickly sold off and some found their way to places like Malta but  in the Sheffield area South Yorkshire PTE was one operator which saw their virtues and had the only sizable batch of DAB-Leylands to enter service in the UK. They were well suited to the service to Meadowhall which enjoyed good stretches of wide straight roads like this.

Thursday 13 December 2018

Scottish Citylink Metroliner

Despite being being only a year or two apart these two Scottish coaches taking a refreshment break on the long trip south to London look very different. The Eastern Scottish Leyland Tiger on the right wears a familiar looking Duple body but the Northern Citylink coach from Aberdeen was a lot more interesting as only a few of these Metrolines were ever built 

Tuesday 11 December 2018

South Lancs Tiger in Leigh F62 SMT

South-Lancs had rather a bright and attractive blue and yellow livery. A Duple bodied Leyland Tiger was seen in Leigh.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Brighton & Hove Bristol VR JWV 271W

After the break-up of the NBC Southdown was split up and the old pre-NBC Brighton and Hove was reborn. One of the best things was that as well as having a tidy and rather classy script for the fleetname it took on that traditional red and cream livery one which in various shades was found all across the bus industry and did the job well. Of course the new B&H different from the local former Tilling operation in that it took over the old Southdown Brighton routes like this one to Tunbridge Wells.

Let's Go in Wolverhampton

Travel Express always seem to be darting up and down Stafford Street in Wolverhampton so maybe the Dennis Dart is quite apt like this former Cardiff bus. It is my interest in photography and the world around me these days which  holds my interest in buses and over the years I have gained something of a reputation rather like Robert Jowitt for my more creative buses and girls images.

Friday 7 December 2018

Rapide Bova WSV 570 in Edinburgh

One of biggest nuisances in the Nineties was the number of coaches with so-called cherished registrations like this Rapide Bova Futura of Northumbria leaving Edinburgh for Newcastle which started life as E692 JUT.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Merseybus Ikarus K131 TCP

Following the opening up of the Russian controlled Eastern Block the bus builder Ikarus had to both adapt and find new markets as it's state controlled customers dried up. They appeared in Britain too and this Merseybus example was seen in Liverpool on a service from the Wirral. In fact I think as they had an arrangement with DAF to provide chassis they might not have looked beautiful but they became quite a popular choice both in bus and coach form.  Road signs and the like can be a real nuisance when trying to take photos but in this instance it might have blocked out some of the picture but at the same time it blotted out the glare of strong sunlight.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Maidstone's Massey Bodied Atlanteans

The later Massey bus bodies lost that elegant rounded look but to those who liked them like myself the slight ugliness gave more of an impression of ruggedness. I think these Atlantean buses were heavy as the Maidstone drivers complained about the steering but in their early years as a passenger they were lovely to ride on totally free of rattles. One good thing about Maidstone in those days was following the old trolleybus routes up the Tonbridge Road even on a cold day like this according to the timetable one only had to wait three or four minutes for a bus during the day.

Monday 3 December 2018

GMB 383T at Little Heywood

The Midland Red North garage at Stafford had this former Crosville Leyland National on loan which was unusual here in having been re-engined by Gardner. I took a ride out to Little Heywood as I wanted to get a sound recording but it was mostly hattle and shake.

Nice Jugs!

I don't know what you are all thinking lol, but I rather liked the more rounded Roe bodywork to be found on the earlier Leeds sourced Wypte Atlanteans and Fleelines including Leyland JUG 502L.

Sunday 2 December 2018

East Yorkshire Open-Top RE PHN 177L

The double deck open-top sightseeing bus is a much more familiar sight than it used to be when it was confined to the sea front. Indeed it can be found on sightseeing duties in any number of cities around the world. However this former United Auto Bristol RE was a very rare example in being of the single-deck variety and with East Yorkshire had recieved the much missed old traditional livery for work in Scarborough.

Friday 30 November 2018

National Express Caetano Levante FJ61 EWM

When they first appeared on the scene the Caetano Levante certainly had that wow factor, but of course like this one at Wolverhampton they became just as familiar as the old Plaxtons were.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

MAN SD B.V.1940 at Berlin Zoo

Berlin is a bit of a grey city or rather more of a sandy grey but there is always plenty going on and the area around the Zoo and the railway station are always busy.

Monday 26 November 2018

WKR 136S Luton Corporation?

The highbridge bodied Bristol VR's built by ECW were scarce enough compared to their lowheight sisters to always look a bit strange. Maidstone and District had some and 5136 was seen close to the depot in Luton, not to be mistaken with the better known place with the same name where the Vauxhall's come from.

Friday 23 November 2018

Southampton Corporation Atlantean East-Lancs OCR 150G at Shirley

In the Sixties the BET Group could present a very modern image with it's curved glass same at both ends single-deckers and stylish products from Alexander like the Y-type and double-decker. The municipal sector was a lot more staid in it's 'tried and tested ratepayers money' approach but Ralph Bennett shook things up when he cooperated with East-Lancs to create striking new buses for Bolton. They first appeared with a flat front as part of the concept but this soon gave way to a more popular modification with  curved glass. Other concerns were able to buy these buses too and they modernised many Corporation fleets including Southampton where they came to dominate. What I liked about this city was the fact that the new buses wore this the Bolton arrangement whereas the half-cabs retained the mostly dark red traditional scheme to the end and looked much better for it as it made the new ones look even more modern and exciting yet at the same time respected the heritage and suitability of the older fleet.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Optares of Preston Buses and ABC

For quality not one of my best photographs but it is quite atmospheric and has points of interest. In the town a Preston Optare Metrobus used on the Park and Ride is pursued by another Optare, this time a Delta of ABC on the Southport service.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Northern General VFT 188T at Jarrow

Northern General bought some Atlanteans from Tyne & Weir and retained the same yellow livery which was adopted as standard for services in the PTE area. These buses were quite interesting as they were about the last bodies to be built by MCW before it dropped it's other work to concentrate on it's much in demand

Friday 16 November 2018

P25329 Le Chaux de Fonds

The Swiss Post Office operated a large fleet of Mercedes 0405's but some were to PTT's own specification and were bodied in Switzerland by R&J as they had to include a luggage compartment at the rear for the mail like this example at the Chaux de Fonds, a town in the Jura near the French border once at the heart of the world famous clock and watch making industry.

East London NDZ 3016 in East London!

No doubt many of you will recognise immediately where I took this photo of one of the many Wright Handy Bus bodied Dennis Darts originally placed in service with London Buses before finding their way into fleets like Stagecoach after the bits were sold off. These were hardly beautiful buses but they did the job. I know where it was but if I say not far from say Hackney someone will call me an idiot lol.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Grey Green Volvo Plaxton B870 XYR

A visit to The Thames Embankment was usually rewarded with parked coaches. Some had come from all over Britain and indeed the Continent but this Grey green Volvo woth a Plaxton Paramount 3500 body was one of the locals.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Cardiff a break before the trip back to Merthyr on BHB 341C

First thing at about 7.30am was a good time to take photographs at Cardiff bus station with soft sunlight and it facing the right way. It's intending passengers prefer to enjoy the sunshine rather than board the bus to Merthyr whilst no doubt it's crew are getting a cup of tea and maybe a well deserved cooked breakfast before the long journey back up the valleys. Despite the distance covered the upstairs windows of the bus are still steamed up so it was still a bit chilly and the air damp inside. Today I for one wouldn't want to be up there with the acrid cigarette smoke in those conditions, stay downstairs where it's warmer too and listen to the East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD3 clatter through the gears as it dutifully slogs from one place to the next homewards.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Stagecoach FX12 BLK in Lincoln

I'm afraid I like to be different for whilst others were taking as many views as they could of all those gems at the Lincoln Transport Museum running day I also wanted to get some of the ordinary buses in service there, most of which were these Stagecoach Enviros. Of course the old ones are more interesting but I like to get a bit of everything I guess. Having said that I was pleased to include the lovely preserved Lincolnshire Leyland Lion one of the buses we were able to ride on.

Friday 9 November 2018

Preston Bus Dennis Trident V194 EBV

With the small town of Leyland right on it's doorstep Preston Corporation was very loyal to the big bus manufacturer over the years. When they were no longer available it had to go elsewhere for it's chassis and at least Dennis is British and the bodywork built in Lancashire in nearby Blackburn. In the 90's East-Lancs bodied Dennis Trident 194 approaches the bus station followed by a Leyland Lynx.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Silver Service AEC Reliance in Liverpool

Silver Service of Darley Dale operated this former Green Line Duple bodied AEC Reliance on it's LINCMAN Mansfield to Liverpool service.

Friday 2 November 2018

Down The Pan For This Neoplan

Is it just me getting old and boring or are buses and coaches really becoming more monstrously hideous looking? Now a retro-look from the comic books of the Fifties I suppose it's what could be called 'futuristic' but I think like the world of Spiderman it will all date very quickly as it is ugliness disguised as cutting-edge. I've never been a huge fan of the American influenced Neoplan either and this is about the worst of the lot. One thing will be interesting is if we ever we see in old age coaches like this Leon's example in Stafford  doing the daily schools runs.

Thursday 1 November 2018

First in BoltoN: A Variation on Barbi G57 RND

When I took this photo in Bolton the First Group was still playing with it's Barbi image and the awful Barbi2 had yet to receive it's drizzle. Even this a different version which appeared on a former Timeline Alexander bodied Leyland Tiger driver training bus would have been some improvement.

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Warstone's Green Bus JTF 152F East-Lancs Leopard

Warstone's Green Bus was an Independent of real character running smarty turned out almost historic vehicles in a smart dark green based livery. For a small fleet they covered a wide area but probably the best place to see them was at Cannock where a former Rossendale East-Lancs bodied Leyland Leopard prepares for it's next trip. These had been ordered by Rawtenstall before it merged with nearby tiny Haslingden Corporation with one of the three having been ordered for that fleet and were the first new buses for Rossendale. Indeed the link between the two was close as both shared the same general manager. I remember being able to inspect one in the garage before entering service and was a bit shocked to see that the interior roof etc. was filthy.

Monday 29 October 2018

Mending A Battered BMMO D9 at Stafford

This photo was taken late in the Sixties after one of  the Midland Red Stafford D9's had had a bump whilst on the long 865 to Dudley via Walsall. I don't know what happened here but the roads crossing Cannock Chase are particular accident black spots with speeding cars, dips in the road and of course straying deer, not to mention hard to see big red double-decker buses. Unlike the one beside it this bus was an earlier example built with wings around the wheel-arches and as far as I know 5316 also at Stafford was the first one so treated..

Sunday 28 October 2018

The Day of Rest

I remember when Sunday's were very quiet or almost dead with few people about. But at certain times of the year it can be be even worse chaos than during the week. The ones I feel sorry for are the people who live near themed destinations and shopping centres like Trentham Gardens. On the POPS autumn running day there is often a Huddersfield bus but this time it was a Utility bodied Daimler and I for one like to see and sample to older vehicles as well as the ones now gone we still remember well.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Greater Manchester North Atlantean at Melverley Street

Wigan with it's pretty well 100% Leyland fleet quirky numbering system and liking for locally built Massey bodies was one of my favorite corporation fleets. But I have to say that by the time it became Greater Manchester North the garage at Melverley street looked very run down and depressing and not helped either by the relentless red-brick. Like Bolton nearby at least it retained it's Leyland tradition and Atlanteans with Northern Counties bodies also the choice of former days were very much in evidence.

Friday 26 October 2018

St.Margaret's on a Wet Day

As a teenage spotter and indeed bus photographer I was often hardly aware of the travelling public experience. A good example was St. Margaret's Street Bus Station in Leicester which was always a hive of activity and a happy place busy with Midland Red and other operators including Brown's Blue. But those bus shelters looked a bit like air-raid shelters, they were nice and dry but I must admit like many places it looked depressing in the rain and the grubby S23 and D13 didn't help cheer the scene.

Thursday 25 October 2018

The Only Diamonds on display at Walsall Street Market?

Some towns I like more than others and as for Walsall it seems to have something missing, everything seems pushed together or apart like the bus stations and there is no obvious physical heart which says to the visitor I've arrived I'm here. Many of our poorer towns particularly in the north are mixed ethnic and very multi-cultural these days and I admire the way all the people mix and just get on with their lives. It's never boring here either and there are still a few bus operators to be seen at Bradford Place including Diamond with it's distinctive dark blue livery.

Monday 22 October 2018

Arriva in the Past Tense

On the Weston Road in Stafford is this stop with a helpful timetable board. But the information shown here is no help at all as it is dated July 2017 when buses up to the hospital and back were being diverted to travel in the opposite direction, and not just that it shows a sunday service as well. Another problem is there are plenty of shelters which now have electronic displays but they don't seem to have put them where the passengers wait for a bus and the one across the road is a waste of time as people only alight there. The bus is Volvo FJ58 HYU.

Thursday 18 October 2018

1982 My quest to snap the last half-cabs in Norwick

A lot of my black and whites were taken when I used to deliver electricty meters to the various test stations. The most distant ones were at Redruth and Aberdeen but GEC already had their own large van to do the distance stuff but when it was very busy I was dispatched further afield and occasionally visited EEB at Norwich. This is a lovely city and at this time I was eager to snap as many of the few remaining provincial half-cabs as I could and this was one of the last places where Bristol FLF's in quantity were out all day. Of course the same was true in Bristol but not that it mattered here but these were red ones lol.

Monday 15 October 2018

The 804 to Dameswalde

That destination on this Mercedes-Benz 0405 in Orianienburg looks rather inviting lol, but I think those Wild Dames don't seem quite so exciting when one looks at the glum and grumpy looking  ladies boarding the bus at the bus station in what had been a part of East Berlin..

All Things Bright & Beautiful: Midland Red North M833 SDA

That childhood fascination when seeing a brand new bus doesn't quite leave us, or does it?  I used to love the look of the new untarnished black and silver alluminium number-plates and some gleaming brightwork against a strong traditional dark bus colour, even a chrome plated radiator on a Leyland was a delight. But alas many more recent buses never have that first week magic like this rather ugly and much too bright looking East-Lancs bodied Scania of Midland Red North in Birmingham on the Tamworth service. The dummy grill looks like it's just been painted over and where is the brightwork!

Sunday 14 October 2018

A Barton Leopard at Derby PAL 796M

I don't like seeing places I remember well disappear and especially the old historic bus station in Derby which dated from the 1920's. With it's curved Art Deco shape it made for interesting bus photos too but as you can see that overhead canopy could create some dense shadows. In the Seventies Barton decided to take full advantage of the bus-grant scheme and replaced just about everything with a mixture of Bedford and Leyland service coaches. A typical grant Leopard 1428 was seen in Derby on the Nottingham service.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Ribble Rarities: In Model Terms The Holy Grail

I decided my new year's resolution for 2018 was to stop buying diecast models because I'm almost out of space to display them. I did really well and reached October without being tempted to indulge. But when I was at the Birkenhead  transport event last week on the stall in front of me first appeared the Britbus Ribble Albion Lowlander loose but otherwise mint going for just a tenner! I couldn't believe I had found it at last as it so rare, and I was just digesting that bit of fortune when I saw a second absolute rarity the dual-purpose Marshall bodied Leopard this time going for just  eight-pounds. Sadly because they were loose and put into paper bags for me I tried to keep them safe but I eventually lost one of the mirrors off the Lowlander but they are literally held on by to scale tiny pins. The easily knocked off-side mirror usually goes first but this time it was the other one partly protected by the canopy, but at least it's not so noticeable. So it was an excellent day as one just dreams of luck like that. They had only just been put out as they were part of someones collection who had sadly passed away. I don't feel guilty though about breaking my resolution as there were still maybe half a dozen I still wanted if I saw them at the right price and besides there are still going to be one or two as yet unannounced new models I might want in the future. So if I can stick to that it's one for Christmas and one for my birthday.

Birkenhead Corporation Massey Bodied Leyland PD2 FBG 910 at Woodside

I don't enjoy static bus rallies much but at least with running days not only does one get rides it also gives one an excuse to photograph the old ones on the street. There are a few stands for services but the buses have deserted the old Woodside Bus Station but  as this Birkenhead Massey bodied PD2 passes  we can still see that wonderful panoramic view of Liverpool over the choppy Mersey.

"Driver, I forgot to pack my Thermals"

Probably if she's going to Torquay in July she won't need it just an umbrella and a few puzzle books. But coach driving is just as much about the way one deals with people as it is getting them there. I remember once going to Blackpool on one of Greatrex's old Fords and we had the most horrible disinterested driver. All he seemed to care about was stopping for a long break either way on the motorway so he could get his free meal perks and the only thing he said to us all day was if we were late back he would go without us. Thankfully coach travellers can vote with their feet and this time no-one came around with a hat so he got not tip lol. This Van-Hool bodied VDL belonging to Wall's of Wigan was picking up for Alpha Holidays in Cannock.

Friday 12 October 2018

Mr Thomas's Silver Star in Caernarvon

When I visited Caernarvon at the end of the Nineties it was still interesting bus wise with Independents as well as Crosville Wales. Here is a former West Riding Leyland Leopard LHL 245P with Alexander bodywork operated by the long established Silver Star which had about ten vehicles but which had served the town since the !920's from a number villages out towards Phwllheli including Rhosgadfan where the buses were garaged.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Bristol City Line Lynx F611 RTC

If I were to write a book about the first few years after Deregulation I might well want to get 'Indian Summer' into the title as it was a good time to be interested in buses and for all we know probably the last time to feel any excitement as things would never be the same again. It was a bit like when a piece of forest is cleared of tall trees and all the flowers and saplings suddenly appear all growing as fast as they can to stop being smothered, some of course are just weeds but others establish themselves and not only prosper they can also be admired before eventual takeover. Larger companies were formed as parts of former PTE and NBC fleets were brought together and re branded. In a light green and cream Badgerline had one of the most pleasant liveries but it's fleet within Bristol itself wore a striking red blue and yellow scheme as seen on this Leyland Lynx, one of many in the group. Even though the registration marque TC was transferred to Bristol many many years ago I still can't look at it without thinking the bus should be in Lancashire.

Friday 5 October 2018

Arriva in Cannock Bus Station

As a bus enthusiast there is not much reason to loiter in Cannock Bus Station these days unless one wants to see plenty of Arriva. But loitering is one off those immotive phrases which covers everything from just hanging about to acting suspiciously. No doubt it gives security staff authority to move on unsavoury types. Of course nobody moves on the bus crews who gather here to chin-wag and kill time.