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 29 July 2018

Right till the end of the Sixties bus driving might not have been a well paid job it was still a skilled profession which merited some pride and even loyalty. There was always the odd scruffy driver who knew all the fiddles, raced along jumping gear changes and who ran early or late but rarely on time. But in those days there were always plenty of inspectors to make sure they didn't get away with it. By the Nineties bus driving had just become a job and crews often moved backwards and forwards between local companies so there was no incentive to fly the flag. In this view taken in Liverpool the driver of the NC bodied Olympian has his shirt undone to his waist, and  whilst the driver of the other Leyland an East Lancs bodied Atlantean might look much more smart and properly dressed he is smoking a cigarette. This of course was not uncommon and not against the law but it was against the regulations and I remember one poor Standerwick Gay Hostess driver passing through Stafford who got reported by the local Ministry vehicle examiner for contentedly puffing away on his pipe.

Alton Stagecoach: A Celebration of Those Stripes

The Alexander R type body especially with a flat front could have been designed for Stagecoach one might think as it fitted it like aglove. At the time most of us hated these corporate stripes for they rid vehicles of any individual identity but I think qualms we might have had over the scheme itself have faded into a certain accepting nostalgia. I must admit too the overall impression of Stagecoach is smartness and this Hampshire Bus Leyland Olympian attending the Alton Bus Rally in 2017 looked very much the way in did in service whereas many we so admire today as seen through 'rose tinted glasses' in their  traditional dark green and red liveries were quite hard to maintain

Saturday 28 July 2018

Moreira, Gomes e Costas

Seen in Porto in 1984 was this very smart very new Utic bodied Leyland which could boast a very low registration number NC 0008.

Friday 27 July 2018

PMT 'Mini Link' C128 VRE

I think nostalgia affects us all and even the most boring of buses not only become more interesting once they've gone they remind us of the past in general. With a darkroom doing black and white photography was cheap so I had no qualms about photographing an insignificant PMT 'Mini Link' minibus in Hanley. People who caught a bus there might even miss the haircuts and that temporary safety fence beside the bus stop which looks rather like a hazard itself. Yes the trusty Merc has gone but for all I know it might still be there.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I'm not big bus nut any more, I don't follow what's going on or try to see them all. I'm content to just notice what is going on and of course include them in my photos regardless of how many I take over a period of time of any particular bus. I say that as I've taken this D&G Alexander Dennis Enviro VX14 RZA a number of times and this is the seventh I've photo shopped. I've travelled on it many times as it works my route and it might look okay but these modern buses are such bone-shakers the way they rattle and shake. They talk about soccer stars getting brain damage from heading the ball I'm surprised bus drivers don't go the same way with their hearing.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

BMMO D7 4507 at Hinckley

Here is another one of my early photos, this time of a ubiquitous BMMO D7 at Hinckley. This garage for a number of years was unusual in not having any of this huge class as it went from AD2, through D5B's to the D9. I think the odd one did appear later like if I remember 4462 but it was for other garages to bring them into the town like this example XHA 507 from Coalville.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Strachans bodied AEC Merlin Red Arrow XMS6

Not very well know as a bus builder Strachans must have seen a high profile order for a batch of experimental AEC Merlin Red Arrow buses for London as something of a coo. The Capital bought a huge fleet but sadly for the Solent bases bodybuilder it just did fifteen and small orders for similar buses with Southampton and Wolverhampton. It was a pity as these were a lot more attractive than most Strachans bodywork of that time. Another Ilford Sporti soft shot I'm afraid from my schooldays.

Saturday 21 July 2018

West Midlands Trident 4366 BV52 OAC & New Market

Today saw the official opening of Wolverhampton's new 'semi outdoor' market. It was supposed to cost to cost a staggering four-million-pounds but overran the budget to Five. It amazes me how much such a simple structure costs these days but maybe a lot of it was the land it was built on. Bus as you can see not everyone was impressed.

Friday 20 July 2018

West Midlands One Livery for All

Change seems to be afoot in the West Midlands as the Metro has decided to standardise bus liveries of the various operators in the area. Personally I think these sort of political gestures are just that and a waste of time and money when done on their own without other improvements. It's a bit like calling the River Severn something else so that it will no long flood.  They say it prevents confusion but I argue that it is the other way around as many people now know which is their bus simply by the livery without looking to see where it's going. Naturally they will be wearing National Express West Midlands current two tone red colour but had it been a truly democratic decision they might have picked something else, but I only say this as the idea of West Midlands having to paint  all it's hundreds of buses in the thirteen Banga Bus blue and yellow made me smile imagining their shocked faces. I can't say I will miss the colours of Thandi though like this Dennis Dart seen in Walsall. I wonder if this will affect Arriva too and other operators who nip into the area like Select.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Go-Ahead Northern: Winners and Losers

Deregulation was something of a lottery with few winners and hundreds of losers. In this gold rush there was a lot of bullying and unpleasantness, and both long established operators and newcomers either fell on their swords or if they were efficient able to grab the money and run. Indeed parts of the NBC were sold off so cheaply by selling a bit of properly newcomers like Stagecoach had enough to buy the next and the next.  Who would have guessed at the time when I took this photo of a rather unpopular Willowbrook 003 coach bodied Leyland Leopard on a limited-stop service to Consett that it's NBC management buyout team who had formed Go-Ahead would become one of the main players to prosper and survive to the end of the game of public transport monopoly. 

Monday 16 July 2018

PMT Glover Street Garage Stafford

The more recent structure that surrounds the former PMT bus garage at Stafford makes it look somewhat larger for it only held seven buses.

BTX 540J: A Gelligaer NC bodied Bristol VR with Rhymney Valley

Gelligaer UDC only ran a handful of double-deckers but was able to contribute three of these unusual Northern Counties bodied Bristol VR's to Rhymney Valley which brought the three local municipal fleets together centred around Caerphilly in the middle and where No.54 was seen.

Saturday 14 July 2018

Ribble Atlantean at Morecambe

One thing I hate about Britain is our overbearing health and safety culture, indeed close to where I live there's a footpath which has been closed off because someone deemed the willow trees along the route to be a dangerous. Maybe if there is a genuine risk they could put a warning notice up about not going in windy conditions but I think people should be able to decide for themselves whether they are about to be killed or not by a falling branch. What I like about this photo taken at Morecambe of a preserved Ribble ECW bodied Leyland Atantean AN68 is there are no plastic cones or temporary purple railings not even a high-viz vest.

Friday 13 July 2018

Now A Distant Memory The Leyland National TOF 703S

It is so long now since the long reign of the Leyland National ended in a funny way I rather miss them, however there are a lot of buses I miss a lot more. But they were certainly a familiar sight in Stafford and as well as having all eleven of Chaserider's Mk2's at one point some of the earlier ones had their roof pods removed to go under a low bridge on the way to Rugeley. Formerly No.703 this bus heading west into former G.H.Austin (Happy Days) territory and bound for Eccleshall and Knightly had been renumbered to 903 to show it had been modified.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Ribble National Express Leopard BNB 234T at Hotham Place

Ribble used to have an allocation of coaches at Liverpool to operate the various long distance services from the city and although still operated from here these became part of National Travel West network. A fairly new Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard goes through the wash at Hotham Place which adjoins the bus and coach station.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Ballerup 53

Just as in Britain the bus scene has totally changed in Denmark since the Eighties. Not only would I get hopelessly lost in those Copenhagen suburbs each place would no longer reward me with different operators and even unusual buses like these Van-Hool bodied Volvos at Ballerup.

Monday 9 July 2018

D&G Optare in Hanley

In the good old days PMT could have boasted over five-hundred buses in service in the Potteries but it's successor First Bus now rarely operates one-hundred. In fact just as in the old days Independents are still hard at work herem they might not be the Berresford's and Poole's of old but D&G who owns this Optare and which also serves the surrounding area now runs more buses locally than First does. On some busy corridors one only had to wait a couple of minutes for a bus to come along, now it's more like half an hour and it's hardly surprising people don't use buses more than they have to as those which do come along are often overcrowded.

Friday 6 July 2018

"Gis a job, I can do that"

I wonder if Yosser would have been able to find work in Walsall today now that poverty has been abolished. The 529 Route follows the old trolleybus route from Wolverhampton to Walsall and  boasts the latest West Midland's Alexander-Dennis Enviro double-deckers, but in the day when a Sunbeam also meant something else Platinum was not an 'admans' shade of grey it was my old fountain pen that just leaked when I tried to fill it.

Northern Scottish MCW Metroliner in Plymouth on the National Express 806

Looking very smart was this MCW Metroliner coach of Northern Scottish at Plymouth Bretonside preparing to make it's return journey back to Aberdeen which must have been the longest express route in the UK I imagine.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Lancashire United Fleetline at Wigan PTD 643S

It was sad to see the demise of Lancashire United but many of it's buses slotted nicely into the Greater Manchester fleet like this Fleetline with a standard Manchester Northern Counties body. When still quite new and looking a lot nicer in it's red and grey livery No.499 was seen boarding at Wigan on one of the trunk routes to Bolton.

Monday 2 July 2018

Bloxwich 2018: World Cup Fever

I don't know yet if 2018 will be for ever carved into the nations heart for what happens the World Cup but it will certainly be remembered as 'the scorcher'. I rather like this view taken Bloxwich as it has that timeless feel of back-to-back houses and kids playing on the street.