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 30 September 2018

Birkenhead Corporation MCW Orion bodied Leyland PD2 DCM 990 at Laird Street

From my perspective it seems that when applied to modern buses old heritage liveries don't always seem to look quite right. Enthusiasts hated them but  hardly elegant I never found the MCW Orion particularly ugly and not only did the straightforward design suit any application the more attractive the livery the better it looked and Birkenhead was a good example of how nice they could look especially as a cream band beneath the upper deck windows always did wonders. They bought many Leyland PD2's and they all had the traditional no-nonsense exposed radiator which perhaps made them look a bit more dated but it added a touch of class. This one  No.370 at Laird Street Garage dated from 1955 and was by this time twelve years old.

Friday 28 September 2018

Arriva Dennis Dart 2369 in Chasetown bound for Lichfield

Taken from another bus this is not one of my best, however I like the idea of being able to take photos from less obvious locations. I used to do a lot of my Top Travel airporter drops and pick-ups around here but I still don't exactly know where each place starts and ends as here just off  the A5190 which more or less runs parallel to the main A5 is pretty well built up with endless urban sprawl. However I think this Cannock based Plaxton Pointer Dennis Dart heading for Lichfield on the 60 is close to Chasetown. It's got to be less than ten miles from Cannock to Lichfield but some of these routes wander so much off the main route they seem to take for ever and the 60 is about how long it takes.

Southend Transport Leyland Tiger at Trafalgar Square on S1

Still in West Yorkshire PTE Gold Rider livery was this Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger at Trafalgar Square. Traditionally London was a pretty staid place bus wise with London Transport having a twenty-five mile monopoly of services. Today on the surface at it's heart it might look very much the way it used to with nothing but red buses but competition is still rife. The Nineties though was interesting it even brought the nearby former municipal operators of Maidstone, Reading and as here Southend into town.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Happy Days Bova HD17 LHD

I had thirty seconds and my camera was at the bottom of my handbag and as I fumbled with it I thought I wasn't going to get a shot of this one. But as you can see I just managed to get this Bova of Happy Days Coaches as it came down the Weston Road in Stafford. Much more interesting than it's own dark red  I'm glad Leon's have a few vehicles running in this distinctive livery which is both traditional and imaginatively updated for modern vehicles.

GMT Stockport East-Lancs PD2 HJA 968E

By this time in early Eighties these Leyland  PD2's and PD3's at Stockport and another clutch at Wigan became some of the very few half-cab buses left in Greater Manchester. Of course looking old-fashioned they seemed a bit of anachronism alongside Atlanteans, Fleetlines and even the advanced MCW Metropolitan but these at Stockport bodied by East Lancs  looked so elegant and had character missing in a modern fleet. I lost a lot of interest in the Seventies as I hated the NBC livery and the PTE's which seemed to make buses less attractive, however it was partly to catch the last of these dying beasts on film which drew me back into the hobby.

Friday 21 September 2018

Hereford a Midland Red Wanderward Bus in the rain

Taking bus photographs in the rain is a challenge in itself, not least keeping the lense not only dry but not steamed up either. But the results can be atmospheric and rewarding as can be seen here in Hereford where even the humble Leyland National is a welcome sight to its soggy clients. Like many places when I was working I used to relish the chance to stop to do some photography and a little rain wasn't going to stop me. As you can see from the car I was in the area where all the Diplomats live. Here unlike the paper-chase they call Brexit we have another kind of hard border to worry about before we can enter the wildness of Wales proper and that is the Brecon Beacons. I hope at least Midland Red West didn't pay an image consultant to think up WANDERWARD it might suggest freedom and movement but it is still meaningless. Had they called it ROADCIDER it might have meant something similar albeit the drivers were always pissed which might not have been a good idea lol.

Thursday 20 September 2018

Midland Red D10 4943 outside The Top of The World

Some things just about manage to stay the same but there is almost nothing left of the old Midland Red in Stafford apart from I expect a few concrete bus stop poles. But one enduring feature is a number of local bus services which still use the old BMMO area 8** format. Indeed as seen on one of the town's two famous D10's 4943, the 825 went to Lichfield via Rugeley and it still does today.  However the passage of time doesn't always make things better and the 825 takes a much longer route to Lichfield than it did in 1964 taking about an hour whereas today it takes half as much again. Perhaps one good thing is the Arriva Wright bodied Volvos are a lot warmer than a the old BMMO's which were rarely warm enough in winter and yes the old buses rattled too especially the glass sliders but even they weren't as bad as 'rattle-box' modern buses. Of interest of course is The Top of The World ballroom opened in the town by businessman Harry Fenton. Young people would come here from miles around to dance and enjoy the entertainment but he had a strict door policy of no long hair on men. If they really wanted to come in a barber was provided on site but I don't know if they charged extra for a good haircut.

Olssons' Busstrafic Delta-Plan in Copenhagen

Not being quite so expensive and especially for those who enjoy a drink Copenhagen was a good choice for a Scandinavian break. For the British till the Nineties there were even plenty of DAB Leylands to see and ride on but also in summer it attracted a large number of visiting coaches and one could see them from Norway, Finland and like this one from Sweden. I rather like the subtle greenish-blue colour on this Delta-Plan bodied Volvo B10M of Olssons' Busstrafik. As you can see even in those long ago days in the early Eighties there was a lax dress code in Copenhagen which was another good reason to enjoy a Tuborg or two.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

AEC Reliance EPM 136V Flight Line 777

A gentleman needing assistance patiently waits for the Victoria Coach Station Inspector to finish giving instructions to a driver of most probably a Duple Dominant bodied Leyland Leopard. By this time the AEC Reliance was getting rare within the NBC empire but in the south East Kent, National Travel SE (Formerly Timpsons) and London Country had some late examples as can be seen here EPM 136V dated from 1979 and had a Plaxton body and was used as seen on the 777 Flightline Express to Gatwick.

Monday 17 September 2018

Through The Cones in Pipers Row TWM 5419: BX13 JPV

It looks like the light rail extension to the railway station in Wolverhampton is nearing completion and all those barriers and traffic cones will disappear from Pipers Row. The batch of green Enviro hybrid buses used on the Number-One Dudley service have now been repainted in fleet colours.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Hurrying Over The Tram Tracks in Leipzig

It is always annoying when people step out in front of us when we are about to take a photo and especially when they just don't care! But not only was this guy just blinkered running for a train it turned a rather predictable LVB tram photo in Leipzig into a little gem. One more step and he would blocked out all the detail of the tram but as it is it robs us of nothing. This of course was in the days before we all had digital cameras and photography was still an expensive hobby.

Saturday 15 September 2018

Stockport Crossley bodied Leyland Tiger Cub NDB 356

I haven't done many bus events this year but I particularly enjoyed the Ribble running day at Morecambe. Amongst the buses giving rides was this splendid red and cream privately owned Stockport Leyland Tiger Cub. It carries a Crossley body built in the town and it reminds me very much of the Park Royal Monocoach design which could be found on the early AEC Reliance. This was hardly surprising as the firm had been acquired by the ACV Group and was fully aborbed in 1948 and until it's demise in 1956 vehicles were basically AEC's.

Stonier's Turner's Fleetline TRF 172G

Stonier of Tunstall bought this Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline off fellow Potteries Independent Turner of Brown Edge. The destination has been hurriedly written on the blind and makes it look like the bus is going to a technology park bus alas this is 1980 and it's heading for the Festival Park which was mooted as bringing prosperity to the area for years to come. In the old and spacious Hanley Bus Station are a nice variety of PMT bus types plus a Fleetline still with Turner.

Someone has pointed out that F. Park might instead be Eaton Park which was served by Stonier.

Thursday 13 September 2018

National Express Metroliner at Bretonside

A MCW Metroliner looks almost ready to set off from Plymouth Bretonside Bus Station for London whilst a long queue patiently await their coaches. With a Birmingham registration this started life with Midland Red Coaches as No.507 but now carried 1420 on a cast-metal stamped plate typical of Western National and a few of these more individualistic things thankfully managed to survive the dictates of NBC standardisation. I expect like many others I rather liked the National Express livery on vehicles which were not repaints out far superior and much loved traditional liveries we used to enjoy in the Sixties.

Monday 10 September 2018

Ben's Turistbusser: The Line of Duty

Sticking an ugly service indicator on the roof of this beautifully styled Bova is rather like putting a rack and ladders on an E-type Jaguar. But the traditional Danish livery style and heavy signwritting didn't make it like a nice bed-mate either more like a catapillar on your pillow. It was from the village of Østbirk and might have actually been owned by Bent's Turistbusser.

Sunday 9 September 2018

The City of Oxford Bus Split: South Midland

I suppose one could argue that at least there was some logic in selling off the big sprawling NBC companies like United and Ribble in chunks but some of their actions were just cynical. How could the unremunative Oxford country area buses without the cross-subsidy make a living when they became a separate company from the main city fleet and this was not helped as it was also without proper facilities as all it's depots were small.  I can only see it as with the loss making country area removed the accountants saw bustling Oxford as as a big juicy financial cherry to be picked and splitting them up would make the most money for the Tory Coffers. Poor old rural South Midland as it was named could be sold off as a loss leader and it didn't matter if it went bankrupt. Of course the reasoning behind it was supposed to be that the new company would also need to compete on busy city services with CMOS.  However competition is costly and wasteful and with stretched resources the country services it inherited would get neglected and it is this unsatisfactory legacy of Deregulation we live with today as buses became just about profit and not service any more. After the sell-off CMOS carried on pretty well as before still in NBC poppy red for a time but South Midland introduced a confident rather striking livery to show that it wasn't going to give up and made headway taking a share of the busy London services with it's imaginatively marketed Oxford Tube too. In the end it was bought out by Stagecoach.

Midland Red National2 BVP808V at Tamworth

A few weeks ago there was an open day and free bus trips to celebrate 90 years of Tamworth Garage. This was slightly different to most enthusiast events as it had more of a the Midland Red family feel about it with lots of old staff and local well-wishers. My interest in Midland Red goes back to early childhood but I still felt a bit out of it as many there could only recall a different Midland Red to the real BMMO that built it's own buses. No it was not the same but I have some good memories of the NBC era too and one of them was when we got some lovely sounding buses the first five new Leyland National2 buses at Stafford and coincidentally my favourite 808 looked as good as new but personally I thought it looked even better with the black wheels it had then.

Saturday 8 September 2018

Hjørring Privatbaner DAB Bus in Aalborg

In Denmark 'pravatbaner' (private bus) didn't mean the same as it might in the UK. This was one the Independent operators one came across everywhere and particularly in Jutland, all with modern vehicles and in a whole variety of different liveries. The unrelieved sandstone orange colour on this DAB Leyland at Aalborg was not typical though but quite smart, and other Independent buses can be also be seen in the background as there were links to all the nearby small towns and large villages as well as Blokhus on the windswept west coast with it's fine sandy beaches and famous for it's giant sand dunes.

Friday 7 September 2018

A Walsall Corporation Dennis Trident in Chasetown

A regular choice these Alexander bodied buses often appear in rekindled heritage special liveries. Often they don't look quite right as they don't have very crisp lines but BX54 DDJ seems to look okay in the old Walsall mid-blue livery with it's yellow bands. It was passing through Chasetown on a special running day organised to West Midlands Travel who own the Dennis Trident 4601.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Beautiful Bodies at The Zoo

As you can see I couldn't get a perfect result as I was trying to kill two birds with one stone here. However I rather liked those stylish Italian Padane coach bodies. It's on a Magirus Deutz chassis, a firm which I expect was absorbed by Mercedes or the like for as elsewhere in Europe smaller manufacturers found it harder to compete. But it is not forgotten as it built distinctive fire engines, water cannons etc. and has a following of fans. Every German town has it's own registration letters but I don't recognise this one so you will have to guess, as you will have to as well as to where the young lady visitor to Berlin was from. I would say Japan.

Merseyside R Series Olympian A317 GLV

In the early Eighties Merseyside was rather indecisive about it's new vehicle policy and bought small batches of buses to try them out. Double-deckers were supplied by Volvo, Dennis and as seen here from Leyland with an Alexander R bodied Olympian painted in Silver Service livery. With the uncertainties of Deregulation and in impact of newcomers stealing the trade like CMT with this former London Buses Leyland National the ordering of new buses cooled off till it was eventually sold off.

Sunday 2 September 2018

Oldham Corporation Leyland PD2/30 PBU 957

Another one of my early Ilford Sporti photos. Like many of the Lancashire municipals Oldham was principally a Leyland operation but there was a good variety of different bodywork to be found on them like PD2/30 of 1958 which carried a Northern Counties.

Former Hull Atlantean with Fylde

In blue and white looking quite at home with Fylde, the former Lytham St Annes Corporation was this former Hull Roe bodied Atlantean hard at work in Blackpool.

Saturday 1 September 2018

Birmingham City Transport Daimler CVG6 at work in Walsall

Today National Express West Midlands had a running day in Walsall with a few buses on the 301 to Bloxwich to mark the passing of this route and the 302 which will become 31 and 32. Not a good choice though as the road through Birchills is plagued with roadworks and resultant delays. But most journeys were on the 10A to Browhills and Lichfield. Star performer was this Birmingham Crossley bodied 1954 Daimler CVG6 which is owned by the company and can be hired for weddings etc too.