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

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.

Monday 1 October 2018

BUS 1S; Jim Stones in Leight

Some Independents were renowned for always turning out a smart fleet of interesting bus and the most obvious to spring to mind is The Delaine of Bourne, but another little operator was Jim Stones who even went to the trouble of reserving BUS 1S for a rather humble Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart.