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, 19 September 2019

Maidstone & District Harrington bodied AEC Bus 242 BKM

The BET companies all had similarities which gave them a family feel but at the same time they all seemed to be different as managers were given their say. Hence firms like Maidstone and District stood out as they bought batches of unusual buses including locally built Beadle bodied Reliances buses and from Hove more similar AEC's with attractive Harrington bodies which also appeared on another rarity the Albion Nimbus. Having not long been renumbered from S242 to 3242 a driver fills out his Waybill having just returned from on probably the 12.23 from Grafty Green.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Stagecoach SN65 ODJ at Cheshire Oaks

At one time buses took people to work in large factories but now seem to serve shopping centres like The Cheshire Oaks where a Stagecoach Gold liveried Enviro calls on the Liverpool to Chester service and to think this was all green fields and countryside not so many years ago. I don't like them myself Britain is getting like America but at least it gives people somewhere to go to do the real thing when they need a break from on-line shopping.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Midland Fox SYPTE Fleetline SHE560S

A pair of Daimler Fleetlines kill time between duties at Leicester. The Midland Fox livery was bright and cheerful in yellow and red which was popular at the time. I cannot help thinking this later 'Liverpool Inspired' later version of the classic rounded design was not an improvement as seen on this former South Yorkshire example. However I concede there was less expensive curved glass to replace and the angular lines and peaked bulkheads were fashionable at the time.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Badgerline rides again in Weston

Unlike Arriva which is quickly painting it's fleet an unassuming pale blue First has in various parts of the country done a lot to shake off it's dowdy grey image and it was a pleasure to see buses sporting the cheerful Badgerline livery again in Western super Mare.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Former Midland Red Fleetline 6263 at the Bull Ring

Most of Midland Red's final batch of Daimler Fleetlines went to garages in Birmingham and the Black Country and consequently found their way into the West Midlands PTE like former 6263. These were delivered as dual-entrance buses but this seen at the Bull Ring had had it's unpopular centre-exit removed. It was easy to tell the former Midland Red buses as they had Alexander bodywork whilst the Fleetline following by local MCW was the norm.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Alder Valley Leyland National No.164 TBL164M in Newbury

The passage of time can not only put a kind of nostalgic gloss on what were quite mundane photos but it can even turn them into gems. I'm not sure this study of an Alder Valley Leyland National going through Newbury is quite that wonderful but it is quite fascinating in it's own way. Look how prosperous the people and how tidy and clean the street is.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Midland Red Rides Again: Frontline in Rugeley PUA315W

Considering it is just a small town Rugeley saw more than it's fair share of operators and their liveries. One of the less well known was Frontline who made an appearance briefly and what looks like the First Group 'tomato soup' red might not be quite right but at first glace it reminds one of the all-red Midland Red buses that called here in BET days but before the bus station was opened. This was a Roe bodied Atlantean that started life with West Yorkshire PTE and I've a feeling First owned Frontline of Tamworth for a while before it was sold to Stevensons who were by that time part of  MRN.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

First Leicester Streetlite SN65 WBA

With branding for the 25 and 26 Mowacre Hill Routes in Leicester, a Wright Streetlite was out on a Sunday Afternoon last year with what looked like plenty of passengers.

Friday, 6 September 2019

South Notts Leyland Titan RRR912 dumped at Gotham

The South Notts garage at Gotham was definitely worth a visit for as well as recent stock there were a few withdrawn buses slowly decaying in the yard too including this 1954 Weymann bodied Leyland PD2/20. The bus alongside was similar but being four years newer had a little longer to go yet. Gotham always makes one think of Batman of course but I think the locals call it 'Goatham'. So none of his enemies were out and about except perhaps 'horsefly man' as I got one of those stings that you don't even notice till it goes red and swells. When I got home I had to get it treated in A&E as my hand had swollen up like a Michelin Man. Obviously they don't like people taking photos lol.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

West Midlands MCW Metrobus 3000 F300 XOF

The West Midlands seems to have regularly been blessed with buses in heritage liveries. West Midlands did a batch mostly in the old Birmingham livery in the Nineties including Metrobus 3000 no doubt chosen for it's number which was seen passing a Wright bodied Volvo branded for the Hagley Road on Corporation Street

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Merseybus Willowbrook bodied Atlantean WWM 927W

When I was driving for a living I often stopped where I could for a few minutes to take a few bus photos before carrying on, so not surprisingly I can't always remember exactly where they were taken. That is the case with this rather ugly Willowbrook bodied Atlantean of Merseybus whose lake of destination information makes things no clearer. I imagine it's not too far from St Helens.

Monday, 2 September 2019

First Coaster in Weston super Mare

It is good to see that the traditional open top seaside bus services are still alive and well in Western super Mare. Here in cheerful liveries Dennis Alexander400 double-deckers of First enjoy extended lives.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Deeble of Upton Cross ex Gliderway 4425 HA

Passing out of Devon into the wilder realms of Cornwall was rather enjoyable as it seemed like some sort of fifteen-year time-warp. This was largely due to the number of elderly classic buses to be found working with the Independents, particularly Deeble of Upton Cross. Seen at the picturesque harbour in Looe was a former Gliderways of Bearwood Harrington Cavalier bodied Leyland Leopard.

Friday, 23 August 2019

West Midlands Scania BX09 OZP

A National Express West Midlands Scania passes through Bilston in 2016.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Bristol VR's with Southdown in Brighton

Even though traditionally Southdown had been very much Leyland orientated in the NBC era it shunned the Atlantean, even disposing of it's much better AN68's in favour of the Bristol VR and here are three examples in Brighton.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Newcastle Atlanteans

For a number of years a trip to a town or city with it's own bus fleet meant we were treated to the screech and roar of the Atlantean, Newcastle on Tyne had a large fleet as did Northern General which included Gateshead and District. Of all the PTE liveries I think I like that on Tyneside which retained yellow and cream even into it's later post Deregulation Busways day,. most had Alexander or lookalike fronted bodies by MCW.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

P & D York T9 PDY

Maybe I'm just getting old but not only buses but coaches are not very pretty these days. There's a selection here in Stafford headed by an Irizar bodied Scania with an ugly front.

Friday, 9 August 2019

National Express West Midlands BJ03 EVN 4461

West Midlands buses outside The Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham in 2016 including Dennis Trident 4461.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Lancaster Leyland Leopard WFV 20R

The very grand sounding Lancaster city Transport stayed faithful to Leylands till it was eventually devoured by the voracious Stagecoach group. Leopards were popular and they included the Alexander Y-type which was a canny buy and they proved to later make popular second-hand acquisitions after sale.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

National Welsh Bristol VR BUH 238V at Bridgend

Bridgend had been the Western Welsh biggest garage but by the time I took this in the Eighties there were not so many buses to be seen. National Welsh had a lot of Nationals and Leopards at the expense of the double-decker but there were still some around like this Bristol VR bound for Porthcawl.

A Macmillan Solo

Macmillan Cancer Support is what it says and I know that as they provided me with a cancer nurse when I was ill but it is funny that a charity which promotes togetherness should have a bus called a Solo. Modern buses have uses apart from stage carriage service and with it's large windows and low-floor this Optare midi-bus model makes a good exhibition vehicle as seen here in Stafford.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Whippet of Fenstanston C189 NFL in Fleet Street

All the excitement of London, one thing that is always fascinating is one never knows what's around the next corner even if it's only a Whippet Plaxton 3500 bodied DAF and a London Suburban Titan heading down Fleet Street.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Stevensons Wright Bodied Mercedes 0405 in Birmingham

Mercedes-Benz in the Nineties looked as though it might soon be making heavy inroads into the UK bus market but it didn't really happen. Minibuses and Wright bodies on the reliable O405's were quite popular like this Stevenson's example but the Citaro which followed gave off mixed messages especially fires and bad publicity from the London bendibuses. Since then they have been sold all over the world so they must have sorted out all the problems but I guess the Brits prefer to stick with their Alexander-Dennis Enviros and Wright bodied VDL's.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Former Samuel Ledgard AEC Regent 1953U and Daimler SDU711

In recent times closures and sell-outs of even legendary Independents like Fishwick and Pennine hardly raised the eyebrows of despondent enthusiasts. But back in the Sixties it was a different matter and many of you still mourn the passing of Moore's of Kelvedon, Silver Star of Porton Down and of course Samuel Ledgard of Otley. A small bonus was that it often brought in unfamiliar buses which broke the monotony of BTC Bristol ECW fleets like West Yorkshire, but  despite it's size only a handful were taken in including some Roe bodied AEC Regents and a Willowbrook bodied CVG6 which had been a Daimler demonstrator SDU 711.. 

Monday, 29 July 2019

City of Oxford Buses in Coventry!

Bus wise my era was the Sixties so I found it a bit odd when I saw City of Oxford buses in Coventry like this ECW bodied Bristol VR YBW 487V. In my day Midland Red came in occasionally on a shoppers service from Banbury which was about half way but one of the good things about the NBC was it had no worries about crossing traditional boundaries and limited stop services linked many of the main towns.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Flyde Renault in Blackpool F141 UFR

Love it or loath it there was always plenty for transport enthusiasts to do and see on a sunny weekend in Blackpool. Back in 1990 there were still two municipal operators as Fylde Borough Transport from nearby Lytham Saint Annes competed in a fairly manner on the route along the prom till they merged. Both had interesting fleets but perhaps these Renault minibuses with Northern Counties bodies were not exactly the most noteworthy buses to get excited about.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Former Hyndburn Dennis Falcon B51 XFY with Bee Line in Manchester

Despite the varied and colourful liveries the devolved NBC operators didn't come up with quite so many interesting vehicles as the Independents in Manchester. An exception in Bee Line livery though was this freshly painted East-Lancs bodied Dennis Falcon that came from Hyndburn. Either they had banned cigarettes or they were trying to reassure passengers that it was not a Leyland National  as there was a sticker on the window.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Used Daimler Fleetline BHL 622K at Nuneaton

Under NBC management Midland Red was allowed Leopards too but it had to take more than it's fair shares of new Leyland Nationals. Consequently without any orders double-deckers became rather thin on the ground and so in later years after it was split up the new companies had to top up with second-hand buses like this former West Riding Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline in Nuneaton on a town srvice with Midland Red South.

Monday, 15 July 2019

London Central Leyland Titan at Trafalgar Square A929 SYE

It's so much easier these days with a digital camera as one doesn't have to worry about wasted shots but in the days when I used film it was a bit of a challenge going to somewhere like London where the possibilities of photography are endless but at the same time a lot more limited than one might expect. One of the biggest problems is often by the time one spotted something they liked it had gone. In the end I think I just wandered around and tried to record what I could and action shots like this Leyland Titan T929 might not be perfect but it certainly catches some of that rushing and summer heat as the traffic-lights change.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Viscount Northern Counties Bodied Leyland Olympian F509 NJE

Bus rallies are all a bit different, some are always the same and some refreshingly so. But for me a new one I went to this year was at a large village just outside Peterborough called Whittlesey where even the main street is closed off to display the exhibits. This makes a nice change from displays in fields and car parks but a serious problem is the bored locals sometimes get in the way. It all seems like yesterday to me but these teenagers might be too young to remember the local operator Viscount who adopted this unusual yellow and white livery following the sell-off of the NBC.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Voel Coaches Volvo B10M in Caerarvon

Seen in Caernarvon in the late Nineties was this Volvo B10M of Voel Coaches with Van Hool coachwork.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Willowbrook Spacecar at Hilton Park

When I was still working and not in a great hurry I often used to pull off into the motorway services to see what coaches were in there. Of course now I'm glad I did as I have shots from 1980 like this Leyland Leopard with distinctive Willowbrook Spacecar bodywork at Hilton Park on it's return journey to Southport for National Travel West.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Why-Why delilah or ratherYY63 OJD

Sorry it's not even South Wales and I haven't even been hit across the head with an old Tom Jones fan mag but I seem to have a habit of using song titles for my posts. I guess it's not quite as informative as writing about a 2013 National Express Caetano Lavante arriving in Peterborough on a quiet Sunday.  However women's names on National Express vehicles is not so far fetched as it might seem for they do just that in the West Midlands.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Trying the Dennis Dominator in Southmpton A277 ROW

The first generation Atlanteans were troublesome especially compared to the tradition half-cab bus. Perhaps operators had got used to it to a certain extent and the the improved AN68 version from Leyland was certainly good enough to boast a strong following including the Municipal fleets along the South Coast. When it was axed it caused quite a quandary as Municipals in particular didn't like change and with good reason preferred the tried and tested to the new. Leyland's replacement for the Atlantean the Olympian was tried along with Dennis Dominators like this. Sadly the threat of Deregulation killed off the big bus market and the mini-bus boom so nothing was really clear any more. As at Plymouth it's non-standard Olympians were soon sold off but more Leylands appeared in the shape of the new Lynx which had it's fair share of faults.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Stagecoach Solo in Chester MX54 YZT

Optare Solos are everywhere it's not surprising I so easily get distraced as seen here in Chester.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Western National Strike Buster Buses in Plymouth

In the old days when the trade unions had more influence I doubt if Western National drivers would have been willing to go out to steal Plymouth's work whist the crews were out on strike. But in the true spirit of Deregulation and cut-throat competition Western National went out on the cold wet winter streets made hay whilst the sun shines. I expect buses were drafted in from far and wide as this former London DMS carried stickers for Cornish Busways.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

A Question of Choice at Alton

To most those who weren't interested in buses these Aldershot and District Dennis Loline 111's all looked very much the same. But of course they weren't and it is interesting to see how a different body-builder can alter the appearance. I don't know what others will think as the Weymann bodied bus closet to the camera bears a resemblance to the much scorned upon MCW Orion, the Alexander bus on the other hand is a lot more rounded but also looks a bit top-heavy but that is my choice as it's my stylish.

Friday, 28 June 2019

The Secret of East Yorkshire 421 CKH

This East Yorkshire Plaxton Paramount bodied Leyland Tiger leaving Sheffield for Bridlington used to be registed A521 AVN.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

H For Stafford County Hospital: Arriva Volvo 3911 FJ58 HYU

Still on the 825 but not common like the VDL's, a Wright bodied Volvo does the Stafford to County Hospital shuttle. As the last leg of the longish 825 it was a terrible service some days with buses running late or not turning up at all. But workings on the old Town Service 8 from Burton Manor to Parkside have been split so that it does the first part as a new No.7 and then a hospital run before doing what is left of it to the old 8 to the north end of town. I have to say it is a very reliable service albeit only going outwards from the one stop in town at South Wales which could be quite a distance from the Market Square or Sainsburys on crutches.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

I Spy with my little eye in Plymouth

Those mini-buses were a lot more boring then. Nice then that  I took my time and did something different that day with Western National Mercedes branded Hoppa C959 GAF as the picture says a lot more about Plymouth in 1990.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Benvan Soudley Valley Leyland Leopard CTH 700C

This well known Plaxton Panorama bodied Soudley Valley Leyland Leopard can be forgiven for looking a bit grubby as it was winter in the Forest of Dean.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Dennis Trident in Wolverhampton Corporation Green BL53 EDF

Last week when I went to Wolverhampton I almost left my camera at home but I'm glad I didn't as the West Midlands Dennis Trident-Alexander 4535 painted in the old Wolverhampton Corporation green and cream colours had eluded me. I had seen it several times but I was always just too late to get a photo but surprisingly that day it stopped right opposite my friends shop on of all things Route 4 which normally has branded Wright bodied Volvo single-deckers on it. Previously when I glimpsed it before it was going to Northwood Park but I expect it was covering for a breakdown.

Monday, 17 June 2019

H.Espihito Santo in Porto

A hot afternoon in Porto in 1984 and two buses of J.Espihito Santo (excuse my spelling) are waiting to depart. Both have local bodywork by UTIC but the Leyland was a lot newer than the AEC and looked very British with it's Leyland National2 windscreen.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

C112 CAT; Northern Blue Dennis Dominator

East-Lancs Coachbuilders gained a reputation for turning out ugly buses and that dubious honour was well deserved if this example of craftsmanship is typical. This former Kingston on Hull Dennis Dominator doesn't look like it was designed just thrown together. It's only saving grace when seen here loading in Burnley for Leyland was it's attractive Northern Blue livery. I think part of the problem at that time was it was about the only bodybuilder left which offered customers with smaller orders in the Municipal sector  the buses they really wanted when it came down to exact specification, something they were used to and thus hated the off the shelf National and Metrobus. Cheapness was more important than looks too at a time when impending Deregulation was spreading uncertainty in the industry..

Windnes Corportation Leyland PD2 TTE 283D Waiting to Be Restored

I have mixed feelings about bus rallies but they are a day out and if there is enough to do like the chance to go into Liverpool too then that's fine. However there is usually something interesting to see and I enjoy looking at the vehicles such as the former Widnes East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD2 which is waiting at Fazakerley to be restored like it's similar sister 562 RTF. Both that one and TTE 283D had a Lancashire registration because Widnes like Warrington both used to be 'on the other side of the Mersey' and to my mind still belong there. A feature of the Municipal sector was the way fleets fell foul to the quirks of a General Manager as in Widnes where just one opening window vent was specified  giving the fronts of otherwise smart  buses an untidy mis-match of glazing.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Paris Street Bus Station in Exeter

Of course buses have a limited life and come and go sometimes before we hardly realise they are getting old. For much of my life bus garages and many bus stations managed to stay the same but things have changed greatly in the years since Deregulation with some improvements but a lot of asset-stripping. Like Bretonside in Plymouth, Paris Street Bus Station in Exeter has gone too I believe. I'm not sure about Marlborough Street in Bristol but I think Taunton and Yeovil are still very much the way they were. Even in later years there would be a spring in my step here as I recalled Devon General AEC Regents and Reliances and Exteters green and cream Massey bodied Leyland PD2's and the short Leopards which were just waiting to go into service the first time I visited in 1966.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

LT Uxbridge Garage Delights

The red bus garages on the fringes of London held a certain fascination, maybe it was because some of them like Uxbridge were quite small and as a teenage spotter one surmised that being more distant these buses would be the ones one didn't see in the centre. That was true of course but they usually worked at least one route which took them into the central zone even if it was only Routemasters like RM 77 to Shepherd's bush. A new much bigger garage was built here but this the old one housed just over fifty buses a number which would be quite decent for a provincial town but seemed like almost an outstation compared to some of them like New Cross.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Northern BUs AFM 113G in Sheffield

Looking back to the years following Deregulation they were certainly full of interest. It nurtured a number of operators who were competent enough to hold their own alongside the big boys too like Northern Bus in Sheffield. Some even managed to buy new buses but to our delight here we could find an assortment of used Leyland Leopards, Bristol VR's and of course Bristol RE's like former Crosville SRG 113.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

ABN 722V Rossendale East-Lancs bodied Leyland Atlantean

Rossendale Transport survived till 2017 when it was sold to Transdev. But it had expanded and changed a lot in character since I took this once typical bus a crimson and cream painted East-Lancs bodied Leyland in the Eighties. In Rawtenstall it's hometown after a rain shower this Atlantean is bathed in bright sunlight.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Liverpool Winners and Losers

When Liverpool Football Club wins The Championship League their fans certainly let everyone know and with the imminent return of the triumphant team from Spain the fans were painting the city centre red with celebration and driving me an no doubt Everton supporters mad with those football horns parents were recklessly buying their kids. But in Liverpool there will be more winners and losers as Arriva is offering a weekly bus ticket for sixteen-pounds whilst Stagecoach is doing it for Fourteen.