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

Tuesday 31 December 2019

Travel West Midlands Hybrid Electric Enviro 5404 BX13 JOV

Sometimes I feel a bit sad to let go of the good years but as 2020 rapidly approaches in a few hours time I have mixed feelings as will it get any better than a troubled 2019. Well at least if it hasn't happened already which I doubt the light rail extension in Wolverhampton to the station should be fully open hopefully bringing a bit of life back to the city streets. I'm sorry they pained the green electric hybrid Enviro buses into normal livery as they added a bit of welcomed variety.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Huyton Travel in St Helens

Huyton Travel seems to have quite a stong presence in St Helens and it's Optare Solos were very much in evidence even on a Sunday whereas we get almost no bus at all on a Sunday in Staffordshire. Huyton is a suburb of Liverpool and best known for being the parliamentary seat of former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the Sixties.

Friday 27 December 2019

LWS 40Y City of Gloucester Roe bodied Olympian

Despite the Christmas decorations I don't think it was the festive season yet but they obviously go up very early in  Gloucester. The NBC bought both but the Roe bodied Leyland Olympians were not so common as the more familiar ECW bodied buses but  new to Bristol Omnibus as seen here here and London Country had a lot of them. I thought these looked a bit more attractive in a quirky way when they were new with the extra brightwork but perhaps not so much once they had been allowed to get a bit scruffy.

Peterborough Levante: Once I was a know-All

I still know more than I should about buses in the Sixties but these days I can't even guess a lot of it any more. Unlike on this East Yorkshire coach at Peterborough working for National Express once not only did each operator have it's own colours we could guess where it was from by it's registration and even though Y is for Yorkshire it's hardly precise like Hulls KH, RH and AT. And it could be a Volvo, a Scania or a Hungarian Goolash for all I know. No sadly if I really need to know I have to look it up so forgive me if sometimes I just take the pictures and get it wrong.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Birkenhead & Liverpool: Our Day Out With Dad and Mum

I have a good memory but who would know as a child what they would remember and what they would forget, what leaves a lasting impression and what is just blandness or just unpleasant. I suppose we still remember the everyday like how the dining room or how big our bedroom was but conveniently forget it in a way as it is not relevant but if I could go back and revisit my childhood it would be for good days out like this to Birkenhead with great views across the Mersey to Liverpool. Buses always fascinated me as a child and I expect that was partly because my older brother liked them because they were where it was like a Crosville. Of course Crosville and Birkenhead Coropration are long gone but everything has it's time and even this Arriva Wright bodied VDL No.2905 CX58 EWU at Woodside will be a vague memory in years to come of hopefully a wonderful childhood to these children taking an old bus ride.

Saturday 21 December 2019

A201 MEL; Hampshire Bus in Southampton

Some of the Deregulation liveries worn by former NBC companies were not so radical but also rather pleasant like this scheme of Hampshire Bus former out of hants and Dorset. Despite it being a dreary December day it's ECW bodied Letland Olympian looked quite bright.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Bern Boggie Tram 629 on Line 5

Switzerland has changed a lot since I started going back in 1989 and ten years later when I last went much of the elderly traditional very Swiss buses and trams had vanished. This military-green was a bit dour but it seemed to suit rather provincial sleepy Medieval Bern. 629 was one of the last boggie trams which could be found on this line.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Arriva Going Green on Merseyside

A late arrival at the Birkenhead Tram running day last October was Arriva Merseyside 7002. I'm glad you noticed something different indeed it is an unusual bus outside London indeed we don't see many of their buses that are that new lol. LJ67 DLZ is of course a BYD D9UR but that might mean more to you.

Friday 13 December 2019

Stagecoach Dennis Trident in Exeter WA04FOD

By coincidence this Stagecoach Alexander Dennis Trident seen leaving Exeter Bus Station carried a reminder of the old registration system with it's FOD as that was a Devon marque. Once it was a hive of activity especially in the days when the lower coach station was full of tour coaches or a Bank Holiday Serge of express coaches and reliefs heading to and from the West Country. I went there many times before it was run down and then closed yet I still can't remember if it's Paul Street or Paris Street. 

Monday 9 December 2019

Burnley & Pendle Tayside Bristol VR

With Deregulation looming in the Eighties the Municipal general managers often had to start making previously unheard of economies which meant they even had to buy second hand buses. Burnley and Pendle acquired some unusual Alexander bodied Bristol VR's from Dundee's Tayside.

Western super Mare First Coaster Open Top Bus

A reminder of Summer. It might fill cool in the breeze but we can still get sunburnt. I forgot to put any sun cream on that day but I was lucky as I didn't burn.

Friday 6 December 2019

Setra of Boons of Boreham Wood RSU231

Partly caused by the demise of Leyland and it's products the The Nineties saw an invasion of imported coaches like at Trafalgar Square this still impressive looking Setra of Boons and a Garrett's DAF Bova Futura another model which enjoyed a long run. Many of these had so-called cherished number-plates to hide their age and the bus enthusiast had to keep a bit of an anorak to sort out what was what.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Midland General AEC Regal 111 KRR 255 at Showbus

Three classic AEC half-cabs at Showbus in 2016 including two from Carras in Lisbon and a 1949 Weymann bodied Midland General Regal 111 in that attractive blue and cream.

Thursday 28 November 2019

BMMO S15 633 AHA at Coventry Pool Meadow in 1963

There were a few well served places in the Midland Red territory where one might have thought there might have been a garage such as Ashby and Bridgnorth, but the glaring example was the city of Coventry. Of course as with the other two there were already garages close-by and Leamington who supplied this S15 4633 in 1963 for an afternoon tour was very active at Pool Meadow. I rather liked the untidy nature of this bus station and the 1920's 'coach house' architecture of the Midland Red booking office with it's oak beams was a nice friendly counterpoint to the new Cathedral all that Post-War concrete. It was a great place for photographing buses but I'm afraid some of those bus shelters were rather rudimentary as was my first camera.

Jojo and Rochdale AEC Regent NDK 980

I recently visited the North West Museum of Road Transport on their annual running day and was very impressed as it was clean and well laid out and housed a lot of the local buses buses I so remember from thereabouts. Rather as happened at West Bromwich, Rochdale buses once looked their best in the traditional livery like this. No doubt they chose a simplified mostly cream scheme as it was cheaper and easier to maintain but  it was dull in comparison. I also expect Rochale made this change in the early Sixties because of the advent of spray-painting but thankfully the West Midland's corporation left it till they were about to be taken over by the PTE and only some new Fleetlines got the poor treatment. These two buses mean something to me though as my family was from Manchester and on the destination of this AEC Regent is Blakeley and it was such a dump my Grandfather used "Go to blakely." as a form of mild abuse. Southport not only painted it's buses in that attractive red and cream but the lamposts too and as I have strong family connections there too it brings back early memories of childhood.

Monday 25 November 2019

Tyne and Wear OTN 422R Metro-Scania Metropolitan

It's a shame they turned out to be 'rust buckets' but I rather liked the sophisticated Metro Scania Metropolitan double-decker.  Tyne and Wear PTE bought about 180 which was probably not a wise choise with the harsh winters and  need for salt on the roads.

Thursday 21 November 2019

And I thought I was the Anorak: First Manchester SN12 AJX in Bolton

I have days out on the buses and my friends have preserved bus trips but to confess I am not so interested in buses these days that I would go out for the day just to see them or photograph them. However I am glad that when I go somewhere I haven't been to recently I make an effort and take some good well thought out shots. When I do it I like to think I am just having a walk or just killing time but once the ones I have taken are in my collection I start to value them. I tend to think of 'the present ' as a moment of time more than a none-event and it deserves to be recorded. Indeed even this First Manchester Envoro double-decker deserved to be recorded as a couple of weeks later the local First Bus Bolton fleet would pass to Diamond and it would never be the same.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

A Collection of Stevenson's at Spath UVT 14X

A grant-door Stevenson's Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger is seen at the Spath headquarters with an interesting collection of double-deckers in the background including a former West Wales Bristol VR, a Leyland Olympian prototype and the well known former Northern general.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Northern Bus Bristol VR HKE 678L in Sheffield

Northern Bus departed from it's normal livery to paint this former Maidstone and District Bristol VR in Sheffield into Tilling Green. I'm not sure what Bradfield Bus meant but I am left with a feeling that a lot of the enthusiast led 'hobby' operators were doomed to fail eventually. Not because they ran the business badly but it's hard to mix business with pleasure when there are hard-nosed competitors snapping at their heels trying to trip them up or take them out.

Friday 15 November 2019

Two Volvos in Liverpool

Selwyn of Runcorn was one of those coach operators one knew well but if I hadn't checked out the owner of this National Express liveried Plaxton bodied Volvo coach seen in Liverpool in 2017 I might have thought they had gone out of business like many others in recent times.

Thursday 14 November 2019

13 SNY Caerphilly Massey Bodied Leopard

A cold foggy morning in the Welsh Valleys but still worthy of a photograph as I have always loved Massey bodied Leylands and the sort of conservative Municipals that operated them.

Monday 11 November 2019

West Midlands PTE Fleetline VOH21J at Cannock

I didn't find this generation of Northern Counties bodied buses particularly attractive, it was put together rather than designed and lacked any kind of flair. Still there have been worse and having been ordered by Coventry they not only added a bit of variety to the West Midlands PTE fleet they added a bit of variety. 4021 was based at Walsall but was seen in Cannock

Sunday 10 November 2019

The Delaine ACT540L at Lincoln LVVS in 2018

Better late than never! Some people rush home after a day out and immediately put all their new pics on here. I would rather put one on at a time and completely mix them up which means some of my buses keep you waiting or not come on at all. That is made slower as I have another problem and that is I still have the free but limited size Flickr account. I also like to bring back some I've had to delete and I had thought about a PRO account but apart from taking things out of groups few people would notice as few really rummage far beyond the first page or so. The Delaine Northern Counties bodied Atlantean was as always beautifully turned out but I want to write about the Lincolnshire VR as I've ridden on it a number of times. Indeed in 2019 not only did I do it again at the LVVS running day I could have bought a model of it too. At one time I might have snapped it up as not only have I just only got one other Bristol VR in my collection, Lincolnshire is one of less than half a dozen sizable BET and BTC operators which I don't feature in my collection. It wasn't expensive either and I felt a bit churlish coming back with nothing but in another way I'm pleased as I made a decision to virtually stop collecting discasts as the shelves are almost full and I've stuck to it!

Thursday 7 November 2019

Gmpte Fleetline 4610VM in Stockport on the 192 from Manchester

I don't know about other people but certain buses have a romantic connection which leaves me with a soft spot for them all their lives. A very good example is this first batch of Manchester MCW bodied Daimler Fleetlines which arrived in 1963. That was a year that changed my life and also I had a pre-girlfriend crush on a girl called Imelda Daly who lived on Derbyshire Lane in Stretford on the 11 and 23 routes on which Princes Road's examples worked. Actually I don't think this was one of them as if I remember rightly I'm thinking of 4600-4609 whereas this one was at Hyde Road. It was a long time ago so I might be wrong and the girl too was just ten in my mind is probably a blooming teenager now.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Metroline Metrobus BYX222V M222 at Victoria on the 52

A blue skirt was enough to show the public that this Metrobus was now with Metroline as it reached journey's end at Victoria.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Bristol Omnibus LHT 911 at Weston super Mare

Sadly the magic of photographing old vehicles can be lost as they get swamped in modern surroundings, so although it might not stand up to close scrutiny a more selective 'period' shot can give it some instant authenticity like this Bristol Bristol L single-decker in Weston super Mare

Friday 1 November 2019

Yelloway in Stafford for Chelenham XNE 188S

Much missed is Yelloways of Rochdale whose coaches could be seen on a number of long distance express coach services. The best known was that to Cheltenham where it connected with Associated Motors services network at the Black and White coach station. Congested Stafford is pretty well overlooked by National Express these days but for years good old Yelloways served us well and a smart Plaxton Supreme bodied AEC Reliance is seen picked up opposite the railway station.

Midland Red West WOC 734T in Ludlow on the 192.

The old Midland Red network of routes which was vast included a wide variety of services. Some were more appealing than others but someone boarding a Midland Red West Leyland Leopard couldn't expect anything much better than a trip out through Kidderminster to Ludlow on a lovely sunny day. Well they could of course, but I'm being a realist here and indeed on a dull day no doubt some of the local residents here would appreciate a day's shopping for bling in Brum. Once this route was the stamping ground for the Leyland PD2/20 LD8 buses but sadly the NBC starved the company of deckers so that it could off-load more Nationals. But at least it was allowed to buy plenty of these comfortable Plaxton Supreme grant-coaches like which were invaluable on longer routes like this. This 192 seems to be heading for Hereford, maybe the driver forgot to change the number blind after coming in from Birmingham to do his next trip.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Midland Red LS20 JHA847E on Stafford Town Service

Hylton & Dawson Duple bodied Beford CAX 14V

Running less glamorous vehicles like this made Hylton and Dawson one of those lesser followed Independents. However they were a part of the Leicester bus scene for many years and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels at least a tinge of nostalgia for this lowly but smart Duple Dominant bodied Bedford.

Monday 28 October 2019

MX09 OPN. Arriva 2982 in St Helens

I spent hours on the much quieter Sunday wandering around St.Helens trying to take good interesting bus related photos but as nice as the views seem digital cameras don't always record what we think we are seeing. Thankfully there were a few opportunities to take the sort I shots I like the most.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Not surprisingly when facilities become badly neglected they become eye-sores and the planners want to get rid of them. This happened to Henley's spacious Sixties bus station which with a bit of TLC could have been brought up to date. One wonders maybe the fact it was on a large potentially valuable site might have swayed them to 'reluctantly' bring the bulldozers in. In the Eighties the Potteries was still able to be able to support a number of interesting Independents including Stonier which by that time was owned by Berresford of Cheddleton. The Willowbrook Leyland Leopard cames from Jones of Aberbeeg.

Monday 21 October 2019

UNited Autombobile Bristol VR PAJ 828X in Leeds

United Automobile had a vast territory ranging from Berwick on Tweed on the Scottish border and even managed to reach as far south as Leeds on the service from Ripon where a Bristol VR was seen in the late Eighties.

Midland Red West Tiger A895 KCL 1011 in Birmingham

Some of First's liveries before the Barbi Years were pretty awful like First Bradford but others weren't bad at all. Midland Red West bus stayed true to the Midland Red brand but made the buses look individual enough not to be mistaken for the NBC or the old Midland Red. With lots of long trunk routes into Birmingham coaches were popular here and a Leyland Tiger formerly with Ambassador comes into Birmingham on the 192 another reminder of the old Midland Red which stil went  to Ludlow via Kidderminster and which once could also boast Leylands as both Ludlow and Kidderminster had the Leylnd PD2/20 LD8 class also chosen to do longer routes.

Friday 18 October 2019

West Midlands Trident Y761 TOH in Wolverhampton

If the conditions are right I'm always snapping buses and it doesn't matter if I have taken it before like these Wolverhampton Dennis Tridents like 4163 which keep doing the same routes. It doesn't matter as unless it's a standard record shot every one is different somehow especially as the weather is always different.

Gash of Newwark Plaxton bodied Leopard NRA191P

Even though Lincolnshire had a garage beside the bus station when one thinks of Newark on Trent they think of the much more interesting W,Gash and Sons, one of a number of fine traditional Independents that ran into Nottingham. These services even in later years were able to justify the purchase of new buses a process encouraged due to the availability of the government bus grant in the Seventies. Daimler half-cab double-deckers had been the choice in the Fifties but the Leyland Leopard came afterwards and as long as they did service work to qualify for the grant they could also be fitted with coach seats and be used for that too. In the difficult times the industry has had to endure since Deregulation how these smaller operators would have appreciated that kind of support and good well known firms like Gash might just have survived.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Dennis Javelin Demonstator M799 HPJ

Something unusual coming through Stafford on a National Express service was the new looking Dennis Javelin which turned out to be a demonstrator.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Strathclyde Volvo Ailsa OGG 180Y

In the winter the delicate sunlight can be beautiful but a bit too thin and wispy to make sharp black and white photographs. it's worth having a go all the same especially if it is a rare opportunity as happened here as at the end of the Eighties I seldom went to Glasgow and managed to take photos. Also this was one of those stop anywhere you can for a few minutes sort of encounter and considering that it isn't a bad one of one of a typical Strathclyde Alexender Volvo Citybus. 

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Banstable: Don't All Rush At Once

I like to get people into my bus views if I can but despite appearances sunny Barnstable was not as hot as it looked and people were not taking shelter, perhaps they had all headed off to beach or gone to Wimbledon. Nether less this is a nice capture as the minibus revolution didn't last long and I'm sure you all want to see a classic 'Ford Transit' Bread Van again. It was 1996 and this Red Bus example belonged to North Devon and had Robin Hood bodywork.

City of Oxford Daimler Fleetline UFC 422K

Once the half-cabs had gone I  particularly wanted to photograph the survivors from the past such as this Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline, a type more typical than the NBC stock and a vehicle which once wore the City of Oxford duck-egg blue and maroon. Cities like Oxford and York weren't built for the car and couldn't benifit from Post War rebuilding either to make inner-city ring-roads and build big central ugly multi-storey car parks. Of course that's a good thing and especially so when it enourages visitors to come but use the Park and Ride services. Normally it is new types which get branded for this sort of work but it's nice when the oldies help out too. Perhaps being a bit antiquated they were unpopular with 'opo' crews and at least doing the Park and Ride wass more of a doddle with fewer stops and simple ticketing.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Or should it be how many Arriva Enviro double-deck buses does it take to fill Saint Georges Hall. I always get a good vibe in Liverpool it's a great city for photography. It's easy to include people too and if you get sick of that there is the wonderful mix of architecture. This view the perceptive I chose reminds me of the Beatles somehow, maybe I watched Yellow Submarine too many times. But humour is always not far away even if it's not intentional like this bus it seems to be called Gaza. Yes it's the sort of place where silly things make you chuckle.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Are Their Days Numbered?

This preserved former Wallasey Atlantean, an early example from 1959 can be excused for kicking out so much smoke as it was both well laden and climbing hard heading for New Brighton but it makes me wonder how  preservationists will cope when tighter emission regulations come in. I certainly don't want to see them frozen in museums and nore do I like the thought of steam trains being run on clean energy. After all the half the magic is the glorious sight sound and smell of those wonderful beasts from the past. We sometimes focus too much in the past and should try to appreciate little treats like a day out on riding on old buses as sadly it might not last for ever.

Friday 11 October 2019

The Gaumont: The Final Curtain

Call me old-fashioned and a cynic but I hate to see old buildings being demolished and especially when they have history and held wonderful memories for local people, perhaps Ted and Doreen had their first fumbling kiss or snogged in the dark smokey back row seats of the once focal but now flattened to rubble Gaumont Cinema in Wolverhampton. The Optare Solo is doing the circular shoppers service.

Wave Goodbye To Telloway!

One of the most greatly missed operators from the Deregulation era is Yelloways of Rochale famous for it's distinctive yellow and orange and when they were still available AEC reliance coaches. After it's sale the name was retained for a while but in a way it was a pity they did as it was asset-stripped by S.U.T and became just another here today gone tomorrow company even running old second-hand buses in the Manchester area.  Most of the remaining express coaches took on NBC white like this replacement Neoplan in Rapide livery leaving Bristol.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Plymouth Citybus Dennis Dart at The Hoe X201 CDV

Plymouth city centre had to be completely rebuilt after the war so the best place nearby if you want to get away from all that Fifties Concrete is down at The Hoe. Sadly even this area has been tidied up losing a lot of it's former rugged charm. At one time too Atlanteans used to ply their way down these narrow streets on the open-top service but when I was last there a rather mundane Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart was typical.

Monday 7 October 2019

Greater Manchester Centreline Seddon Mdibuses 1717 XVU 352M

A familiar sight around Manchester City Centre in the Seventies and Eighties was the fleet of Seddon IV midibuses which did the No.4 Centreline service which served both Piccadilly and Victoria stations.  If I think the fare was just 12p today one wouldn't worry to much if they didn't quite have the right fare and paid too much.

St Helens Leyland PD2 East-Lancs MDJ 555E at Birkenhead Tram Day

For me it doesn't get any better than this as my love of buses is for the more traditional. But that was my era including my formative years and others who were born much later have just as much right to rave over Dennis Darts and First Barbi. You have to admit though that in some respects dreary towns like St Helens showed bucket loads of Civic Pride and in this instance looked particularly colourful with it's red and cream buses. Salford was another good example as one knew they were no longer in Manchester who also used red and as for the Warrington bus next to it that was a Foden which illustrates rarity and  variety to be enjoyed in those days. 

Friday 4 October 2019

Cannock based Arriva FJ06 ZTL in Wolverhampton

I'm pretty oblivious to which buses I have pictures of and which ones I havent got. It doesn't really matter that much I just like taking photos which please.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

London & Country National Greenway SIB 6714

The Drawline group included East Lancashire Coachbuilders and so not surprisingly they were given the contact to body many of the buses. Most memorable was perhaps the National Greenway which was a stripped down National Mark1 and rebuilt as a new bus and now featuring the still popular but shortly to disappear old fashioned big Gardner engine. I think the London and Country version of the 'house livery' was the most attractive as seen on this bus at the Elephant and Castle south of the Thames..

Monday 30 September 2019

Before the PTE's swept them all away Manchester was awash with Municipal buses in whole variety of liveries. After Deregulation it got seriously colourful as a whole range of operators arrived including two former Municipal Operators Rossendale and Blackburn. A Stagecoach Volvo Olympian gives way to an East-Lancs bodied  Blackburn B10M in heavy traffic at Piccadilly.