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, 21 May 2019

ORG Ikarus in Oranienburg

One of the nice things about being interested in transport is it takes us where the tourists don't go. I think with this shot taken in Oranienburg it is somewhere even bus enthusiasts rarely venture. Soon after Reunification in the former East Berlin this scruffy housing estate is not so different to those we find in many British cities.

Monday, 20 May 2019

AE56 LUJ.Stagecoach Dennis Dart in Peterborough

As time goes on I seem to get less enthralled at bus rallies, in my eyes at least the buses don't seem to belong and it just spoils my memories. Of course it's interesting to look around the stalls even if I have stopped collecting diecast models, and then there are the enjoyable heritage rides, I even managed for the first time to get five-minutes on a London Country GS Class Guy Otter this week. But now I pick events where there is plenty to do which usually means access to a decent sized town. I have never spent much time in Peterborough and even though the diet may be mainly Stagecoach I really fancied seeing what I could do with my camera in this rather typical East Anglian city. I often look through my old photos and wonder how I captured gems one after another but I've come to realise that I used to take a lot of views before I came across anything really good and sometimes nothing at all.  On Sunday and I needed a lot of patience to get a decent handful of good photographs but luck pays a part too as this Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer illustrates sitting at the lights heading for Yaxley.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Gentle Breeze in Scarborough: Mercedes L608D C408 VVN

I must admit today I wouldn't go anywhere in the UK just to see or photograph buses, but thankfully I still like their mundane everydayness and doing photography of course and that keeps me going. But the period following Deregulation was so interesting and as well as going in my car and stopping off at places I took coach trips to places like Scarborough and I'm so glad I did. Scarborough and District was set up to cover the former United Auto network in the town and even though this Skipper branded Reebur bodied Mercedes-Benz L608D was not the most exciting bus it inherited I still think I got a pleasing enough shot of hair being blown in the stiff warm breeze from the sea. I think it's time for an ice-cream.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

A Bolton Rarity Bond/Ashcroft PD2 JBN 140

In the Sixties at Bolton Ralph Bennett and East-Lancs Coachbuilders together introduced a new look for the municipal bus with it's squared-up by striking Atlanteans. It also brought about a livery change which looked alright at Bolton as it was neatly applied but I still think older more traditional buses looked better as they were and I rather liked the way Southampton mixed the old with the new. This might look like a regular Leyland Titan PD2/13 but it carried bodywork by Bond/Ashcroft.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

First-PMT Former Crosville Olymian A157 UDM at Crewe

When I last went to Crewe First-PMT had a small garage there but it was a stronghold for the double-decker and could offer up both Bristol Vr's and Leyland Olympians like this former Crosville example.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

BMMO DP BHA 399C; You Can't Paint A Rose

Well the bus rally season has started again and no doubt I will go to a few events that interest me. One of the best last year was an Open Day held by Arriva at the old Midland Red garage at Tamworth. Amongst the buses  giving rides was this D9 which was preserved as it was thought at the time to be the last one built entirely by BMMO at Carlyle Works. But I was sad to read that it's owners at Wythall have decided to repaint it out o this it's original Midland Red red into bland NBC poppy-red. No doubt this is how many younger enthusiasts remember it instead but for me in the Seventies everything went downhill and as I read somewhere some wag quipped that NBC meant 'No Body Cares' and that seemed to sum up the nationalised and PTE run bus industry.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Burnley & Pendle Volvo B10M J24 MCW

Despite the registration number hinting at something else, Burnley and Pendle had a batch of East-Lancs bodied Volvo B10M single-deckers with a similar look to the second lot of rebodied Tigers delivered to Midland Red North.

Friday, 10 May 2019

First Midland Red Coaches B107 JAB

It might have been good to present a unified corporate image to City Investors but as it was with the NBC the loss of proper individualistic liveries did nothing for staff morale and a pride in the fleet. Midland Red Coaches was one of a number of attractive fleets that carried First Group branding in the early days and they often looked smart like this Plaxton bodied Tiger at Sheffield.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Clean v Dirty in Stafford: Arriva and Select

The latest Arriva livery is a bit insipid and dull but I must admit the Cannock buses are usually very clean but maybe an extra effort is being put in as Arriva is up for sale. Not helped by not having very good facilities on a local farm where they live the buses of Select don't fare so well in dirty weather and the brown splashes of thick mud up the sides reminds me of that awful First Bus Barbi2 dribble-paint effect they applied to the buses not deserving to called Barbi.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Grey Green Leyland Royal Tiger Doyan A839 SYR

Considering how few were built roughly 150 the Leyland Royal Tiger Doyan was quite a familiar sight as many key coach operators tried at least one if they already had Tigers and Leopards. The large London concern Cowie's Grey Green was a good example and as well as A839 SYR seen here at Stamford Hill it bought one at the same time with a Plaxton body too A840 SYR and another half-dozen came the next year.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Tyrers Van-Hool Scania TYR 12R

They still use coaches on school work but they are not as common as they used to be and especially here in Stafford. So I thought it worth getting a shot of this smart Van-Hool bodied coach of Chorley based Tyrers, maybe a Scania carrying a party of booze fueled merry sports fans from Preston and no doubt including Weatherspoons the local public houses were pleased.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Central Buses Optare Solo in Lichfield

A bit like the old days when many nearby towns had corporation buses, a short journey can result in completely unfamiliar buses. For me Lichfield is the next town but there are a number of buses I wouldn't see in Stafford including this Versa of Central Buses and I think The Midland Classic on the Birmingham to Burton route was also an Optare. It is nice to see there are still a few route numbers still surviving from Midland Red days as here we could also see buses on other old BMMO trunk routes in May 2017 like the  825 and 765 which once made a marathon journey to Coventry but alas now only goes as far as Tamworth..

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Blackpool Atlantean A360 HHG

Rather like Plymouth the seaside town of Blackpool has seen a number of livery changes over the years. This one of the early Eightes appeals to me the most as I like the strong crisp modern looking livery couples with the town's crest and decorative roundal. Some bus designs are probably best forgotten but the later much better AN68 Atlantean along with the Leopard were two of Leyland's most popular models and these double-deckers could be found working with many corporations and for no particular reason but especially on the coast like this. No. 360 of about 1983 was one of the very last ones built and managed to get a A-Series registration despite the later Olympian having been in production already for a year or so. Obviously managers were wary of new models from Leyland as they didn't know what problems might come with them, and also of course the Olympian was seen as a replacement for the 'provincial' Bristol VR whereas the Atlantean was in my opinion more of a town bus.

Friday, 26 April 2019

No more buses through Tixall or Haywood to Hixon

Tomorrow is rather a sad day as for the first time since H.Nicholls started it's bus service to Stafford in the long ago 1920's there will be no service going to the Haywoods via Tixall as the new Staffs County Coucil sponsored D&G 841 will only go as far as Hydrant Way on the Tixall Road. It then goes up passed the County Show Ground, left down Withens Lane to serve Hopton and down to Sandon and Weston before rejoining the old route at Hixon. The reason for this is Arriva will be solely serving the Haywoods on it's Lichfield 825 through Milford without asking for a subsidy. Fortunately no passengers regularly board the bus at Tixall but not having a bus route from Haywood to Hixon causes a real headache for many villagers as they still have to get to their doctor's surgery and now they don't know what to do as I imagine on a bad day it could almost take a couple of hours for if they really have no choice but to go by bus as they will have to come into Stafford first. It's a bit like one of those stories we see on the news where a bridge gets swept away or damaged and drivers have to drive forty miles to get a bottle of milk from the village shop. Anyway here is a photo taken in happier more predictable times of Derek who along with Geoff Arrowsmith used to do the Haywoods service in Staffordian Travel days with trusty old Leyland Leopard coaches like this one which had ran for Wallace Arnold they had four of them and I didn't need to look out of window as each one sounded quite different.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Arriva Wright bodied VDL in Northwich

I go passed this convenient bus stop in Northwich about once a month and the previous time I parked and waited for a bus to arrive to photograph I just gave up went back to my car and then it came along. Well the next time I was more patient but thought I had fluffed it but no it's a good one. We get the same Arriva Wright bodied VDL's in my home town but there is something more appealing getting a variety of locations and also a good idea for before long the bus industry might find itself in a state of flux as the lines are becoming re-drawn as the big groups start to flake of chunks around the edge.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Arriva DAF Alexander 400 Double-Decker in Wolverhampton

For a while Arriva had a strong presence in Wolverhampton till it cut back services and closed the local Wednesfield Garage. Amongst the allocation were at least a couple of DAF Alexander 400 bodied double-deckers. I travelled on one once when they tried competing with Banga on the 530 and it certainly wasn't slow!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Leicester Buses of the Sixties and Seventies

A comparison of buses from the Sixties and Seventies here at Leicester, a 1967 MCW bodied Leyland PD3 and an East-Lancs bodied Dennis Dominator of 1979. Not that it had any complaints about it's faithful old  half-cab Titans but dissatisfaction with the Leyland regime at Leicester led to birth of the Dominator which helped the once familiar Dennis company to re-establish itself as a key player.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Black Prince Newport Scania JBO 84W

Black Prince of Leeds was one of those much loved Independents run by enthusiasts. However not all their vehicles were immaculate but still interesting nonetheless like this rather ugly Marshall bodied former Newport Scania still in what to me was it's old 'dinky toys green and cream' livery. I think the girl has just collected her holiday snaps.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Midland Red S23 5930 at Rugby

Travellers on the West Coast Main Line can glimpse inside the Stagecoach garage at Rugby as the train goes through the station. But things have changed a lot since Midland Red days and following a break of about ten years I was glad I picked up my camera again to get some of the last remaining BMMO's like S23 5930 in 1980. It was withdrawn in March the following year.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Coachlinks Leyland Tiger in Leicester A112 TRP

Enough time has lapsed for me to look at this Plaxton Paramount bodied Leyland Tiger with a certain amount of nostalgia. Even those Stagecoach Stripes have become acceptable and I do miss the old registration system which told this this former United Counties coach in Leicester came from Northampton.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

KAL 684 West Bridgeford U.D.C

I think if one had to choose the most interesting and varied city for buses in the Sixties Nottingham would be near the top of the list. If one had to find an area where it didn't excel it was perhaps in that it was only served by two Municipals. Having said that they were both interesting for whereas the city itself was very innovative the small brown and cream fleet at West Bridgeford was for many years very conservative and when this Park-Royal bodied AEC Regent 111 was seen here in about 1968 was already twenty years old and had a 'rathergrand' pre-war feel about it.

Porto 97

Two Lancia trolleybuses in Porto in 1984.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

D&G No.113 SN11 FFM on the Tixall Road in Stafford

Making a change from it's normal haunt on the One Service whose orange branding it wears was this D&G Enviro seen on the Tixall Road in Stafford on it's way to Uttoxeter. It was thought that we would lose the 841 going passed here when this route stops going through Great Heywood but it will now rejoin the Weston Road at Hydrant Way and then go via Hopton and Weston.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Vikings in York

I thought the Vikings were a long gone episode in Scandinavian fokelore but it seems a few stayed  on in York to run an open-top sightseeing service as can be seen in this busy view with a former United Couties Bristol VR.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

A Brand New Salford Bus: Leyland PD2/MCW FRJ 255D in 1966

There was always something a bit exciting about a new bus in the old days when a bit of polished brightwork made them stand out. Well there wasn't much of that of Salford buses but they did look very smart in that no-adverts and dark bottle-green livery. That day in 1966 I caught not just one but two of them with my Ilford Sporti camera, hence the poor quality. No doubt it will be in one of my tatty with age spotters notebooks.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Ribble 'Tank' PD3 TCK 838 at Liverpool in 1981

In the December 1981 winter sunshine this was a lovely day for some photography in Liverpool but it would have been more suited for colour as the soft quality of the light made some negs difficult to work for I couldn't make the bleached out areas darker without deepening already dense areas of shadow. Still it catches the mood and more importantly the Ribble MCW bodied Leyland PD3 one of just a few so-called 'tanks' still in service including from Aintree where a handful still ran up through docklands towards Formby.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

London Coaches Leyland Titan KYV 372X at Victoria

Looking back it is quite interesting to see all the different liveries carried by the new companies that were formed after the break-up of London Buses. London Coaches chose this  red and cream livery which makes one look at it and try to think of Provincial operators like IOM and Luton and District. T328 was seen leaving Victoria and as it was the evening looks as though it had finished it's shift on the 52.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

A Diamond to Goldthorn Park

The van based minibus seems to be making a bit of a comeback albeit as something more akin to a midi-bus. But the low-step variety could prove to be a useful tool for services like the 61 in Wolverhampton which serves the narrow tree-lined avenues of the rather more prosperous Goldthorn Estate where Mercedes and BMW Cars far outnumber potential bus passengers. There is no visible fleet number on LS68 FOM operated by the Rotala's Diamond.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Front Line Leopard in Birmingham XUB 671V

A smart looking Leyland Leopard with Front Line Buses seen in Birmingham. These were the days before the rather likeable Badgerline Group merged with Grampian and it all went wrong as the new exciting First Group adopted a kind of battleship grey livery and it divisions scoured the country swallowing up bus companies whether they were profitable or not and then ruining them. Maybe I am exaggerating a little bit but it wasn't very good because all the big groups cared about was their City shareholders and this near monopoly is far from what Nikolas Ridley promised when the Thatcher Government deregulated the bus industry to break up the state monopoly.  Oh well if they were still with us those Badgerline buses would probably all be taken off the road as the Government and many farmers believe they spread TB lol.

Monday, 18 March 2019

East Staffordshire DAimler CCG5 in Burton EFA 295D

Two different generations from the East Staffordshire fleet were hard at work on a school contract duplicate with a 1966 Massey bodied Daimler CCG5 up front followed by an East-Lancs bodied Dennis Dominator.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Ambassador Leyland Tiger G111 HNG

By the time this Plaxton bodied Tiger was delivered new Leylands like this were getting scarce on National Express contracts losing out to the standard Volvo B10M. But Ambassador formed to operate the Eastern Counties coach side bought some and this example was seen approaching Victoria Coach Station in the sunshine.

Devon General Massey Bodied Leopard at Paul Street

I don't think this was planned but things were very different in 1980 when Devon General buses at Exeter Paul Street Bus Station just parked up and passengers walked across the bus lane. Of course accidents were rare as people used their common-sense. The Corporation like many County Towns seemed to like Massey bodywork and this was one of six bought to replace elderly Daimlers on it's share of country services which it worked alongside Devon General.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Grampian Mercedes 0405 in Leeds

When Grampian joined the rather colourful Badgerline group to form First things seemed to become too big and rather impersonal. One of the first happenings was the arrival in England of some Mercedes O405's from Aberdeen and they could be seen in Leicester and as here in Leeds.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Three Routemasters at Trafalgar Square

The old saying about three buses coming along at once isn't so true these days except in places like London and the other big cities. But when like these three Routemasters they are on different routes it doesn't really matter does it.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Halton Leopard KTB 748F

Widnes Corporation or as it had now become had been one of those very conservative operators which continued to buy the same buses and in this case traditional half-cab East-Lancs bodied Leyland PD3's with an eccentric just one opening vent at the front on the top deck. Maybe it was a change of general manager but fleet replacement policy turned to the single-decher instead. Of course it might just have been simply the desire to convert the system to OPO but nevertheless even though they looked a lot more modern the first of these buses were still  were still East-Lancs bodied Leylands

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

One For The Bin? Western National C966 GCV

I'm afraid if I see a poor negative with some potential I try to rescue it if I can and had it not been blurred this would have been a great shot but alas it is not. However I still think it is worth posting as no doubt someone will want to see Western National Mercedes 120 C966 GCV with a green front but I find with imperfect shots they're a bit like looking at a monochrome as one needs to use a bit of imagination too in this more unusual view of the road stretching away into the distance in Plymouth.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Longroyd Bridge: Say Cheese!

It could be bemusement but some people just don't like being photographed for various reasons. But here of course I was just taking a photo of one of the former Huddersfield Roe bodied Daimler Fleetlines close to the depot at Longroyd Bridge. I quite like this photo of 1980 though as it catches the character of this area where rather better-off bungalows and houses cling to the hillside overlooking views of mills and countryside whilst scruffy dwellings and shops huddle for room next to the road so close the windows always need cleaning as the heavy traffic rumbles passed.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Crosville in Weston super Mare

The second time around things are not usually as good as the first one and that seems to apply for me with bus events for the one-off's add an element of excitement to the experience. Still it's a pity that we just went to the one open day and running event staged by the tribute company from Western super Mare calling itself Crosville. It owned some heritage buses as well but it seems that maybe because it's hard enough to make any headway operating buses these days these firms which try to mix business with pleasure usually seem to fall by the wayside. It's a pity though that they only staged the one event as not only was it a gorgeous day this is the ideal venue for someone like myself who wants from the outing than just old buses.

Friday, 1 March 2019

London & Country XPG 183T

Ray Stenning produced some attractive liveries such as that for London & Country whose area included Guildford where one of former LCBS's Park Royal bodied Atlanteans was seen carryling local branding.

Trent Willowbrook 003 YRC 194

I've always admired Trent for the smartness of it's fleet which even extended to the unpopular shoddy Willowbrook 003 body. This Leopard in London even gained a cherished marque perhaps the owner hoped people might think it was older than it was lol. Even though it was not officially allowed even then drivers openly smoked even when they were likely to be seen by officials. Today of course it is quite different but one still sees a few drivers of commercials who smoke, not so much lorry drivers but tradesmen who are breaking the law if others use the vehicle as well. But with police resources so stretched it is one of those laws which is left up to management to enforce as the police have better things to do.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Farewell to the 841

Since D&G took over the 841 Stafford to Uttoxeter service five years ago they have given us an excellent service and not only did they raise the frequency from two-hourly to hourly for a lot of the day on some journeys the buses are fairly full. But now the contract has come to an end Arriva wants it back and has registered it and as they will be running it without County Council support they can run it as they wish. At the same time they will take over the 842 which also went through the Heywoods but via Sandon and Hopton for Rugeley. They have merged the two routes together going as far as Weston and then heading for Hixon cutting out the Heywoods altogether which means both 841 and 842 passengers will have to use the 825 instead which goes through Milford. Rumour has it that Arriva is fattening up it's portfolio of services in anticipation of take-over bids as it's owner DB wants to sell it off so that the money can be invested back in Germany on the railway. I know they re not perfect but I would like to see Stagecoach take over Arriva Midlands as at least they use some initiative and market research to make the service better instead of just raising fares all the time and cutting routes, but even though such an outcome is being mentioned it seems Stagecoach don't want Cannock Garage. With most of the Cannock routes serving the conurbation and a mixed urban and rural landscape in a working class district this should be good bus country but I expect it doesn't want to have to deal with Staffordshire County Council who admittedly is strapped cash but also seems to think everyone should own a car and add to the pollution and congestion we all so much enjoy.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Paul James Leyland Leopard

The greatest risk you take when you photograph moving buses is blurring. Sometimes it can give it a bit of character but usually it is annoying. If this was a common bus one of many like a Routemaster I would probably bin it but not only was this Willowbrook bodied Leopard seen in Nottingham looking smart in Paul James colours it was a bit of a one off and I don't expect there are many images of this one around.

Monday, 25 February 2019

West Yorkshire PTE Foden 7250 in Huddersfield

There have always been a few rare buses and I think just eight of these Fodens were built in the Seventies where they were trialed by big operators like the West Yorkshire PTE. It was one of a number of initiatives to break the Leyland stranglehold on the home bus industry but sadly  the Sandbach firm lost out to Dennis with it's Dominator and more significantly the MCW Metrobus. I didn't have much luck taking photos of many either perhaps because of the fleeting nature of my visits when at work or because they were out of use. So pleasingly this one turned up in the sunshine at Huddersfield.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

PMT Rides Again 65027

A recent painting by First Potteries into the old BET Group PMT livery of the Sixties is this Scania Omnicity which has a pleasing authenticity about it as they old schemes just look wrong on certain buses. A regular haunt for it at the moment is the 101 Service from Hanley to Stafford.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

917 UVT PMT Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard

Scenes from old bus rallies are often interesting as not all the vehicles that attended have been saved for posterity. An example is this early Plaxton bodied 36ft Leyland Leopard one of five delivered to PMT in 1962. Had it been saved it might have been one of the earliest of these longer buses but  I may be wrong but I think the Edinburgh Alexander bodied 101 might take that honour as it was something of a trailblazer. I didn't know much about the preservation scene at this point and never realised that the buses would all gather somewhere at the end of the Birmingham Outer Circle 11 Run. Still I prefer to see them in action, it's just a pity I didn't manage to get a better shot..

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Solent Blue Bristol VR ECW NEL116P in Southampton

Seen in Southampton and still in Hants and Dorset red this Bristol VR which had passed to Solent Blue was hardly living up to it's name.

Arhus Sporveje DAB 178

Most Danish bus fleets had a mix of Volvos and DAB buses but the country's second cityArhus prefered the latter as seen here in 1982.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Manchester PD2 PND 440 at Alexandra Park Gates

Like many other places Manchester feels like a different place from as it was here in 1965 and views like this of Alexandra Road are just a memory. A Queens Road Leyland PD2 from the first batch of MCW Orion's waits to do the clocking machine before doing the last mile or so to Chorlton on the 88. Princess Road Garage which was near here also did this route and it's sister the 80 and normally used Daimlers in the 4100-4189 series which were all allocated there.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Minibus Makeover

The introduction of the urban mini-bus was something of a quick fix as they were cheap to put on the road. Both drivers and enthusiasts hated them but looking back they did have their benefits for although they were cramped and noisy one came along every few minutes and dropped you outside your house. A friend who lived on Wildwood in Stafford remarked on it the other day citing that they only see two big buses down there a day now.

Railway Bus in Porto

In Portugal the state railway operated a few buses as well including this Volvo seen in Porto.