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 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.

Saturday 16 February 2019

Trathens Skyliner STT 602X

I think this was taken on the Saturday during the rail strike of 1982 which caused chaos at Victoria Coach Station as everyone took to the roads.  I can't say I loved them myself but this Neoplan Skyliner of Trathens on a 'Rapide' contract for National Express certainly looked impressive as it squeezed passed other vehicles and bemused pedestrians wondering when they will get home.

Friday 15 February 2019

BVG Usedomerstr Garage in Wedding

In Berlin as in Britain bus services have been rationalised greatly since the city was reunified and an improved tram and u-bahn network cut back a lot of bus routes. There are far fewer garages too including this small one with just shy of one-hundred buses at Usedomerstr in Wedding close to The Wall. Of interest are route boards hanging up and in the background probably living accommodation for the staff.

Exciting London in the 90's: London Coaches RM 84

The trans dressing up scene was very in the Nineties with fetish-dance clubs and the more glittery parties like Kinky Gerlinky. Here on the London Embankment visitors on an open-top Routemaster get a view of a transvestite being made up for a fashion shoot. This one on the 'Original Tour' RM 84 looked a bit unloved but when London Coaches started they turned them out in traditional livery almost like new.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Parks of Hamilton Volvo Caetano Algarve C680 KDS

The interesting city of Chester was very much a mecca for coach tours and very frequent callers were Parks of Hamilton whose Caetano Algarve bodied Volvo working for Trafalgar Tours was hardly in keeping with the pleasant surroundings. I expect rather like myself with other oddities some of you will like it though and see it as character.

Tuesday 12 February 2019

H is the new shuttle to Stafford Hospital

For a number of years the 825 has formed a straight through connection from Lichfield and Rugeley to Safford Hospital. But congestion had made the hospital end unreliable with buses turning short because they were running late and a few drivers just not bothering to complete the trip and kicking passengers off the bus. Now this service along with the 74 from Cannock only go as far as Stafford itself and those wishing to continue have to take a new H shuttle service. This works well apart from outward journeys only pick up in town at South Walls which can give one quite a walk from across the town centre if they have shopping to carry or of course frail or not very well. But it does seem to work well for Arriva has chopped the 8 Service from Moss Pit to Parkside into two and in between the bus does a trip and back on the H and travelling to Parkside picks up what was the 8 again at Gaol Square. Arriva seems to have had a shuffle of it's fleet again as I haven't seen so many Volvos recently or Solos, but this more modern Optare seems to pop up quite frequently at the moment and even though it is normally worked by a VDL it was doing the hospital run

Sunday 10 February 2019

Then Along Came Fred: PVT 207L

It doesn't matter too much in the digital age but once upon a time when we used expensive film it was very annoying when people walked out when one was taking photos. However I feel many an old bus photo  which also has unwanted glimpses of cars, vans, or even young women many years later become it's point of interest especially if it turned out to be Lord Lucan. I will let you know in a few years time if this geezer in Stone improves this view of former Bristol RELL 207 a recent addition to the PMT based  POPS bus collection, but there is a certain humour as he was obviously jut as surprised to see me as I him. Of course I had time to take another one but to be honest this intrusion made little difference to an average shot.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Exeter Leyland Panther MFJ 390G going to Cullompton

In the Sixties bus operators had to rely on single-deckers for OPO work and consequently high capacity dual-entrance buses like this Exeter dual-entrance Marshall bodied Leyland Panther entered service on quite busy former double-deck routes to cut costs. These early rear-engined types were unreliable compared to the old half-cabs they replaced and one wonders in real terms how much was saved when once there was a conductor to help the passengers and keep them happy.

Friday 8 February 2019

Hynburn Leopard and Swift at Mossley Road Garage

Accrington Corporation buses really stood out and could look magnificent in that  most unusual dark blue with red relief livery. This prevailed until it's demise but in later years it was 'brightened up' as can be seen on the East-Lancs bodied Leopard and Wadham Stringer bodied Swift. By the time I took this photo the fleet was looking shabby and there were no new buses just secondhand purchases to cope with the difficulties following Deregulation. Here even the yard gates were kept locked to stop travellers stealing the diesel.

Friday 1 February 2019

How times change as these days it's seems most odd to think of traffic going down the main street of Stafford with all those milling pedestrians jostling for space. Of course there were no mobile phones then to distract their thoughts as they stepped off the pavement but one wonders how so few people got run over in an age where there was no health and safety nonsense to keep us safe. Well I always joked that if I was to be run over by a lorry it should be a Foden but heaven forbid should it happen one could have done worse than go under an AEC Reliance Plaxton Supreme coach like this one which served with Chase and was competing with MRN on the Lichfield service. I suppose there is a lot to be said for safety regulations but it is most annoying as it treats people as though they were both stupid and accident-prone.