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, 30 April 2009
I'm amazed at the way time seems to fly and it does not seem that many years ago that the 0405 took to the streets. However it was 1985 when BVG put it's first No.2000 into service and I photographed this Hamburg articulated example not many years later.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
During the Eighties and Nineties both Reading and Southend Corporation buses were a familiar sight in Central London as they took advantage of Deregulation to operate express and commuter services once largely the province of National Bus Operators and British Rail. Reading did it with some style not only adopting a smart maroon, cream and gold Gold Line livery but used modern coach seated buses and coaches like this MCW Metrobus but even ran some right across to Southend jointly with that operator.
There are now only seven BVG bus garages in Berlin including two large ones in the former East Berlin. Cicero Str with an allocation in 1988 of 167 double-deckers and 42 single-decker buses was built in 1958 and tucked away is situated not that far off the famous Kurfirstendam so not surprisingly it has always worked routes that pass along the fashionable thoroughfare including the long 129 which is an interesting ride as it crosses the city starting from the leafy expensive suburb of Roseneck travelling down the Ku'damm and passing once famous landmarks like Checkpoint-Charlie and the Anhalter Bahnhof before going into the poor area of Kreuzberg and terminating at Hermannplatz in Neukolin another old working class district. This typical Wagon Union MAN double-decker of 1980 was about to do a peak period extra 29E which unusually it seemed was going the whole way. It is easy to tell which photos were taken after Reunification as they were either renumbered or had one-hundred added making this the 129 of today. In the background in the extensive outdoor parking area as well as more of these buses can be seen a Mercedes single-decker and my all time favourite Berlin Bus, those lovely atmospheric Bussings that plodded along making a whole series of interesting sounds including like a high-gas kettle with a whistle coming to the boil.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
One can immediately see the great improvement a bit of imaginative styling made to the Portuguese Utic bodied Porto Leyland Atlantean and the later versions like No.310 is still I feel one of the most attractive designs seen on these buses. Somehow the city's poeople managed to enjoy a little sunbathing and relaxation on the rather polluted looking mucky-brown sands on the shore of the River Douro here on the semi-industrial edge of town. But at least if you get terrible sunburn you can take a bus directly to the hospital at S.Joao.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
At the end of the Nineties former National Bus Company types were still very much in evidence here in the genteel North Wales seaside resort of Llandudno as can we witnessed by this former Yorkshire Bus (West Riding) Leyland National Mk2 bound for Rhyl. Probably more typical of Crosville was the ECW bodied Leyland Oympian of which there were once many.
Friday, 24 April 2009
Even the humble Leyland National looked quite pleasing in an attractive traditional livery such as Tiverton and District. With beautiful Devon countryside as a backdrop this bus seems miles away from it's old haunts with London Transport.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
No KOIvula is nothing to do with Koi Carp it's the colourful Finish language as is the Destination 'Rovaniemi'. One thing I am certain of is that the small expensive Nordic country was a bit off the beaten track otherwise we would have all flocked there to see it's interesting buses and coaches that all had a distinctly local flavour like this Lahti 320 Scania coach seen in Copenhagen in 1982.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
At PTT Lugano they always seemed to have a good number of elderly buses that normally would have been withdrawn and sold. I think this was partly due to the number of schools contracts but also to the mild frost free climate meaning that no salt on the roads led to far less corrosion. I don't suppose it made a huge difference to these well prepared Saurer DUK buses but Setras were notiously bad in that respect. As you can see P24621 about the enter the covered bus station in 1990 when eighteen years old yet still looked as good as new like most post buses. You could tell it was a good age though as the Swiss did away with these large front number plates for something a lot smaller in about 1975 as can be seen on the other traffic.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
As you can see despite the provision of cycle paths most cyclists still ride on the busy roads. Still it's not surprising as even though they seem to be everywhere they don't seem to go very far especially in the town centre unless one ends up cycling against the traffic or getting from one to the next via the pavement. It's funny though as it's only when we look at a photograph like this that we start to appreciate how green and pleasant central areas of our towns have become. Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts are pretty typical of the current Stafford Arriva fleet including a number of short ones like this.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
I'm not sure where this was taken in Portugal but it couldn't have been too far from Evora judging by the look of heat and the bus fleet number series. As you can see our tour bus in the background had only just pulled and other passengers were still alighting as I quickly nabbed yet another of RN's attractive Utic bodied AEC Reliance's still in it's old colours for posterity. I think one of the local toddlers is playing a game of hide and seek with it's mother before getting smacked.
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Oh well I suppose the historic Municipal crest that adorns the 1930's Leyland Tiger of Rawtenstall was more interesting than a bit of litter plus four orange and white traffic cones with tape wrapped around them. I tend to find the rows of old and new buses get a bit boring after a while at rallies and I find it equally rewarding to capture the feel of the event. As for the cones they shouldn't leave then lying around as I tend to trip over things like that when I'm busy looking at other things
Friday, 17 April 2009
Now that Eastbourne's buses have been taken over by Stagecoach there are even fewer former Municipals left standing apart in their individualistic colours. This East Sussex seaside town always had and interesting fleet of some smartly maintained elderly vehicles but by the Nineties like other similar operations the loss of ratepayers subsidy and the eroding pressures of competition meant standards were not quite what they once were and even second-hand vehicles started to make their appearance including this ten year old former East-Lancs bodied Dennis Dominator from Tayside (Dundee). Still apart from the Scottish registration few would have guessed as Eastbourne already had similar buses bought new in the fleet.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
It's terrible isn't it the way these lazy looking girls get in the way when I'm taking photographs. In a way though today it seems coaches are becoming more interesting than local buses as the old types quickly disappear being replaced by even more standardised modern types. With the passage of time coaches seem to be getting more modern as well of course but because some travel great distances that in itself it is some reason to show an interest. Here where many of the tourist and visiting coaches stop outside The Zoo in Berlin were found quite different machines lurking behind that girl who so annoyingly got in the way, or rather as you have probably guessed given me an excuse to take this panorama shot. Firstly an Italian bodied Iveco from Italy, then next to it is a Mercedes-Benz carrying the rather less common than the Citaro bus, the attractive dual-purpose Integro. Setra seem to have lost their sleek looks of the past as can be seen on this more wedge-shaped high-liner type, perhaps from Sweden with a similar but more messy profile to be found on the Neoplan at the far end. The other coach of course from Holland is the Bova Futura, a classic torpedo-like design that seems to go on and on in a timeless way just like those pretty girls whom I like to sneak into my pictures. I'm sure you don't mind.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
After the NBC was Privatised the split up and devolved companies had to find their image. Some just modified their existing NBC livery slightly like City of Oxford, whilst others tried to return to the old days like Southdown with it's tasteful apple-green and cream. Others though went for a bold approach which didn't always look good especially on certain types. It certainly did nothing for this Willowbrook bodied Leyland Leopard tackling the wet roads in Newcastle during a summer rain storm way back in 1989.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
In the Eighties and Nineties Plymouth Bretonside Bus Station used to be heaving with coaches. Some belonged to nearby Independents with a mixed collection of older vehicles on regular shopping excursions from the small towns of North Devon and Cornwall, or were newer and visiting with people from further afield or just out for a day trip from a Torbay Hotel which of course included a boat trip to the Naval Dockyard from The Hoe. Others like the two on the right were usually out and about on the longer type of bus journeys but today it seems they too were enjoying an excursion from Torbay. Western National greatly favoured the 7ft 6in Bristol LH in bus and coach form as it was ideal for the narrow roads in it's area and one of these makes an interesting contrast with a similar but full sized Leyland Leopard also bodied by Plaxton. The NBC had quickly merged the much loved BET Group Devon General with it's huge neighbour BTC State Owned Southern and Western National but fortunately chose to keep them separate with the DG buses retaining a red instead of green identity. The Leopard wears a more conventional NBC dual-purpose livery whilst the neat little Bristol carries the very attractive venetian-blind effect stripy scheme that using many different variations started the slow return to more individualistic colour schemes prior to the return to the private sector. At this time it was a rather depressing time for enthusiasts as minibuses were taking over our towns and we tended to overlook the more positive aspects as the NBC relaxed it's stance and let in some much needed innovation.
By this time in 1979 Burton on Trent Corporation had been renamed East Staffordshire but still ran plenty of splendid half-cab double-deckers like this Massey bodied Daimler CCCG5 of 1964 with Burton's usual choice of a sluggish Gardner five-cylinder engine.
Monday, 13 April 2009
The Shugborough Estate on the edge of Cannock Chase and former home to Photographer and Cousin of the Queen, Lord Lichfield before he died is quite close to where I live. As you can see even a short excursion for other reasons is still a good excuse to take a camera. It was at this time of year too as you can see from the trees behind and I went with a girlfriend to buy some shrubs. We did buy one or two things but like everything I bought that year they all quickly died, so it was good that at least I took these photos of three Plaxton bodied coaches and a Duple Lasar bodied Bedford. Still in East Kent colours but now part of Stagecoach this coach had come a long way probably around two-hundred-miles but I expect the others were all reasonably local. The Whittle company from Highley in Shropshire is now also a part of one of the main bus groups, this time everyone's favourite East Yorkshire who retains it as a separate unit. A similar Volvo coach at the far end belonged to Bakers of Biddulph who are still going strong as an Independent albeit running them with more white than green in the livery these days..
Sunday, 12 April 2009
It's quite common on the mainland of Europe for buses to wear flags to celebrate special days and holidays but in Britain even though the larger shops are now open it is another good reason to give the road back to the motorcar and the rest can either walk or remain housebound and fed-up. In Berlin there is a reduced service on holidays, perhaps every half hour instead of every twenty for instance but one can still get about on BVG buses till quite late at night. Sadly this type of MAN double-decker will be all but gone by now which is a pity as they were definitely a favourite.
Nobody can say I take dull boring pictures as I try to get in as much as I can and especially as the passage of time makes them a lot more interesting. Yes even that everyday rather boring orange Volvo bus No.758 might be someones long lost favourite type.
Friday, 10 April 2009
In 1982 as they neared the end of their days places like Wrexham and Chester were good places to photograph Bristol FS buses as Crosville still had them on the trunk service to Oswestry. For the longer front-entrance FLF two of the best places to see them were in Bristol and here at Norwich where Eastern Counties was still running smart FLF's and FS's on City Services too. On Good Friday the Norwich buses were all having a day of rest and even though they were parked outside the direction of the sun presented a problem. However I'm still pleased with this view of FLF 470 and even though we like to believe standards dropped in the NBC era just look at the well maintained bus station with it's information boards and Enquiry Office which welcomes with sparking windows. Unless the local authority step it is a far cry from what we usually expect to find today from the industry with everything boarded up, filthy or locked toilets and rubbish everywhere. Probably about the only thing that works is the CCTV cameras so someone can tell you to stop taking photographs.
I have some favourite April showers type contrasty black and white photos I took in Norwich in 1982 on Good Friday but it was only when doing some scanning this afternoon that I remembered I visited Burnley too in the Nineties on that same day. Not surprisingly with it being a Holiday there were not that many buses on the road so I was glad to see amongst the newer stock an elderly East-Lancs bodied Leyland Leopard nearing the end of it's days.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Once typical of the Swiss Capital's bus fleet, by the Nineties the at the start of the decade large numbers of survivors from this large batch of about sixty FBW's dating from between 1959-65 were usually only to be seen working in the morning and evening rush-hours. However when I first arrived in the city after a long absence since my schools days when I was here in 1964 I was so pleased to see that one was out working on a Saturday Afternoon to welcome me I immediately took a ride on No.140 to make a tape-recording as if to celebrate. That was 6th January 1990 and little over ten years on in the Spring of 2000 all the FBW motorbuses would be finished including the artics. Like the others No.132 still looked fine but albeit dated when caught in bright winter sunshine on it's way to Langgasse, which I imagine means long road in German.
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
The major groups aggressively competed to gain both territory and market share. Today they are more concerned with the latter and in certain areas of the country like the rural and seasonal South West areas of Devon and Cornwall a sort of buffer zone has appeared where the small Independents have won the lonely tendered routes the big boys can't be bothered with. Once Moretonhampsted could boast a local network and a six bus garage in the old Devon General days but I expect one only sees it's successor Stagecoach regularly coming in from Exeter. Obviously Devon County Council feels the need to support some degree of service and a Mercedes Minibus of the appropriately names Country Bus picks up a reasonable load in Plymouth.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Anyway I think it's Slagelse where I photographed this Volvo Aabenraa. I was watching something on TV about Documentary photographers out in the street, the desert or out on the road. Some might think my bus photography is rather mindless but I love recording things the way they are even if it's a bleak empty station yard with just a passing girl to give it some life. This could not be Britain as there is no litter and as for bicycles they're just something you try to nudge off the road.
Not surprisingly Copenhagen attracts a wealth of visiting coaches from all over Europe, the most common of course being from Germany and fellow Scandinavian countries. I imagine there are a few from the nearby former Communist Block too which is not too far away but I guess if it's expensive for us it's a tad bit even more expensive for the shopping. Amongst the coaches I saw when I was there in the Eighties was this rather impressive and smart Panoramic LAG bodied Volvo Turbo coach from Belgium working for a holiday company and pictured outside the railway station.
Monday, 6 April 2009
Not surprising as Daimler buses were built in the city Coventry Corporation ran little else really with the exception of with much public outcry a large batch of twenty-two Leyland Atlanteans for evaluation in 1964. Another twenty-two Fleetlines purchased at the same time, as one would expect won the day and many more followed but perhaps my favourites were these well rounded East Lancs bodied examples with deep windows which probably was one of the best designs for the type. Following the two types of Willowbrook bodied Leyland and Daimler of 1964-5, a new Number-One started a new series in 1966 and after absorption into the West Midlands PTA No.2 became 2Y as Coventry buses received this letter so they wouldn't be confused with 2N at Wolverhampton, 2L at Walsall and 2H at West Bromwich.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Iveco have yet to make a big impact into the British bus market but in the mid-Nineties it was obviously trying to woo local operator Thames Transit where in all white this Alexander bodied bus was working a Sunday service in Oxford.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Two stalwarts from the mid-Sixties languish at the side of the Ellen Smith Garage at Wardlesworth near Rochdale in the early Eighties. Both are Leyland Leopards one with a Plaxton Panorama body whilst Harrington Grenadier CDK 448C lived on as a diecast EFE model for collectors. At the back are even earlier Tiger Cubs and maybe the odd AEC Reliance too from this well known thirteen vehicle fleet.
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Yes because it started so early and at times was so cold it has seemed a particularly long winter in Britain this time. However despite the poor conditions it is still possible to take some interesting pictures like this First Group Scania loading at Stafford Station on the frequent service to Hanley. After Deregulation the First Group bought out the PMT (Potteries Motor Traction) who once before the Seventies had an extensive network of routes of largely rural routes to the north of the town plus a cross-town joint service with Midland Red using an Atlantean and even had a small seven bus garage here. Today it just comes into town with this the traditional main trunk service updated going via Newcastle instead of Soke and worked by eight of these rather impressive Swedish buses.
One thing that has always baffled me is how is one supposed to watch the road and the pretty girls at the same time as there's nothing about it in the Highway Code. One solution is to find an excuse to stop so that you can have a better look. TL of Lausanne has always had a good variety of buses ranging from giant artics to midibuses. Apart from being a Volvo No.332 was a typical Swiss bus but despite it fine appearance I suspect because of the dated grill actually was from the Seventies when seen two Decades later in the early Nineties.