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

Monday, 31 May 2010

Every Easter WA arrived like that first Cookoo of Spring

It's some time since I last heard the distant call of the Cookoo and Spring is colder and more empty now it's arrival is no longer greeted with that first Wallace Arnold tour trundling through my town. When the new owner's of both did away with WA in favour of Shearings more modern corporate image they denied us of a big chunk of history. After-all with so much changed had you returned in the 90's which other once familiar big coaching name could you have still seen wherever you went in the UK from the more stable pre NBC-PTA Sixties. With about 250 buses and coaches Wallace Arnold I feel was Britain's largest Independent after West Riding, Lancashire United and Barton, operating in Yorkshire but also with depots in London and Devon etc

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Old buses for Lancashire United

Stagecoach didn't do very well in North-East Lancashire and sold it's former Ribble and Burnley and Pendle operations to Lancashire United of Blazefield Holdings. The new owners were willing to invest in new vehicles and as part of the deal Stagecoach passed to them a number of elderly buses including Atlanteans, Olympians and as seen here in Blackburn a former Ribble ECW bodied Bristol VR.

Pfeiffer R eisen in Marberg

Once this style of Setra coach and paint-job was commonplace in Germany and although by today's standards rather dated it still looks attractive

Dress to Impress

Rock-Chic-Punk? I'm not quite sure what it is and I'm not sure if she's got it quite right either as the knitted pink wrist-bands don't quite go with the shades, bare tum, studded belt and fishnet. But this is Berlin a city where almost anything goes.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Handyrider in Wolverhampton

In a way it's not such a bad thing that enthusiasts are excluded from bus garages and often made to feel unwelcome to photograph in busy bus stations as there are far more interesting places to take pictures. As you can see out there are not only still the sort of soot coloured churches that might excite L.S.Lowry even the sun shines occasionally in Wolverhampton where still in Rossendale Transport livery a former Handyrider Dennis Dart climbs up into the city centre. As it has a Birmingham registration I think this must be an early Carlyle body as opposed the earliest forty that were Duple Dartline's.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A cold day in Chester

Despite it being quite bright everyone was well wrapped up with warm coats and scarfs in this 1982 view of lovely Chester once home to at least two of Crosville's 100 Seddon RU buses bought as an economy measure like SPG 800 numerically the last. The letter S stood for single, P for bodybuilder Pennine and G for Gardner powered. However as elsewhere they were not a great success and Seddon's entry into the then Leyland dominated bus market never took off despite this big order. As an alternative to the NBC tailored Leyland National some operators like City of Chester instead stuck to the reliable and more straightforward Leopard for it's single deck needs in the mid-Seventies like Duple bodied No.86..

Lancashire United in Wigan

Once Wigan had a fine fleet of Corporation buses and was also served by Ribble and Lancashire United. Shortly after this picture was taken this locally built Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetline of the latter would with the rest of the fleet join Wigan's buses in the orange and cream fleet of Greater Manchester. No.499 was working one of the LUT trunk routes to the other end of it's area at Bolton, the 559 having traditionally been the 59

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Pity I never got a better one....

I rather liked the bright colours of this Utic bodied Leyland proudly displaying it's Leopard cat badge as it punded the stone sets in Porto.

Sunlight in Manchester

I've always enjoyed the defused light and encroaching shadows when I take photographs against the sun. It's not so easy to do but I like the results for a slightly off-beat view such as this young lady in Manchester with one of Stagecoach's typical local MAN Alexander 200 series single-deckers approaching.

A great combination, but Buses and Girls don't mix

I should know I've photographed quite a number of these, but this combination rarely comes up because it's difficult being at the right place at the right time. However London is full of wonderful women and some of the numerous buses aren't so bad either like AEC Reliance BGY592T seen in the Eighties. By this time the days of the Reliance were numbered and most National Travel deliveries were of Leyland's compatable Leopard which soldiored on for a few more years. However Timpson's one of the NBC constituent fleets had been a keen AEC user and so these much missed coaches continued to be delivered to the Catford base.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Bere Regis and District

The large rural Dorset coach operator Bere Regis and District always ran an interesting mixed fleet and by the 90's exotic vehicles by their standards like this Ikarus bodied Volvo B10M had arrived. It was new to Crawshaw,Mansfield Woodhouse

Dienolen Motors

Probably the most attractive bodywork to appear on the Leyland Tiger Cub in the Fifties was that of Saro (Saunders-Roe) and built not far from here in Bangor over the Menai Bridge on the island of Anglesea. They were supplied mainly to BET Group operators like Trent and East Midland, but as Ribble had the most with about fifty it's appropriate that one of theirs has been preserved. It's a shame this example wasn't also saved as it survived into the Eighties as can be witnessed in this view as it passes a more typical Crosville bus of this area the shorter Leyland NationalB SNL 660.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Saturday Afternoon in Stafford

When I was a teenager in Stafford the place to hang about was outside Boots the chemist in the Market Square which has a canopy so one can avoid the inevitable rain-drops as well. It seems in the Eighties the youngsters had moved down to Marks and Spencers as they were obviously upwardly mobile. However life might be short and sweet for the unwary because buses like PMT ECW bodied Leyland Olympian No.739 had to do a shap turn here as they headed for the X60 terminus at the railway station. If the sun was not strong enough at least the bus exhaust got those white English legs brown.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Love in Lausanne

Of all the Swiss cities Lausanne seems to have the most spirit and it does feel the most French too. It seems to be full of not quite beautiful but still very attractive women and the men who fall in love with them. As for me on a quick visit I try to catch some of the mood and of course the trolleybuses of all ages as the scuttle by like here as FBW  No 684 which dated from the early Seventies headed for the Port De Pully in 1990.

National Express: Would the future bring single or double-deck coaches?

In the Eighties interest reappeared in the concept of the double-deck coach for long-distance express services. Leyland had already suppled the National Bus Company with a fleet of ECW bodied double-deck semi-coaches for commuter routes into London and MCW having already built three-axle double-deckers for the Far East came up with a high capacity vehicle for National Express. Sadly from what I was told is they were a bit slow and not very popular with the crews. It's a pity as they were rather attractive in a subtle way, but the double-deck coach concept has never really taken off here due to a number of nasty accidents that have stolen the newspaper headlines. I think I was about to board Wessex B221 VHW going as far as Bristol on my way home, and I travelled on the more sprightly YEL 96X too as later Drawline it's new owners transferred it to Midland Red North where it was allocated to my local Stafford garage.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Setra town bus in Yverdon

I'm not sure what TPYG stands for but I can guess that some of it is Transports Public Yverdon, a Swiss operator that obviously liked Setra's.

A Day at the Seaside: Scarborough

Following an icon of the age the Ford Sierra, a Duple Dominiant bodied AEC Reliance of Gordon Collins was seen heading along the long breezy seafront at Scarborough in 1989.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Driver Training in the Worcestershire Countryside

This short Marshall bodied Leyland Leopard came to Midland Red from Stratford Blue after the latter was absorbed by the National Bus Company. By the time I took this photo  it was as a yellow trainer with Midland Red West, but a hint to it's first owner was the Warwickshire registration and it's number 2059 having been SB No. 59. Fortunately after it was withdrawn this bus was secured for preservation.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Odd buses from the Seventies

People cite the MCW Orion and it's lightweight contemporaries of the Fifties and Sixties as being the paragon of bad proportion and ugliness. Well I feel after making rather elegant bodies in the Sixties on the rear-engined double-decker Northen Counties lost it's way somewhat in the design department till the advent of the Manchester Standard's which became a kind of timeless classic. What didn't seem to help was the way operator's chose a mix of modern curved and very plain glass at the front. The slab-like livery chosen by Fylde didn't help either with No.77's already top-heavy front.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Damsel and the Dragon

Soon all the normal service double-deckers of the BVG in Berlin will be these giant three-axle MAN Dragon buses like this new one seen in 2007 at The Zoo. Even though they lack the character of the older types we should be glad of them as a few years ago it looked as though the city might be quietly turning it's back on this fine traditional mode of transport.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

A MAN in Delemont

The Swiss Post Bus fleet under the PTT didn't operate a large number of MAN buses but they found a nitch providing some smaller midi-range buses like this very smart example seen in the Jura town of Delemont. Also now you know what violinist Nigel Kennedy used to do when he had no work playing the violin! This bus of 1993-4 would shortly join the main PTT fleet as another PAH local contractor (Posthalter) Mercay sold out taking the small local allocation of Mercedes-Benz 0405 buses from about eight buses to twenty-five and bringing in a lot more variety.

Sunshine and Cloud in Blackpool

Well at least it wasn't raining and not too bright for photography either in Blackpool in the days when there were still plenty of Atlanteans and other Leyland buses to see. The Fylde buses of Lytham St Annes buses down the road were before too long to become part of the enlarged Blackpool fleet to give them more muscle in the face of competition in the fickle Deregulated market of the Nineties. Their biggest preditor was Stagecoach whose infamous stripes would soon adorn ECW bodied Olympian 2113 bound for Burnley in the east at the other end of Lancashire on the long 152 Service.