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, 30 November 2010

Foggy day in Hinckley

Midland Red South was quick to paint it's dual-purpose Leyland Leopards into bus livery and probably No.216 had been reseated as it was classed B49F. It was seen in Hinckley not far from the A5 on a foggy day..

Monday, 29 November 2010

All change at Potsdam

At first the signs of change were quite slow after Reunification in Germany as firstly the girls start to think about getting a new look. As for the buses the old Ikarus stalwarts started to appear in new more colourful liveries and were joined by not just some new buses but many secondhand examples like the Mercedes-Benz articulated bus in the background.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Things can only get better

People still go on about horrible the lightweight 'Orion' family were. Apart from those rattles draughts and steamed-up windows they never bothered me and seeing them everyday was living in paradise compared to the most nasty souless monstrosities called a Minibus. Amongst the worst of the breed this unsophisticated Dodge was not even as nippy as a bread van being the sort of thing British Gas park outside your house when annoyingly digging up the road. As you see I've found a different little gem in this view taken in Manchester of 1889 D889MDB.

Maidstone & District 5422

Until the late Sixties Southdown, Maidstone and District's nextdoor neighbour was a bit of an exception having a fleet of not just interesting buses but of a proudly turned out high specification too. Although M&D had a lot of the more unusual and good quality to enjoy it had it's fair share of the cheap and cheerful including these 'rattle-box' lightweight MCW bodied Leyland PD2/12 buses of 1954. Indeed many of the earlier much loved thirty-six rugged Leyland Farrington bodied examples of 1951 outlived them some still looking smart and running till 1970. However unlike some DH422 RKP903 lasted long enough at Maidstone to receive it's new computerised fleet-number that was introduced in Autumn 1967.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

.....but not just any old London Bus

No doubt these two visitors to Eastbourne on the South Coast were pleased to see a London bus. However little did they know that it's not a true London bus as it was one of a small batch of five Leyland Titans tried by West Midlands PTE alongside the MCW Metrobus and then sold off to London who was the main user of this advanced type. Whereas the Olympian was built as a flexible chassis for operators to choose the bodywork the Titan was conceived as an off the peg double-deck equivalent to the rugged all-in-one National for the large PTE fleets. Delays launching the model didn't help and many operators preferred the more cheap and cheerful Metrobus to expensive vehicles like WDA2T seen here from the London Selkent unit which by this time was probably in the hands of Stagecoach.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Stafford Greengate Street becomes Whitegate Street

Watch the misery on the news caused by the snow on Britain's roads, railways and airports and they finish off with the sheer joy of children who can play in it as they  don't have to go to school. It seems they are not the only ones who enjoy it as judging by the number of wintery views I find we transport enthusiasts too seem to love going out with our cameras to record it's magical beauty, perils and cold dirty unpleasantness. No doubt this amount of snow would seem like nothing to most Nordic drivers but here in Britain an inch of the stuff might as well be a foot. Back in the Eighties the driver of PMT Leyland Olympian No.742 A742PMT has made it safely to his destination fifteen miles from Hanley. But to be fair Stafford usually gets far less snow than outlying districts.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Post Auto departures from Chur

The new covered Post Bus Station in Chur above the railway station at the far end linked to all the platforms for easy access is not only a huge improvement on what went before but it more of less symbolises the constant investment to make the  modern efficient Swiss transport system even better. However for me I prefer to look back to the days when the cobbled forecourt was the gathering place for characterful Saurer and FBW buses dating back to their early origins. Yes a wonderful place full of historic charm to take nostalgic photos but alas no doubt not quite so welcoming when in a rush or in the snow and rain. At the beginning of the Nineties Saurer RH's were still king of the Alpine roads and here the only Setras one encountered were coaches working the long tourist routes such as those in the background bound for Bellinzona in the South. A standard PTT RH can be seen in the background too but the Regie owned fleet also took twenty of the other style more usually found with the PAH Contractors. However it was easy to tell them apart as the PTT examples like 1982 R&J bodied P25649 going to Flims Waldhaus and Laax had more yellow on their fronts whilst the others had a black lower dash panel..

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

New National2 Buses for the Red Arrow

Apart from the standee Red Arrow buses it is only in recent times that red single-deck buses have become a familiar sight in the West End. When they were introduced in 1966 they were AEC Swifts or as London Transport preferred to call them Merlins. At the beginning of the Eighties the second generation of these were all replaced by noisy Leyland National2 buses like LS 443 GUW443W.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Byrens of Leek

Jim Berresford and his bus operations of Berresford Motors and later Stonier are almost legendary but as well there was another small unit close to Cheddleton at Leek called Byrnes. Three members of that fleet can be seen at the depot a petrol-engined Ford Transit plus two AEC Reliance semi-coaches, one bodied by Willowbrook VDB940 and the other WFN517 by Park Royal which started life with North Western and East Kent respectively in 1963 and 1961.

A pair of No.101's

The recently privatised Midland Red West had been starved on new full-size buses running mostly elderly Nationals and Leyland Leopards. Things were to change when fifty brand new leyland Lynx buses joined the fleet in about 1988. The first of these was No.1101 G101HNP allocated to kidderminster and it is seen leaving the Bull Ring Bus Station in Birmingham where it has to negotiate West Midland Travel 8101 A101 WVP one of ten Metrobuses once used on the 'guided bus' Tracline experiment.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Another Royal Wedding

It's hard not to think of our British Royal Family when we see the name of the exclusive  Swiss ski resort Klosters and so you have to thank the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton for the inspiration for posting this winter scene. On a day when the white stuff was more slush than snow in 1998 one of the then new Mercedes-Benz Citaro type was seen busy at work for the local PAH contractor of Die Poste GR69301 between journeys to Serneus-Dorf.

Taking the tired Commuters home: Smiths of Sittingbourne

Of interest to me in the Nineties was the assortment of operators and coaches working commuter services into London. One of the firms from Kent was the black, white and grey vehicles from Smiths of Sittingbourne like Tiger regular B46XKJ.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Keighley and District in Leeds

One of my favourite pictures of friendly Leeds Girls and a smart Keighley and District ECW bodied Leyland Olmypian of 1984 B522 UWW. This bus has just passed the entrance of the former Vicar Lane Bus Station that belonged to it's original owner West Yorkshire. This operator also ran services under the title Keighley and District in that town but unlike with the Blazefield operation the buses jut carried the name and otherwise retained the normal 'Tilling Red' and cream fleet colours. Taken in the Nineties Surprisingly some of these buses are still in service today in 2010.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Barbi in Overdtive

The so-called pink and blue Barbi look that adds a bit pf colour to the overall grey First Group buses is not horrible just perhaps a little dull when we see little else. However when those Barbi colours go over the top as in this special livery to promote their Tamar Link buses that go across to Cornwall from Plymouth it can all get a bit sickly like too much sweet raspberry and blackberry yogurt. Fortunately good graphics keep it all looking very professional and we can even enjoy a murmuring of nostalgia as buses like this of the faithful Mercedes-Benz minibus like First Devon and Cornwall S529RWP gradually become a rarity on our streets.

Friday, 12 November 2010

A blue bus of Therkidsens in Lyngby

The Danes liked to name their local bus companies after the colour of their buses. But it would have been no good if Therkidsen of Bagsvaerdhad done this as the 'Da Bla Bus' at Holte also visited Lyngby. Most of this small fleet of I guess about ten to fifteen buses were DAB Leylands but the fleet included in 1982 this recent Aabenraa bodied Volvo to work their main route the forty-minute  165 from Vaelose to Hellerup.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

AEC and Leyland's in the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is a bit of a rarely explored yet interesting backwater on the borders of England and South Wales just across the Severn Estuary  As well as some beautiful countryside it could also boast a number of interesting bus companies including the dark blue and white coaches Edwards of Joys Green. In the yard cane be seen both a.Plaxton bodied Leopard and Reliance, plus the same again with rarer heavyweight Duple Viceroy bodywork. The Duple bodied Leopard EUG474K came from Wallace Arnold whilst it's AEC sister came from the National Travel South East fleet based at the old Timpson's garage at Catford.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A former West Midlands Metrobus at Stockport

Prior to the introduction of Arriva corporate livery some of it's buses sported rather cheerful liveries like this MCW Metrobus belonging to Bee-Line whose name was chosen as being suitable for it's initial fleet of busy little minibuses. No.817 KJW 288W loads at Stockport for nearby Manchester on Service 197 in the mid-Nineties.

A chilly lunchtime call at Chester

As a National Express Duple bodied Leyland Leopard pauses at Chester on a winters day a gentleman stretches his legs and smokes his pipe whilst another coach this time a Leyland Tiger with a Plaxton body belonging to PMT  A75 JFA departs on the long trek north up to Glasgow.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Alton Bus Rally

Look back over the Summer I had some good days out including this one to Alton which was the furthest bus trip I took with my friends in their preserved Midland Red Leopard JHA227L. This town once had one of the four Aldershot and District garages so not surprisingly the former BET Group company was well represented here with both Dennis and as you see here AEC buses. Most of their AEC Reliance's had Weymann Hermes bodywork like this example No.370 Reg. XHO370 from 1960

Busy getting wet in liverpool

I'm afraid  I dont follow vehicle news and your guess is as good as mine whether this wright bodied bus of Arriba is a Volvo. VDL or Scania. These day I go out looking for interesting atmospheric views and this day was as miserable as it looked in Liverpool.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A Mercedes-Benz Coach in Porto

When there was so much bus variety as there was in Portugal it was easy to overlook the most common types like this Mercedes seen in Porto. However with the passage of time even these like it's operator becomes a thing of interest.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lunchtime in Newcastle

Late in 1979 it looks like the girls in the office are going off for a lunchtime drink in the centre of Newcastle on Tyne. I was working but my delivery address was not difficult to find as I had to go to the head office of Norweb which is that large building on the corner of Northumberland Street. Newcastle Corporation was the main constituent of the local Tyne Tees PTE and the majority of it's buses were Leyland Atlanteans with Alexander like 313 VCU313T seen here or the from the front look-alike version by MCW..

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Swan Song for the RMA Airport Bus

After they were no longer needed for Heathrow LT had trouble finding good work for it's sixty-five strong RMA class. And rather like other odd men out from the past the 500 wider RTL's called the RTW many ended up on training duties. It's a pity they weren't a more useful 30ft long like prototype RMF 1254, but no doubt the unions condemned the bigger bus towing baggage trailers. However at least Stagecoach East London knew a good bus when they saw it keeping them smart like RMA35 NMY635E so we could enjoy seeing them on the 15 as it passed Trafalgar Square.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Panther back from the dead

They say that a bite from a black mamba can put you in such a deep comma you might accidentally get buried alive. Well it seemed that buses like the Leyland Panther was finished but it was surprising what was given a new lease of life following Deregulation. Former Preston RTF436L with unusual Pennine bodywork looked rather dashing in it's smart new Citibus colours however I just wonder how many times it was to break down especially as I took a ride on one of these and it kept stalling when stationary?

Getting ready for Christmas

Don't be fooled the Christmas decorations might be up but because it's cheaper to do it that way in Stafford they usually go up in August. Still I don't suppose it's bad luck just so long as they delay making us feel even more miserable by not switching them on till December. I suppose it's nice to have something other than twelve days of snow to mark the middle of winter. I used to hate the unimaginatively applied NBC poppy red and plain white gtraphics on PMT and Midland Red but today I find those old buses rather bright and welcoming compared to the rather dull colours applied to Arriva and First in the town today. Believe it or not after the delivery of this 1981 batch of Leyland Olympians PMT only bought a mere handful of new double-deckers and so still being the newest the Hanley based examples spent many years on the longer routes like the 260 to Stafford. No.740 Reg. A740GFA passes through the Market Square on it's return journey to the Potteries.

Potsdam Tram 048

One thing you can't deny is that the world of Communism was pretty ugly if Potsdam was anything to go by. Indeed this is one of the more attractive of German cities but with horrible grey dirty looking Postwar architecture few trees or even people about, it was a pretty depressing scene. This view was taken soon after Reunification so soon the streets would be filled with cars and the buildings sport the neon signs of Capitalism.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A Leyland for Leyland Paints

This former Fishwick's Leyland Leopard XTB188D didn't travel very far to find a new owner as it remained in it's home town of Leyland where it became a staff bus for Leyland Paints. Unlike most demoted PSV's this Plaxton bodied coach still looked very appealing and smart. This was not the first former Fishwick Leyland to be used by this paint manufacturer so I expect much of it's excellent condition might be to do with a service contract with the coaches former owner whose coach garage was just to the side of this view.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Midland Red's last D9's at Leicester

Leicester was the last stronghold for the Midland Red built D9 double-decker with a small fleet of about thirteen working on city services from Southgates Street Garage. They were finally delicened on the 31st December 1979 a few months after this view was taken on Burley Way alongside St. Margarets Street Bus Station. 5326 Reg. 6362 HA was headed for New Parks on the 93 one of their regular runs.