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, 31 March 2011

Bishop's & Eccleston Bridge

The breakup of the National Bus company was certainly an interesting time as groups of new operators set about building or even just asset-stripping their businesses. Potentially one of the most exciting was Drawline who commissioned the ever evident transport designer Ray Stenning to give the various acquired fleets a fresh and vibrant image. What was pleasing was the way most of the liveries followed a similar 'house' scheme but with each having it's own distinctive colours. In the south with the break up of London Country the group gained the south western slice which with a cleverly added '&' turned it into London and Country. Vehicles were moved between companies too and this Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger in L&C colours was marketed as a Countryliner and had come from Shamrock and Rambler of Southampton. It was seen at the former hub of the Green Line network behind Victoria Station on Eccleston Bridge with for bus enthusiasts at least the most photographed removal warehouse in Britain as it's backdrop belonging to Bishop and Son's.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Colourful Plymouth Bretonside

I often complain about the boring or lack of livery on buses and coaches today. As can be seen in this view taken in Plymouth a couple of years ago buses still make it a more colourful place. I suppose they're more pastel and industrial rather than painted to suit the bus but the saddest thing is that we see the same livery of the big groups like First and Stagecoach from the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall and once there was a whole variety of tour operators but today there's little else of any size except Shearings.

North Western 226

One of my early Ilford Sporty Pics so I can't do much about the quality. In 1966 a recently delivered Duple Commander bodied Leyland Leopard of North Western No.226 FJA 226D prepares for it's next journey from Lower Moseley Street in Manchester. Although it's showing the route number for Blackpool it is most likely heading for Llandudno on the 13.30 X24 calling at Altincham, Northwich and Chester and due to arrive at 17.45.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Die Post Volvo in Chur

Unlike the old PTT the Deregulated Die Post was able to pursue a much less standardised vehicle policy based more on cost as not only did it now have to stand on it's own two feet it had to compete for much of the business. Fortunately it was able to start competing on other operators much more profitable urban routes too like this bus in 2000 P25683, one of a new breed of Hess bodied Volvos to arrive in the PTT Regie fleet and seen in Chur.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Return of Preston Bus

There are so few former municipal operators left in Britain giving visitors that local touch that for once it's nice to report one that has been saved. Already struggling Preston Bus eventually fell to the might of Stagecoach who promptly started painting the fleet into it's universal colour scheme. But an appeal to the Monopoly and Mergers Commission resulted in Stagecoach having to sell it off to a new owner as the sale was not in the public interest. The small but growing Birmingham based Rotela group listed on AIM took over the company most of the buses and the depot at Deepdale Road. We now wait to see whether they retain the Preston name or give it a different branding. Like many other Lancashire operators and being right on the doorstep it was hardly surprising that Preston was a Leyland stronghold and later AN68 Atlanteans like this 1980 Alexander bodied example UHG 141V gave long and reliable service in the town.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


In the Sixties Maidstone and District operated it's fleet of 783 buses and coaches from no less than nineteen garages and I guess quite a number like Gravesend had an allocation of well under the average. Indeed it was situated on the Thames Estuary right in the far north-west corner of the companies area and as a reminder of this London Transport had one of it's  'Country Area' green bus garages just down the road at Northfleet with over forty-one buses probably almost twice the number at M&D. Unlike the typical Leyland Atlanteans and Harrington products to be found at this BET stronghold, at Northfleet along with RT, RML and RF buses were a number of those small ECW bodied Guy Special buses used on rural services.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

An easy paint-job for 121

With just the substitution of green paint for red paint new blinds and legal lettering and Leicester No.121 was ready to become No.121 in the Ipswich fleet. However this Leyland 680 engined ECW bodied Bristol RELL was still in pretty good condition so I don't expect anyone was aware. Indeed I'm sure the rate payers of Ipswich Borough would have been pleased to see how a little common sense can save a few pence.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


I can't remember if the local transport operator BVB were still running a tram between Chesieres and Villars when I arrived there for schooling there in 1963. However even though the operator made the former Post Garage it's main operating and maintenance depot the old BVB tram yard was still there and being used as a storage area in 1989. By this time the Swiss underfloor engined Saurer DUK introduced in the early Sixties was getting a lot more more scarce but it looked as though at least VD 608 still had a bit more useful work left in it yet.

Why did Midland Red buy retro-Plaxton bodies?

It was something of a surprise that Midland Red should take a batch of thirty Plaxton Panorama bodied Leyland Leopards in 1969 about a year after the new more streamlined Elite range had been launched. My guess is there were a large number of body parts left over and they were offered them at a knocked down price. However if that is true I feel they did not get a bad deal as the passage of time has left the impression that they were equally attractive in their own way. No.6243 WHA 243H was pictured as it approached Hanley Bus Station in 1979.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Alton; A great day out?

I don't really like taking pictures of buses lined up on the grass at bus rallies but some days are better and more memorable than others. Perhaps the best last year was when we roared down to Alton in Hampshire in my friend's Midland Red Leopard 227. Once Aldershot and District had a garage here so there were plenty of them to enjoy and also it's nearby big BET Group brother Southdown who also shared a similar attractive green an cream livery and which came into the town. Despite being built in the 1930's this stylish and elegant Leyland TD7 GCD 48 could almost have been a Post-War bus. Had it not been such a pleasant day I probably would still have remembered it as I got stung by a wasp and also the following Sunday as well which swelled up. Ouch!

Buses and Girls!

Okay I like to cheat a bit, but if you look really carefully there are a couple of buses in the background of this view from Berlin.

An Oily-Rag

The driver of this freshly painted newly arquired former Salford Corporation MCW bodied Daimler CVG6 CRJ 358 at Berresford Motors was obviously taken with it as between journeys in Hanley he was moved to give that fine chrome plated grill which still carried a Salford badge a respectful polish.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

London Suburban

With the break up of London Buses came a number of operators to take over the route contracts. At best some were just as good but most fell well short of the mark. I'm not sure how London Suburban fared but when it came to people-skills the driver of the bus I took from Islington on the 4 would be at the bottom. Because of congestion at the bus stop he had to double park which meant some elderly passengers didn't realise he was there till he was about to pull out. When he had to pull up again for them the abuse and swearing from the driver to them was simply shocking and what's worse they seemed to just take it for granted. However it was not the driver of this bus former London Buses T207 CUV207V numbered a very ambitois No.510!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Saurer by any other name

For many years the Swiss manufacturer Saurer also built almost indistinguishable vehicles badged as Berna but over the years that nicety was dropped. However the town of Olten where they were made continued to take them into the local bus fleet. By the mid-Seventies Swiss urban undertakings were having to paint their buses a rather boring universal orange and white but many buses like the blue and cream 1964 Berna behind managed to escape it. By the time this view was taken in 1990 operators could choose their own unique colours once again but quite a few like this town were quite content to stick with orange.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Chester's Tow-Bus

Unusual buses at Chester were a few short Leyland Leopards with this angular style of Northern Counties bodywork. No.68 lasted longer than others as it found a new use as tow truck.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Rapide 546

Once upon a time towns like Stafford enjoyed a good range of express coaches calling with not only Standerwick and North Western heading for Birmingham and London on the Associated Motorways services but the legendary Yelloway of Rochdale used to call here too on the route South West to Cheltenham and beyond. Today there are only about three stops here a day in each direction. In the Nineties K657 BOH on a Rapide 546 from Lancashire returns showing us a typical National Express white Volvo Plaxton belonging to Birmingham Coachways heading homewards.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A little Magirus-Deutz Magic

I don't know if it was just me but I had rather a soft spot for these slightly old fashioned Magirus-Deutz coaches as they had a rather more rugged character than the refined slinky offerings in Germany from Mercedes and Neoplan. The traditional operator's name on a ribbon complete with the local emblems shows the pride from a different era and no doubt attracted me to the coach. It looks like this this one taken outside the Zoo in the Berlin in 1982 was from Salzberg.