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, 29 September 2011

Clynnog and Tevor

At Plymouth Bretonside helping out on a National Express duty from North Wales was this Plaxton bodied Volvo coach YSU446..

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

DB railway bus at Giessen

The DB German railways owned buses could be seen at many locations and Setra DB-23-904 seen here in Giessen still painted in a traditional dark red and cream represented the old order whilst less characterful newer buses in a less pleasing shocking reddy-pink colour keep it company.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Badgerline 816 SHW leaves Bristol for Chepstow

What do you do when you see something you want to photograph but are on the wrong side? Well I think it was better to take this wide view rather than get run over. I must admit I must have looked a bit of a fool standing on that wall  between the carriageways moving backwards and forwards getting shots from all directions but we are bus enthusiasts aren't we and we're not supposed to act cool! This Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard on it's way to Chepstow crossing the Severn Bridge into Wales wore the un-dated registration from off an earlier Bristol FLF Lodekka in the Bristol fleet to hide it's years and would have been a late Seventies T-W series coach.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The many colours of Midland Red

Paint suppliers must have rubbed their hands together with glee during the Nineties as new owners wanted to make their presence felt or operator's couldn't decide whether the latest livery was better than the last. Here at Ditherington Garage the Midland Red Shrewsbury allocation would with the  exception of 'park and ride' buses soon become boring Corporate Arriva. But using this photo as an argument some might say it was not really such a bad thing.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Celebrating a high point. My Wallace Arnold Leopard

I'm careful not to buy things I don't really want and there is always a short list of bus models I want to have in my collection. I'm putting this Wallace Arnold Leopard on today as I'm celebrating the purchase on eBay for £6.67 (£8.67) of their similar Panorama Elite AUA 422J, not usually a bargain as it's still available at the normal price from EFE. Officially I stop at K-Reg as everything quickly went downhill from then on with things like The National, tacky NBC and even worse PTE liveries. So as well as 1971 being something of a high point with my EFE model with it's 'Indian Summer' of popularity for Leyland with the  Leopard, it bore a classic Plaxton Panorama Elite body topped off with a distinctive modern attractive livery that even Ray Stenning hasn't bettered. From a personal perspective 1971 was an interesting and difficult year as at 22 I was being forced to decide what direction I should take, and none of the sensible one's seemed to appeal and coaches like this made me want to be out on the road. But I have no regrets. PNW 314W was shot on the old lorry park at Broad Eye in Stafford and now part of Sainsbury's car park.

Chester Rally: Old history becomes History itself

It might seem inappropriate taking black and white views of preserved buses when the owners are proudly showing off the glorious old liveries. But days like this in the early Eighties become history too and since that time some of these secure looking buses might have fallen through the net and of course sadly many of the enthusiastic enthusiasts will have passed away. One can pinpoint the year from the Y-reg Berkhof bodied Dennis demonstrator making it about 1981.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Berlin: The magic of old Bussings

Thankfully as in British cities Berlin has kept it's double-deckers for the busiest routes. But of course as here apart from being able to ride upstairs the modern buses offer little excitement for the enthusiast. Before it was taken over by MAN in the Seventies the Berlin bus was a Bussing like this. They didn't look much but when it comes to sounds these tuneful buses had all the little friendly notes and quirks we associate with say the Routemaster quickly making them a favourite and adding to that feeling of being abroad.

609: Barton's fleet of ageing Leopards

In the early Seventies Barton decided to replace it's interesting fleet with new generation bus grant coaches from Bedford and Leyland. As it turned out the Bedfords had comparatively short lives here but the Leopards soldiored on till long after the company joined forces with Trent. Late Leopard No.609 had been one of the last Leylands for when the Tiger came on to the scene as happened elsewhere Barton abandoned Leyland and where others chose Volvo they instead too to DAF.

Go-Ahead a NBC self-off survivor

Of course it's still here but of the privatised NBC companies who could have predicted which ones might survive. I'm sure Go-Ahead Northern wasn't a front runner so it's nice to see a well turned out Atlantean which was going somewhere in time. YNL208V was new to Tyne and Wear PTE and carried one of the last bodies built by MCW before it decided to body only it's own products especially the rather promising new Metrobus!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

WMTravel Metrobus 2062

2062 a West Midlands Travel MCW Metrobus leaves the Handsworth district and heads towards Birmingham City Centre in the Eighties.BOK62V was from the first batch of these locally built buses which became the standard double-decker in the Eighties

An afternoon drink in Nottingham

I've always rather liked Nottingham as it feels a bit more cosmopolitan than say Leicester. Of course it has always been a mecca for bus enthusiasts even if the native National Mk2's weren't the most exciting buses on offer. However 718 on the Cityline gave me the chance to take a pleasant capture of the city relaxing in the afternoon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A Crosville Bristol VR at Woodside

Some bus stations are pretty dire for bus photography either hidden beneath dreary concrete multi-storey car parks or positioned in the middle of nowhere with no interesting backdrop or worthwhile activity to record. One of the best was Woodside in Birkenhead where even if the buses weren't quite as inspiring as they once were it boasted one the best views in the country of the Liver Building and a romantic looking Liverpool over the winter sunlight glittering Mersey.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Tegal bound BVG 1518 turns on to the bustling Ku-Dam

Standing probably not able to see much from the crowded bus full of sweaty travellers but for some this will be their last views of the bustling Kurfirstendam as the No.9 'Airport to City' branded bus makes steady progress to Tegal Airport. At the time when the normal livery was a typical monotonous german unrelieved creamy colour these MAN airport buses 1513-1527 of  1981 looked exceptionally smart and eye-catching.

Brighton in the Nineties

I don't get about so much these days but the Nineties was a busy time for me and I even managed to have a night in Brighton. There were still plenty of Bristol VR's in service with Brighton & Hove in a modernised version of it's former smart red and cream livery whilst Brighton was taking Lynx's and not in this view Southdown before takeover by Stagecoach had a batch of Volvo D10M buses.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bread & Bitter: Meredith's tour feeder coach

Weekends can be a good time to call at certain motorway service areas as they are where the various tour coaches and feeders meet up. On the M6 in Cheshire Meredith's of Nantwich Dennis Javalin P883RFM was a less exotic visitor but one of those firms that doesn't usually get photographed and so it was good to add this more interesting working view.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Oxford's last Fleetlines

When it took this there seemed to be no other Daimler Fleetline out and about in Oxford. So being the last chance to photograph them I didn't feel this little diversion was exactly a waste of film. I can't remember what I did with the more conventional view.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

German visitors sample M6 Motorway Food

Of course our European cousins have been coming to London, Stratford on Avon and places like Edinburgh and Bath for years but when I took this photo in about 1982 a German coach was something of an unusual sight at Hilton Park on the M6. I wonder what the smartly dressed visitors made of our latest weapon in the war to keep out the old foe, the scruffy Mecca motorway service area with it's cold greasy chips and stewed tea.

Stanley Gath Coaches in Plymouth

I'm afraid Bretonside is not what it was and even some of the services like the Western National buses to Tavistock no longer use it. Perhaps they now stop and head straight off from the Royal Parade to save time buses and bus station fees. A few coaches still kill time here but unlike more distinctive liveried Stanley Gath most of them are dealer-white and deadly dull.

Friday, 9 September 2011

First Western National Plymouth Garage outstation at Tavistock 90's

Western National in Tavistock used to have a garage on the same site as the bus station in Plymouth Road, but the First garage is now a yard just outside the town which backs on to the River Tavy. The old allocation used to be about seventeen and as the town has grown the First fleet here mushroomed and must have approached a similar size. However I now suspect it has shrunk again as they have given up most of the rural work as part of the tendering process as nearly everything heads down the busy corridor to Plymouth. It doesn't seem so long ago that the local buses were Bristol VR's, Leyland Olympian and Lynx, plus Tigers and Leopards too along with the usual Dennis Darts. Not common in the First Western National fleet was the Duple Dominant bus body like on Tiger A665KUM which started life with West Yorkshire PTE.

Friday, 2 September 2011

What a bargain, Exeter to London for Twelve-Pounds!

Situated at the gateway to the West Country proper Exeter has always been an important interchange on the express coach network. Today though it is just another National Express stop as nowhere is it as busy or as exciting as it used to be. Not so many years ago the lower area of Paris Street Bus Station was solely for coaches but today they have just a few stands in the main concourse. However at times with the comings and going of the public it can still get quite lively and in 1998 it was hardly surprising when you could go to London for twelve-pounds on Tratherns.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

NBC rekindles memories of the old South Wales

Even though it was far more enjoyable than what we have today with much of it's inherited empire still intact the NBC era was rather depressing compared to what came before under the BET and BTC. So it was more heartening when the NBC relaxed it's rules and recognised the value in it's heritage with the sell-off of it's parts looming. And so we were treated to what became known as the blind-effect where companies tried to be a bit different and more memorable with  differing variants on the theme. Some went for something new and brighter but South Wales reused it's former dark red and gold fleetname from BET days on this Willowbrook bodied Leopard local express coach.