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 October 2013

Preparing for the Mid Day Rush at Lucarno

As is usually the case on the Continent in Switzerland they take an extended lunchtime break which is long enough for people to go home. Arriving to collect a few of them was this post bus arriving outside the sunlit railway station at lovely Lucarno in the warmer Italian zone. A few of these narrow Mercedes 0303 Midi-buses could be found in the main PTT fleet but they were very popular with the many PAH contractors who found them ideal for the small loadings and narrow roads.

FLJ 155D Chairs the Bus Escape Committee

Worrying times for these former Hants & Dorset ECW bodied Bristol Lodekka FLF's beside the railway line at Martins of Middlewich in 1980. But all is not lost as many of these solid old buses have passed to the dealer as they have more work left in them. Some of course might not get sold whilst less tidy examples sometimes get 'thrown in' to a purchase as a spares donor or if worse comes to the worst the scrap man who will salvage the engines which reputedly were exported to power the 'junks' at Hong Kong.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Often I post photos thinking who would like this and when I do my rounds of bus rallies there's usually a Merseyside Buses stand manned by former former Wallasey crews who in a friendly way will tell you that it was not only the best but the friendliest garage. As one brouses they hear tales of getting the pride of the garage a Duple bodied Leyland Tiger coach for the last run at night through the Mersey Tunnel, but much more mundane on the cross Mersey service was this Leyland Olympian on the Liverpool side with no doubt one of their mates driving it. Well I appreciate them for in a tatty box I found a huge pile of yellowing PSV News Sheets from the Sixties which are always an interesting read during the cold winter months with all those MCTD and Crosville allocations, not bad three-quid fo such a huge bundle of bus nostalgia!.

JUM 83V: Yorkshire PTE' Buses meet at Halifax Bus Station

Halifax Bus Station in about 1980 where WWB103G  a rugged former Sheffield Leyland Leopard still works the various joint inter-city Yorkshire Motorway express services for SYPTE , whilst confusingly West Yorkshire PTE's new Northern Counties bodied  Daimler Fleetline JUM83V carries a Birmingham maker on it's side even if it is a Metro Bus too. In this monochrome photo you might think both buses wore the same colours but the liveries were quite different. South Yorkshire PTE's brown and cream with red wheels looked most attractive when it was newly applied and clean but quickly looked scruffy, somehow WYPTE fared rather better with it's verona green and cream but they did tend to keep them looking tidy. Still for me it was the traditional pre NBC and PTE liveries every time as I hated these rather naff wishy-washy pastel colours but at least you didn't have to record them with the limitations black and white photography.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Berlin Zoo: Late Summer Heat 1982

When still quite new in 1982 BVG SD82 double-decker 1937 was seen at The Zoo Bahnhof on an evening rush-hour extra to Spandau. After reunification all the West Berlin route numbers had to be altered, many by just adding the digit one-hundred to it, but sadly the 'E' which in German means extra too was discontinued as it would not fit into the destination screen.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

JEH 184K Stafford in the Early Eighties

In the late Seventies the arrival of a smartly turned out company using what usually might be regarded heritage vehicles seemed like a breath of fresh air after a monotonous diet of Midland Red poppy red NBC types especially Leyland Nationals. I particularly liked Warstone's three Northern Counties bodied Tiger Cubs of 1964 which came from Burnley but looking back today I must admit I have a bit of a hot-shot for those PMT Bristol RESL's of which No.184 JEH184K would have 'rattled the windows' with it's booming exhaust note as with a cloud of exhaust smoke it turned out of Stafford's Market Street at the Market Square which was my favourite spot for bus photography in the town.

Monday, 21 October 2013

109 DRM: One Foot in the Future on in the Past

When one thinks about it it's quite amazing how many old buses there are in preservation. Some have interesting stories but this former Cumberland Bristol was lucky for it's lowly roll as the fleet 'trainer' left it the sole reminder of the pre-NBC era and the application of a heritage livery ensured it would hopefully be cherished before going into preservation at a later date. I was lucky enough to come across Lodekka 550 109DRM still earning it's keep when I had some van trouble in 1989 and had to make a call on the edge of Carlisle and there she was at Asda together with a 1980 Atlantean whose ECW style of bodywork still bears a strong resemblance to the Fifties classic found on the old Bristol. Actually it wasn't quite as old as it looked as dating from 1961 it was an early FS delivered before the new grill was introduced.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hollinhead's Billy seen at the POP's Rally 89

The Potteries was legendary for it's wealth of interesting independent bus operators, many of which passed to BET controlled PMT creating a fascinating 'pick and mix' of elderly buses running alongside it's bang up-to-date fleet of low height MCW Leyland Atlanteans. The Sixties is long gone and so are the remainder of those firms that soldiered on.  There was still interest in the Eighties too with new operators and still some well respected established firms like Hollinshead of Biddulph who ran some smart heavyweight Leyland and AEC coaches including this former Green Line Duple Dominant bodied Reliance EPM127V.

Friday, 18 October 2013

P25747: All in a day's work

I'm sure we all dislike this kind of unglamourous work but according to the experts standing up is very good for the health. It might look like a Saurer DUK from the rear but this still tidy Ramseier & Jenzer bodied bus was in fact one of a batch of 57 Mercedes 0317's with the PTT which mostly ran in the north close to Zurich. Even though withdrawals started in 1986, P25747 was a late survivor with others at Lugano in Feb 92 where I imagine old buses like this from 1973 were still suitable for unruly school contracts.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sick of London? Well maybe without the Routemaster

The eminent thinker Doctor Johnson famously said "A man who is sick of London is sick of life". Of course he was talking about the Georgian period and it's many pleasures for the wealthy Gentlemen but even in the Nineties there was plenty for the bus enthusiast as miraculously Routemasters soldiered on amidst the less popular new types like the Metrobus replacement, the Spectra from MCW. The Metrobus like the later Atlantean AN68 was a great success as it gave operators something like what they wanted and even though Leyland's Olympian wasn't hugely popular London's small batch of Spectras remained it's largest order. I think it went out of production with Optare who bought out MCW's bus interests promising to do some more development work but in the meantime they became more involved with the singledecker and the even smaller midi-bus market. Despite this without a suitable replacement it has remained available as  few more have been built more recently as I can cite a batch of Y-Reg buses from about 2001 that work from the former West Riding base at Wakefield for the giant Arriva.

Monday, 14 October 2013

You missed it! The Show of the Year

In 1980 no longer in use as a PSV the main function of the old MCW bodied Leyland PD2 was to act as an untidy billboard for a happening in Bradford and was pictured in the area. Certainly worth stopping for for a photo but who it used to belong to is anybodies guess. Usually re-registered vehicles kept their year date but I don't think that is the case here as there were no many of these buses entering service in 1965. I have a feeling though HYG267C might have been a former Preston Corporation bus.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Comrades not such a warm welcome to the West

Aha, the Berlin Wall might have tumbled through people-power but it doesn't mean the former East Germans can all just get off their spanking new Neoplan on the busy Zoo No.100 bus stand without an official striding across to tell them to shift it pronto!.

Friday, 11 October 2013

ANA 22T: A Daimler by any other Name

I thought Northern Counties lost their way with their designs but the Greater Manchester Standards put that right. The later Fleetlines like 8022 seen here at Northenden Garage were badged as a Leyland no doubt to antagonise Daimler fans.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

1979 Tourists might be lost at the Reichstag

For many years Berlin tried to forget the dark days of what is still in living memory fairly recent past, so the old Embassy District was neglected and this included the grand Reichstag whose main purpose in those times seemed to be to serve as a terminus for the 69 bus. So much has changed in this once surreal and even more fascinating city!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

WHW 465T: Between the showers at Frankley Services

I often used to stop on motorway service areas hoping to snap some interesting coaches like this fine looking Leyland Leopard belonging to the Blundell Group pictured one Saturday at Frankley on the M5.

Friday, 4 October 2013

"Agnethia, he thinks this is cold wait till we reach October."

 Swedish women in Gothenburg wrapped up well for winter, but despite this being early January it was not much below freezing when I was there. SJ the state operator used these blue and grey liveried Volvo three-axle buses on inter-town limited stop services in the area. Of course in Britain with layers of ice on the pavements like this, people would be worried how long it might take them to travel home.

Double-Deckers Galore: A fair day for riding upstairs on Fairway

F439 AKB a Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian belonging to one of the many Independents that mushroomed following Deregulation leads a whole convoy of hard working double-deckers up from the old Pier Head terminus through the sunlit streets of Loverpool and the buses also glimpsed are two Atlanteans, a Titan still in London red and a former London DMS, a type also favoured by Fareday. At various times the double-decker has faced extinction in various parts of the country including large cities like Liverpool. This hasn't quite happened but with so few running in the city these days the seemingly virtual monopoly in the Nineties is something to feel nostalgic about.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

WPH118Y:Sadly the wrong sort of Midland Red red

By popular demand Midland Red North reintroduced the fondly remembered BMMO livery but it was not a success, partly because they selected the wrong red and secondly because it was of poor quality and rapidly went dull. Still looking back it's nice to see these rebodied former Greenline Tigers like No.1738 WPH118Y looking rather at home in Stafford on school services.