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

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

M&D: Exactly Fifty Years Ago

I'm sure I'm only forty years old but believe it or not I took this M&D Atlantean DH 530 in Tonbridge Fifty years ago when I went to stay with a schoolfriend in Crowborough fort he New Year 64-65. We had a day out to Brighton too and that was my first proper introduction to Southdown territory as well. So long ago but in my minds eye it should not change as first impressions are those that set our mental template.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Cricklewood Garage

Today of course it's hard to understand why we wouldn't have wanted to have a photo of those Metrobuses parked in a row outside Cricklewood  Garage but at the time of course, a defunct type the Covent Garden Museum RT was the point of interest here. Taken I guess in about 1981 there were still Routemasters here and even Leyland Nationals.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Devon General Aec Regent No.511

Despite having a large fleet of Leyland Atlanteans, Devon General could boast long and short AEC Regents with a similar style of MCW, Willowbrook or as in this case Park Royal bodywork. One Saturday in 1979 or 1980 NBC poppy-red liveried  CTT 511C was seen arriving in Exeter from Newton Abbott.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

United My Christmas Puzzle

Seen after it's takeover by United was this Plaxton Derwent bodied AEC Reliance of Wilkinson of Sedgefield seen in Stockton-on-Tee KPT 875C No.4002, it also brought Leylands into this BTC typical ECW bodied Bristol fleet..

Now I have a puzzle for you as in my Ian Allan British Bus Fleets I have found two lots of United and Durham buses with exactly the same  registration within the 990-999 EHN series.

St Johns House : Liverpool Memories GKA 32N

I think this also was Dec 23rd many years ago perhaps 1981 as I was in Liverpool that day for I was close friends with poet Carol Ann Duffy in those days whose Birthday it was and here she was living with Adrian Henri  I always loved this spot for taking photographs and especially as it was about the last haunt of the Ribble PD3's on Aintree's Old Roane and Litherland routes. With lots of ugly shopping development nearby sadly this attractive corner was to lose the rather splendid St Johns House too as just like the last Ribble 'Tanks' it's days weres numbered as shortly it would be turned into another scruffy open air car park. Of course the Atlanteans had many years to go which was a good thing as the 'Scouser Streets' don't sound the same without them.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Clydeside Leyland Leopard BSJ 916T

I suppose it was my initial interest in the vast Midland Red empire that has given me a fascination for big sprawling bus companies which usually had a mixture of high density urban operations and branches going out into the middle of nowhere. A good example was Western Scottish but sadly like it's similar NBC cousins by the Nineties it was chopped up as can be seen from this Leopard pictured in a sunny Glasgow now with Clydeside which at least gave it a reasonably attractive livery.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

National Express West Midlands Spectre T418UON

Christmas already! No it doesn't seem like yesterday when we were enjoying summer and I'm glad I took plenty of photographs. One day they're here and that will probably be the story of the MCW Spectre's at Wolverhampton as I can't see them lasting much longer. 4018 is seen on Stafford Street on one of their regular haunts the 33 to Northwood Park.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Maidstone Tin-Fronted PD2 No.12 412DKM

With both Leyland PD2's and Atlanteans bodied by Massey Brothers of Wigan the County Town of Kent became 100% this combination for a spell. The bodywork certainly suited the 'Midland Red' tin-front on 412 DKM making it look attractive despite the dirty winter slush early in 1968.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Nykobing Denmark STS

This is the town of Nykobing on the island of Falster to the south just across the water from Germany. The small town had a typical Danish mix of DAB-Leylands and Aabeneraa bodied Volvos. Waiting to depart outside the railway station in 1982, one wears a reddish livery often used on railway buses whilst the other one with the same owner is in a different livery for town work. Indeed Bybus means town bus.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Far from home: Truro Falmouth & District

When I was at Eagle Travel in Stafford we used to share the parking area with Coach Aid and alongside our old B-Reg Volvo was a much smarter Plaxton coach from Truro Falmouth and District. TIL 4710. Whether it was just a breakdown recovery of dealer stock I'm not certain as used vehicles passed through them all the time.

Monday, 8 December 2014

NOE 553R. Midland Red South

Taking photos of buses can cause plenty of interest and amusement. I think I'm also being given the two fingers by someone on the Leyland National as it unloads at Nuneaton, but never mind it didn't happen too often.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Manchester: I remember when Sunday was dead!

I remember when in Britain's towns and cities Sunday used to be very quiet, but now it's no longer a day of rest. I feel sorry for the local residents who now never get any peace. This was Manchester in August, but yesterday a December Saturday one could hardly move for bodies. I went to the Christmas Cracker but almost didn't make it for as it was icey I thought I would take a bus to Stafford Station. It shouldn't have gone that early but the bus didn't turn up and I realised I now might not get my train even if I ran. And I did, a whole mile in wig and boots and just made it as the train was a couple of minutes late. It was a good thing I took some make-up with me as when I got to the museum it had all washed off as I was still perspiring heavily all the way to Stoke. A nice day though, bought a Gt Yarmouth Atlantean and the new Cumberland all-Leyland Royal Tiger coach. A real bonus though I also picked up a couple of Ian Allan ABC 'British Bus Fleets' from 1963 for a quid each, always useful for looking things up and I don't worry about a few underlinings. Indeed the dealers should charge more as we could never go back and spot them ourselves, so they did us a favour. lol

Better known as a budget long distance express service people must have forgotten why Stagecoach started 'Magic Bus'. When cut-throat competition was rife they repainted older vehicles like this Alexander Dennis W645 RND into this livery to offer cheaper fares along student corridors without tarnishing the main brand. Despite that I still think they look quite smart.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Key Coachways NWG 113F

A highly unusual vehicle to see in Stafford was this Albion Viking with Alexander Y-Type bodywork and still more or less in Midland Scottish blue livery complete with depot plate. Whether S is for Stepps or more likely Stirling I couldn't tell you without doing a bit of research but it's new base was Rugeley as Key Coachways had started a lengthy Saturday shoppers service to Telford.

Derby's unwanted Olympians at Lincoln City Transport

Following Deregulation it was not just canny Independents like Stevenson of Uttoxeter who were snapping up hardly used misfits from the larger fleets, Municipals like Lincoln were snapping up bargains too like this unwanted East Lancs Olympian A208 DTO from a trial batch at Derby, others going to Warrington who had a liking for good secondhand stock. now that budgets were getting tight. Poor customer relations and less than perfect products reluctantly dragged operators away from Leyland finding the vehicles from the likes of Volvo, Scania and Dennis more attractive.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

New Stockport Leyland PD3 No.71 KJA 871F

By 1969 they might have been archaic but in that attractive red and white livery finished off with black Stockport's East Lancs bodied Leyland PD3's were elegant beasts. Fortunately KJA 871F has been preserved and was pictured when new of probably the Corporations best known route the direct joint 92 to Manchester.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

WMPTE Guided Bus off The Rails

The rather cold blue and grey colours rather suited the underpasses and stark concrete surroundings of the old Bull Ring area in Birmingham. WMPTE A104 WVP was one of a special batch of Metrobues built to go on the guided busway, an scheme that was quickly abandoned.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Lancashire United Bristol bound for Harpers Green

Once on my way home from making deliveries in the area I stopped of at Whitefield which was quite enjoyable as the bus station was quite busy with kids going home from school. By now part of Gmpte many former Lancashire United vehicles like this rather plain looking Plaxton bodied Bristol RESL6G received an all-over orange livery. In the background is a similar former North Western vehicle in the main fleet but with more rounded Marshall bodywork.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

SOA674S: Every journey starts with the first step

Some wise person said every journey stars with a step but if you are driving some distance to Showbus it might be just as wise to fill your bus up with diesel. In the old days even the cleanest buses weren't adverse from dirt down the side caused by spillage but the employees didn't have to pay for it either. Some are a bit negative about chrome but I like a bit of brightwork to give a bus a proper front as on former Midland Red Leopard 674.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Southampton City Transport PBP221S

Like much of Southern England Southampton was hit by that infamous hurricane the Met Office didn't spot. Not far from where these East Lancs bodied Atlanteans stood were huge trees mown down by the strong winds. At one time almost the whole fleet comprised of these Leylands buses, indeed all the South Coast municpals ran them but by the end of the Eighties they were on the decline.

Monday, 24 November 2014

FRM 1 London's Rear-Engined Routemaster

Sadly London's rear engined Routemaster never went into production but in later years it could be seen at work on the Round London Sightseeing Tour which departed from Victoria. Whether it was worth paying the price of the trip to ride on FRM 1 depends on how much you want it, but I doubt if many of the punters from Japan and the USA ever realised how special this unusual bus really was.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Central Scottish PGA 826V: We are in a Hurry!

With the exit on a slope the speed of vehicles leaving St. Andrews Edinburgh Bus Station seemed exaggerated by the adverse camber as the heeled over dramatically creating exciting photos for the waiting photographer. No doubt a few skirt panels got grounded over the years and a few cups of coffee spilt too I shouldn't wonder. However on this occasion the Central  Leyland Tiger Alexander-T looked out of service and it's driver determined to press on so it probably was probably a spirited run back to it's depot

Saturday, 22 November 2014

All lined up at Weston-super-Mare

People tend to think one is something of an odd-ball if they like buses but there are plenty of people who do. I wonder how many remember these local West Country coaches from the Sixties and how many have grown an interest through seeing these fascinating old machines at rallies. No I suspect for most there is a connexion even if it's "My dad drove one of those."

Friday, 21 November 2014

Arrowebrook Rail Replacment Coaches

They didn't always get paid but usually normally rail replacement work has been useful and lucrative bread and butter work for coach operators especially as this happens at weekends when there are no school contracts to keep older coaches busy. One Saturday an Arrowebrook DAF and Volvo both with Plaxton bodywork wait patiently to do another shuttle trip outside the attractive Chester Station in the Nineties.

Nottingham 666

An addition to Nottingham's interesting fleet were a number of one-offs including this Atlantean with radical styling by Northern Counties. I'm glad nothing came of it as it was rather ugly.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Western National K802 ORL Volvo Olympian

This small batch of about four buses for Western National should have been Leylands but I believe when they arrived they could boast to being the very first Volvo Olympians. With attractive Northern Counties Countrybus bodywork they were to be found on the lengthy prestige joint X80 service with Stagecoach to Torquay. I think this might have been the day I rode on this bus too and it didn't quite get us there as a transmission fault meant the driver kept losing his gears.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Flights A8 FTG National Express at Elmdon Airport

Another photo rescued from my dodgy Nikon Cool-Pix Camera days. I'm glad some of them were quite good and have survived as doing the Airporter airport transfers gave me plenty of time to take snaps as I hung around places like Birmingham Airport. Bearing a Flights personal number this standard National Express Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M was loading for Heathrow and Gatwick one sunny evening.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

BVG 1792: The best way to see Berlin

In the more rundown districts of Berlin it might seem as if sometimes anything goes with bad behaviour but once one gets out into the greener cleaner suburbs most of the citizens are well behaved not dropping litter, scrawling graffiti and indeed they even wait for the 'green man' to show on crossings and that is something I don't always do. In the still divided city of the Eighties BVG MAN  SD81 1792 negotiates a busy traffic junction in the Lichterfeld-Steglitz area on the 60 which went from Bahnhof Zoo to Roeneck.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bristol L and Friends at POPS Britannia Stadium Rally

Another bus rally season has come to the end. It is easy to take them for granted but when I was a youngster I never dreamed later in life I would not just be able to put replicas on my mantlepiece but also more significantly be able to still be able to ride on the same old buses I so loved and some which also by-passed me earlier like the sprightly and solid North Western Bristol CDB 206 which vibrated a bit but still put many later buses to shame.

Friday, 14 November 2014

CBM: A French Box on Wheels

When we think of France it conjures up images of style and beauty, but they do ugly very well too. Parked up at Looe in the Eighties one doesn't have to see much of the Wallace Arnold Plaxton bodied Leopard standing alongside it to realise the three-axle CBM isn't going to win this beauty contest.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

MTL London Suburban

Northern Counties L201 SKD was seen from a bus going the other way heading through the City of London on it's way to Archway. back in the Nineties.

Friday, 7 November 2014

PMT Short Marshall bodied Leopard TVT 113G

The small PMT garage at Stafford never operated any of these short G-Reg Marshall bodied Leopards noted for their fifth low crawler gear for routes around Cheadle but they became quite a familiar visitors in the late Seventies like this one seen in 1979 rounding Gaol Square. Delivered new as SN 1110-1129, TVT 127-8G have thankfully been preserved.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Maidstone Corporation Leyland PD2/20 Massey WKP 73 No.3

By the time I arrived at Maidstone in September 1967 the Corporation fleet had mostly been painted out of the rather attractive ginger and cream colours which was substituted for light blue. Having said that they did a good job and with sign written advertisements and black lining out the whole fleet looked smart including No.3 WKP 73 heading down the Tonbridge Road. Apart from three elderly Daimlers including two still which retained the old livery, the fleet comprised entirely of Massey bodied Titans and the Atlantean.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

First West Yorkshire 'Calderdale' L313 PWR

I'm sure most of us wish the major bus groups had not decided to follow the lead of Stagecoach and adopt a corporate livery as the colours they replaced were usually a lot more pleasant. One of my favourites from within First Bus was that of it's Halifax 'Calderdale' operation and it looked particularly smart of this Northern Counties Volvo Olympian bound for Todmorden and Rochale.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Early Bova of Pool Reizen

We are so used to seeing the sleek frontage of the long running Bova Futura the earlier generation now look even more boxy. However it is amazing how good they looked in the right livery like this Dutch example with bold red stripes of Pool Reizen seen in Croatia.

Monday, 3 November 2014

RFE 482 Bristol SC4LK: Grubby Day in Lincoln

The weather wasn't going to be brilliant so I was in two minds about taking my camera to the November Lincoln Museum running day, but I'm so glad I did for even though cameras were everywhere not many want to share them on Flickr these days. I like to get away from the pretence of more formal views as these old girls today will always look like fish out of water, and perhaps we could have done with a bit of that to wash the spots off the glass of the lovely Roe bodied Doncaster Tiger Cub, my favourite ride of the day. But also it was nice to have also just ridden ride on for me a totally new types as I had never sampled a noisy Bristol SC4LK before and probably not such a good idea when one has a headache and hangover from a party the previous evening.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Cheltenham & District Reborn: Leyland National PHW 985S

Even I am starting to feel a bit of nostalgia for things like the Leyland National, and especially going to Cheltenham and all owned by the same firm being able to see Gloucester's pained blue and those from Stroud in green. Swindon's were a bit more jazzy but like Cheltenham & Disrict PHW 985S employed a red and cream livery. Yes the few years between the demise of the old boring NBC hues till the seemingly all encompassing marques of empire with the big groups were a bit like an Indian Summer for enthusiasts.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

RMA 44: Practice Makes Perfect

When one has to drive in London every day it is not as frightening as one might imagine as we are too occupied being where we should be or even trying to keep ahead. But for the stranger it can all be a bit daunting and even this National Express driver stuck behind the RMA trainer didn't seem to know his way around Vicoria and had to ask a pedestrian.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Yorkshire Woollen District Atlantean MUA 862P

When one thinks of the attractive NBC Park Royal bodied AN68 Atlanteans they tend to recall London Country, Southdown, Ribble and Northern General group, but Yorkshire Woollen District also had a batch of ten. One of these No.765 MUA 862P was seen climbing out of Bradford City Centre on it's way to Dewsbury in the Eighties.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Catch Us If You Can!

It's a good thing there is no race to get to events like Showbus as there would always be the same winners and losers. Even though the Silver Star Harrington bodied Leyland Tiger Cub was the true coach our Seventies Marshall bodied Leyland Leopard Dual-Purpose built for the faster 'Motorway Age' simply romped passed the Fifties veteran. But on the other hand if you were in charge of such a lovely beast would you thrash it down the road just to save a few minutes getting to Duxford. After the proprietors for health reasons sold Silver Star to local Wilts and Dorset in 1963 the smart fleet of Leylands was scattered far and wide across the South West. Numbered 3805 1955 NMR 553 was one of five PSUC1/2's that went to Western National along with a Royal Tiger.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Freshly repainted yellow HT 406

My favourites in the Greater Copenhagen HT bus fleet were these Leyland DAB's especially the ones with the large route number box like 406 looking very cheerful in it's fresh coat of all-over-yellow as it pauses outside the BD main railways station before heading off to Sundbyvester Pl. on Amager.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

VDV 819. Nothing Straightforward at Exeter

I understand Devon Geneal was unable to operate 30ft deckers like it's Atlanteans in Exeter till the end of the Sixties and I imagine this was in the terms of it's area agreement with the city council. Devon General certainly entered into the spirit of it and getting rare elsewhere within the BET had dedicated batches of these AEC Regents with open platforms to run alongside the similar Corporation buses on city services. Here 819 advertised DG's own Grey Cars coach fleet but it had close links with Greenslades too who bought the time expired coaches, and who was also based here. Though not such a great presence in the city S/W. National had it's head office here as well..

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blue Bus of Horwich LBZ 4071

As well as buying new double-deckers a feature of Blue Bus of Horwich was it's fleet of elderley Leyland Leopards of which some like this example seen in Bolton had been rebodied to East Lancs of Blackburn.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

First & Arriva Deckers Return to Stafford Streets

In Midland Red BMMO days fairly rural Stafford was unusual before the arrival of OPO in having a tiny single-deck allocation which might explain the fact that out of 219 S14's it only ever saw three examples. Today the local Arriva depot workshop can't accommodate any deckers but not only does First Bus now use some on the 101 Hanley service, Arriva from Cannock also run in their case four similar Wright bodied Volvos out of Cannock on the 74-75 up to the Hospital, buses that have recently been displaced from the Tamworth 110 Service like 4203 seen here on the Weston Road.

Friday, 17 October 2014

BVG 3006 with overall advertising for Bosse at Steglitz

In the same way the red London Transport area contains towns completely surrounded by urban sprawl and suburbia like Croydon and Romford, the same was true of the old West Berlin. The biggest of these is  bustling Steglitz and here I photographed one of the better designed of the then prevalent advertising liveries for Bosse on otherwise ubiquitous MAN Wagon-Union 3006 with the bus behind having wrap-round between decks advertising acting like a modified livery..

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Wood of Mirfield KTD 551C at Wakefield

Canny Independents have always managed to take advantage of buying newish time-expired demonstrators not only being able to modernise their often elderly fleets but whether they like it or not putting them on the enthusiast trail. I remember seeing this Park Royal bodied Atlantean when it was on trial with Brighton Corporation in January 1967 where it's mostly white Sheffield inspired livery made up stand against the familiar town's local reds and greens.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Eastern Scottish Volvo Ailsa Alexander VV 782

Edinburgh had some splendid buses to match the imposing scenery for as you can see I'm something of a fan for the Volvo Ailsa like CSG 782S.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Metro Shuttle Bus Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly Station, one last photo before catching my train. I presume this Optare Versa belongs to Stagecoach.

Friday, 10 October 2014

333: Italian Fiat bus in Trieste

When I'm out of Britain on holiday when I see fleet numbers I often think of others with the same number from my past and instantant 333 reminds me of a Coventry MCW/Daimler CVG or a Southampton St Helens bonnet PD2 with one of the ugly horribly proportioned Park Royal bodies.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Strange Objects of Desire BG 9225 & AHF 850

Some bus rallies have a much more local flavour than others and a good example of that is this museum tram and bus running day at Birkenhead which not only features iconic Wirral buses but much of the old dockland scenery still has enough bones to take us back too to the Sixties. The pre-Orion Metro-Cammell body on the Wallesey bus was a very different and much more interesting beast. Massey bodies on the other hand for me were always lovely even the more squared later ones, but Birkenhead BG 9225 might just as well be better described as historic exotic rather than simply elegant..

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Midland Red South B72 OKV

Very typical of it's time for work with National Express was this Plaxton Paramount 3200 Leyland Tiger belonging to Midland Red South which was seen one busy Saturday at Bath. Traditionally they had tried to avoid issuing vehicles like this with a letter 'O' which might be mistaken for a 'zero' but always a few slipped through.