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

Friday, 29 August 2014

Victory Tours: Wilts & Dorset Tiger beside the Thames

Seen down by the Thames and carrying a board for Victory Tours was this Duple Laser bodied Leyland Tiger of Wilts of Dorset and looking quite attractive in their version of the NBC stripey coach livery.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chester Massey bodied Tiger Cub RFM453F

Chester surprised everyone in 1966 when it took delivery of it's first new Leyland since before the War. This Massey bodied Tiger Cub was followed by two more which arrived singularly including No.53 RFM453F. I always think older generation buses like this look far more at home and far more elegant in traditional rather than the brighter 'more cream' colours that swept through the Municipals. But at least Chester retained it's subtle chocolate brown based livery right till the end as the Seventies brought out all sorts of vile blues, greens and orange to go with the new meaningless names that replaced proper ones that everyone knew and where they still believe they live.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Volvo Ailsa V1 at Potters Bar Garage

Not my best photo but when we come across something interesting we have to have a go even if the sun is in the wrong direction. Potters Bar garage greatly supplemented it's rather ordinary fleet of MCW Metrobuses with a fleet of mostly second-hand Volvo Ailsas and also ran Alexander bodied V1 A101SUU one of three slightly ugly and unsuccessful trial buses.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Blackpool and another sunshine filled Bank Holiday

There's something about Blackpool in the rain and I'm trying to find the word to describe it. Words and phrases like Romantic, Very British, don't quite hit the mark but how about 'Wet'? Well wet it might be but I for one feel a little nostalgic and I'm sure many of you would like to journey back there in Jojo's time-machine to ride on Routemasters, Atlanteans, Leyland PD3's, Nationa2's and AEC Swifts in the rain rather than go there today where there seems to be little of interest to photograph even in the sunshine. Blackpool like Blackburn was a late purchaser of the Atlantean AN68 which some Municipals still preferred to Leyland's more advanced Olympian. Well if that's not enough to tempt you, how about Fish and Chips for just a Pound and probably a warm pint in a smokey bar for about the same price to wash it down?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bristol KSW 8089 in Weston super Mare

I haven't been able to go on many bus trips to events this Summer but the odd really good one makes up for some of them that have been predictable. I'm not a big preserved railway nut and nor do I like rows of static buses in a field somewhere for the people who collect perfect but not very authentic photos the way some collect numbers. I like lots of rides too and an interesting lively place and Weston super Mare was just the ticket especially in the lovely weather. Not many would cite Bristol Omnibus as their favourite BTC company but it is with preservationists and1952 Bristol KSW L8089 is an excellent example of the breed.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Wellies at the ready in Wolverhampton for V-Fest

Last weekend brought a lot of young people into Wolverhampton for this years V-Festival at Weston Park. Indeed it must be Wolverhampton I've just spotted a bus Wright bodied Volvo BX61 LJJ but National Express don't display the fleet numbers very clearly on the front which is a pity as the current registration system doesn't accommodate  a matching number sequence. But this is nothing new and even though most BET companies tied in to their registrations the BTC 'Tilling Group' left it till the mid-Sixties to help us teenage spotters or never did it at all like Bristol Omnibus.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Alder Valley Leyland National LPF 602P

Eventually the dull NBC relaxed it's strict livery options and encouraged it's companies to show a bit of individual style in their coach and express fleet by adding their own mark with an assortment of colour variations in what became known as the venetian blind effect. Though not common this was also applied to a few Leyland Nationals such as this Alder Valley example in London. Indeed the red and black added to the NBC white was quite bold but some operators even managed to rid themselves of the NBC logos choosing a much more elegant or historic typeface. All this though was early preparation for the big Privatisation sell-off at the end of the Eighties and as the NBC became a bit more adventurous I think some of us started to feel resentment that it was being sold off to parties who often just wanted to make a quick buck and tear it apart.

Monday, 18 August 2014

MRJ 100W: Yelloway meets cruel Asset Strippers

It was a sad day when the much loved Yelloways of Rochdale sold out to a coach dealer whose recent bus operations were called SUT, short for Sheffield United Tours a once proud name name it had also acquired. But like many have a go merchants which came and went following deregulation this dealer turned bus operator was more interested in seeing how thin it could spread the jam hence out went the new and cherished and in came the used and tatty. Deregulation was meant to open the express coach market up too, but  the various new and long established ventures failed so more worryingly till Meggabus arrived we we left with just one long distance operator in England and Wales and one in Scotland. Today National Express is efficient enough, but if one lives outside the main hub you often have to travel when you can get a seat and not when you want to. Bring back Yelloways, Premier Travel and the others I say!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Amsterdam Reflexions

After a sailing delay a weekend trip to Amsterdam turned out to be just a Sunday Morning in the city taking pics whilst the rest went on a canal trip. That might have explained the view over the top of a car of a French Mercedes coach on tour. It was about 1982 and this Club Alliances coach must have been touring the low countries and into Scandinavia as I also photographed it in Copenhagen.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

V608 DBC: Arriva's old Volvo Alexander at Stafford

Most of this batch of Alexander bodied Volvos have left Cannock and moved to Wardle. However there still seem to be at least a couple hard at work on the Wolverhampton-Stafford 76. When they go I will quite miss them as even though they are a bit uncomfortable they sound quite different to anything else, lots of roaring and hissing.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Degrees of Nostalgia Blackpool NNH190Y

 Another favourite oldie, but even though I've posted it before it's an improved scan and besides I've written a new caption no doubt.

It must be true of those who swoon all over the preserved buses so I can't be the only one who revisits old haunts hoping to see friendly ghosts from the past. I probably felt very slightly depressed at the time but looking back to this Sunday in the Eighties it was full of rich pickings. All these old Duple bodied Leylands show their links back to pre-NBC days as does Colosseum Bus Station which was very much one of Ribble's great icons. But it was a lovely day and even though the United Counties Tiger nearest proclaimed itself  "I am Luton & District" I had great fun imagining the past as equipped with a new hand held recorder I caught to starting up revving of engines, groaning of brakes as these vehicles were shunted around. Then once I was tired of that there was Godfrey Abbott and even the trams which had hardly changed one jot and if one explored even further through the crowds they might just find the sea.

Friday, 8 August 2014

London Pride or General Anethetic

The feet hurt it is tiring and even quite stressful but there's something a bit special about having a day in London. Always an adventure you never know who or what you might see and what might be happening around the next corner. With so many buses to photograph one might think it would be a lot easier but it isn't as if one is picky there are always falling shadows, cars or people in front of it and when you catch it at the traffic lights it's always a moment too late. Of course with digital photography you can lose as few but in the old days one could waste a lot of film but the great ones always made it worth it. With the splitting up of London Buses a breakaway company took the historic name London General and it's attractive pre-war livery which looked very nice on RM 1590, whilst the Ensign livery on former London Daimler Fleetline DMS 255 converted to open-top was also very similar. If I repeat a post it's usually by accident as with so many posts I can't remember them all but I'm quite happy to add this again as it's lovely.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Lothian Nationa No.106 in Edinburgh

Lothian with it's attractive madder and white livery could even make the Leyland National look a bit special. That said with it's front cowl the Mark2 always looked more like a proper bus than the earlier ones which looked a bit like something imported from the USA.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Greater Manchester Titan and Mayne Bristol VR at Piccadilly

Like the West Midlands PTA, Greater Manchester also took a trial batch of Leyland Titans, Leylands double-deck offering alongside the National. But sadly in the end only London Buses bought this great vehicle plus a few for Reading. One would have thought that it's much loved Gardner power unit would have won it more friends but there were development delays and not so dear buses like the MCW Metrobus or cheaper Leyland stablemate the separately bodied Olympian made the Titan rather unattractive especially as they offered a Gardner as well..

Ride or Park & Ride but it's still Road Chaos

Exeter is one of my favourite places unless I'm foolish enough to try to drive through it in a car. Usually I park on the fringes and catch a bus in and others do too but take the 'Park and Ride' with Enviro buses supplied by Satagecoach.

Monday, 4 August 2014

ABR689S: Plaxton Derwent Bedford of Reynard

As can be seen from it's additional fleet number this Reynard Plaxton Bustler bodied Bedford had become part of First's Yorkshire Rider when photographed. They had some secondhand Leopards too but I had to catch one of their Bedford's back from York to the Racecourse which was a bit of a bonus as by the mid-Nineties Bedfords on service were getting quite scarce.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

You can't kill off a name like Crosville

If I were to go back in time I would never for a moment believe things that have happened around me. Who would have thought that someone with a love for period Crosville buses would set up a working and heritage company with that name in Weston super Mare of all places. Good luck to them and I can't wait to see Midland Red AD2's, S8, and S13's trundling around Skipton, or ancient Blackpool trams in Bilston. On a more serious note Heritage and tourism is one of the things that keeps parts of the UK alive today now that we hardly make anything any more and yes I'm glad I'm old enough to remember these Bristol L's etc...

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Anyone for Guldborg?

In Denmark as well as Volvos with the usual Aabeneraa bodywork and Leyland DAB buses there were a number of Scanias usually with the smaller operators with Peterson bodywork like this example from about 1977 belonging to Guldborg Rutebiler and heading to a village not far away of that name from Nykoping on the small but bridged island of Falster right in the South.

A strange Fiat with Western National

An unusual vehicle to find in a major British bus fleet was this Italian Iveco minibus seen at Plymouth in 1990 which Western National was still operating in Roberts colours but looking rather odd with their fleet number flates.

Friday, 1 August 2014

BVG 3369 on the 94E to Heerstr

They might not have been the most handsome of buses but time has given the once ever present Berlin Man double-deckers like this old friend status and they sounded great which compensated for their boxy look, they hummed along a bit like our Metrobus another favourite. A late example from the early Eighties 3369 was heading out towards Spandau and I much prefer the ride from this side of Zoo where there are wide roads lined by elegant important looking buildings rather than the concrete and neon of Post War Berlin.