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 December 2015

Alton Bus Running Day: The Pursuit of Pleasure

Yes I seem to be in a nice place at the moment I even like Leyland Nationals enough these days to steal the odd photo, besides I had a very pleasant ride on this one a former Hants and Dorset bus from Alton to Odiham no doubt helped by it's fabric dual purpose seating instead of Seventies sticky plastic. These buses certainly had a character all of their own the only trouble was not only did the NBC ones all look the same there were just too many of the critters. The D/P version was a bit more unusual though especially in red and looked a lot better. We all grumble about the British weather but it's the perfect place to be on a beautiful summer's day.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Prague 9029: Driven around the Bend

These triple unit trams I saw in Prague were pretty impressive but one has to catch them at the wide turning circle at the end of the line to get a proper idea of exactly how big they are.

NTT 324M Unusual Western National Bristol LH

Some NBC companies had more interesting fleets than others and Western National was always one of the better ones for it had an interesting variety of bodywork on it's Bristol LH buses including this Marshall bodied bus at Plymouth Bretonside which reminds me somewhat of vehicles supplied to the MOD etc at that time.

Monday, 28 December 2015

D401 MHS: An Interesting Lynx in Stafford

 Midland Red North at Stafford had a number of interesting Leyland vehicles including Leopards and Tigers with a variety of bodywork. Not to be forgotten were also some unique Alexander N bodied Lynxs which had been tried by Citybus of Belfast which ran from here and as well as some conventional examples but these included yet another trial bus as 1016 was bought by Kelvin Central on behalf of the Scottish Bus Group. As no orders followed I think it remained the only Lynx to operate with them till it's sale in 1991. They had their faults but lack of speed wasn't one of them hence the distortion on this shot of D401 MHS as  hurries down the Tixall Road toward Stafford from the Heywoods.

Yorkshire Woollen District LHD 313K

After Britain's largest Independent West Riding of Wakefield sold out to the NBC it more or less merged with smaller BET Yorkshire Woollen District from the next town Dewsbury but they kept separate identities. So a YWD ECW bodied Daimler Fleetline was in Leeds bound for Huddersfield in the sunshine.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Northampton Wartime Utility Daimler VV 8934

Some of these old buses might look like they would not be missed but in that case one could be quite mistaken for vehicles like this Wartime Daimler from Northampton gave not only smooth gear changes but it pulled well. Even the Utility bodywork and wooden seats were not too uncomfortable for shorter journeys but of course being only 7,6ins wide meant you hoped you didn't have to share a seat with a large person. It was seen on the Lincolnshire Historic Transport Museums running day in November near Lincoln Station

Stylish ECW Body on Crosville Brisol RE

I think these were some of the most attractive and stylish bodies ECW ever built. Greater Manchester had some on the Leyland Leopard chassis but I imagine all the others were Bristol RE's for NBC companies like Crosville ERL 530 seen in Chester.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

From Chur No More FBW's up to Tschiertschen

I used to live in the past in some ways and a good example was when I went on holiday to Switzerland to explore my beloved PTT Post Bus Network I sought out connections with my schooldays twenty-five years earlier. Perhaps I was trying to just fill in the gaps or maybe subconsciously I was trying to heal wounds for my childhood was not really that happy and play and buses in particular was where I found solace. But thankfully Switzerland seemed frozen in time back in 1989 and reminders were everywhere and even though I had never been to Chur I knew which buses were here in the Sixties and I could picture them gathered here outside the railway station just like this. But by 2000 Switzerland was fast catching up and as well as all the old Saurer's and FBW buses becoming a memory places like Chur had a new impressive glass roofed bus station just at the end of the railway platform and passengers no longer had to trek up and down the stairs beneath the station to get to the buses. A shame but I'm sure they didn't mind besides P23507 a beefy little FBW one of a pair here to climb up tohe mountain to Tschiertschen had long departed into memory.

Merry Christmas from the Photographer

Remember the buses from the past makes me feel old but not since one helping Santa in Chester.

Monday, 21 December 2015

PMT Bristol RELL PVT222L at Woodhouse Street

Despite the dreaded poppy red NBC livery PMT Bristol RELL 222 looked very smart with all it's brightwork trim still intact as it stood outside the Woodhouse Street Depot in Stoke on Trent.

Midland Fox: Foxhound Coach BPR 108Y

Like Midland Red North fellow former Midland Red unit Midland Red East based on Leicester and now called Midland Fox bought Duple bodied Laser bodied Leyland Tigers off Shamrock and Rambler and no doubt it might have been possible to catch them together leaving the Bull Ring Bus Station in Birmingham.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Stockport MJA 891G A magnificent Lancashire Product

Yes it seems ironic that at the time the Selnec PTE was formed not only was Manchester Corporation taking delivery of sophisticated ultra-modern looking Mancunian rear-engined double-deckers just down the road Stockport was still buying traditional half-cab buses which shared a very similar crisp red and white livery. it would be churlish of me to say I prefer preserved Atlantean 1001 but no I'm sticking with proper buses as this East Lancs bodied PD3 is superb although a bugger to drive no doubt whereas the Atlantean as Leyland boasted is more like 'Childs Play'. Yes this bus was very much a Lancashire icon as is the Co-operative Society whose offices it stands outside but of course formed in nearby Rochdale.

Former M&D DH 567 in Exeter

Formerly DH 567 and later 5567 with Maidstone and District this was one of a number of MCW bodied Leyland Atlanteans transferred to Western National and also Devon General who also had them but it was only after two new G-Reg buses arrived that they first operated in Exeter for 30ft deckers had been banned no doubt because of an operating agreement with the Corportation.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

EWW 229T Wallace Arnold

Wallace Arnold coaches were a familiar sight all over the UK in the holiday season but in West Yorkshire they were always a familiar sight with a number of depots and a variety of work. A Duple bodied Volvo B58-56 was seen at Huddersfield in 1980. I remember this batch well as Happy Days of Woodseaves bought four of them.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Rugged Mercedes for Cold Winter Day

Naturally the cost of winter fuel seems to go up in harsher winters but it doesn't make one want to go out especially when the snow turns to slush and ice. Seen in Birmingham was a ultra reliable Mercedes carrying Rider Rider markings and in PMT livery.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Shrewsbury Arriva and Doggy People

No not dodgy people this is Shrewsbury not Bilston lol.  It seems the local Arriva garages have centralised bus types, Stafford had a few of these Optare Versa's including 2940 seen here but soon once the newish VDL's return to Cannock just ageing Dennis Darts will be left to trundle about. The drivers don't seem to care for these buses but from a passenger point of view they are a nice ride apart from annoying rattly doors but they all seem to do that these days now that buses are just bolted together.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Volvo in Salford Corporation Green and Cream

Often modern buses like the Alexander 400 body don't seem to look particularly attractive in traditiobal liveries but the sharp lines on these Wright bodies seem well suited to the former Salford colours applied to this Volvo seen in Manchester.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Mauritania Sails Along the M3 for Shamrock & Rambler

The three axle MCW Metroliner  was quite an impressive beast which was used by a number of NBC operators who needed the extra capacity of a double-deck coach. They struggled a bit on the hills so I think the medium distance National Express routes were more suitable as they were less likely to fall behind on these. Shamrock and Rambler distinguished itself by giving it's fleet of coaches names and appropriately for these 'liners' this one was named after Mauritania in keeping with Southampton's shipping heritage where it was based.

JPL 171K London Country in St Albans

Garston Allocated Leyland Atlantean PDR1 AN71 meets a Staines depot Duple bodied AEC Reliance RB 52 as they pass through St Albans in the Eighties. Despite it's high running number 94 Staines Garage only had an allocation of 27 or less so maybe it was a 34.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Wait is Over but the 828 was on time

There is something about going for a walk and taking a camera with you. The sun came out and the lady wearing a bright red coat made it a good potential picture. Arriva wants to cut the recently introduced 828 Stafford to Brereton service but the contract is meant to run till Spring. Normally it is 55-Plate Plaxton Darts but newer spare VDL's feature as well like 3757. Note the concrete bus stop post a reminder of the old pre-NBC Midland Red as is the 800 series route numbers they used for out of town services in the Stafford area.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Optare Metro Shuttle in Manchester

The centre of Manchester not only looks but feels completely different to how it was in the Sixties but still just as scruffy little pockets of it still remain such as the area around Oldham Street and Withy Grove where a modern Optare works the Metro Shuttle but I well remember a similar inner circle service which used smart new Leyland Tiger Cubs in blue airport livery before they were replaced by the Park Royal Panther Cubs.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Maidstone & District EKL 456K

At Lincoln a Marshall bodied Leyland Leopard in Maidstone and District colours makes the first steps on the homeward journey after the museum open day.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Reynard Bustler FOD 94!Y

Still in Reynard's livery was this Bedford with quite rare Plaxton Bustler bodywork seen in York but now as can be judged by the high fleet number part of the former West Yorks PTE which had extended itself beyond the former industrial municipal operations heartland of West Yorkshire when it took over York from the former BTC and later NBC West Yorkshire.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Swiss PTT Mercedes-Benz Post Buses at Brugg

Rather like in Britain the northern Germanic area of Switzerland has a number of quite decent sized small towns that one has never heard of and they often seem much larger as they are also usually busy railway centres like Brugg which is also an important post bus hub.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Crosville Lodekka Trainer in Chester

By the time I took this outside London half-cabs in service were becoming rare but thankfully we could still see a few on the streets working as trainers like former DFG 235 in Chester.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Right Colour but hardly as graceful as a Blue Bird

The Blue Bird school bus hardly looks as though it can fly in either sense of the word but it metal cage looks look even more out of place wearing Stagecoach livery and out on the historic streets of Chester but it is this sort of thing that adds a bit of interest to the day.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Trying to Dodge the Dodges in Plymouth

It was very difficult to Dodge the Dodges for minibuses seemed to have taken-over every town but today it seems hard to imagine how chaotic it was during the minibus boom or just in some cases almost madness. Perhaps it was a cheap quick fix with rubbish wages and low paid young drivers but there were successes too as the small bread vans grew bigger till midi-buses were replaced by full-sized vehicles again but at the same time the rapid frequency of buses was cut back and the old status quo returned to previous frequencies.

JVV 267G Bus Enthusiasts are a fickle lot

In Lincoln a beautiful pristine Northampton Corporation Roe bodied Daimler CVG6 not only gives rides but sits waiting for custom  so I wonder what wonderful historic gem the people in the queue await, a Leyland Gnu perhaps, maybe an AEC Q, a Birmingham RT or even a BMMO FEDD but I'm not going to join them for it might well just be a disappointingly dull re-engined RML or even a Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer lol. But no life would be boring if we all liked the same things. This was the last traditional half-cab Daimler bus built.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Chur Town Bus GR 40028

This Volvo in the Swiss town of Chur carries typical bodywork of the late Seventies early Eighties period.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Digbeth: Where once Leopards used to Tread

Excepting Victoria Coach Station in London of course,  situated right at the heart of England the city of Birmingham and it's former Midland Red Digbeth Coach Station is the obvious place for National Express coaches to meet rand passengers to head off in different directions. What could once be called a  Royal Blue coach, Western National Leyland Leopard Plaxton 2427 was leaving on the long trip to Perranporth in Cornwall many hours away.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Coach Aid to the Rescue

Arriva seems to have a policy of running some of it's older buses regardless of faults just waiting for them to break down in the road like BF52 OAE a Wright bodied VDL seen in Stafford off the 76 Wolverhampton service. Another one has also been running out of Wednesfield Garage with perhaps a loose engine mounting which causes the rear seating to shake violently each time to bus engages gear before pulling away, worse still for other road users there must be a small diesel leak too.

H856 GRE A PMT Leyland Lynx going to Butt Lane

A PMT Leyland Lynx enters Stoke on their regular haunt the long 24 when it was still quite new these buses were bought for comparison alongside the Optare Delta. Not that either got any more orders but on nearly all counts the Optare was the most attractive machine for the Lynx suffered from a number of problems including build quality and another problem for by this time it was a Leyland when it was a spent force just muddling along.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Maidstone &District Willowbrook Bodied Leopard VKN 836X

n the late Eighties I had to take a large computer down to Tunbridge Wells and bring back the old one which meant I had a few hours to kll but despite it being cold and dull I came back with some decent images.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Stagecoach Dennis Dart 34809 PX06 DVR

Someone asked me if Chester was busy and I said no which is a bit strange as it was clearly was. It was certainly busy trying to get out at 16.00 for like most of our towns it seems to be approaching gridlock.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Vestbanen Leyland DAB

Denmark used to be rich in small operators who kept smart fleets which then ran in attractive colours. As it was highly regulated they had to operate a fairly up-to-date fleet as can be witnessed by this 1980 DAB-Leyland on the route between Esjberg and Varde in Jutland in 1982.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

OHE = OH Heck! Yorkshiremen should be more canny than this

So they say but the Doyen was a beautiful looking vehicle whose modern but tasteful looks still knock spots off most of the current designs from abroad it's just such a pity the bigwigs at Leyland thought calling it a Leyland would do with no cash. I just hope their golf prowess was better than their commercial sence as they would still be trying to chip their way out of the Volvo Bunker between the MercedesTrees and over the Scania Lake. Now registered with an old Barnsley number OHE 50 it had been A71 WDT when pictured in Edinburgh.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Bournemouth Daimler Roadliner KRU 55F at POPS Running Day

I'm not a great one for static bus events so I always look forward to the POPS Running Day staged at the Gladstone Pottery Museum where alongside mainly more familiar NBC types largely from PMT and negihbours like Crosville are exotic beasts like this former Bournemouth Daimler Roadliner whose brash booming engine hardly seems in keeping with the gentle elderly folks who retired  in what many would agree is Britain's top South Coast resort.

NKK 243F Stevensons in Stafford

After taking two batches of Massey Bodied Atlanteans for trolleybus replacement Maidstone took a single example later in 1967 and it was about one of four or five that went to Stevensons in the ireplacement lightweight Bedford era, no doubt the rather dotty actions of a new general manager. It was seen at Picture Bank on the then two hourly service from Uttoxeter.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Where Manchester Daimler CVG6's and Leyland PD2's would gather

Central Manchester like the buses which serve it is very different from my childhood when the streets around Piccadilly were lined with soot rather than trees, still I would much prefer to see the Crossley or a Burlingham bodied Daimler CVG6 to the Stagecoach standard fare from Dennis Alexander.

Pennine of Gargrave JWU 797N

It's so sad the way so many much loved Independents have tumbled due to their difficult operating environment and like Fishwick's Pennine of Gargrave as we used to think of it before they moved to town in Skipton was high on many a list. Always associated with Leylands till the bus grant era dual-purpose bodywork was favoured like the two Willowbrooks in the background  but as fashions changed with the motorway age Plaxton coach shells added a look of luxury at least to the humble bus making them a more useful tool.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Badgerline D112 GHY in Taunton

Despite the rather angular lines of the Alexander P Body this Volvo B10M didn't look too out of place amongst the rather restrained  and even elegant  Georgian architecture in Taunton. What helps greatly is not just the pleasing Badgerline colours but the livery highlights it's shape and the angles seem to reflect the pitched roofs of buildings.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

RML 2463: Up the Garden Path

I must admit I tend to prefer looking at bus photos taken away from the more usual locations like the bus station and I don't suppose anyone else would probably be quite cheeky enough to step inside someone's garden to take the shot but I'm sure worse things happened in the Cricklewood area even them.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Battersby Silver Grey at Boness

As Photographs coach parks are not the most inspiring of locations but was an enthusiast I enjoy seeing what else is in the shot and it's amazing how even with black and white views we can spot a coach just by the style of say it's fleet number but the advent of colour made it much more easy. Is it just me but with the more outlandish styles today I find these Plaxton Paramount's rather refreshingly tasteful especially in an attractive like that of Battersby Silver Grey seen here at Boness beside Lake Windermere.

Former Doncaster Roe Tiger Cub 433 MDT

This Autumn the pleasant dry weather extended into November which meant the Lincolnshire Museum running day day was a extra enjoyable and as always packed with gems like this preserved Doncaster Roe bodied Leyland Tiger Cub.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Wonders of Bilston W573 JVV

Traffic chaos, no it's just Bilston! A Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer of Diamond tries to enter the bus station.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

RYG 385R: Yorkshire Winter Draws Closer

Winter draws ever closer and I remember it was always worse once one crossed the Pennines into Yorkshire for rain turned to fogs and a smattering of snow into snow and ice. Still it was a good excuse to get out and take photographs such as here but I'm uncertain as it is in that Halifax-Leeds-Bradford triangle places like Cleckheaton or Batley spring to mind. West Yorkshire and other NBC buses working in the PTE area of the same name carried the logo but retained their own livery.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Oxford Park and Ride 229

Even though the coach trip didn't go to Oxford that day in 1992 it was still possible to get a photo or two of the local buses as they also used the same service area on the ring road for the Park and Ride which used these smart Alexander bodied Leyland Olympians like E229 CFC.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Pair of Minsterley Motors

No doubt because they need support more rural independents these days run similar buses and just as modern as the large groups but the variety in livery is just one of the things that is welcoming about them and two Minsterley Motors are seen here at Shrewsbury

Monday, 9 November 2015

West Midlands Volvo Ailsa 4740

I like to think I don't like buses much beyond the Sixties but that's not really true looking back for there were a number of types like the Travel West Midland Alexander bodied Volvo Ailsas with their distinctive angular shape and delicious sounds.