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

Sunday, 31 December 2017

BMMO D7 4768: One of my very first photographs

I'm sure I am not the only one who got their first camera as a Christmas Present, an Ilford Sporti which took primitive 120 size roll film and then even though it was not up to it I went out in the poor winter lighting conditions and enthusiastically wasted the twelve exposures in the snowy bleakness. At the Midland Red garage in Stafford stands 4768 one of two D7's from the final batch delivered there in 1957, the other one being 4739. This photo was unusual as being the way in buses usually faced the other way. Considering the weather conditions it looked very clean so perhaps it had been put out to dry and the garage doors shut behind it to keep in the warmth. There was no bus wash here in those days so it had to be done with a hose.

Anyone for Tennis? Tatra Trams in Halle

Formerly in East Germany Halle is one of those industrial towns one wouldn't normally go to or would have heard of unless you were into tennis as there is an important tournament held there each year. As you can see the classic red and cream Tatra  Prague trams were not confined to the Czech Republic but as seen here following Reunification took new but not always nice colours.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Western National Bristol LH Plaxton at Tavistock

The bus station in the small town of Tavistock occupies the site of the old Western National bus garage. It used to be quite a modest affair as can be seen here but has since been rebuilt since this photo was taken of a small Plaxton bodied Bristol LH with grant doors. A decent amount of comfort and an ideal tool for the narrow roads around Dartmoor, but this former National Travel South West coach No.318 in 1981 was now Western National 1333 and had just returned from busy Plymouth on the 83.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Strathclyde becomes Tomato Soup First Greater Glasgow: N969 SOS.

Sadly Glasgow's Strathclyde buses fell prey to First as can be seen in this busy view of bus congestion, it was not a favorite of mine but it was nice to see a former Glasgow Atlanteen running around in the Corporation colours.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Warrington's Sixties East-Lancs bodied Ugly Ducklings

Perhaps with the exception of the rather elegant but very traditional looking Northern Counties bodies also seen in Warrington with Lancashire United early rear-engined bodywork on the double-decker didn't amount to much in looks. Like all the Lancashire bodybuilders East-Lancs could produce a fine looking half-cab bus but struggled here. It was not helped by the badly placed Daimler scroll but when on later buses a curved windscreen and front was added the design came together and was much more attractive and certainly different. The batch  was18-26 5827-5835 ED and no they couldn't even quite get the registration numbers to match either which also confuses the senses lol. No a bit of an ugly duckling then which is a bit surprising as by 1963 when these arrived Alexander of Falkirk was starting to build it's modern  timeless classic with fibre-glass and of course Ralph Bennett was prodding the design team at East-Lancs to do something a lot more exciting with this body and also took the much more striking Liverpool style customised standard MCW body.

Rugeley Bus Company: Former Exeter No.5 GFJ 605D

Middleton's of Rugeley dabbled with the idea of keeping the spirit of the old Green Bus Company alive with this suitably painted former Exeter Massey bodied Leyland Leopard GFJ 605D but in the end it was the only bus so treated.

Monday, 25 December 2017

What a Cheek! A.G & M Deeble

Well plenty of cheeks actually but even though Darleyford Coaches had two of them those Jonckheere bodied Mercedes-Benz coaches weren't exactly common. An 0303 A.G & M Deeble's RAF 477Y was seen on Plymouth's Royal Parade which has always been a good spot for snapping girls.... er .I mean buses.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Berresford's East Kent AEC TFN409 at Hanley

Thankfully by the time most of you get around to looking at this you will be too stuffed with turkey and Christmas Pudding to notice the scratches as I'm afraid my old trusted Voitlander Vito2 camera was showing it's age by then. I think the fact that I was buying in bulk loading my own spools of film caused them to snag a bit as well. At one time I would not have wanted to add this one of a former East Kent Park-Royal bodied AEC Reliance which still looked quite smart despite being with Berresfords and being covered in Potteries winter filth but now it's definately worth a second look..

Friday, 22 December 2017

Chaserider Laser Bodied Tiger A602 HVT in Stafford

This was my favorite spot for bus photography in Stafford till they cut out the traffic for pedestrians. A Chaserider Duple Laser bodied Leyland Tiger looked rather grubby and cold in the snow.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Atlanteans Galore in Bolton

Bolton Corporation amassed a large fleet of Leyland Atlanteans mostly with East Lancs bodywork like two of them here. When it was integrated into the Greater Manchester PTE more were added including the Park Royal bodied example 7109. Galore

Monday, 18 December 2017

London General Greenway WLT 696

With so much uncertainty in the bus industry during the period just before and just after Deregulation operators were forced to use their money wisely, and as well as this resulting in a plague of low-cost minibuses operators tried to get optimum returns from their stock and with a swing away from coachwork and especially as many of them had poor quality bodywork rebodying as buses became quite commonplace. As well as that East Lancs introduced the Greenway as a way of both extending the life of elderly Nationals and a means to make them more operator friendly. Often after conversion they reappeared somewhere else but London Buses had it's Red Arrow National2's rebuilt as Greenways and returned to their normal duties such as this one at Victoria which had gained the registration number off RM 696.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tracky in Barnsley Bus Station

Who would have thought it, a dull damp day in Barnsley. For the size of the town I was rather amazed at the huge size of the busy bus station and YTC was something of a mecca for Leylands. By the time I took this photo in about 1970 the blue and cream buses of County of Lepton had been integrated into the parent company including this Willowbrook bodied Leyland Tiger Cub.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

D649 NOD Portsmouth: Too Many Noddy's To Nod

Harry Blundred's empire included Portsmouth where typically large numbers of Ford Transit minibuses could be found plying their trade as he took over City of Portsmouth Transport and did away with it's Atlanteans so his passengers could be packed in like sardines instead. I have a brother who lives in Devon and they had a car with D-NOD as it's registration letters as well and not surprisingly they named it Noddy. As for  parent fleet Devon General and Blue Admiral I suspect they had too many Noddy's to christen and probably called them something a little more rude. The Alexander Dash body on the Dennis Dart was well suited to those Stagecoach strips and they had a strong presence here as well for the were the new owners of the once magnificent Southdown.

TGE 837R Strathclyde Atlantean

I didn't usually have a lot of time to stop in Scotland as it was a long day anyway driving both ways from the Midlands. But when I just had one or two deliveries which took me right into Glasgow I had to stop even if it was ten-minutes to snap some buses. As you can see the weather wasn't always wonderful but I saw it more as a challenge for as transport photographers were should be able to cope with all conditions and besides where film was cheap it never did any harm to waste a few to get one or two really good ones.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Are You a Seddon RU? Yes Darlington had some like this

Standardisation with a very basic livery was very much the order of the day within the NBC Empire so it was very dull compared to what came before it, but those Municipals that didn't get drawn into the PTE's continued to provide a bit more interest. The Corporations traditionally used to usually operate mostly double-deckers but  with the advent of driver only buses they saw a rapid decline during the Seventies. This left Darlington to see in the Eighties with a just a few elderly  Roe bodied Daimler half-cabs, but the now mostly single-deck fleet  was varied and interesting and it included these not too common Pennine bodied Seddon RU buses. This photo was taken in 1980.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Arriva Left Out In The Cold

Arriva's aquamarine bus livery has been with us so many years one might have thought when it came time to change it they would come up with something even if not exciting at least a bit better. It is hardly inspiring but maybe as happened at Cambus who started off with just light blue they might realise it's not very eye catching and add something stronger to set it off. It was very cold in Stafford and buses like Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart  2371 were running around with snow clinging to their tops even though they had been out all day despite dropping into pot-holes and bouncing over speed-bumps.

Ribble in Heywood BNB 244T

Places in Cheshire like Alderley Edge and Knutsford might have been affordable to  wealthy stockbrokers and the top footballers but to the north of Manchester was Heywood which was Just far enough away outside to make it popular with the cast of Coronation Street etc. where they should have felt very much at home as it had that friendly Lancashire feel even to seeing the odd Ribble bus on the 399. I might be wrong but I think this service went to Rochdale from Bolton but when I was there in the Eighties it was being operated with these Duple bodied Leopards like No.1244 looking quite attractive in one of NBC's local 'blind effect'  liveries introduced prior to Deregulation when it would all be sold off.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

In Manchester at least The Commonplace: First Volvo Wright MX09 GYH

It's much busier than it used to be but I'm glad not all of central Manchester has been redeveloped like this gritty area of small businesses around Shudhill and Withy Grove. There used to be an open-air second-hand record stall down here too in my day where I picked up some rarities. Buses too seem to becoming a rarity in many parts of Britain especially on a Sunday but not in the big Metropolitan Boroughs like Greater Manchester and here a First Wright bodied Volvo double-decker tries to edge it's way passed an illegally parked car with it's hazards on. Not such a rarity!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Huddersfield Daimler CVG6 HVH 472D at the Gladstone Pottery

I had to have a ride on this East-Lancs bodied Daimler CVG6 at the Gladstone Museum POPS running day last October as I have the Corgi OOC model of it. Many of the municipals took a great deal of pride in their fleet such as here at Huddersfield, it's a pity though that on my model of it they got the colour wrong as instead of bright red theirs in more like a marmalade-orange.

Midland Red S22 MHA 901F at Stafford

Here we have a Midland Red BMMO S22 at the reaffic lights on Gaol Road in Stafford. It was a day very much like this one with dense shadow and thin sunlight which is one of the worst combinations for black and white photographs unless one picks exactly the right spot. 5901 wasn't at Stafford garage for long being allocated here between May 79 and May 80. It went onto Leamington to do another four months before withdrawal but travelled quite a bit throughout the system spending most of it's working life from July 1968 at Worcester till January 1979 where it did a short four-month spell at Hinckley before coming here. It was later preserved.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Taking a National Holiday in Chester

Most Duple designs looked quite different from their rival Plaxton and this Southdown Laser bodied Tiger makes a good contract alongside another Leyland but this time with the more common Plaxton Paramount belonging to London Country. Both were in NBC  National Holidays and seen whilst on tour in Chester. I must admit I like a bit of brightwork trim and I prefered these earlier Lasers to the later less cheerful tidied up version. In the early days of the NBC it was horrible seeing the beautiful traditional coaches of Maidstone and District, Ribble and Midland Red etc. being outshopped in this uninspiring white garb but I think it was largely in our heads as it was far less noticeable on later coaches that came painted white from new.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Two La Poste Volvos: Foul Day in Sion

Doing a check I was surprised there are no photos on here from Sion in Switzerland, a town I visited often and with the exception of Lugano it is the busiest post bus departure point in the country. When I was last there in 1999 or 2000 these Volvos were very much the choice here and two identical buses stand side by side, one can't tell them apart any more but the one with the P-Reg shows it was owned by La Poste as there is a garage here. It was unusual to see a dirty post bus but P25626 had some  uncharacteristic accident damage which probably wasn't that surprising with often difficult conditions  higher up above the snow-line.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Solent Blue Nationals in Southampton

Originally with Hants and Dorset a pair of Leyland Nationals were seen hard at work in Southampton surrounded by Christmas Shoppers in the Nineties.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Oldham Corporation Atlantean GBU 143D

Once image conscious General Managers and designers got their heads around the problems of designing a decent rear-engined double-deck body some of the results were quite pleasing such as this style of Roe body to be found on most of the Leyland Atlanteans in the Oldham fleet. Ian Allan called their main colour maroon but it wasn't quite that as it was pinky a bit like Eden Vale black cherry yogurt. Not as tasty but rather nice and distinctly different when freshly turned out like many of the Municipal liveries.

I Might Not Look It But I Am The Number One: N201 UHH Stagecoach Cumberland

It must go back to my spotting days but I'm still attracted to bus numbers and registrations and Stagecoach Cumberland number-one was too tempting despite being a minibus. I quite like the Mercs and another thing that attracted me was it still had it's badge another of my requirements lol. Despite all the bus trivia it is still a nice interesting photo as in the background a massive Taylor Martley Scania artic squeezes it's way through Kendal's narrow streets, th norm before the M6 was built.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

A Redeployed AEC Regent at Cosford JCR 292E

Seen at the Cosford Air Show in the Eighties was this former Southampton AEC Regent with most of it's East-Lancs body removed. I imagine it was used to tow gliders and light aircraft.

Friday, 1 December 2017

An Alpha MB Tourismo in Stafford BU16 HBC

I couldn't snap this one as I was driving so I asked my friend Vicky to snap it. As quick as a flash she grabbed the camera and took a pretty fine photo considering. It was of an Alpha of Euxton Mercedes touring coach No.95  heading for a pick-up or drop-off by Stafford Station.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Plymouth Citybus in Tavistock L302 YOD

As more of the Plymouth Citybus route network started to spread beyond the city boundery they became a familiar sight in Tavistock. But when this was taken in the Nineties they were still a slight novalty with coaches visiting on contract work like this Plaxton bodied Volvo B10M.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

First Barbi in Bolton

Typical of the first buses to initially appear in First's corporate 'Barbi' livery were buses like this Wright bodied Volvo seen in Bolton.

Monday, 27 November 2017

A Portsmouth Atlantean CPO 346W in London!

Often when I was working I had a lot of time to kill which was a bonus for someone who enjoys photography. Sadly we can't always guarantee that the weather will be equally obliging but at least there was some thin Autumn sunshine on this occasion when I had to go to Earls Court and come back later. When it comes to buses London could always offer the odd surprise but this East-Lancs bodied Portsmouth Leyland Atlantean was a rarity indeed.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A dull morning at Plymouth Bretonside greets the passengers as they alight this impressive looking Van-Hool bodied Leyland Royal Tiger which was something of a rarity. It belonged to Dack's Rosemary Coaches from the King's Lynn area of Norfolk. It's 'cherished' registration had come home as 'OU' was a Devon marque but not as one might suspect off a Western National Lodekka once a familiar sight in here.

We're Goin to Lincoln

Because of the weather the early November Lincoln transport museum running day pretty well marks the end of the bus rally season but this time we were greeted by a beautiful crisp autumn day. The Delaine is always well represented and never common, there are just a couple of these Willowbrook bodied Atlanteans/Fleetlines left. In later years the Loughborough firm, part of Duple built mostly saloon bodies for the BET and some on a lightweight chassis for the Independents and Highland. It used to build double-deck bodies particularly for Trent but the advantage of Willowbrook is they would take a single vehicle contract like this though Whippet also took a similar bus at about the same.time.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Manchester: The Many Faces of Barbi

I don't know if it was intentional but I find the friendly 'Thomas The Tank Engine Faces' on this generation of the Alexander Dennis Enviro buses a bit freaky. Whilst I have my rant,  the current First livery is a bit insipid and not much improvement on the previous one as it was these similar cold depressing pastel colours that was it's fault, indeed it strikes me as a watered down version of  Barbi but at least it's not as bad as horrible 'Barbi 2'.Nothing was as bad as Barbi 2. The trouble is unlike proper nice red and cream Manchester buses of old these trendy colour schemes might look good on the drawing board but not in practice. Of course it's all a matter of taste as I admit I'm something of a traditionalist. Before someone mentions it, Derby Corporation adopted a similar grey and blue scheme but what was wrong with the olive-green and cream, at least it had a bit of class!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Lothian Leyland Tiger Duple Laser

Always so smart I think the white livery of the Lothian coach fleet didn't do it justice, anyway it didn't show them off very well. As usual Leylands were the normal choice and a Duple Laser bodied Tiger was seen in Prince's Street.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

RN 4887: Market Day in Caldas Portugal

1984 was still a good time to visit Portugal as there were still plenty of British buses albeit with a local flavour to be enjoyed. RN was their equivalent of our NBC and it's orange and white buses really stood out. Somehow Manchester's similar initial PTE SELNEC livery never looked quite so good maybe it was just the lack of sunshine and light soft stonework to set it off. Nearly all the fleet seemed to have UTIC bodywork on Leyland or more commonly AEC chassis.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Surrey Motors PPF 492

As I took a more unusual rear view of a rather fine Surrey Motors AEC Regal at Alton I seemed to catch everyone's attention. Next time perhaps I will remember to put some clothes on.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Outer London: Routemaster RM 132 at Cheshunt on the 279

Believe it or not I simply felt I really needed this photo of  a Routemaster as I thought their days were numbered. Taken in 1980 I shouldn't have worried should I as they would soldier on in number for quite a few more years, indeed the extra stint would equate to the lifetime of most more ordinary buses. However some especially the RML's might have served the capital for fifty-years but  it was still not such a bad thing that I got this shot as their range in the forthcoming 'opo' double-deck era would  relegate these crewed buses to basically a more Central London range. Yes they still would come a good way out but not as far as Cheshunt which was near outer the boundry of the London Transport  'red' area. Although carrying a newer body RM 132 was an early example bought for trolleybus replacement and worked at least from  Poplar Garage before coming to Edmonton which did the lengthy 279 seen here taking it to Smithfield Market.

Mayne former Alder Valley Dennis Falcon in Manchester

People who regularly visited Victoria when they were in London might well have seen this unusual Wadham Stringer bodied Dennis Falcon on the Green Line stands when with Alder Valley. It was one of several non-standard vehicles the NBC tried and it was later sold to Mayne in whose livery it looked much more at home.

Monday, 13 November 2017

BVG Zehlendorf Garage

One of a tiny batch of about five buses and only to be found working on suburban routes around the district of Zehlendorf  was this short MAN. It was caught leaving the large local two-hundred bus garage which was ringed with flats for the staff so apart from this view it was hard to look inside. Built in 1937 it was badly bombed in the war but this entrance arch and the concrete plaque survived the destruction.  Made famous for his role in Fawlty Towers, Andrew Sachs who played Manuel came from here before his family fled Germany because they were Jewish.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Neuchatel Saurer Trolleybus 132

I think even celebrated genre photographer Robert Jowitt would like this 1989 shot of mine from Switzerland, after all it has that rather dated European feel to it with a suitably old Saurer trolleybus from the early Fifties and a rather sophisticated looking lady admiring the books or maybe having stopped smoking trying not to buy any of those tempting but  oh such nasty fags.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Baby Arriva Enviro in Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton is hardly swamped with Arriva buses since the Wednesfield garage closed but as well as Cannock they still come in from Telford home to this small Enviro No 2148.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Central Scottish Ailsa AH11 LHS 735V

Even though I was self-employed it was not always easy to take a decent break on delivery trips to take bus photographs. Sometimes though I used to stop at the side of the road briefly to get one or two shots, consequently I don't often know exactly where they were taken. However this Central Scottish Volvo Ailsa based at East Kilbride was seen somewhere south of Glasgow where it was headed. Still there's something to be said for it as we are all guilty of taking most of our scenes in the most obvious places close to garages and bus stations which of course is very unrepresentative of where they go.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Fishwick Leyland National NFR 559T in Preston

Even the humdrum Leyland National could look a bit special in an attractive livery like that of sadly defunct Fishwick of Leyland.

Monday, 6 November 2017

City of Lincoln Bristol VR RFE 27R

In an advertising livery to the untrained it might have been quite difficult to tell if it was a City of Lincoln or a Lincolnshire Roadcar ECW bodied Bristol VR.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

A Long Wait at the bus stop in Cobridge

I'm sure in the old PMT days one would only have to wait a few minutes for a bus from Cobridge to Hanley but I must have waited about half-an-hour for this former Midland Red West Enviro 300 to come along and it wasn't even a Sunday. Many of our streets look untidy these days with signs and satelite dishes covering buildings not to mention cars parked on the pavement.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Cumberland Bristol VR with Solent Blue Line

Still in the pre-Stagecoach Cumberland red and cream livery was this Bristol VR seen in Southampton. Despite a livery that would break down the mass these more unusual ECW highbridge bodies looked very tall and a bit ungainly.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Stevensons Tiger FAZ 3195

I got a friendly wave off the driver of this former London Country Plaxton bodied Leyland Tiger in Stafford doing the 876 to Wolverhampton. It was formerly B269 KPF. By this time Stevensons had become part of Midland Red North.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Eastbourne Leyland Panther

Eastbourne was one of the bodybuilder East-Lancs loyal customers and although mainly a double-deck fleet it bought some Leyland Panthers and a Daimler Roadliner. Of interest is the old post office telephones Morris Minor van for these were a popular buy with the less wealthy motorist. In my hitch-hiking days I rode in quite a few as they were common and I remember one owner complaining that he was always being pulled up by the police for impromptu road checks.

Diamond Volvo at the Birmingham Bull Ring

Birmingham city centre might have changed a great deal over the last few years but somehow it remains unmistakable.  The driver of the Diamond Wright bodied Volvo looks as though he's wondering where all his potential passengers have disappeared to.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Remember Atlas Express?

I don't think the tour operator who owned this chunky and angular coach seen in Trieste had anything to do with the parcel carrier once a familiar sight in the UK. I had forgotten about them till now but I seem to recall they had green 7.5ton vans with a map of the world on the sides. As well as Mercedes coaches we are treated to an interesting mix of Fiats so prevalent in Italy.