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

Monday, 19 February 2018

Arriva Citaro at Lichfield BJ12 4BK No.3001

I was dismayed to learn that Arriva will no longer operate any buses out of Cannock Garage from April due to funding. I was fed up as I use the bus to nip to town and back. But thankfully the 825 from Lichfield will still run as they can do it from Tamworth. At least it will add a bit of variety to the local bus scene and I expect I might be riding on these Mercedes-Benz Citaros from April perhaps.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Ribble Dual-Doorway National in Stagecoach Stripes PTF 743L

I'm sure I saw many Leyland Nationals in those notorious Stagecoach stripes but any familiarity has diminished because I find it hard to picture them in anything except NBC leaf-green or like this Ribble example which once wore poppy-red. Slightly unusual on NBC examples was the additional centre exit sometimes found on earlier ones like this and locally in the North West with Crosville too. some too. Still carrying Ribble branding and fleet number was No.387 seen in Manchester.

Friday, 16 February 2018

A Midland Red LS18 at Leamington

Only the lucky few garages received the 100 Midland Red LS18 class Leylands with either Weymann or like this example Willowbrook bodywork. Other garages had to make do with the under-powered BMMO built S16 instead with it's big pedals and heavy clutch. Both Nuneaton and Leamington where this one was seen had a decent number of these Leopards. This BET style was not that common as the same at both ends look quickly superseded it soon after these early thirty-six-footers arrived in 1962-3, and maybe it's just a personal thing but I found this more square look with the split screens equally attractive. Even though other BET concerns like M &D, Yorkshire Traction, Northern General, PMT and Western Welsh had them too it seems only Midland Red 5212 has been preserved.

WM Volvo B10m Alexander C55 HOM: Best Bus on the Block

If you were to ask people what were their favorite Travel West Midlands buses the small batch of Alexander P bodied Volvo B10M's might well come top of the list. These were bought for trials alongside the Lynx but sadly the Leyland won as these were the opposite in being by modern standards almost indestructible and offered a much more solid quiet ride.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Happy Days London DMS 2035 in Stafford

Independent's like Happy Days of Woodseaves went through a lot of vehicles some of which stayed so long they have become part of our memory, but in the years around Deregulation things were far less settled and buses came and went so quickly sometimes they didn't get a repaint. Once stalwarts of the old pre-70's G.H.Austin bus services Leylands returned in the Eighties for bus and contract work and used Leopards became a feature in later years but a single former Glasgow Atlantean was so difficult to start in the morning it guaranteed Fleetlines like this Former London DMS would become the double-deck choice. Former DMS 2035 showing 'Private' emerges from deep winter shadow and catches a bit of thin sunlight on a chilly day in Stafford with snow and ice underfoot whilst another Happy Days vehicle, this time a Ford follows it on service. 

A Bit of Blue Tack in Bolton: Blue Bus PIB 5144

The pressures of Deregulation called for a lot of extra buses to flood the streets and cause mayhem. As the focus moved sharply away to busy urban work as opposed to longer coach based services a lot of these vehicles became redundant. Rebodying some of these brought in plenty of work for East-Lancs and as with this example with Blue Bus of Horwich a body from Willowbrook of Loughborough. For many of us the Loughborough manufacturer brings back many fond memories but like a lot of the British Bus Industry declined to the extent that it disgraced it's once proud name. These new bodies were usually put on still sound Leyland Leopard chassis and had a resemblance to the Lynx which also turned out to be lacking a lot when it came to quality. I guess otherwise some of the Leopards would have gone for scrap so at least cash strapped operators got some money out of them. Blue bus of course are one of the villains of the industry in the sense that they tried to run Fishwick's, the good guys off the road.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Looking for Red in Bridgnoth

In Midland Red days Bridgnorth was a bit special for even though it was not particularly busy with departures it was served by no less than five of the companies bus garages and even had two town services. Buses moved between garages quite frequently but it would not be the place to try to see everything as a spotter for they were only single-deckers. A more important place on the system that had no garage for most of it's history was Coventry and I counted at least eleven garages that served the city on bus routes some of which were quite long and of course it included double-deckers. Back in Bridgnorth the  local undertaker peers out as an ugly Plaxton Centro bodied Volvo B7RLE of Bryn Melyn passes through Low Town on what would have been local Midland Red workings years ago.