The Leyland Society on Facebook were asking for photos on the theme of “Leyland Moving People” which took me back to the time I spent shooting from one of the footbridges on Liverpool’s “bubble bus stops” at Hood Street Gyratory. It was great for chaotic scenes of buses parked two abreast at crazy angles with general traffic flying past and passengers bolting across four lanes of traffic to catch the bus they could see loading its last passengers before pulling away. This was taken in September 1985.
I proposed this picture, taken at the start of the evening peak, with a classic MPTE Alexander-bodied Atlantean setting off with a full standing load and buses loading as crowds form in the rush hour. Also visible are another Alexander Atlantean, one of the MCW-bodied batch of 1978 and two East Lancs-bodied Bristol VRs. Just visible in the midst of all that is a Crosville SNL-class Leyland National loading up on one of the Runcorn-bound services.
Nowadays the scene is very different. The bridges have gone and a solitary Pelican crossing slows the passage of services through the much more constrained space now reserved just for buses. If I was to get my camera out in the bus station a security person would come to move me off the premises.
As a companion to the previous post, another approach to capturing preserved buses away from rallies and museums is the public “running day”. Preservation groups and enthusiasts’ clubs kindly arrange and publicise events where preserved buses are used in public service, usually free to all comers with perhaps the sale of programmes to raise money to cover costs or a suggestion that passengers offer donations to bus owners as they ride.
Such events, as well as being enjoyable social gatherings, provide opportunities to intrepid photographers who can wait at strategic positions to snap the buses en route.
A few months after the previous photos were taken on a private outing in Wales I drove down to Liverpool one Sunday afternoon in October 2006 where the Merseyside Transport Trust were having one of their well-organised running days in the south end of Liverpool. There were termini at Woolton and Penny Lane but firstly I waited at Woolton village where some of the routes crossed.
It was a very rainy afternoon. I remember, fifteen years later, that I struggled to keep my camera dry and I discovered I had a hole in the sole of my shoe. But I was rewarded with some pleasant in-service snaps. In the photo above Liverpool Corporation AEC Regent V no. A267 operating route no. 5 has its interior tungsten lighting aglow as the light was starting to fade at 4 p.m.
The wet slates act as giant reflectors to compensate.
In opting for my composition to feature the Woolton sandstone architecture [you may have heard of some local celebrity Quarrymen] I neglected to wait for the bus to obscure the only contemporary feature to give the game away, the very 21st century Merseytravel bus stop!
MPTE “Jumbo” Atlantean 1111 also made an appearance, adding to the atmosphere with headlamps aglow and windows misted up.
Congratulations to the MTT for all their hard work in restoring these vehicles and organising superbly co-ordinated events. I’m sure we all look forward to more of these occasions in future.