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London Transport
Stop Flags

Last updated 10-08-06.
Information contributed by Matthew Keyte and Mike Harris


BUS STOPS

Bus stop flags had their own coding system (as did everything in London Transport). A basic flag would be B(C) or B(R), standing for Bus (Compulsory) or Bus (Request). Coaches were C(C) or C(R), Coach (Compulsory) etc. “A” was the code for Red Arrow stops. A compulsory flag with “E” plates below would be B(C)E3 (or 6 or 9) with the numeral standing for the numbers of “E” plates that could be fitted. Bus and Coach could be mixed on the same flag, normally B(C)C(R) being Bus (Compulsory) Coach (Request). A real rarity was B(R)C(C); I only know of one, at Edgware High Street, northbound. Similarly, “G” plates below would be B(C)G3 (or 6 or 9) with the numeral representing the size of the “G” plate. A maximum of three rows were available below the flag, and could be used by any combination of “E” and “G” plates, with the “G” plates affixed at the bottom.

This B(C)E9 stop flag, which also displays a “FARE STAGE” strip and a point identifier disk, was located outside of Charing Cross station.
Kevin McCormack photo; HLB

These fittings used to sit at the very top of bus stop posts. I’ve never heard a definitive answer about their purpose, but believe they indicated to drivers and conductors that the stop was a timing point. The red and green colours represent London Transport and Green Line respectively. They probably date from the ’60s—at the latest; the red one is dated “JUNE 64” on the base. I’m not sure of the construction material, but they’re fairly heavy for their size: approximately 312" (9 cm) by 512" (14 cm). The green one appears to be made from concrete.

Bus stop finials Bus & coach stop finials Bus & coach stop finials

bus stop reference number plates 34158 / 16562 /2078Enamel bus stop reference number plates were affixed by means of two screws to a shallow recess on the underside of bus and coach stop flags to show the stops number for reference. They are are very difficult to find nowadays. They are approximately 234 inches (70 mm) wide by 34 inches (20 mm) deep, with rounded ends. These particular ones were never used because London Transport changed over to using vinyl stickers as they were much cheaper to produce, and change is necessary. Only one plate was made with each number, so each one is unique.

Thanks to Peter Figg, we now know that stop 34158 is in Old Kent Road, 22 metres south of Mason Street; and for the other side is at 68B Charlotte Court, 39 metres north of Townsend Street. Stop 16562 westbound is in the North Circular Road, 10 metres east of Durand Way; while its eastbound mate is 80 metres east of Brentfield in the slip road. There is no record of stop 2078, so I still have no idea which location that number was allocated to.

Ref. Mº plates 4387 / 11762 Ref. Mº plates 2297 / 13390
Bus stop 2297 is in Regent’s Park Road at East End Road. Stop 13390 is in Lordship Lane at Dulwich Common.
Ref. Mº plates 4930 / 26394 Ref. Mº plates 17938 / 33478

TRAM COMPULSORY
T(C)
TRAM REQUEST
T(R)
TRAM REQUEST
T(R)

The tram-only versions were very rare, having been put up in just a few places right at the end of the life of the trams. I am certain that the request version did not come in a version with a black bar, but the London Transport Museum sells a miniature reproduction of one, so I have illustrated it anyhow. (At least one with a white bar has been preserved.) Some other “what if” designs are illustrated on the next page. Initally, trolleybus stop flags were the same colours as tram ones, except that they (naturally) had the word “TROLLEYBUS” instead of “TRAM” on them. However, after World War II trolleybus stops were simply marked with regular red “BUS STOP” flags.

TROLLEYBUS COMPULSORY
?(C)
TROLLEYBUS REQUEST
?(R)
BUS COMPULSORY
B(C)
BUS COMPULSORY
B(C)
BUS REQUEST
B(R)
BUS REQUEST
B(R)
BUS REQUEST
B(R)

In some instances, the name of the terminal was on the bus stop sign. These are the only ones that I know for certain, but there were others. If anyone can of them, I would be happy to add to this page.

BUS COMPULSORY - FAIR CROSS
B(C)
For some years “FAIR CROSS” was the destination used on bus blinds for journeys from the north to Barking Garage [BK].
BUS COMPULSORY - VICTORIA
B(C)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH COMPULSORY
B(C)C(C)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH COMPULSORY
B(C)C(C)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH COMPULSORY
B(C)C(C)

Although the vertically-divided combination flag was the standard, a few horizontally split stop flags did exist (including at least one bus/coach/Red Arrow example).

BUS COMPULSORY COACH COMPULSORY
B(C)C(C)
BUS REQUEST COACH REQUEST
B(R)C(R)
BUS REQUEST COACH REQUEST
B(R)C(R)
BUS REQUEST COACH REQUEST
B(R)C(R)
BUS REQUEST COACH REQUEST
B(R)C(R)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH REQUEST
B(C)C(R)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH REQUEST
B(C)C(R)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH REQUEST
B(C)C(R)
BUS REQUEST COACH COMPULSORY
B(R)C(C)
BUS REQUEST COACH COMPULSORY
B(R)C(C)
BUS REQUEST COACH COMPULSORY
B(R)C(C)
COACH COMPULSORY
C(C)
COACH STAND
I don’t know what the code was for a
COACH STAND” sign—possibly C(S)?
COACH COMPULSORY
C(C)
COACH REQUEST
C(R)
COACH REQUEST
C(R)
COACH REQUEST
C(R)
RED ARROW PAY ENTER
A(C)
RED ARROW REQUEST
B(C)A(R)
BUS REQUEST RED ARROW REQUEST
B(R)A(R)
This style only existed as a temporary paper flag; no enamelled examples were known to be made.

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Click on any of the tiles below to go to images of the “E” plates and the route descriptions for that number series.