London Transport
Central Area “Double Vertical” E2 Plates

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Here are some examples of the magnificent “double verticals” (as they were commonly known; technically “E2”) plates. These plates were often seen in bus stations (and sometimes major interchange points) where the layout had buses going both ways meeting at the same point. Some sources say they were a little more common in the Country Area and for Green Line coach routes. They were always exceptionally rare, and in almost every case only two of each were ever made.


Route 82 was introduced in September 1970 running daily between Hounslow Bus Station and Heathrow Central via Hounslow West, Cranford and Harlington Corner. It was extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Hatton cross via the Cargo Tunnel and Cargo Terminal, and further extended on Mondays to Fridays to Hounslow West Station. It replaced route 81B and provided the first regular bus service through the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. Because the route ran as a loop, buses travelling clockwise had yellow destination blinds. On the opening of the Piccadilly Line extension to Heathrow Airport in July 1975, the 82 was withdrawn between Hatton Cross and Hounslow West via the direct routeing, and became a daily route between Hounslow and Hatton cross via Heathrow Airport. The service was withdrawn in September 1982 and replaced by route 202.

The current route 82 runs between North Finchley and Victoria.

This “E” plate is an unusual size—approximately 5 inches × 8 inches—because at the time the bus stops at Heathrow Airport were provided by the British Airports Authority and were non-standard. Therefore, a number of the plates at Heathrow were this size. This is a rare example of a painted “E” plate which was produced because of the non-standard size. It was sign-written by specially-trained staff at London Transport’s Works & Buildings Department.

82 MON-SAT HATTON CROSS VIA CARGO TERMINAL

97 CHINGFORD MOUNT OLD CHURCH ROAD CHINGFORD STATION

Route 97 was introduced in 1981 to replace the northern end of route 69 and ran daily between Leyton (Downsell Road) and Chingford Station via Leyton Station, Leyton (Baker’s Arms), Walthamstow Central, Crooked Billet, Chingford Mount, Old Church Road and The Ridgeway. It was withdrawn in 1987 and replaced by the re-extension of the 69 to Chingford Station, but the following year the 97 was reintroduced and the 69 again cut back.

This double-vertical plate will have originated from Walthamstow Central Station in 1981. Most of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included. It still had double-vertical plates to match the other routes.


Route 97A began operating at the end of January 1981 between Walthamstow Central Station and Chingford Station via Chingford Mount, New Road, Larkshall Road, Kings Road and Station Road, in part to compensate for the withdrawal of route W21. In 1982 the evening and Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1983 the 97A was rerouted in Chingford via Friday Hill instead of Larkshall Road, and extended on Mondays to Fridays from Walthamstow Central to Leyton (Downsell Road) via Baker’s Arms. In 1985 it was further extended from Leyton to Hackney (Clapton Garage) via Lea Bridge Road and Clapton, with some Saturday journeys extended from Walthamstow to Leyton Green. In 1987 the Monday to Friday service was withdrawn between Leyton and Hackney, and a year later the Saturday journeys beyond Walthamstow were also discontinued. In 1992 Sunday service was reintroduced, and the route was extended from Walthamstow Central to Whipps Cross via Baker’s Arms. In 1994 Sunday journeys were extended in Whipps Cross to the Hospital. Finally, in February 2000, the 97A was withdrawn, replaced mainly by new route 357.

This double-height “E2” plate will also have been erected at Walthamstow Central Station in 1981.

97A CHINGFORD MOUNT NEW ROAD CHINGFORD STATION

212 PROSPECT HILL HIGHAMS PARK CHINGFORD STATION

Route 212 originally ran daily between Finsbury Park (Wells Terrace) and Muswell Hill Broadway via Stroud Green, Crouch End Broadway and Park Road. In 1969 it was renumbered W7 when it became a flat-fare route.

The next route 212 was introduced in 1970 and ran daily between Palmers Green Garage and Dollis Hill via North Circular Road, Finchley and Staples Corner, replacing part of route 112. In 1976 it was diverted to serve Brent Cross Shopping Centre. It was withdrawn in 1978 and replaced by route 112.

The current route 212—for which this plate was made—was introduced in 1981 to replace flat-fare route W21, and runs daily between Walthamstow (St. James’s Street Station) and Chingford Station via Walthamstow Central, Prospect Hill, Fulbourne Road, Highams Park, Chingford Hatch and Friday Hill.

This plate will have originated from Walthamstow Central Station in 1981. Most of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates, as this enabled more destinations to be included. It still had double-vertical plates to match the other routes.


Route 251 ran between Arnos Grove Station and Burnt Oak (Edgware Road) via Bowes Road, Oakleigh Road South, Whetstone, Totteridge Station, Totteridge Lane, Highwood Hill, Lawrence Street, Mill Hill Broadway, Bunns Lane, Woodcroft Avenue and Watling Avenue. In 1963 Sunday garage journeys were extended from Burnt Oak to Edgware. In 1968 the route was extended Monday to Saturday from Burnt Oak to Stanmore Station via Stonegrove and Canons Circus, replacing the withdrawn section of route 245; however, Sunday service was withdrawn between Arnos Grove and Burnt Oak. In 1982 Monday to Saturday evening service was withdrawn between Edgeware and Stanmore, and Sunday service was withdrawn completely. In 1985 service was extended from Stanmore Station to Stanmore Church. In February 1990 the 251 was rerouted to double-run via Edgware Station. The journeys towards Stanmore were denoted with black on yellow blinds. In November of the same year evening service was extended from Edgware to Stanmore. In 1992 Sunday service was reintroduced, but only between Edgware and Stanmore. At the same time a limited service (0830–0900 and 1615–1645) was added to Elm Park College: morning buses arriving at Stanmore continued via Elm Park before terminating, and afternoon journeys departing Stanmore operated via the College. In 1993 the Sunday service was withdrawn, and the service between Edgware and Stanmore was replaced by rerouteing the 142. In 1996 a Sunday service was again reintroduced.

This plate will have originated from Edgware Bus Station between 1963 and 1968. Some bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included.

251 MON.-SAT.  SPECIAL JOURNEYS & SUNDAY

275 HIGHAMS PARK BARKINGSIDE

Route 275 was introduced in 1960 to replace trolleybus 625, running daily between Woodford Bridge and Turnpike Lane Station via Woodford Green, Walthamstow, Tottenham Hale, Bruce Grove, Lordship Lane and Westbury Avenue, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Winchmore Hill via Wood Green and Palmers Green, and further extended during Monday to Friday peak hours to Enfield Town. Later in the year it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Wood Green and Winchmore Hill, but reinstated again in 1963. In 1968 it was converted to one-man-operation and shortened to run daily between Woodford Bridge and Walthamstow Central Station. In 1971 it was extended from Woodford Bridge to Claybury Hospital except during peak hours. In 1977 it was extended daily from Woodford Bridge to Barkingside (Fullwell Cross), but no longer running to Claybury. In 1985 the Sunday service was withdrawn, but reinstated after just a few weeks. In 1986 it was transferred to Eastern National Citybus under the tendering scheme and was extended on Sundays to Claybury Broadway, but this was withdrawn again in 1993. In 1996 it was extended in Barkingside from Fullwell Cross to Tesco. In 2000 it was extended from Walthamstow Central to South Grove via Selborne Road.

This double-vertical “E2” plate will have originated from Walthamstow Central Station in September 1968. Most of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates, as this enabled more destinations to be included. Although there were only a couple of destinations for the 275, it still had double-vertical plates to match the other routes.


Route 276 was introduced in 1968, running daily between Walthamstow Central Station and Yardley Lane Estate via Crooked Billet, Chingford Mount, Oldchurch Road, Mansfield Hill and Sewardstone Road, replacing the northern end of route 278. There were no changes to the route, other than vehicle type changes, until it was withdrawn in September 1982 when it was replaced by changes to route 212.

Another double-vertical plate that was new to Walthamstow Central Station in September 1968. Although four lines of text can be fitted to a normal “E” plate, it requires a reduced-size route number.

276 CHINGFORD MOUNT YARDLEY LANE ESTATE

292 SPECIAL JOURNEYS TOWARDS BURNT OAK VIA COLINDALE

Route 292 was introduced on 3rd January 1962 on Mondays to Saturdays between Borehamwood (Rossington Avenue) and Willesden Garage via Theobald Street, Elstreet Way, Manor Way, Stirling Corner, Burnt Oak, Colindale, West Hendon and Cricklewood, replacing the northern end of route 52. An express service was also introduced during Monday to Friday rush hours between Borehamwood and Colindale. In June 1962 the Saturday service was withdrawn and replaced by new route 292A running on to Watford Junction. It seems that the express service was withdrawn at the beginning of 1965, and thus lasted for just three years. Also that year the 292 was withdrawn between Colindale (Annesley Avenue) and Willesden. In 1973 it was converted from RT to one-man operation and revised to run daily except Monday to Friday peak hours between Borehamwood and Edgware Station via Burnt Oak, and during peak hours was diverted instead at Burnt Oak to Colindale, with some journeys running on to Grahame Park (Quaker’s Course). In 1983 the peak hour service to Colindale (Annesley Avenue) was extended to Colindale Station. The journeys to Grahame Park were withdrawn in 1989. In 1993 it was diverted at Mill Hill to run direct to Edgware, and then on to Burnt Oak and Colindale (Asda). The route has been operated by a number of companies since tendering, including London Country North East, Borehamwood Transport Services, Metroline, Sovereign and London United.

This double-vertical “E” plate will have originated from Grahame Park (Quaker’s Course) where the special journeys ran between 1973 and 1989. Some of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included. The other one of this double-vertical pair, which although not having the surface discolouration, is more extensively chipped at the edges.

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