London Transport
“G” Plates

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G PLATES

“G” plates were attached to the bottom of London Transport bus stop flags with additional information. There are also called “Q” plates because many of them carried QUEUE THIS SIDE …/QUEUE OTHER SIDE … messages, but this label would, of course, be incorrect for “G” plates that don’t have queueing information. “Q” plates are often unique as they generally were made for a specific stop, and each side of the stop would have had opposite wording. QUEUE plates were not generally retained for further use. “G” plates came in three sizes, coded G3, G6 and G9 for the number of “E” plate runners that they would cover on a bus stop flag. The larger G6 and G9 plates are more unusual and these styles were used for longer messages. There were fewer of these plates, and they were less likely to survive. The last enamel signs for bus stops were made around 1980.

G3: Width: 1534 ins (400 mm) – Depth:  5 ins (127 mm) – Weight (approx): 2114 oz (605 g) 
G6: Width: 1534 ins (400 mm) – Depth: 10 ins (255 mm) – Weight (approx): 3614 oz (1030 g)
G9: Width: 1534 ins (400 mm) – Depth: 15 ins (380 mm) – Weight (approx): 5114 oz (1455 g)


Head stop signs were used when one-man buses were being introduced and shared a bus stop with conventional rear-entrance buses. They were needed in cases where just forward of the stop there might have been a driveway which was not to be obstructed by a bus at the bus stop, so the sign was used to tell drivers of rear entrance buses to stop with their front, or “head” at the stop. If there was only a rear entrance bus serving the stop, the bus stop post would have been moved further back, about 30 feet, so the bus could stop in the correct position. Similarly, there were tailstop signs, and in that case, it was to tell the driver of a one-man bus to pull forward and stop with his rear at the bus stop. The latter were quite unusual.

HEAD STOP

The plate above is a much older, more unusual version of this plate with the larger, lighter red background and two words. Later versions of headstop plates used smaller lettering on a darker red background, and HEADSTOP was in one word, as shown below. Head stop signs also existed as “E” plates.

HEADSTOP

“NOTICE TO DRIVERS” HEADSTOP

I’m not quite sure where this plate fits in, but my guess is that it is transitional: the newer, one-word form is used, but with the additional emphasis of “NOTICE TO DRIVERS”.

155 HEADSTOP
77A HEADSTOP

A B(C)E3G3 stop flag with a HEADSTOP sign, FARE STAGE label and point identifier at the Wimbledon terminus of route 155, with RT 1619 occupying the stand in 1976.
David Element photo © 1976;
www.david.element.ukgateway.net/rtbuses.htm
Most of the G3 HEADSTOP plate is visible past the upper nearside corner of RM1225 [CLT225] working duty 103 from Stockwell Garage [SW].

Tail stop plates are rather uncommon, and in that case it was to tell the driver of a one-person-operated bus to pull forward and stop with their rear (or “tail” of the bus) at the bus stop. It was more usual for the bus stop post to be moved to a more conventional position on the pavement, and avoid the queue of intending passengers having to turn round and walk to the front of the bus.

Chris Marshall writes, “ I was interested to read about ‘Tailstop’ Q plates—I wonder if you're aware that there is a Tailstop on a bus stop just outside Clapham Junction station? There are, obviously, no rear-door buses operating here any more so I’m not sure why it would be there. Buses seem to ignore it. It’s on a modern-style bus stop sign.”

TAILSTOP


BOARDING & ALIGHTING

There were a variety of “G” plates with various instructions for boarding and alighting from buses.

BOARDING

BOARDING POINT FOR BUSES STARTING HERE

My guess is that this plate was on a stop where buses turned on short journeys, and was somewhat removed from the regular stop for the through service on the route.

BUSES STARTING FROM HERE

This rather unusual plate would have been used at bus stands which were not normally served by through buses.


NOT BUS STAND

This plate was probably posted at a bus stand where crews laid over between journeys. There was likely a notice on the pole indicating where intending passengers were to board.

ALIGHTING

ALIGHTING POINT “G” plates were used to inform intending passengers that they could not board buses at that particular stop. They were generally posted just befor a routes terminus, but were also used in other locations due to special circumstances.


ALIGHTING POINT ONLY

This plate would have been used either at—or the stop before—a bus terminus where passengers should not board buses. The text ALIGHTING POINT ONLY (or occasionally just ALIGHTING POINT) also appeared on individual “E” plates.

ALIGHTING POINT ONLY HEADSTOP

This is a very unusual plate in that it shows two messages.


ALSO ROUTE 265 ALIGHTING POINT BY REQUEST Chessington Zoo area

“G” plates for specific routes are quite rare. This plate may have come from Chessington Zoo, where the main service was provided by route 65 and Green Line coach 714, and the smaller BLs assigned to the 265 could have been overwhelmed by summer weekend crowds.


ALSO ALIGHTING POINT FOR BUSES TERMINATING HERE

This message existed on both G3 and G6 plates.

ALSO ALIGHTING POINT FOR BUSES TERMINATING HERE


ALIGHTING POINT ONLY FOR BUSES TERMINATING HERE

Besides the basic message which appeared on G3 plates, more descriptive G9 versions also existed for specific locations.



Well Hall Depot area

This G9 sign was from the last stop in Well Hall Road, Eltham, before the bus station, and was outside the old Well Hall Station, which has long since disappeared.


ALIGHTING POINT FOR BUSES TERMINATING AT WEST HAM DEPOT WEST HAM DEPOT sign
Kim Rennie photo
West Ham Depot area

This G6 plate is a very rare example of the word DEPOT on a plate and obviously dates from when West Ham was a trolleybus depot (until the end of the ’50s). It was taken down around the time of the closure of the bus garage, and it is amazing that it lasted so long without having been changed to read WEST HAM GARAGE. It is probably true to say that there are no other plates showing the garage name WEST HAM. The building has long since been demolished to make way for modern housing along a road now named Routemaster Close. The plate has a number of small holes, visible in the picture, caused through rusting.

The photograph shows the sign in situ. Note the disused trolleybus pole in the background, and don’t you wish you could still fill up at 38.9 per litre!



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