Other Operators: E–F




Last updated 26-12-12.


“E” plates for other operators were relatively uncommon and would generally have only appeared on a few stops in town centres.


East Kent Road Car Company

The East Kent Road Car Co. Ltd. was formed in 1916, amalgamating a number of earlier operators. It operated in a region of Kent bounded by the sea on three sides and Maidstone & District to the west, and included the Channel ports of Dover and Folkestone. In addition to local, contract and international services, the company also ran express services from Kent into London. East Kent was one of the most important subsidiaries of British Electric Traction (BET), and like the others, became part of the newly-created National Bus Company in the late 1960s.

1½d & 4d tickets
1½d and 4d East Kent tickets from the 1920s. On the reverse is an ad for Wm Lefevre Ltd of Canterbury.
EAST KENT EXPRESS COACHES
Season 1937 timetable (in association with Southern Railway) with a route map across the centre spread, in the usual format listing all destinations across the South East with timings, fares, connections etc., plus lots of local 1930s adverts. It measures 8½" × 5½" (21.5cm × 14cm) and has 32 pages.
EAST KENT EXPRESS COACHES
The 1948 Summer Season timetable (12th May until 5th October) is now “In Association with the British Electric Traction Co. Ltd., and [the newly-formed] British Railways”. It measures approximately 538" tall, and the cover sports a full-colour painting of (I believe) a Titan TD1.
EAST KENT EXPRESS SERVICE
For Summer 1968 (1st June–21st November) a four-fold sheet printed on both sides was sufficient to list services L1, L2 and M3 between London, Canterbury, Margate and Ramsgate.
EAST KENT EXPRESS SERVICE EAST KENT EXPRESS SERVICE
Timetable leaflets from 1950 for East Kent’s London to Dover express services. Service L3 (current from 1st October) ran via Ashford, Hythe and Folkestone, while during the Summer (5th April–30th September) L4 operated via Canterbury Bridge, Lydden and Temple Ewel. These four-page leaflets give the timetable, fares and other information. Both are approximately 8½" by 5½" in size.
This is one of the paper labels which replaced the vinyl stickers that had, in their turn, replaced enamel “E” plates in the 1980s. ▶
EAST KENT EXPRESS SERVICE
Eastern Counties Omnibus Company
EASTERN COUNTIES EXPRESS SERVICE
◀ Besides the journeys down the A10 and A11 as noted below, I have been told that there were also Eastern Counties services running along the A12 through Ilford and Romford to Ipswich and beyond, but I do not know whether they picked up or set down. The timetables published after these services became National Express show the first pick-up at Chelmsford.
July 1935 timetable; 24 pages.
July 1937 timetable; 32 pages.
◀ A Timetable for Eastern Counties service “E” between London and East Anglia, effective 23rd May through 9th October 1971. The two routes used were basically the A10 and A11 roads. Other than a Sunday-Wednesday-Friday 17.15 service “U” journey, the only stopping points within the London Transport area were Victoria Coach Station and King’s Cross, then Finsbury Park, Tottenham, Woodford, Epping, Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford; or Wood Green, Edmonton, Enfield, Wormley, Broxbourne, Hoddeson and Ware.
Timetable & information from Andrew Colebourne.
An assortment of Eastern Counties tickets from the 1950s.

The Eastern Counties Omnibus Company was formed in 1931 by the combination of four existing bus companies in East Anglia, the earliest of which started operations in 1902. It operated throughout Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Peterborough, and was a subsidiary of Tilling & British Automobile Traction Limited. In 1942 the TBAT group was broken up, and Eastern Counties passed to the Tilling Group. In 1948 Tilling’s bus interests were sold to the government, and Eastern Counties was nationalised as a company under the control of the British Transport Commission. In 1962 the BTC bus companies passed to the Transport Holding Company, and although state-owned, THC companies were required to act as commercial concerns. In 1969 Eastern Counties became part of the National Bus Company. After deregulation the company was bought out by management in February 1987. In July 1994 they sold to GRT, and by June 1995 merged with Badgerline to form FirstBus.

I do not know if Eastern Counties held any excursions and tours licences from the London area, but it is of note that that the service “E” timetable above advertises day tours to various places from London; however, these used scheduled coach services.

Eastern National Omnibus Company

The Eastern National Omnibus Company once served a large part of Essex. In 1990 the southern operations (in Greater London plus Southend) became Thamesway. Both companies are now part of First Essex Buses Ltd. If anyone can supply me with more information about Eastern National routes, please and I will add to these descriptions. Thanks go to Brian Benedetti for enlightening me about ENOC routes 14/14A, 15/15A, 264 and 265, Richard Bradley for adding to routes 46, 46A, 47 and 309, Malcolm Payne for writing about route 401, Rick Squirrell for supplying the route 46, 226, 266 and 402 information, and especially Philip Stevens for his exhaustive knowledge of Eastern National (and predecessors’) services.

This announcement (that might amuse you) was in News Sheet 196 (July 1980) of the Eastern National Enthusiasts Group: “The Group has acquired the following items from the Company and other sources for sale to members … London Transport Bus Stop Plates for Eastern National routes - price 0-40p each.” And to think I did not take them up on the offer!

EASTERN NATIONAL EXPRESS SERVICE
Eastern National Omnibus Company Official Time Tables (Eastern Section), valid 4th June 1949 and until further notice. It contains 232 pages, includes a fold-out route map at back, and only cost 6d (2½p).
This one, from 1st June 1960, covers all services operated by Eastern National (except those specifically in the Southend & District Joint Services area), express services operated by the Westcliff subsidiary, ferry services at Tilbury and Harwich, and coach-air services to Calais. Although it has shrunk to 212 pages, it still includes a fold-out route map inserted into rear cover. And in 11 years, the price has only doubled to 1′- (5p)! ▶
EASTERN NATIONAL TIME TABLES
Eastern National 10d RETURN ticket
A 10d (4p) Eastern National RETURN ticket.

2 EASTERN NATIONAL-2B EASTERN NATIONAL
Obviously, split “E” plates are much rarer as they were usually produced where there was insufficient room to accommodate every route on a separate plate, and this tended to be on just a few stops in town centres, this one probably having come from Romford. It should also be noted that suffix routes for other operators were especially unusual.
2H EASTERN NATIONAL
I think there would only have been “E” plates for the 2H in Grays, possibly only one pair. Of particular interest is the full-height H: route variant letters were normally much smaller than the number.
Eastern National 1418 [F418MWC]
Eastern National Leyland Lynx 1418 [F418MWC] was new in August 1988. It is captured here on route 2 in 1990, likely shortly before its sale to Thamesway in August of that year. Five-and-a-half years later it was transferred to Essex Buses, with whom it ended its career in 2005 when it was sold for scrap.
Photo courtesy of Ian’s Bus Stop.

Before Westcliff Motor Services was taken over by Eastern National, the two companies ran parallel services from Southend to Grays. WMS route 2 started from Victoria Circus, while EN number 70 began its journey from the Victoria Railway Station. The routes then covered the same ground via Hadleigh, Pitsea, Vange, Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope, to Grays (War Memorial).

WMS route 2B also went from Southend to Grays, but made a detour via Homesteads instead of Corringham. It was an hourly service, augmented by some short running timings from South Benfleet (Tarpots Corner) to Grays. As Basildon New Town was developed, these short runnings were diverted to the area as WMS 84. When EN took over Westcliff in the early 1950s, the 84 was renumbered 248 to fit in with the Basildon numbering system. Shortly after, all the services via Corringham became number 2 (allowing the number 70 to be used elsewhere on the network). As bus patronage dropped, the 2 was cut to running just between Southend and Basildon, which is the situation today. Route 2B has completely disappeared.

The related route 2A is dicussed in the route 15 & 15A description.

Another route in the “2” series was the 2C. It was basically a workers’ bus that ran from Southend to the oil refineries at Shell Haven and Coryton (which were also served by London Transport country bus route 349 from Grays). The 2C service had the distinction of being the earliest to leave Southend on Sunday mornings, at 4.40 am. It no longer operates.

Route 2H also ran between Grays and Southend, but was a Sundays-only variation in Basildon via Homesteads, hence the “H” suffix. It only lasted for about a year in 1964.


The 14/14A and 15/15A/15B was really a single group of services between Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster, Basildon and Southend. The 14 and 14A were a very thin strand of the operation with only three through journeys on Monday to Friday, and just one on Saturdays, but with half a dozen additional shorts from the Basildon Industrial Estates to Southend (down to two on Saturdays). From Basildon the 14 and 14A continued to Southend via Rayleigh Weir and the Arterial Road (A127). Between Romford and Basildon the 14 served West Horndon Station, while the 14A briefly parted company just after Cranham, travelling via Alma Factory and then passing the early ’60s landmark known as “Homefields Garage” on the A127, rejoining the 14 at East Horndon (Halfway House)—both routes then leaving the A127, again, to penetrate Basildon. These services have all long since disappeared.

This “E” plate must date somewhat earlier than the late 1970s.

14 EASTERN NATIONAL - 14A EASTERN NATIONAL

15 EASTERN NATIONAL - 15A EASTERN NATIONAL
This “E” plate is unusual in that the operator’s name only appears once for the two routes.

Westcliff Motor Services’ route 2A ran from Southend to Romford via the Old Southend Road estuary route, taking in Westcliff, Chalkwell and Leigh; then through Hadleigh, Pitsea, Vange, Laindon, Upminster and Hornchurch. Romford was well within the London Transport area and was served by two LT garages. The 2A departures leaving Southend at 15 minutes past each hour and Romford at 25 minutes past each hour were routed via Alma Factory (near Warley), while the departures at .45 from Southend and .55 from Romford travelled by way of West Horndon Station. During weekday peak hours and on Saturdays there were additional buses to create a 15 minute service interval, with the added journeys going via West Horndon. The 2A had the distinction of being the earliest service to leave Southend on weekdays at 5.05 am.

To avoid the confusion of having two routes (via West Horndon and Alma Factory) both numbered 2A, they were renumbered 15 (via West Horndon) and 15A (via Alma Factory) in the early 1960s. The routes were also diverted through the now-growing Basildon New Town. (Within Basildon the 15 and 15A passed through the town centre, whereas the companion 15B focused on industrial traffic, such as the Marconi factory.) From June 24th 1963, a major recasting of this group began with the replacement of routes 15/15A by a new, less-frequent route 26 (still serving Upminster) and an addition to the 251, 30 (later 351) group in April 1964 in the shape of a further, Wood Green–Southend trunk service, numbered 151, favouring the more promising Romford–Brentwood–Shenfield traffic areas (with dense, new overspill housing estates in the Shenfield–Hutton–Billericay–Wickford corridor) to the expense of the sparsely populated Upminster–Horndon section. The 15B lingered a little longer, but by the end of the decade had been replaced by route 26A.


Eastern National routes 26 began operating on 24 June 1963 between Romford and Southend via Hornchurch, Upminster, Basildon, Pitsea, Hadleigh, Leigh, Chalkwell and Westcliff, replacing routes 15 and 15A. The 26A served industrial areas on the outskirts of town instead of Basildon town centre.

The split plate would have come from a bus stop in Romford, Hornchurch or Upminster.

26 EASTERN NATIONAL 26 EASTERN NATIONAL - 26A EASTERN NATIONAL

40 EASTERN NATIONAL
40 EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National route 40 ran between Brentwood, Grays and Tilbury.

I believe the blue plate to be an error since—as far as I know—the 40 was never express, and in any case London Transport did not (with one exception) produce plates for other operators in blue, even when they did have express sections. In addition, it is a lighter shade than was normally used for “E” plates (although one pair of LT plates exists in this colour).


In 1952, Eastern National route 46 provided a very sparse service on Tuesdays and Fridays only between Chelmsford and Fyfield via Roxwell and Willingale, with the Friday service being extended to Matching Green via Moreton and High Laver. By 1957 the route had been extended into London Transport territory at Harlow, terminating at Harlow New Town Centre—probably in the Bus Station. It also now ran daily, although most journeys operated only between Chelmsford and Willingale. The 46 was still operating in 1965, and the number of journeys serving Harlow had increased; however, it seems that at some time after 1975 the route was diverted to terminate in Ongar. A very limited service is still provided over this route.

Route 46A is described below.

In 1952, Eastern National route 47 ran twice a day in each direction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only between Bishop’s Stortford and Ongar via Little Hallingbury, Hatfield Heath, Matching Green, Matching Tye, Harlow (Victoria Hall), Thrushesbush, High Laver and Moreton. However, by 1957 the route had been cut back to run from Harlow (New Town Centre—probably the Bus Station) although it now ran additionally on Thursdays, and an extra journey each way was provided on Saturday. By 1961 service had increased slightly, but only one per operating day (and two on Saturday) in each direction ran from Ongar to Harlow, the others terminating at High Laver. Route 46 was still operating in 1965 with the same pattern of service.

46 EASTERN NATIONAL
This “E” plate may have come from Ongar, one of only about four stops in either direction between the Four Wantz roundabout and the terminus at the Red Cow, but it is also possible that it could have been posted in Harlow.
46 46A EASTERN NATIONAL
This “E” plate also probably came from a location in Ongar. It is unusual to find a split plate with no dividing line between the route numbers.
46 47 EASTERN NATIONAL
This two-route plate would have come from a stop in Harlow—or possibly Old Harlow if any stops there had “E” plates—where both routes ran together. The 46 ran from Chelmsford and the 47 fron Ongar, and both were rather infrequent services. I doubt there would have been many stops with a plate such as this, and it may be one half of an unique pair. I think it is a very rare route combination, and it is another example of a split plate without a dividing line, which seemed to be particular to Eastern National “E” plates.

46A EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National route 46A seems to have been introduced after 1975 when route 46 was diverted from Harlow to Ongar. It provided two journeys a day in each direction on weekdays only between Ongar and Abbess Roding, running between Abbess Roding and Fyfield via Birds Green.

This “E” plate would have been posted in Ongar.


151 EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National routes 151 and 251 were very long-established trunk routes that ran from Wood Green [EN] Depôt to Southend-on-Sea via Turnpike Lane Station, Seven Sisters, Blackhorse Road Station, Walthamstow (Bell), Southend Road, Gants Hill, Newbury Park, Eastern Avenue, Romford. Gallows Corner, Harold Park, Brentwood, Shenfield and Billericay. The 151 then continued via Basildon, Pitsea, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Leigh and Westcliff to Southend; whereas the 251 ran to Southend via Wickford, Rayleigh, Eastwood, and Prittlewell. In latter days the 151 was diverted to run to Canvey, but both routes have long since been withdrawn. Together with the 351, they once provided six buses per hour between Wood Green and Brentwood. Such memories!

151 EASTERN NATIONAL - 251 EASTERN NATIONAL
151 EASTERN NATIONAL - 251 EASTERN NATIONAL
151 EASTERN NATIONAL - 251 EASTERN NATIONAL
It is very unusual for the word AND to appear on an “E” plate, espcially between two route numbers.
These plates date from after the 251 route was split into the 151 and 251 in April 1964, and would have been found at stops between Brentwood and Wood Green.

226 EASTERN NATIONAL
226 EASTERN NATIONAL

The precise routeing of Eastern National route 226 has varied down the years (as with many other services), but most recently it ran as a Romford Market–Brentwood Station service via Cranham, St. Mary’s Lane and Bulphan. This was something of a compromise to provide a basic service to Bulphan. It is marked on the London bus map for 1986 with this routing, but Rick Squirrell recalls that some years earlier it may have been running Brentwood–Bulphan–Basildon.

The lettering on the second “E” plate is the much rarer light (almost NBC) green.


The famous City Omnibus route, from London (Wood Green) to Southend-on-Sea via Turnpike Lane Station, Seven Sisters, Blackhorse Road Station, Walthamstow (Bell), Southend Road, Gants Hill, Newbury Park, Eastern Avenue, Romford, Gallows Corner, Harold Park, Brentwood, Shenfield, Billericay, Wickford, Rayleigh, Eastwood, and Prittlewell. The route had the distinction of being the first Green Line-type short stage carriage express service in London. New Empress Saloons began operating between Wood Green (Jolly Butchers Hill) and Southend on 27th May 1927, with pre-booking required between Wood Green and Romford (i.e. within the Metropolitan Police District). The City Omnibus Company Ltd. purchased two thirds of New Empress’ stock for £1,000, and gained control of the company on 19th December 1928. New coaches bearing the City name and colours but New Empress legal lettering were purchased, and the route was extended from Wood Green to Kentish Town Station via Finsbury Park and Camden Town. At about the same time Westcliff Motor Services began their own route 16 between Southend and Wood Green, but by New Year’s Day 1929 the two companies were operating a joint timetable. In December 1929 a new garage was opened in Leighton Road, and the Kentish Town terminus was moved there. After City lost its Highgate–Southend route to the London Passenger Transport Board in November 1934, it purchased Westcliff’s journeys effective from 12th January 1935. In March 1936, reflecting the new nature of its services, the company name was changed to The City Coach Company Limited. As the shortages of World War II made themselves felt, the service was withdrawn between Kentish Town and Wood Green, and between Romford and Brentwood, as those sections duplicated London Transport routes. A through service from Wood Green to Southend was restored in the spring of 1946, and double deck buses were assigned. In the face of impending nationalisation by the British Transport Commisssion, City sold out to Eastern National, and ironically the service—by now numbered 251—was placed under control of ENOC’s Westcliff subsidiary. The route was crew-operated by Bristol FLF double-deckers through the 70s and 80s. It was joined for many years by sister route 151 running between Wood Green and Canvey, giving a 15-minute service over the common section. Like so many services of this type, the London end of the route declined and eventually disappeared, although the number 251 remains for a Sunday service between Warley and Southend that covers the original roads east of Brentwood.

City D4
◀ City Omnibus Company number D4 [NVX174], a 1947 Daimler CVD6, stopped in Eastern Avenue, Ilford, to let passengers alight on 3 June 1950.
C. Carter photo; HLB3.

Eastern National 2466 [268 GVW]—a two-year-old Bristol LD6B with an Eastern Coach Works H33/27R body—departs from the coach station at 727 Lordship Lane (generally known as “Wood Green depôt”) on a 251 journey to Southend in 1958. The Bus Station was opened by the City Omnibus Company in the 1920s, then passed to Westcliff Motor Services in 1929. Five years later it was sold to the City Coach Company, which was in turn bought by Orange Luxury Coaches in 1938. After World War II it became an Eastern National property. The building to the right was a Congregational Church. In the 1980s the site was redeveloped as a WHSmith, and about a decade later was converted into a Mecca Bingo Hall. ▶
from wikimedia.com.
ENOC 2455
251 EASTERN NATIONAL
◀ These two “E” plates date from before the route was divided into the 151 and 251, in April 1964. ▶ 251 EASTERN NATIONAL
251 EASTERN NATIONAL BY REQUEST
◀ Rick Squirrell writes, “This plate would have have appeared on a London Transport compulsory stop flag at a location where the 251 was not obliged to stop. Since it was not a London local service, all stops other than major town centres were treated as request stops by the Wood Green crews who worked most of the service, and could have been anywhere between Brentwood and Wood Green. I am fairly sure there was one such at Walthamstow (The Bell) which was a major LT stop and WW garage crew change point, but the 251 would drive past unless flagged down.”
However, Iain Morrison adds, ”I can assure you that the [BY REQUEST] ‘E’ plate for the 251 would not have been at Walthamstow Bell, as Southend-bound Eastern National [buses] had a separate bus stop from LT buses with an EN-style Bus Stop sign. I know this to be the case as I used to board the very fine Bristol FLFs there, often on my way home from a day of LT riding. Wood Green (WG) was my normal boarding point after a Red Rover outing. The usual trip involved an early start at 06:30, first 251 out of Wickford, Essex, and the last 251 from WG at about 21:30, going from memory back home at 23:00. Another journey I did several times was to catch the Green Line 715 from Guildford to WN/WG and then the 251 home; RMC then FLF only took 3½ hours. Most Saturdays when I was at school I would take the 251 to London – great days indeed.”

253 EASTERN NATIONAL
253 EASTERN NATIONAL
253 EASTERN NATIONAL
253 EASTERN NATIONAL
◀ Painted aluminium “E” plates were produced “in-house” at London Transport’s Works & Buildings Department in cases where there was either a need for an urgent replacement or to reduce costs which, in this case, would have been passed on to another operator. They were hand-produced by experienced signwriters to as near to the usual Johnston typeface as possible, and are generally quite rare. These type of plates are usually unique.

Eastern National route 253 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Shotgate and Brentwood (White Horse) via Wickford, Ramsden Heath, Billericay, Hutton and Shenfield. From about 1963 it was extended from Brentwood to Upminster Station via Brentwood Station, Warley and Cranham, and cut back from Shotgate to Wickford Station. A Sunday service was introduced at the same time. It was withdrawn in the early 1970s because of poor patronage.


Eastern National 261 ran daily between Laindon Railway Station and Ongar (Two Brewers) via Lower Dunton Road, Bulpham, East Horndon, Herongate or Little Warley (The Greyhound), Brentwood, Pilgrims Hatch, Kelvedon Hatch, Stondon Massey and Blackmore.

Philip Stevens adds, “When Westcliff Motor Services took over the services in the Brentwood area from City Coach Company, the route that became known as 260 ran in many different combinations. That same configuration remained when Eastern National took over Westcliff. Officially, the main route was Laindon Railway Station to Ongar. In reality, I'm not certain that any bus undertook this [journey] in its entirety. Buses tended to run in varying sections: Ongar to Brentwood (Selo Works) via Blackmore, Ongar to Selo Works via Kelvendon Common, Laindon to Warley Water Works, Brentwood to Herongate (Old Dog) and Brentwood to Little Warley. (The section from Ongar to Brentwood was also covered by LT Country route 339.) At that time, Route 261 ran from Brentwood (Woodman Road) to Stondon Church. Presumably, it was to simplify route 260 that the new numbering system was introduced.”

There were maybe a total of sixteen stops in all on each side of the road within London Transport territory, thus making these “E” plates rather rare. They would have been displayed at Warley (Fords), Brentwood Station, High Street and (I think) the stop at Ongar Road & North Road, after which the 261 peeled off right (and out of London Transport jurisdiction) towards Bishops Hall and the country route to Blackmore and Ongar. Then back in to LT territory at four stops in Ongar: Four Wantz, Station, High Street and the pub. 261 EASTERN NATIONAL
261 EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National route 263 was an infrequent service between Brentwood and St. Vincent’s Hamlet via South Weald. (“Thank you” to Caroline Pond for the information.) Route 265 is described below.

It was quite rare for “E” plates to not have a dividing line between the route numbers.

263 265 EASTERN NATIONAL

264 EASTERN NATIONAL ALIGHTING POINT

The 264 was a Brentwood town service (High Street–‘White Horse’–Hutton Village) and, as such, was unaffected by the London Transport Special Area provisions, the “E” plate featured, therefore, originating in Brentwood High Street. (All stops in Brentwood town centre were erected and maintained by London Transport—even those with exclusively ENOC services, which suggests that there may have been LT-style Eastern National stop flags—hence the typically LT style of the plates.)

I believe this “E” plate would have been displayed on “up” stops within the London Transport area, where ENOC did not have local carriage authority.


Eastern National route 265 ran from Bulphan to Brentwood Station. It replaced an all-day, hourly service of the 252 (plus one journey on route 261) from the Selo establishment (before the factory closed) via Woodman Road, also part of the mid- late-’60s route recastings.

In common with the route 264 “E” plate, this one almost undoubtedly comes from Brentwood High Street (or possibly the request half-way down Kings Road). Nonetheless, it is a very nice example of the rare indeed five-line “E” plate!

265 BRENTWOOD STATION WOODMAN ROAD EASTERN NATIONAL

266 EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National route 266 ran from Warley or Brentwood (station or High Street) to Blackmore and this “E” plate will likely have come from the long common section between Warley and Kelvedon Hatch (which was covered by Country Area route 339). However, since the 339 used to run shorts from Brentwood to Coxtie Green and the 266 has covered this section at certain times (’though mostly as a replacement for withdrawn 339 journeys), the plate might also have come from a location on Coxtie Green Road.


Eastern National routes 305, 306 and 309 all ran in the Bishops Stortford area. The 305 provided just a couple of journeys on Mondays to Saturdays between Bishops Stortford (Station Road) and Langley (Lower Green) via Manuden, Clavering and Sheepcote Green. The 306 also provided just a couple of journeys from Bishops Stortford to Langley, but ran instead via Stanstead, Ugley, Quendon, Newport, Wicken Bonhunt and Clavering. Route 309 is described below.

All split “E” plates are rather uncommon, but this one is especially interesting as it is a triple-split plate which only occured in places where there was a great many routes serving one stop. Obviously this would have been in Bishops Stortford town centre, and these Eastern National route numbers may not have appeared on very many stops at all. This is an astonishingly rare example.

305 306 309 EASTERN NATIONAL

309 EASTERN NATIONAL

Eastern National route 309 was a local route in Bishop’s Stortford. It does not seem to have been running in 1952, but in 1957 it provided a fairly sparse six-day-a-week service between South Street (Eastern National Office) and Heath Road (junction with Northolt Avenue). By 1961 it provided a frequent interval service on Mondays to Saturday (and less frequently on Sunday afternoons) between Station Road and Heath Row Junction (Parsonage Lane) with certain services being extended on school days to Havers Land Estate. By 1965 the route had been altered again with a revised non-interval service running, in the main, from Havers Lane Estate (Ward Crescent) to Heath Row (Manston Drive) via Station Road. The route was still operating in 1975, ’though only on weekdays.

My guess is that this “E” plate would have been on a stop in Bishop’s Stortford town centre.


Eastern National route 351 ran from Wood Green Depôt, London, to Chelmsford via Walthamstow, Romford and Brentwood.

The second “E” plate would likely have been displayed at stops that were compulsory only for London Transport buses.

351 EASTERN NATIONAL 351 EASTERN NATIONAL BY REQUEST

401 EASTERN NATIONAL
401 EASTERN NATIONAL SUMMER ONLY

Eastern National route 401 was renumbered from X11 on 18 April 1971. One limited stop return journey was provided on Saturdays and Sundays (also Monday to Friday during the summer) from Enfield via Edmonton, Walthamstow, Leyton, Snaresbrook and Newbury Park, then the same as route 400 (via Romford, Gidea Park, Laindon, Basildon, Pitsea, Benfleet and Westcliff) to Southend. (A Gants Hill stop [was] added later). Passengers were not carried for journeys entirely within London. After September 1972 the 401 was withdrawn during winter months. It last ran on 7 September 1974. (It was advertised to run 15 June to 6 September 1975, but believed not to have operated.)

East of Gants Hill the 400 (previously X10) and 401 had joint plates, so these two were probably from Enfield or Edmonton. The SUMMER ONLY plate dates from 1973.


Eastern National route 402 was one of several innovative services which sprang up followng the opening of the Dartford Tunnel. It ran with limited stops only between Dartford and Southend via the Dartford Tunnel, Grays, Basildon, Tarpots, Hadleigh, Leigh and Westcliff, and was confined to just two return trips daily. Along with other attempts to operate a viable local cross-Thames service, it ultimately proved unsuccessful, but did offer the curiosity of sighting Tilling green ENOC buses alongside red London Transport buses in Dartford, both of which stood out from the sea of Lincoln green LT country buses there. Other routes which have been tried were the LT Tunnel Express (which also carried cycles in a specially modified fleet of buses), London Transport 300 (Grays–Dartford), and Green Line/Southend Transport joint service 795 (Southend–Brighton, running from approximately 1981 to 1995). More recently the link passed to Arriva who report more success with their current Grays–Bluewater shopping centre service.

402 EASTERN NATIONAL
I believe that these plates came from either Grays or Dartford.
402 EASTERN NATIONAL
402 EASTERN NATIONAL
The lettering on this “E” plate is the much rarer light (almost NBC) green.
Eastern Scottish Omnibuses Ltd.
EASTERN SCOTTISH
Andrew Colebourne writes, “This 1976 timetable for the Scottish express services shows the following pick-up and set-down points in the London Transport area: Victoria Coach Station, Golders Green (925/927 Finchley Road northbound, 648/650 Finchley Road southbound), North Finchley (Kingsway), Welwyn Garden City (53/54 Old Great North Road) and Stevenage (White Lion). There are two journeys each way serving Golders Green, but as they are Glasgow services I presume they would have been worked by Western SMT. I am pretty certain that the northbound express coach stop had a non-LT sign; I do not remember there being a southbound sign. It is interesting that the North Finchley stop is shown as ‘Kingsway’ in both directions, since the road was one way. This suggests northbound coaches either did a loop around the one-way system or approached from the High Road rather than Ballards Lane. (The opposite would apply to southbound coaches if continuing their journey via the High Road.) Ignoring the coaches that run direct via the M1, you will see that Edinburgh coaches, which are likely to have been Eastern Scottish services, stop at all the points above except Golders Green. (I wonder why?) A 1980 timetable shows that the Stevenage stop had changed to the LCBS bus garage, and there was also a stop shown as Hendon (Way)—a little imprecise!—for two of the Edinburgh services that ran via the M1.”

Eastern Scottish Omnibuses was originally the SMT Eastern division of the Scottish Motor Traction Company Ltd., which was formed in 1905. The Eastern Scottish name was adopted in the 1970s. Deregulated in 1986, the company was privatised in 1999 and became First Edinburgh. Its operating area spanned the Lothians, bounded (in anticlockwise order) by Edinburgh, Airdrie, Hawick, Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Firth of Forth. The company also participated in Scottish Citylink express work from Edinburgh to London and other points in England and Scotland.

Eastlander Coaches

The members of Eastlander Coaches varied over the years: in the 15 June 1968 London Transport local guide for Harlow it was a consortium of Associated Motorways, Bunty Coaches, Grey Green Coaches and Premier Travel, offering a Felixstowe to Cheltenham service which called at Harlow Bus Station. There was also service from Clacton to Cheltenham which called at Bishops Stortford, Tring and Aylesbury (and no doubt other places in the Country Area).

B(R)C(R) stop for Eastern National, Eastlander Coaches and Green Line
This combined bus & coach request stop would have been located on the outskirts of Bishops Stortford.
EASTLANDER
This “E” plate came from the stop illustrated to the left. It is a rare instance of two sizes of lettering for one message.
EASTLANDER
Note the unusual, taller condensed lettering on this “E” plate.
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