Other Operators: A–D

Last updated 7-2-10.

A green lettering on white background scheme was normally used for “foreign” bus companies who operated into the London Transport area. As LT was responsible for all bus and coach stops in its territory, it produced these special “E” plates on behalf of those companies.

Aldershot & District

Aldershot & District service 1 operated between Aldershot (Bus Station) and Egham Station via Farnborough, Frimley, Camberley, Bagshot, Sunningdale, Virginia Water and Englefield Green. It basically ran hourly, daily, although in its latter years only Monday through Saturday. Thanks to Colin Grafham for this information, who adds, “I lived in Englefield Green and often caught this service to Egham, as an alternative to London Transport’s routes 441 or 441C, in order to connect with London Transport’s route 117 (Egham Station–Hounslow).”

This is an especially rare and interesting “E” plate as although it is for another operator—which is why it is green—the FARE STAGE is in black. Indeed, it was unusual to show fare stages for other companies. In addition, the route served only a limited number of stops in London, and even fewer would have been fare stages, so this is probably an exceedingly rare version.

Although this “E” plate is rather vague, it may refer to Aldershot & District’s express service “A”, which ran between London (Victoria Coach Station) and Farnham via Kensington, Hammersmith, Turnham Green, Osterley, Staines, Egham, Virginia Water, Sunningdale, Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley, Farnborough and Aldershot.

This “E” plate appears to be very old: the edges have rusted a little which has slightly discoloured the surface. The previous owner asks “Why ‘A & D’ instead of ‘Aldershot & District’?”; though “E” plates also exist for Aldershot & District routes 48 and 48A that have the A & D heading.

Alder Valley

Alder Valley was formed in 1972 from the merger of Thames Valley and Aldershot & District. It survived privatisation and several changes of ownership until 1992 when the name disappeared into Stagecoach Hants & Surrey. These “E” plates would have been found in an area west of London where their services mixed with those from London Country Bus Service after 1970.

Thanks to Paul Davis of High Wycombe for information about Alder Valley routes. If anyone can more details, I will be happy to add to the descriptions.

High Wycombe bus stop flag

The first five “E” plates below are likely to be quite rare as I believe the routes only ran together with LCBS services on one street in High Wycombe. The photo shows the stop flag from where they came from. Also unusual is the appearance of 3xx and 4xx routes on the same flag, as the first series was for routes running north of the Thames, the latter for those south of the river (but the 455 was an exception to that rule).

Route 305 ran from High Wycombe to Uxbridge via Chalfont St. Giles, route 326 from Mill End Road to Micklefield Estate via High Wycombe, route 441 from High Wycombe to Staines, and route 455 between High Wycombe and Uxbridge direct.

Paul Davis adds:

I always thought 3xx was south and 4xx was north like most people. However, I have been told by a local expert that in fact groups of route numbers were allocated to whatever they called the head garage in the groups of garages. Thus 3xx and 4xxx went south/north of the Thames. But… Wycombe had over the years been tied to Garston and Windsor. So 442 and 455 were presumably spare route numbers made available to Windsor and its satellite garages at times when Wycombe needed a spare number and its “Head Office” was Windsor.

Alder Valley route 20 provided a regular daily service between High Wycombe (Bus Station) and Windsor Central Station via Wycombe Marsh, Loudwater, Wooburn Green, Bourne End, Cookham, Boulters Lock, Maidenhead and Fifield. One bus per hour was numbered 20A and served Hatch Bridge instead of Fifield.

This is a standard example of a split “E” plate where the operator’s name is shown once, and came from a bus stop in High Wycombe.



Alder Valley routes 25, 25A and 25B were High Wycombe to Flackwell Heath.

This is a standard example of a split “E” plate where the operator’s name is shown once, and came from a stop in High Wycombe.

Alder Valley route 28 was a daily service, from High Wycombe to Reading (now 328 with Arriva).



Alder Valley routes 29 and 29A took the same roads as the 28, but only ran to Marlow. The 29A was a peak hours variant via Cressex Industrial estate.

These two plates are a variation of the standard split “E” plate where the operator name is shown once, but with an unusual off-centre horizontal line betwenn 29 and 29A. They came from a bus stop in High Wycombe. (See the photo above of the stop before the plates were removed.)

Alder Valley route 42 ran from Wycombe Marsh to Bookerhill Road, providing additional service along the core of Alder Valley’s 26 and London Country 326.



Alder Valley’s route 48A ran between Camberley and Chertsey Bridge, running a short distance into the London Transport area at Addlestone.

Aldershot & District (predecessor to Alder Valley) route 48A timetable, dated 22 December, 1958. Size is 12" × 10" (approximately 30 cm by 25 cm).

Aldershot & District route 48A timetable

Alder Valley’s route 201 was a lengthy and infrequent service, operating five or six trips a day except Sundays between Basingstoke and Heathrow Airport via Camberley, Egham and Staines. This “E” plate will probably have come from either Egham or Heathrow. (Thanks to Rick Squirrell for this information.)


“E” plates with the operator’s name above the route number are more unusual.
This “E” plate is particularly notable in that it is black on the reverse.
Notice the sublte variation in colour in the text of these three “E” plates.

Alder Valley ran express buses between London and Reading during the 1980s.

One or more of these plates may well have come from Heathrow bus station where the 310 and 300 converged. The ALDER VALLEY 300 310 may possible be the single most common non-London Transport “E” plate.

The Alder Valley LondonLink group of routes ran between Victoria and Reading, I believe, and the different numbers represented different routeings. Some routes may have finished at other towns.

The first “E” plate is a particularly unusual one as it shows three route numbers and an operator’s name. It probably came from one of the intermediate London stops at Hyde Park Corner, Kensington or Hammersmith.

300 310 311 ALDER VALLEY


Alder Valley route 320 was renumbered from service “C” on 23rd May 1976, and ran between London (Victoria) and Farnham via Staines. It was again renumbered, this time to X20 on 13th April 1980, lasting just under four years.

As can be seen by these two examples, there was great variation on the green colour used on “E” plates.

Birch Bros logoBirch Bros. logoBirch Brothers Limited

Birch Bros., Limited was formed in 1899 by 52-year-old John Manley Birch and his two-year-younger sibling William Samuel. The company operated horse omnibuses, taxicabs and Royak Mail vans in London, performed mail and parcel cartage from London to Brighton and Oxford; and also engaged in coach building. For a brief period in the mid-1910s over a dozen motorbuses were operated,

More at Peter Gould’s Local Transport History, Albert William McCall’s Green Line: the history of London’s country bus services, the Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page, Peter Roberts’ Countrybus, and Rushden & District History Society Research Group’s Rushden Research.

Birch Bros. K45
Photos of Provincial operators’ vehicles at London Transport stops are quite rare. Birch Bros’ K45 was caught at St. Ippolyts on a short working of service 204 from Hitchin to Whitwell on a dreary 12th October 1968. 45AUW was a 1960 AEC Reliance with a C43F Duple Britannia body.
Photo © The Bus Gallery by Nigel Hall.

Birch Bros. K214
◀ Birch Bros. K214 [LXV214] was the fifth of six buses (K210-K215) purchased in 1951. It was a Guy Arab III with chassis number FD70070 and a Willowbrook FH27/26F body. It carried the name Sidney Godolphin, and was withdrawn in 1962. It is seen here waitng at King’s Cross (Judd Street Coach Station).
1949 fare and timetable for route 203, Commencing 9/1/49 (Reprint 26/5/49). ▶
Birch Bros. K214

Birch Bros’s route 203 ran daily between London (King’s Cross) and Rushden stopping only at Highgate (Junction Road), North Finchley (Tally Ho Corner), Barnet Church, Ganwick Corner and Potters Bar, then via Hatfield, Welwyn, Codicote, St. Ippolytts, Hitchin, Henlow, Shefford, Cotton End, Cardington, Bedford, Clapham, Milton Earnest and Sharnbrook. In 1959 part of the 203 was rerouted via the newly-opened M1 motorway and renumbered 203M. The 203 (and 203M) ceased running in September 1969 when the company withdrew from stage carriage work and the service was sold to United Counties, the 203M being renumbered 250.

This rare “E” plate sold for £637.99 on ebay in January 2010.

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