Other Operators: T–Z

Last updated 02-04-10.

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

The Thames Valley Traction Company Limited was formed in 1920 and covered a service area encompassing Reading and Maidenhead, later extending to Newbury and Bracknell. It ran into the London Transport area mainly at Slough and High Wycombe. In 1972 it was merged with the Aldershot & District Traction Company Limited, becoming the Thames Valley and Aldershot Omnibus Company and trading under the fleet name Alder Valley.

1931 Thames Valley timetable
Official Time Table effective JAN. 1st to MAR. 31st, 1931 AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. It is 6" × 5" and was issued gratis. Its 80 pages are in the usual format with Regulations, Parcel Agents, Index, Cheap Return Fares, Private Hire, Booking Offices & Agencies, Timings of all services, Reading, Wycombe Wanderers, Slough & Maidenhead Football Club fixtures for 1930/31, local adverts of the day, and a centre page system map.
1954 Thames Valley timetable
This 1948 timetable is dated Saturday 2nd October, but the year has been omitted! It contains 172 pages with a small fold-out map inserted inside the rear cover. Railway timetables are a separate insert on stiff paper.
1954 Thames Valley timetable
A Thames Valley timetable dated October 30th 1954. Its 186 pages include the South Midland express services, train information and fares, and the usual small fold-out map inserted in rear cover.
1965 Thames Valley timetable
Thames Valley bus timetable for July 3rd, 1965. Still priced at one shilling, it has grown to 220 pages.

Thames 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.

The split “E” plate could have come from a busy stop in any of the places where London Transport ran: High Wycombe, Slough or Windsor, although most likely from Slough.



The 25 was a short route and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Bourne End (Post Office) and High Wycombe (Bus Station) via Flackwell Heath, Loudwater and Wycombe Marsh. This plate would therefore have come from one of the few stops in High Wycombe town centre. Needless to say it is a rather uncommon “E” plate.

Andrew Chilcott supplied the following information:

“The October 1965 LT Road & Rail Guide for Windsor and district offers the following:

92: Reading–Wokingham–Binfield Village–Bracknell–Windsor
92A: Reading–Wokingham–Binfield Village–Bracknell–Ascot–Windsor.

A timetable is given, but as this is of the ‘composite’ type it includes four other Thames Valley routes (90, 90A, 91 and 91A). It is therefore not possible to isolate a frequency for these two routes, but the overall pattern was a 30-minute headway Monday to Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and hourly on Sunday mornings. In Windsor (which is presumably the most likely location for these ‘E’ plates), the routeing was from Central station via High Street, Sheet Street, Frances Road, St. Leonard’s Road and Winkfield Road, thence off to the town’s hospital. As far as St. Leonard’s Road these two routes shared stops with no fewer than 14 other services.”



These “E” plates are for four routes running in the Country Area of London Transport which were operated I believe by either Thames Valley or Aldershot & District, where they were the majority operator; hence the plates do not carry the operator name, nor are they in green. They could not have been for London Transport’s Central bus routes 211, 216, 217 or 218, as these routes did not run together. Nevertheless, they are very interesting combinations for split plates, and are not to be seen very often. “E” plates with three route numbers are particularly unusual.

Thames Valley service A has it’s origins in Robert Thackray’s 1929 “Thackray’s Way” route between London (Oxford Circus) and Reading (Colonnade Coach Station) via Chiswick, Staines, Egham, Sunningdale, Ascot, Bracknell and Wokingham. It was discontinued in 1931 when the Traffic Commissioners refused to grant a Road Service License. Thames Valley reintroduced the route after the War, designating it Service “A” for Ascot and now running from Victoria Coach Station with seven return journeys daily. Operation was taken over by Alder Valley upon its formation on 1st January 1972.

Although most ALIGHTING POINT “E” plates came from terminals, this one would likely have come from an “up” stop, as no local carriage was allowed within the London Transport area.

An eight-page leaflet from February 1st, 1936. It gives the timetable, fares and other information for the Luxury Coach Service from Reading to London. Its folded size is approximately 8¾" by 5½", opening out to about 22" by 8¾".
Not all the Thames Valley A and B plates were replaced when the two companies merged in 1972. The stops at Royal Albert Hall and inbound at High Street Kensington still referred to Thames Valley, but the plates at Knightsbridge Barracks had been changed for Alder Valley ones. The one on the left was noted still in situ in May 1976. Interestingly, the outbound stop at High Street Kensington had a combined plate.

Thames Valley Service B started running in 1930 as Ledbury Transport’s “Thackray’s Way” route between London (Oxford Circus) and Reading (Cheapside) via Colnbrook, Langley, Slough, Cippenham, Maidenhead and Twyford. In 1933 the London terminus was moved from Oxford Circus to King’s Cross. In 1935 Thackray sold his operation to Thames Valley, but it continued to be operated as a separate subsidiary. The service was suspended between 1942 and 1946 for the duration of the War. It resumed as Service B, now running from Victoria Coach Station to Reading via Kensington, Hammersmith, Turnham Green, Osterley, Cranford, London Airport North, Colnbrook, Slough and Maidenhead. In 1949 Ledbury Transport was dissolved, and the route became a Thames Valley service. After the amalgamation of Thames Valley and Aldershot & District bus companies, it became Alder Valley route 310 in 1976, providing a limited-stop service between Hammersmith and Colnbrook (Plough Inn) via the Great West Road and the M4, Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, Heathrow Airport North, Bath Road and the Colnbrook By-pass. It was withdrawn in the late ’70s when Alder Valley revamped its London express services.

United Counties Omnibus Ltd.

In the 1963 Luton area local timetable, Luton & District route 12 ran between Luton (Vauxhall Works) and Biscot Mill during Monday to Friday rush hours and lunchtimes with one morning journey on Saturdays. However, this L&D route may not have been the one that became United Counties route 12, and I have been advised (many thanks) that by 1965 route 12 ran a local service in Luton between Round Green and Roman Road via Park Square, with some journeys to Vauxhall Works. This route was parallel to London Transport routes 364/364A for a short distance and may have been the one that became United Counties route 12.

1950 United Counties timetable
◀ This Bus Timetable dated 15 January 1950 contains 200 pages, plus a fold-out map.
This timetable booklet, issued by the United Counties Omnibus Company Limited, giving details of their bus services in the Eastern Area, from 14th February, 1954, until further notice. It contains 156 pages, and the size is approximately 8¼ inches by 5¼ inches. It has a fold-out route map inside the rear cover. ▶
1954 United Counties timetable


This United Counties “E” plate could have been on stops in the Luton or Dunstable areas, or possibly other stops towards central London.

A four page leaflet, issued by the United Counties Omnibus Co Ltd. It contains timetables, fares and other information for their Express Coach Services (Service X1) from Nottingham to Leicester, Northampton and London. It was current from 29th September, 1958 until 14th May, 1959. Page size is approximately 10" by 5½".

Walton-on-Thames Motor Company Ltd.

The Walton-on-Thames Motor Company was a small independent operator in Surrey that started a service in 1923 between Walton-on-Thames and Walton Station. Unaccountably, it was not taken over by the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, although the Country Area department acquired a Dennis Ace [CPF 349] from them around 1937. In November 1970 the route was acquired by Golden Miller and extended to Oatlands Village as their 604; however, it was not a success and was withdrawn.

Wernher Collection Special Bus
1966 Luton Hoo timetable
A copy of the special Luton Hoo Wernher Collection timetable taken from the local Luton road and rail timetable booklet dated 2 October 1966. The map shows it ran out of the Luton Bus Station (which closed on Sunday 6 January 2008)—as did the 365 and 366—as far as Park Road where those routes turned left to Viaduct Arches. At that left turn this service carried straight on through the Lodge gate and into Luton Hoo Park. The same timetable is shown in subsequent issues (with slight dates of operation variations) up to and including the 19 February 1972 issue—the last of such publications, so I don’t know when it finished. The operator is simply shown as The Special Bus.
There must have been very very few “E” plates for this service. They are an unusual shade of blue that is only known to have been used in one other instance, for an Eastern National pair that may be a manufacturer’s error.

Luton Hoo, located 2½ miles (4 km) southeast of Luton, is a handsome country mansion begun by Robert Adam in 1767 and completed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1816. It was rebuilt between 1903 and 1907 following a fire. It housed a splendid art collection assembled by Sir Harold Wernher, which included fine jewelry, Goblin tapestries, porcelain, 18th century furniture and works by Rembrandt, Memling, Constable, Reynolds and Titian. The superb gardens were designed by Capability Brown. The collection is now displayed at Ranger’s House, London. The mansion is no longer open to the general public, and the estate, including the country house, has been converted into a luxury hotel.

An limited-stop or express service operated to Luton Hoo from Luton (Midland Road Station) to the Manor House via Park Square. The service was seasonal, running Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. In later years I think a Victoria–Luton Hoo service was started up as a Green Line Summer Special, but nothing so far has surfaced to confirm this. It probably ran one season only, as something in the back of my mind tells me that the service was withdrawn mid-season for whatever reason.

Western Scottish Motor Traction Company Ltd.

Western SMT (or Western Scottish Motor Traction Co., to give its full name) was formed in 1929 from the renamed Scottish General Transport Co. Ltd, after the 1913 British Electric Traction subsidiary was acquired by the Scottish Motor Traction group. Its operations covered a wide area of southwest Scotland, including Glasgow, Dumfries, Ayr, Kilmarnock and Wigtown. The SMT group was nationalised in 1949, and Western SMT became part of SBG (the Scottish Bus Group). In 1985 the company was split into Western Scottish and Clydeside Scottish before being privatised.

A 132-page bus timetable effective 1st October 1954 to 31st May 1955.
Timetable booklet for October 1973, including express coach services. It contains 452 pages with a fold-out route map.
This plate would have been used on a stop where Western SMT picked up for their long-distance express services to and from London. It would probably have come from one of the major interchanges north of Victoria on the coach routes to the A1/M1: Golders Green or Watford would be good bets.
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