London Transport
Other Stop Flags

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Information contributed by Andrew Colebourne, Mike Harris, Matthew Keyte, Kim Rennie and Keith Williams

Trams & Trolleybuses Buses Coaches Red Arrow Other Services Information Other Signs
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RED ARROW

RED ARROW COMPULSORY

The first Red Arrow stops bore the legend PAY AS YOU ENTER, but they were later replaced with a somewhat more “standard” stop flag design. However, as coloured backgrounds with white bulls-eyes normally denoted request stops, I feel the example to the right would have been a better style of Red Arrow compulsory. ▶

The special Red Arrow flags were withdrawn after being criticised as “ineffective and confusing” in an 1974 London Transport report. However; Leon Daniels adds, “I have also seen a document which clearly refers to the fact that London Transport’s ordinary bus (and coach) stop flags were exempted from the Department of Environment’s standard bus stop flag design which were approved under the Traffic Signs Regulations when they became road signs in the early 1970s. The document—I can recall it clearly—says that there was no such exemption for Red Arrow bus stop flags and [as] such it was not legal to use them. Shortly afterwards they were replaced by standard flags.” So, was the internal LT report merely window dressing to cover a bad design decision, or was the DoE rule change the final nail in the coffin?

RED ARROW PAY ENTER
A(C)
Red Arrow poster
An enlargement of a poster issued in 1967 to publicise the original route 500 Red Arrow service between Victoria and Oxford Street, featuring a photograph of one of the original Red Arrow bus stops. The “G” plate on the stop is also unusual in that there is lower-case lettering on it—in fact, I cannot think of any other that was not all in capitals!
RED ARROW COMPULSORY
A(C)
RED ARROW REQUEST
B(C)A(R)
BUS COMPULSORY COACH COMPULSORY RED ARROW COMPULSORY
B(C)C(C)A(C)
RT 3840 in Regent Street
This triple bus/coach/Red Arrow example was in Regent Street northbound, north of Piccadilly Circus between Swallow Street and Vigo Street. It was photographed in August 1972 with RT 3840 [NXP 847] loading up for a journey on the 15.
Phil Picken photograph; Andrew Colebourne collection
BUS REQUEST RED ARROW REQUEST
B(R)A(R)
◀ I had been informed that this style only existed as a temporary paper flag and that no enamelled versions were known to be made, but then this fine example (complete with spaces for three “E” plates) sold on ebay for £211.61 in May 2007.

BUS REQUEST RED ARROW REQUEST


OTHER SERVICES

COACH REQUEST
 
LONDON TRANSPORT VEHICLES DO NOT SERVE THIS STOP

Assuming that Mr. Williams’ memory and description are accurate, this would then be a rare (or possibly unique?) example of a white “G” plate with black lettering.

Keith Williams writes:

“On the Uxbridge Road Ealing, westbound between Ealing Broadway and West Ealing, was a coach stop in LT mode, and almost certainly from the same manufacturer, but it was for non-LT coaches such as the Crosville overnight service to Liverpool and the South Midland services to Oxford, both of which I caught from that stop. It was identical in shape to the LT standard issue, but it was in black and white only. I’m afraid it was so long ago now that I cannot remember any more about it. For the return London-bound services the stop was nearer to Ealing Broadway, but as I only ever got off there, I didn’t spend any time studying it.

“I think it had the LT roundel (memory is failing me) in white on a black or very dark background, and I think the bar read UNITED COACH SERVICES (which would make sense if it was used by both South Midland and Crosville) with a plate underneath stating words to the effect that LONDON TRANSPORT SERVICES DO NOT SERVE THIS STOP, but I assumed it had the LT roundel as it was within the LT area and this stop was only used for scheduled services. Also, I think where the timetable would have been, the same message was posted.

“What was in Ealing in the ’50s and ’60s was something which looked as if it had been manufactured by LT attached to an LT concrete post, although there were of course no other signs on it as LT vehicles didn’t use it. I last used it in 1967 [at the] latest, if not ’66, and moved down to Sussex so never saw it again. I do wish my memory was better.

“I know the plate had black letters on a white background, (although your drawing looks better [than] it did in reality) and I also think the plate was separated from the stop sign by a gap of about 2 inches. From memory, London-bound services set down nearer Ealing Broadway and in the timetable it said ‘Ealing Broadway, Christ Church’. I am not sure there even was a stop sign there, as it was just a setting down point; services from Oxford and Liverpool would never have been allowed to pick up there for routes terminating in London. Does anyone have a 1960-era Crosville or South Midland timetable?”

I am reliably informed that only four of these were ever made: London Transport enamel flags, but made solely for National Express coach stops. On regular stops LT used National Express “E” plates, but this flag is from a point on the Old Kent Road (in southeast London) exclusive to National Express coaches only. Being within the Greater London boundary, LT obviously thought it appropiate to have the flag in their own distinctive style. The flag shown below retains its unique LT bus stop reference plate, still screwed into the recess on the underside: the number is 35060.

NATIONAL EXPRESS

NATIONAL EXPRESS


INFORMATION

AUTHORISED BUSES ONLY

I’ve always assumed that this early LRT-era bus stand design was introduced because the previous bullesye-derived pattern was too easily confused with a public stop where passengers could board. Apparently it was not too succesful, as it was replaced by a more conventional design.

RF 79 on route 418 at Wood Street lay-by, Kingston

Nick Bailey photo; www.webshots.com
DMS 1414 on route 213 at Wood Street lay-by, Kingston
Clive Brown photo, October 1978
BOARDING POINT FOR BUSES

Andrew Colebourne found these photographs taken in Kingston at the Wood Street stand (next to the station). Of interest is the BOARDING POINT FOR BUSES sign on the left, mounted on a Birmingham Guild pole. It is a particularly interesting variation on the bus stop flag, and has space for six “E” plates, though none were fitted in 1977 at the time of the picture of RF79 by Nick Bailey on the Webshots site.

BOARDING POINT 4
Rover Bus Service LBL701
Geoffrey Tribe photo; 23 September 1972.

The interesting stop beside Rover Bus Service’s LBL701 at Hemel Hempstead Bus Station appears to be a pre-war style flag with four “E” plates fitted: besides the obvious one for ROVER, there are also two destinated ones for the 307 and 317, plus a plain 318.

In the last few years Transport for London has reintroduced bus-stop-sized boarding point identification signs in bus stations. Besides Kingston (as shown in the photo), they can also be seen at Orpington Station, among other places.

TA 264 on route 57 at Kingston’s Fairfield Bus Station
TA 264 [LG02FCX] is seen here at Kingston’s Fairfield Bus Station, on route 57 for Streatham Hill, about to depart from boarding point B1.
Colin Grafham photo
B2

THIS STOP TEMPORARILY OUT OF USE
These covers were used when a stop was not being used for a short period of time—either when a diversion was in effect for some reason, or when a newly-introduced service had not begun running yet.
The newer version of stop cover is made of aluminum with a vinyl sicker that incorporates the Buses roundel and bears a slightly more polite message.
WE REGRET THAT THIS BUS STOP IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF USE
 WE REGRET THIS STOP IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF USE - Buses stop   yards further on A more recent vinyl sticker that could also be placed on a metal cover. The number indicating the distance is yet another self-adhesive label.
More recently vinyl covers were introduced. Presumably they are less expensive to produce and—because of their bright colour— easier to notice.
THIS STOP TEMPORARILY OUT OF USE


OTHER SIGNS

This larger type of sign was fixed to wooden shelters and was therefore more common in outer suburban and country areas. Their use was widespread, and were in addition to the Bus Stop sign which would be erected alongside the shelter.

FAIR CROSS HENDON THE BELL PUTNEY HEATH
RM 70 on route 5 at Fair Cross
For some years FAIR CROSS was the destination used on bus blinds for journeys from the north to Barking Garage [BK].
Lens of Sutton photo; RM5469
Hendon The Bell
At the date of the photograph the Bell had ceased to be a regular terminal point and thus the (offside) stand in the background would be used only for short workings. Today its use has ceased altogether in favour of the nearby Brent Green stand and kerb alterations have been made making turning difficult.
Andrew Colebourne photo
Putney Heath (Green Man)
The bus stop at Putney Heath with the name sign on the shelter was formerly a BUS & COACH stop and hence had red and green finials, but by the date of the picture (22nd March 1981) the Green Line service had been withdrawn and the flag replaced.
Andrew Colebourne photo
ST MARGARETS HOSPITAL LATIMER LANE DUNTON GREEN
St. Margarets Hospital is in Epping, and was served by routes 20, 20B, 339, 381 and 396. I used to think that these signs always had bullseyes with red rings, but there is a picture of Richard Proctor (owner and restorer of RLH48) and his “conductor” Mike Sheppy holding a LATIMER LANE sign with a green ring roundel on page 10 of the December 2005 Bus and Coach Preservation magazine.
RCL 2257 on route 431D at Dunton Green

This one’s a bit more unusual. At first I thought it would be a green LONDON TRANSPORT roundel, but a closer examination reveals that the bar says BUS & COACH STOP, so it presuambly is red and green.
E. Shirras photo; RM5469

This was probably the largest permanent enamel sign used for London Transport buses (apart from the red TO BUSES sign in Turnpike Lane booking hall). There had been two of each on each side of Minories bus station, but the west side one survived longest, I think. Unfortunately, this image is from a faded slide of what was then a faded sign in poor condition. Up to the mid-80s so many of these oddities were still remaining in both the LT and London Country areas. Of course now it’s all too late!.

Kim Rennie photo

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