FOREIGN & MISCELLANEOUS BADGES
(and other things)
We all have ’em: a closet or drawer where we stuff all the miscellaneous things we have collected over the years. Well, this page is my website’s closet, where I’ve placed foreign transit badges and some miscellaneous curiosities that don’t fit into the theme of the main website, which is centered on collecting North American transit badges. Speaking of foreign transit badges, it’s my somewhat lofty hope to one day have separate pages dedicated to specific countries. But, for now, the meager offerings found here are mostly courtesy of visitors to this site, for which I am sincerely grateful. So, you’re welcome to poke around my closet to see what you might find!
TRANSIT BADGES FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM
UNITED KINGDOM BADGE COLLECTION These photos were sent by Andrew Trow of Wigan, (Greater Manchester) U.K. and are from his collection:
ALDERSHOT & DISTRICT TRACTION COMPANY, LIMITED was a major bus company operating services in East Hampshire, West Surrey and parts of adjoining counties for sixty years during the 20th century, from 1912 until 1972 when it became part of Alder Valley. Aldershot & District was inaugurated on 24 July 1912 when the British Automobile Traction Company Limited (a subsidiary of British Electric Traction Company – BET) bought the pioneering Aldershot & Farnborough Motor Omnibus Company Ltd, whose 5 buses had operated services between those two towns since 1906.
BIRMINGHAM & MIDLAND MOTOR OMNIBUS COMPANY See Midland Red.
GLASGOW CORPORATION TRANSPORT Glasgow Corporation Tramways (GCT) began operations in 1894, with a newly built fleet of horse trams. Electric trams were introduced in 1898 and by the mid 1920’s GCT had absorbed a number of neighbouring tramway systems, the Glasgow Subway and was starting to build up what would become a sizable number of buses to operate alongside the then huge tram fleet. In 1929 to reflect the various forms of transport now operated, the ‘Tramways’ title was changed to ‘Transport’. The subsequently made cap badges & most service badges reflected this change, but many old title badges remained in use. GCT tram operation ended in September 1962, thereafter the fleet consisted of motorbuses, trolleybuses and the subway system (renamed the ‘Underground’ in 1937). Local government reorganisation in 1973 brought the end of GCT and the newly formed Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive (GGPTE) took over the bus fleet and the Underground.
HANTS AND DORSET MOTOR SERVICES Hants & Dorset Motor Services was a stage carriage bus service operator in southern England, between 1920 and 1983. In 1916, the British Automobile Traction Company and others formed the Bournemouth & District Motor Services Limited. Following the purchase of Trade Cars of Southampton in 1920, the Hants & Dorset name was adopted. In that same year, the Tilling Group bought an interest in the company and from that year till 1929 Hants & Dorset grow rapidly.
In 1929, the Southern Railway took up its option to buy shares, under the terms of the Road & Rail Transport Act 1928, when the four railway companies were able to invest in bus operators. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, the network of Hants & Dorset bus services was largely complete. Hants & Dorset operated buses in Bournemouth, Poole, Southampton, Lymington, Fareham and Winchester. Hants & Dorset replaced the trams operated by Poole Corporation in 1934. The Southern Railway’s half-share in Hants & Dorset passed to the government-owned Transport Holding Company (THC) when the railway company was nationalised in 1948. British Automobile Traction sold its shares to the Tilling Group in 1942, who in turn sold out to British Associated Transport in 1949, and thus Hants & Dorset became 100% government owned. In the early- to mid-1980s, the National Bus Company, with an eye to the future, began disintegrating its larger operating subsidiaries, of which Hants & Dorset was one. So on 1 April 1983, Hants & Dorset Motor Services was divided into three operating companies: Wilts & Dorset, Provincial and Hampshire Bus. (Information from Wikipedia.)
LONDON GENERAL OMNIBUS COMPANY was the principal bus operator in London between 1855 and 1933. The London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) was founded in 1855 to amalgamate and regulate the many independent horse-drawn omnibus services then operating in London. Originally an Anglo-French enterprise, also known as the Compagnie Generale des Omnibus de Londres, the LGOC soon became the largest omnibus operator in London. It bought out hundreds of independently owned buses and established a consistent level of service for its fleet. Within a year, the LGOC controlled 600 of London’s 810 omnibuses. In 1933, the LGOC became part of the new London Passenger Transport Board. The name London General fell into disuse, and London Transport instead became synonymous with the red London bus. (Information from Wikipedia.) Several of the badges featured here were made J R GAUNT, London. The badge on the bottom, left, measures 3” across x 1 ½” down (about 76mm x 37mm). It was made by J. R. Gaunt, London. The badge on the far right, top row, is the earliest example known.
LONDON TRANSPORT was the public name and brand used by a series of public transport authorities in London, England from 1933. Its most recognizable feature was the bar-and-circle ’roundel’ logo. The badge pictured here is from my private collection and is made of sterling silver. The interesting feature is the hallmark that not only identifies the badge as sterling, but gives the date: 1933, meaning it was issued the first year of London Transport’s existence. This particular design is for an inspector.
MAIDSTONE & DISTRICT MOTOR SERVICES LTD. Maidstone & District Motor Services was a bus company based in Maidstone, Kent. The company operated bus and coach services in Mid and West Kent and East Sussex from 1911 until 1998. Maidstone & District became part of the National Bus Company (NBC) on 1 January 1969. The company’s surviving operations were absorbed into Arriva Southern Counties.
M&D was acquired by British Bus, who also owned the neighbouring Kentish Bus operation, on 13 April 1995. The Invictaway services were re-branded as Green Line. Vehicle replacements saw Bristol VRTs replaced by Olympians. In 1996, the Cowie Group acquired British Bus. A new livery, designed by Ray Stenning and based on M&D’s traditional green and cream including a stylised scroll fleetname, was introduced. It first appeared on a batch of Plaxton Pointer-bodied Dennis Dart SLFs, many of which were acquired under a Quality Partnership scheme with Kent County Council for three routes in Maidstone. The application of the new livery across the fleet was curtailed by the decision of the recently renamed Arriva group to introduced a corporate livery and rename its subsidiaries. In April 1998, the company became Arriva Kent & Sussex, which is now part of Arriva Southern Counties. In April 2013 Maidstone & District Motor Services Ltd., by then listed as a dormant company, was acquired by a small Norfolk operator, Dogwood Coaches, the owner of which originates from the Medway Towns. (Information from Wikipedia.)
MIDLAND RED / BIRMINGHAM & MIDLAND MOTOR OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD. was a bus company that operated in The Midlands from 1905 until 1981. It was one of the largest English bus companies, operating over a large area between Gloucester in the south and Derbyshire in the north, and from Northampton to the Welsh border. The company also manufactured buses.
In 1899 the British Electric Traction (BET) company acquired the assets of the Birmingham General Omnibus Company, which had been formed three years earlier to acquire a number of horse bus operations in Birmingham. When BET ordered new buses for Birmingham the next year, they were painted red to make them stand out. In 1902 BET acquired the City of Birmingham Tramways Company, which operated horse buses as well as trams.
The Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company, Ltd. was formed by local businessmen in November 1904 to operate motor bus services in Birmingham. When the directors failed to attract sufficient investors, BET acquired control of the new company, and in 1905 transferred its local horse bus operations to it. The company also acquired a motor bus company which had started in 1903. BMMO started operations under its own name in July 1905. However, the company experienced problems with its motor buses, and in 1907 reverted all its motor bus services to horse bus operation.
In 1912 the company purchased some Tilling-Stevens petrol-electric buses. Further motor buses followed, and by June 1913 only 17 horse buses remained. The company adopted for its motor buses the red livery used by Birmingham General, and the buses carried the fleetname “Midland”. They soon acquired the nickname Midland Red. (Information from Wikipedia.)
RED & WHITE SERVICES Red & White Services was a bus company operating in south east Wales and Gloucestershire, England between 1929 and 1978. In 1921 John Watts of Lydney, Gloucestershire, started two bus companies. One, Gloucestershire Transport, ran local bus services around Lydney. The other, The Valleys Motor Bus Services, ran buses around Tredegar in South Wales. Both companies expanded rapidly by acquiring nearby operators. In 1926 the Lydney business adopted the name Gloster (Red & White) Services. By 1928, the companies were operating buses between Gloucester, Hereford and South Wales. In 1929 John Watts formed Red & White Services Ltd to bring together the various bus companies he had formed or acquired.
Red & White evolved into Red & White United Transport Ltd, formed in 1937, which owned bus and road freight companies in the United Kingdom and southern Africa. When the group’s UK bus interests were sold to the British Transport Commission in 1950, the group changed its name to United Transport Company. (Info from Wikipedia.) The badge was made by J. R. Gaunt.
RIBBLE MOTOR SERVICES LTD. was a large regional bus operator in North West England based in Preston, Lancashire. Ribble Motor Services commenced operating in 1919, and grew to be the largest operator in the region, with a territory stretching from Carlisle in Cumberland to southern Lancashire. Ribble operated Cherry Red and Ivory liveried vehicles throughout its British Electric Traction Company Limited Group ownership, changing to Poppy Red for buses and white for coaches in 1972, 3 years after it had passed into the ownership of the nationalised operator National Bus Company when corporate liveries were introduced. (Information from Wikipedia.)
THAMES VALLEY TRACTION COMPANY LIMITED The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England, centred on the River Thames west of London, with Oxford as a major centre. Thames Valley Traction Company Limited was a major bus company operating services to and from Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Newbury, High Wycombe and Oxford and surrounding areas for 52 years in the 20th century. For many years it ran the “Reading A” and “Reading B” limited-stop services between London’s Victoria Coach Station and Reading via two differing sets of intermediate stops. In 1905 British Electric Traction (BET) founded a subsidiary, British Automotive Developments (BAD), to develop and operate motor buses. In 1912 BAD was renamed British Automobile Traction (BAT). In March 1915 BAT established a Reading Branch to operate buses in the area. By January 1920 it had been renamed the Thames Valley Branch, and in July 1920 it was constituted as a subsidiary company, Thames Valley Traction, with BAT holding 86% of the shares. The remaining 14% was initially held by Britain’s other large bus operating group, Thomas Tilling, as in the 1920s there was close co-operation between the two groups.
In 1928 BAT was reconstituted as Tilling & British Automobile Traction Ltd. Thames Valley expanded significantly in the 1920s and 1930s by buying a number of smaller firms and their routes. Tillings sold out to the British Transport Commission in 1948, thus becoming a nationalised company. Thames Valley’s expansion continued in the early 1950s, with other parts of the newly nationalised bus network (South Midland and Newbury and District from Red & White, and part of United Counties) being placed under Thames Valley management.
In 1968 Tillings’ major competitor, BET, sold its bus interests to the Transport Holding Company (successor to the BTC) and the Transport Act 1968 formed the National Bus Company, which came into existence on 1 January 1969, amalgamating the interests of The Tilling Group with the recently acquired BET Group. (Information from Wikipedia.)
ULSTER TRANSPORT AUTHORITY (UTA) ran rail and bus transport in Northern Ireland from 1948 until 1966. The badge measures approx. 35mm in diameter.
W. ALEXANDER & SONS LTD. was a bus operator and coach builder in Scotland. The company grew from small beginnings to become the largest bus operator in Scotland, and one of the largest in the U.K., by the time it was split up in 1961. Its coach building activities, which were transferred to a separate company in 1947, still survive as part of Alexander Dennis.
Alexanders’ Motor Services began running ‘omnibus’ services in the Falkirk area from a base in Camelon in 1913, and by 1924 the company was registered as W. Alexander & Sons Ltd. It was run by father and son, Walter Alexander (1879–1959) and Walter Alexander (1902–1979). In 1961 the operating company was split into three smaller units, W. Alexander & Sons (Fife) Ltd. based in Kirkcaldy, W. Alexander & Sons (Midland) Ltd. based in Falkirk and W. Alexander & Sons (Northern) Ltd. based in Aberdeen. The old company’s buses had used a blue livery, apart from Perth City and Kirkcaldy Town buses which had at times been painted red. Soon after the split, however, the Fife and Northern companies adopted red and yellow liveries respectively, while the Midland company retained the original shade of blue. Alexander Midland also absorbed David Lawson Ltd. of Kirkintilloch, which Alexanders had taken over in 1936. (Information from Wikipedia.)
TRANSIT BADGES FROM EUROPE
RÉGIE AUTONME DES TRANSPORTS PARISIENS (RATP) The Paris, France, Métro is operated by the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP), a public transport authority that also operates part of the RER network, bus services, light rail lines and many bus routes. The name métro was adopted in many languages, making it the most used word for a (generally underground) urban transit system. It is possible that “Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain” was copied from the name of London’s pioneering underground railway company, the Metropolitan Railway, which had been in business for almost 40 years prior to the inauguration of Paris’s first line.
The Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris (Paris Metropolitan Railway Company), or CMP, was the forerunner of the RATP, the company managing the Parisian Underground.
So as not to be dependent on the Chemin de fer de l’État (national rail administration) for its rail transport, the City of Paris decided in 1883 on the construction of a subway network. There were some tensions between the national government and the city for the control of the operation, but the approach of the World Fair of 1900 speeded the decisions. In 1895, Louis Barthou, minister for public works, accepted that the construction work should be carried out by the city. That included building the tunnels, viaducts and stations and contracting for the operation. In 1897 the city council chose the General Traction Company, owned by the Belgian Baron Édouard Louis Joseph Empain. An act of 30 March 1898 declared a public utility for “the construction of a metropolitan railway by electric traction, intended for the transport of the travelers and their hand luggage”. The General Traction Company formed the CMP in April 1899.
The first lines: Construction started under the responsibility of engineer Fulgence Bienvenüe. Line 1 was opened in 1900 after twenty months of work. Another line, Porte Dauphine-Nation (now Line 2), opened in April 1903.
Mergers” In 1929, the company merged with the Company of the North-South underground electric railroad of Paris. In 1938, the CMP took over the Sceaux line, which had until then formed part of the Paris-Orleans railway company. In 1942, the company amalgamated with the Company of public transport of the Paris area which was limited to surface transport. The files of the company were destroyed at the Liberation of Paris. In 1949 the functions of the CMP were taken over by the newly formed RATP. (Information from Wikepedia.)
TRANSIT BADGES FROM INDIA
SCHOOL BUS BADGES
You may notice that this webpage has only a token offering when it comes to street railway badges. It has even fewer school bus badges. There is a reason for that. When we were setting up this page, we realized our limitations (i.e., just one person doing all the research and writing). And so A), for now we decided to restrict our focus on public and private transit companies, and B), to primarily focus on bus companies. This not to say that we consider street railway companies and school bus company badges as being non-collectible. To the contrary, in the case of street railway companies, their badges are highly valued by collectors; and the companies are important to our purpose because often they are entwined in the history of a local bus line. We also acknowledge that school bus badges are collectible, which is proven by the fact that they usually sell at auction, although usually well below the prices realized by public transit companies. The plan is to one day include a section for school bus badges, and to update our private and public badges offerings to include all known street railway companies.
MISCELLANEOUS TRANSIT ITEMS
HIGHWAY POST OFFICE These are really interesting bus collectibles—and ones that are almost unknown to the average collector. They come from a time when the U.S. Post Office sent out traveling post office employees working inside a Post Office bus! There are numerous examples of these first day covers from different cities around the USA. Here’s some additional info from the Smithsonian Postal Museum.: “These brightly colored red, white and blue buses were common sights on American highways in the 1950s and 1960s. Clerks inside were hard at work sorting mail as the buses traveled between towns across the country. The system of sorting mail while in transit grew out of the Railway Mail Service, which Highway Post Office Service was created to replace. Buses helped fill the transportation void left by declining railroad traffic.”
WHITE BUS COMPANY NAME PLATE Here’s an interesting relic—a name plate for a 1930s era White bus shaped like a radiator. The interesting thing is that it was made by BASTIAN BROS CO, which was a major early transit badge manufacturer.
(PLEASE NOTE: THE BADGES AND INFORMATION ON THIS SITE ARE FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY. WE DO NOT BUY, SELL OR TRADE TRANSIT BADGES! The purpose of this page is to share information about collecting transit badges. All photos and artwork displayed on this site are from personal collections and are used by permission of the owners, or are in the public domain. If requested, we credit badge photos to the owner. We gratefully welcome additional information and/or corrections, questions, comments, new badge entries and especially badge photos. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.)
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