During the fifties and sixties, Eastern National buses and coaches each carried a two letter depot code and a three or four digit fleet number. This page briefly describes the numbering scheme used with the main changes that took place and also lists the depot codes that were used.
Before the middle of 1954, Eastern National had used a common numbering system with Southern and Western National - new numbers were simply allocated to double-deckers, single-deck buses and coaches in batches as they were delivered. The highest number reached under this scheme was 4233, allocated to LS coach XTW152.
A large number of vehicles were transferred out to United Counties in 1952 with all ENOC's Bedfordshire services and also a significant number came in with Westcliff-on-Sea so a renumbering was overdue. So in 1954, a new scheme was introduced with all single deckers allocated numbers in the range up to 999 and double deckers from 1000 on - within these two ranges, non-Bristol buses were generally allocated the lower numbers.
As new Bristols were delivered during the rest of the fifties and early sixties, they were allocated the next sequential number in the range. Non-Bristol vehicles, either acquired second hand such as the pre-war AEC Regent open-toppers acquired from Brighton, Hove and District or the ex-Moores Guys were given lower numbers using gaps created by withdrawals.
This scheme lasted for ten years but then on the 8th August 1964, the fleet was renumbered again. By now the fleet was almost entirely Bristol/ECW, the only exceptions being 3 Commer Avenger coaches and 20 Guys taken over from Moores the previous year, 19 Leyland PD1 and PD2s, ex-City Coach or ex-Hicks of which 12 had been converted to open-top for summer use in Southend and Clacton and six recently delivered Bedford SB coaches.
The new scheme allocated coaches numbers in the range 100-999, single deck buses (including dual-purpose) in the range 1000-1999 and double deckers 2000+. Within each of these ranges, the following blocks of numbers were used (the number in brackets is the approximate number of vehicles involved in each class)
1xx Commer Avenger (3)
2xx Bristol LL (10)
3xx Bristol LS (28) and MW (40)
4xx Bristol RELH (7)
5xx Bedford SB (6)
10xx Bristol SC4LK (0 - they were all withdrawn before the the renumbering date)
11xx Bristol L/LL/LWL (47 but some were withdrawn before the renumbering date)
12xx Bristol LS (48)
13xx Bristol MW (63)
14xx Bristol MW dual-purpose (32)
16xx Bristol RELH dual-purpose (8)
(the 15xx block seems to have been reserved for Bristol RE buses - some were on order in 1964 but the order was cancelled before any were delivered - and it was 5 years before the first arrived)
20xx Guy Arabs (20)
21xx Leyland PD1/PD2 (19)
22xx Bristol K (71)
23xx Bristol KS (7) and KSW (81)
24xx/25xx Bristol LD (137), LDL (1) and FS (2)
26xx Bristol FLF coaches (8)
27xx/28xx Bristol FLF buses (105)
(subsequently the 29xx block was also used for FLFs and the 30xx for VRs)
These two renumberings meant that many buses carried three different numbers during their time in the Eastern National fleet, such as now-preserved Bristol K JVW430 which carried the numbers 3885, 1274 and finally 2201 and the first Lodekka XVX19 which carried the numbers 4208, 1431 and finally 2400.
Prior to 1952, different coloured backgrounds to the fleet number plate were used to denote which depot a bus was allocated to. Then from 1952 to 1958, a system of coloured symbols was used:
|Colour||Triangle (Eastern area)||Circle (Southend area)|
|Red||Chelmsford and Bishops Stortford||Southend|
|White||Maldon||Hadleigh and Canvey|
|Dark Blue||Braintree||(not used)|
|Light Blue||Clacton||Tylers Avenue, Southend|
|Brown||Brentwood||Wood Green **|
(** Wood Green was transferred to the Eastern area in 1956 and its symbol became an orange triangle with a white dot in it).
Two-letter depot codes were introduced in 1958 (originally with a green background) - this list excludes other depots and outstations which were not allocated their own codes or where codes were not used on buses:
|BD||Brentwood (ex Westcliff, originally City Coach)|
|BE||Braintree (ex Hicks)|
|BN||Basildon (Cherrydown garage opened in 1961 replacing Bull Yard, Vange)|
|CY||Canvey Island (ex Westcliff, originally Benfleet/Canvey & District)|
|CN||Clacton-on-Sea (Castle Street, ex Silver Queen)|
|CP||"Central Coaching Pool" (established c.1966 for extended tours vehicles)|
|DT||Dovercourt - in April 1967, it was replaced by a new depot in Harwich but the DT code was retained|
|HH||Hadleigh (ex Westcliff, originally Benfleet/Canvey & District)|
|KN||Kelvedon (ex Moore's Bros)|
|PL||Prittlewell (ex Westcliff)|
|SD||Southend (ex Westcliff)|
|SE||Silver End (ex Hicks)|
|WG||London, Wood Green (ex Westcliff, originally City Coach)|
One further code that should be mentioned is PG - it stands for Preservation Group - and was never an official ENOC code but it is currently carried by a number of preserved ex-ENOC vehicles.
Thanks to Chris Stewart for help in compiling this page and also acknowledgements to Richard Delahoy's book, Glory Days - Eastern National.
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