Totem station signs were brought
in by the newly nationalized British Railways in 1948. The plan was to use the totem as
the BR logo on all equipment and to give each station signs in a regional
To start with the signs were
½ flanged but the edges were prone to rusting and the wings were ideal for vandals to fold in.
Later fully flanged totems were introduced and the ½ flanged were dropped.
Some stations had a mixture of
½ and fully flanged, some had all of one type and some were never given totems.
A plan was made at
one time to make all stations uniform with black totems and a few were made and
tested at BR(W) stations, but
this idea was dropped with the advent of the new corporate image. Gradually all the
totems were replaced with many finding their way to Collectors Corner at Euston
station and others going to the scrap man. Many were rescued by someone simply
being in the right place at the right time.
All totems are now highly
collectable with most Railwayana collectors having at least a few in their
collection - often one of each colour - and hundreds go through auction each