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Section 10: Special Shunting Signals and Indicators

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At York No.1 Down South Yard (Hump Sidings), a position light shunting speed indicator was provided in 1955 (along with a double-sided repeater), applicable to the Hump Shunting Line. The "proceed to hump summit at normal shunting speed" aspect was three white lights in the upper quadrant (see [10.14]). The aspect meaning "proceed smartly towards hump summit" was three white lights, vertically displayed (see [10.16]). The 'stop' aspect comprised red lights on either side of the white pivot light [10.25], whereas a diagonal line of lights coloured green-white-green [10.26] meant "set back from the hump summit".

[10.25] Position Light Hump Signal showing 'Stop' / Loading/Unloading Indicator showing 'Stop'.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[10.26] Position Light Hump Signal showing 'Set Back from Hump Summit'.
Area: York   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

Some of the special semaphore shunting signals on the North Eastern Region (see [10.6 - 10.8]) were replaced by Toton signals in the late 1950s. The angles and colours of the lights in each new indication corresponded with those of the old signals. The 'stop' aspect comprised red lights on either side of the white pivot light, in a horizontal line (see [10.25]). Three white lights were displayed at 45° (see [10.15]) for "draw forward" and green lights on either side of the white pivot light, also at 45° but sloped the opposite way [10.27], for "set back slowly". Some of the new signals were additionally able to display three white lights vertically (see [10.16]), meaning "set back".

[10.27] Position Light Signal showing 'Set Back Slowly'.
Area: North Eastern Region   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

When the Glasgow Central station area was resignalled in 1961, special stencil type banner signals were provided on all the platform starting signals. These normally displayed no indication. When the main signal cleared to a yellow aspect (see [2.92]) and the banner was illuminated [10.28], it signified that a miniature yellow 'proceed' aspect (see [3.77]) was being exhibited at the next main signal. The banner indication helped to ensure quick clearance of the platform line, particularly if the movement was being propelled. The banners were removed from the signals in 1971.

[10.28] Stencil Type Banner Signal.
Area: Glasgow Central   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

Tinsley Marshalling Yard, near Sheffield, opened in 1965. At this site, the position light hump signals displayed just two indications, "stop humping" [10.29] and "proceed" [10.30], both indications comprising a line of five white lights.

[10.29] Position Light Hump Signal showing 'Stop Humping' / Creep Indicator showing 'Stop'.
Area: Tinsley / Fiddlers Ferry   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain
[10.30] Position Light Hump Signal showing 'Proceed' / Creep Indicator showing 'Proceed'.
Area: Tinsley / Fiddlers Ferry   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

From around the mid 1960s, changes in goods traffic patterns rendered the large mechanised marshalling yards redundant. However, there was an emerging need for the rapid loading and unloading of long trains for carrying minerals, especially coal. The trains concerned need to be fitted with slow speed control. Special signals evolved for use at terminals where loading or unloading takes place under these circumstances. Usually, a series of identical signals are located at intervals along the line used for loading or unloading, all displaying the same indication at the same time. The signals are positioned in such a way that the driver always has a clear view of at least one signal at all times under normal conditions of visibility.

To deal with the loading and unloading of "Merry-Go-Round" (MGR) coal trains, the Scottish Region initially used colour light signals with special meanings. A green aspect (see [10.12]) means "proceed forward". The train may proceed within normal visibility limits. A yellow aspect (see [10.10]) means "proceed forward with caution at ½ m.p.h.". Slow speed control needs to be engaged and the driver must be prepared to stop. A red aspect (see [10.9]) means "stop immediately, even though not at signal". At certain installations, signals may display a flashing red aspect [10.31]. When this is displayed, the driver must stop the train (if it is moving) and set back at ½ m.p.h. At Monktonhall Colliery, the flashing red aspect was followed by a short steady red aspect on which the driver took no action. This was followed by a flashing yellow aspect [10.32] lasting about 6 or 7 seconds, then a steady yellow aspect. The train must then stop reversing and obey the yellow aspect. Not every signal is capable of displaying all of these aspects.

[10.31] Loading/Unloading Signal showing Flashing Red Aspect.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent
[10.32] Loading/Unloading Signal showing Flashing Yellow Aspect.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

A series of special 'creep' indicators was installed at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (London Midland Region) to control the unloading of coal trains. These displayed a vertical line of white lights for 'proceed' (see [10.30]) or a horizontal line of white lights meaning "stop immediately" (see [10.29]). If it was necessary for the train to reverse, a blue letter "X" was displayed [10.33].

[10.33] Creep Indicator showing 'Reverse'.
Area: Fiddlers Ferry   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

The Toton signals provided at Eggborough Power Station (North Eastern Region) in 1966 displayed two aspects. The 'stop' aspect comprised flashing red lights either side of a steady white pivot light [10.34]. Three steady white lights at 45° (see [10.14]) meant "proceed at slow speed".

[10.34] Loading/Unloading Indicator showing 'Stop'.
Area: Eggborough   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

By 1967, a standard form of indicator for loading/unloading was in use. Three white lights vertically displayed (see [10.16]) means "move slowly in the normal direction for loading or unloading". Three flashing white lights at 45° [10.35] means "move slowly in the opposite direction to that required for loading or unloading". Three steady white lights at 45° (see [10.14]) means "prepare to stop" and three horizontal lights (red-white-red) (see [10.25]) means "stop immediately, irrespective of distance from the indicator".

[10.35] Loading/Unloading Indicator showing 'Move Slowly in the Opposite Direction'.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

At certain installations on the Scottish Region, the position light loading/unloading indicators did not display a "prepare to stop" aspect, and three steady white lights at 45° (see [10.14]) instead had the meaning "move towards the loading/unloading facility". Three vertical white lights (see [10.16]) meant "move away from the loading/unloading facility".

On the Eastern Region, illuminated indicators displaying the words "shunt back" [10.36] were provided to control movements setting back into certain sidings, at locations where handsignals cannot be observed. Equivalent indicators on the London Midland and Scottish Regions displayed the words "set back" [10.37]. If the indication was extinguished, the setting back movement had to stop immediately.

[10.36] "Shunt Back" Indication.
Area: Eastern Region   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[10.37] "Set Back" Indication.
Area: London Midland and Scottish Regions   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

At various places on the London Midland, Western and Southern Regions, indicators in the form of a white light [10.38] are provided to control movements setting back, typically into sidings. There may be a series of indicators provided at intervals along the line and they may be double-sided. If the white lights are extinguished, the setting back movement must immediately stop.

[10.38] Set Back White Light.
Area: Various   Usage: High   Status: Current

At certain locations on the Scottish Region, an indication "P" may be shown for propelled movements [10.39]. No propelling movement must be made beyond the signal concerned unless the "P" indication is displayed.

[10.39] "P" Indication (e.g. associated with shunting signal and route indication "F").
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

In 1978, a "set back" indicator (see [10.37]) at Dudley (London Midland Region) was replaced by one that displayed the letters "SB" [10.40].

[10.40] "SB" Indication.
Area: Dudley   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

The signals at Oakdale Colliery (Western Region) for controlling the loading of coal trains through the bunker comprised three horizontal pairs of white lights. Only the top pair of lights was illuminated for the 'stop' indication [10.41], while illumination of the top and bottom pairs meant 'proceed' [10.42]. All six lights were lit for the 'set back' indication [10.43].

[10.41] Loading Signal showing 'Stop'.
Area: Oakdale Colliery   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[10.42] Loading Signal showing 'Proceed'.
Area: Oakdale Colliery   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[10.43] Loading Signal showing 'Set Back'.
Area: Oakdale Colliery   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

A series of "stop"/"proceed" indicators are provided at some collieries on the Eastern Region to control propelling movements on the line used for loading. The 'stop' indication comprises an illuminated letter "S" [10.44] and the 'proceed' indication is a letter "P" [10.45].

[10.44] "Stop"/"Proceed" Indicator showing "S".
Area: Eastern Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain
[10.45] "Stop"/"Proceed" Indicator showing "P".
Area: Eastern Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

From 2015, the red-white-red "stop immediately" aspect in loading/unloading indicators (see [10.25]) was superseded by a new aspect comprising three red lights in a horizontal line [10.46].

[10.46] Loading/Unloading Indicator showing 'Stop'.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current