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Section 13: Permanent Speed Restriction Signs

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Class 373/2 (Eurostar) trains were subject to a speed restriction of 110 m.p.h. on the Down Fast line through Huntingdon North Junction, on an otherwise 125 m.p.h. stretch of the East Coast Main Line. Signs marking the limits of this restriction were erected in 2002. The commencement sign has the letters "TGV" placed diagonally against a blue background [13.102]. The termination sign is similar, with the addition of a yellow diagonal band [13.103]. "TGV" stands for 'Train à Grande Vitesse', the French term for 'High Speed Train'. Similar signs (commencement signs only) were provided on the Slow lines at Hitchin in 2003.

[13.102] "TGV" Commencement Sign.
Area: Huntingdon North Junction / Hitchin   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[13.103] "TGV" Termination Sign.
Area: Huntingdon North Junction   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

The Class 221 'Voyagers' and Class 390 'Pendolinos' possess different tilt capabilities (6° tilt for the former and 8° tilt for the latter). To take account of this it was proposed that differential Enhanced Permissible Speeds should apply at certain locations. The experimental differential EPS signs, showing two speed figures [13.104], were put on trial in 2002 in the Norton Bridge area. The top figure (lower speed) applies to Class 221 trains and the bottom figure (higher speed) applies to Class 390 trains. Experimental differential EPS warning indicators [13.105] were erected in rear of each speed sign. Note that for reasons of space, the letters "EPS" are not shown on the differential signs but they do retain their distinctive yellow backgrounds. Both forms of experimental sign were installed immediately underneath existing standard style speed restriction signs or warning indicators.

[13.104] Experimental Differential EPS Sign (subsequently adopted as standard).
Area: Norton Bridge (subsequently All Areas)   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[13.105] Experimental Differential EPS Warning Indicator (subsequently adopted as standard).
Area: Norton Bridge (subsequently All Areas)   Usage: Low   Status: Current

In 2003, the blanket speed restriction over all lines approaching London Paddington (imposed following the Ladbroke Grove accident of 5 October 1999) was raised from 25 m.p.h. to 40 m.p.h. The new warning indicators showing the revised speed each had a plate fitted above, worded "all lines" [13.106]. Rather than individual warning indicators being installed adjacent to each line, some of these indicators apply to both the lines they are situated between.

[13.106] Warning Indicator applicable to a blanket speed restriction.
Area: London Paddington   Usage: Low   Status: Current

Further speed restriction signs showing speeds in both imperial and metric units were provided in 2003 in connection with the opening of Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). These differed from the original ones (see [13.79 - 13.81]) in that the imperial signs were of the standard pattern, which omits the units "MPH" (see [13.43]). The metric signs continued to carry the units "KMH" [13.107 & 13.108]. The CTRL itself has no lineside speed restriction signs as the permissible speed is displayed in the cab.

[13.107] Permissible Speed Sign showing both MPH and KMH. Click Here for Photo
Area: NR/CTRL Interfaces   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent
[13.108] Warning Indicator showing both MPH and KMH.
Area: NR/CTRL Interfaces   Usage: Low   Status: Obsolescent

In 2003, new standard forms of metric speed restriction sign [13.109] and warning indicator [13.110 & 13.111] were introduced in which the units "KMH" were omitted. The black background alone now indicates that metric units apply.

[13.109] Metric Permanent Speed Restriction Sign.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[13.110] Metric Warning Indicator.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.111] Metric Warning Indicator.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

Metric versions of signs for standard differential [13.112 & 13.113] and non-standard differential [13.114 - 13.116] speed restrictions were also introduced.

[13.112] Metric Standard Differential Permanent Speed Restriction Sign.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[13.113] Metric Warning Indicator applicable to a standard differential permanent speed restriction.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.114] Metric Non-standard Differential Permanent Speed Restriction Sign.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.115] Metric Non-standard Differential Permanent Speed Restriction Sign.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.116] Metric Warning Indicator applicable to a non-standard differential permanent speed restriction.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

Also in 2003, the standard design of warning indicator associated with an Enhanced Permissible Speed was altered in shape [13.117], to become the same shape as the differential EPS warning indicator that was previously on trial (see [13.105]).

[13.117] EPS Warning Indicator. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

As mentioned earlier, an EPS warning indicator, where provided, will always be accompanied by a standard permissible speed warning indicator. A new range of standard permissible speed warning indicators [13.118 - 13.120] was introduced in 2003, for use only in an area of limited clearance and in conjunction with an EPS warning indicator.

[13.118] Warning Indicator applicable to a standard differential permanent speed restriction.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.119] Warning Indicator applicable to a non-standard differential permanent speed restriction.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[13.120] Warning Indicator applicable to a non-standard differential permanent speed restriction (combined).
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

Non-standard speed restriction signs at Letchworth sidings have arrows within the red border, directly below the speed figure [13.121 & 13.122]. These arrows do not refer to a diverging route but indicate which of the adjacent lines the board applies to.

[13.121] Permanent Speed Restriction Sign applicable to line on right.
Area: Letchworth   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[13.122] Permanent Speed Restriction Sign applicable to lines on both sides.
Area: Letchworth   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

In 2008, new signs were provided for the 20 m.p.h. blanket speed restriction on the approach to Glasgow Central station. A supplementary plate fitted below the standard speed sign is worded "all routes" [13.123].

[13.123] Blanket Speed Restriction Sign.
Area: Glasgow Central   Usage: Low   Status: Current

In 2009, reflectorised yellow 'cut-out' style speed restriction signs (see [13.17]) were placed directly above standard circular speed signs (see [13.43]) at some locations between St. Johns and Hither Green. This was done as a trial to allow the visibility of the signs to be compared in different conditions, including having graffiti on them.

On lines with ERTMS cab signalling, drivers are not required to observe lineside speed restriction signs during normal working, because the permitted speed is continuously displayed inside the cab. During degraded working, the train's speed must not exceed a ceiling speed of 40 km/h (80 km/h for Class 158 units), or any lower speed restriction that applies. Speed restriction signs, which can be disregarded during normal working, are provided only at locations where a permissible speed lower than the ceiling speed applies for degraded working. Ordinary metric speed restriction signs (see [13.109]) are used for this purpose. Where a differential sign is provided (see [13.112]), the bottom figure (higher speed) applies only to Class 15X series multiple unit trains and the top figure (lower speed) applies to all other trains. This is a change from the usual application of standard differential speed restriction signs.