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Section 25: Miscellaneous Signs and Indicators

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A brake test indicator could be provided at a location where brake vans or locomotives are regularly attached to trains but traincrews may have difficulty observing handsignals, for example because of platform crowding. When operated, the indicator displays an illuminated indication "BT", "test" or "T" [25.26] to inform the driver or shunter that the guard or person in charge is ready to carry out the brake continuity test.

[25.26] Brake Test Indicator.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

A 'guard joined train' indicator displayed an illuminated indication "GRD" [25.27] to inform the driver that the guard has joined the train. The indicator was operated by pressing a plunger located some distance in rear.

[25.27] 'Guard Joined Train' Indicator.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

The 'station limit - loop clear' marker board is a sign that first appeared in 1984, exclusively for use on lines worked by the Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) system. Despite its name, this board is installed at every location that is a token exchange point, whether there is a loop there or not. A 'loop clear' marker is provided on each running line leading away from the token exchange point. When a train passes the 'loop clear' marker, the driver must verbally inform the signalman using the radio. When shunting is taking place at a token exchange point, the 'station limit - loop clear' markers define the limits of authority given by the 'shunt token' for that particular place.

The original form of 'loop clear' marker, as used on the Scottish Region, is a blue and white diagonally striped reflectorised board [25.28]. This board was actually a blue and white derivative of the red and white striped sign formerly used to mark the limits of an open level crossing (see [16.26]).

The limits of authority given by an 'engineering token' are defined by the 'loop clear' markers at adjacent token exchange points. For this reason, an additional board (with its stripes sloped the opposite way) [25.29] is placed back to back with the main board.

[25.28] 'Station Limit - Loop Clear' Marker Board (front). Click Here for Photo
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[25.29] 'Station Limit - Loop Clear' Marker Board (rear).
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

When RETB signalling spread to other parts of Great Britain (the East Suffolk and Cambrian lines), it was implemented in a slightly different way than on the Scottish schemes. The 'station limit - loop clear' markers were of a more elongated shape [25.30] and only faced in one direction, so as to be visible to drivers of trains leaving a token exchange point. This subsequently became the standard form of 'loop clear' marker. The provision of boards facing in the opposite direction was not necessary on these schemes, because an 'engineering token' applied between the distant boards (see [2.129]) of adjacent token exchange points. Subsequently, an 'engineers full token' was introduced on the Cambrian Lines, which applied between the 'station limit' marker boards as per the Scottish schemes. This necessitated the provision of 'engineering limit' boards on the rear side of the 'station limit' boards, and to more clearly distinguish them, they had red stripes on a blue background [25.31].

[25.30] 'Station Limit - Loop Clear' Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[25.31] Engineering Limit Board. Click Here for Photo
Area: Cambrian Lines   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

In 1989, emergency stop indicators were provided about four coach lengths beyond each platform at Dartford station, in both directions. They were applicable to drivers of empty 'slam door' trains worked under Driver Only Operation conditions. The indicators were normally blank, but when operated by station staff, the word "stop" was displayed in red letters [25.32].

[25.32] Emergency Stop Indicator.
Area: Dartford   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

The Class 465 'Networker' electric multiple units were introduced on the Southern Region from 1992, but were prohibited from running over certain routes. A sign was erected at the point beyond which these trains must not proceed, bearing a red diagonal cross within a blue border, at the top of which is the legend "Networker" in white [25.33]. Similar signs with alternative legends such as "TMST" ('Transmanche Super Train' = Class 373 (Eurostar) trains) or "electric trains" denote prohibitions to other types of trains.

[25.33] Train Class Specific 'No Entry' Sign (e.g. applicable to Class 465 trains).
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

The opening of the line to the Channel Tunnel (from 1993) brought with it the need to identify the boundary between the different infrastructure controllers. At each boundary point, two signs are provided on one post. The top sign shows the identity of the infrastructure controller whose territory begins at the boundary point, and the lower sign, on which a red diagonal cross is superimposed, shows the name of the infrastructure controller whose territory is being exited [25.34]. The change of applicable Rule Book occurs as soon as the front of the train has passed the sign.

The codes used were:

  • "BR" = British Rail
  • "ET" = Eurotunnel
[25.34] Rule Book Change Sign (e.g. from BR to Eurotunnel territory).
Area: Cheriton   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

In 1994, special restriction signs were installed at four sites on Birmingham's Cross-City Line (Midlands Zone) where rapid wheel and rail wear had been experienced. A triangular sign with an exclamation mark [25.35] denoted the start of each restriction, and a circular sign with a black diagonal band [25.36] marked the end. Both signs were based on ordinary road signs. Drivers of particular classes of multiple units were required to use a low power setting between the commencement and termination signs. These signs were removed in 1999.

[25.35] Special Restriction Commencement Sign.
Area: Cross-City Line   Usage: Low   Status: Historical
[25.36] Special Restriction Termination Sign.
Area: Cross-City Line   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

At some locations, 'end of restriction' (or 'rear clear') indicators have been installed to advise drivers when the rear of their train is clear of a specific position, such as a neutral section, conductor rail gap, or the end of a speed restriction. When this sign is passed, the driver may close the circuit breaker or accelerate, as appropriate. An 'end of restriction' indicator has a solid black triangle on a white circular background [25.37]. It may also bear a legend at the top, denoting the type of train or length of train to which it applies, or a reference to the related infrastructure feature [25.38].

[25.37] 'End of Restriction' Indicator.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[25.38] 'End of Restriction' Indicator (e.g. "TMST" = Transmanche Super Train). Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

By 2003, new Rule Book Change signs were being installed with a white background [25.39] instead of the original black background (see [25.34]).

The following codes are used:

  • "CCRRB" = CTRL Construction Railway Rule Book
  • "CTRL" = Channel Tunnel Rail Link
  • "ET" = Eurotunnel
  • "NR" = Network Rail
  • "RT" or "RTK" = Railtrack
  • "TMD" = Temple Mills Depot
[25.39] Rule Book Change Sign (e.g. from Railtrack to CTRL territory). Click Here for Photo
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) was equipped with TVM cab signalling from the opening of its first stage in 2003. A feature of the TVM system is the provision of emergency replacement switches in groups at the lineside. These switches may be used for emergency purposes or for the protection of maintenance teams. When an emergency replacement switch is operated, a red cab indication will be received by any train inside the relevant area. Each group of emergency replacement switches is marked by a sign bearing a hollow red triangle on a white background [25.40], which in most cases will be found affixed to the post of a block marker (front and rear) (see [12.21]). This sign was first used on the high speed lines in France.

[25.40] Sign marking the position of a group of emergency replacement switches. Click Here for Photo
Area: CTRL   Usage: High   Status: Current

Hot Axle Box Detectors (HABDs) are installed on running lines at certain locations. These sites are not normally marked by lineside signs; however, triangular signs with the letters "HABD" [25.41] have been provided on the East Anglia Zone in some places.

[25.41] "HABD" Sign.
Area: East Anglia Zone   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

In July 2006, Rule Book Change signs in a diagonal format [25.42] (matching those in use in France) were provided at London St. Pancras.

The following codes were used:

  • "CTRL" = Channel Tunnel Rail Link
  • "NR" = Network Rail

These signs were replaced by the usual square pattern (see [25.39]) in March 2008.

[25.42] Rule Book Change Sign (e.g. from CTRL to Network Rail territory). Click Here for Photo
Area: London St. Pancras   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

In 2007, a variant form of 'rear clear' indicator (see [25.37]) was provided between the Down Through Siding and the Up Through Siding at Tyseley. This sign, which has no relevance to train drivers, has an inverted black triangle on a white circular background [25.43]. Its purpose is to assist the signalmen at Tyseley No.1 signal box in observing that a train is not standing foul of the crossover points, as there are no track circuits.

[25.43] 'Rear Clear' Sign.
Area: Tyseley   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

Network Rail was encouraged by the government to develop procedures to enable passenger trains to be moved forward to stations past two or more failed signals during periods of significant disruption. Trials of "emergency special working", a modified form of temporary block working, commenced on the Wessex Route c.2012. Emergency special working can only be implemented on lines worked by the Track Circuit Block system, excluding single lines, and is applied between a signal on the approach to the affected area, which is maintained at 'danger', and a working signal at a suitable location at or beyond the affected area. This location must be clearly identifiable to drivers, for example a station or level crossing, and if necessary it will be marked by a temporary yellow sign bearing the letters "EW" and a red diagonal stripe [25.44]. Each driver is required to fill in a form in accordance with the signalman's instructions before proceeding through the affected area at reduced speed. The rules for emergency special working came into effect nationally in 2018.

[25.44] Emergency Special Working Termination Indicator.
Area: Wessex Route (subsequently All Areas)   Usage: Medium   Status: Current