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Section 26: Notice Boards

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A notice board conveys information or gives instructions in words, for miscellaneous purposes not catered for by any specific alternative sign.


The wording exhibited on a notice board can range from simple pieces of information [26.1] to instructions that are verging on verbose [26.2]. Some early notice boards were fitted with a white light for location purposes [26.3].

[26.1] Notice Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.2] Notice Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.3] Notice Board with Location Light.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

A particular situation where a notice board would commonly be provided is where the method of working changes to or from a signalling system that requires the driver to obtain a staff or token as authority to occupy the section of line ahead [26.4 & 26.5]. These notice boards will frequently be found affixed to signal posts.

[26.4] Notice Board at start of Token Section.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.5] Notice Board at end of Token Section (e.g. RETB).
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

Similarly, notice boards will often be installed where 'yard working' is in force [26.6 & 26.7].

[26.6] Notice Board at start of Yard Working area. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.7] Notice Board at end of Yard Working area.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

Notice boards are commonly provided in electrified areas to advise traincrews where a specific line or lines beyond is inaccessible to electric trains [26.8].

[26.8] Notice Board denoting No Access to Electric Trains (e.g. no access to No.2 siding).
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

The Great Western Railway installed "stop" lamps in yard areas, the illuminated letters forming the word "stop" being arranged vertically [26.9]. No movement was permitted to pass a stop lamp unless authorised by the shunter or person in charge.

[26.9] Stop Lamp. Click Here for Photo
Area: GWR   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

In contrast to the GWR's "stop" lamps, most notice boards bearing the word "stop" carry some additional instructions detailing the action to be taken by the traincrew before a movement is permitted to pass the board. Known as 'stop boards', they originally comprised a variety of different styles [26.10 - 26.12].

[26.10] Stop Board.
Area: London Midland Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.11] Stop Board.
Area: Eastern Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.12] Stop Board.
Area: Southern Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

From the late 1960s, increasing usage of stop boards on running lines (at level crossings, for example), where they have a status similar to that of a stop signal, required that they be given greater prominence. As well as being of a larger size and surrounded by a wide red border [26.13], some of the earliest examples were accompanied by an illuminated indicator showing the word "stop" [26.14].

[26.13] Stop Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[26.14] Stop Board with Illuminated "Stop" Indicator.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

The standard stop board format later became an upright grey rectangular board on which the instruction to stop was emphasised by the word "stop" being superimposed in white on a large red disc [26.15]. The additional instructions were contained within a white rectangular area below the red disc. By 1972, that format had been superseded by a new style of stop board comprising a white board, divided into two parts by a black horizontal line. The upper part incorporates the red disc with the word "stop" underneath, whilst the lower part contains the additional instructions [26.16].

[26.15] Stop Board. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.16] Stop Board. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

A driver issued with a 'long section' token on a line worked by the Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) system is permitted to pass the stop board at the intermediate token exchange point without stopping or contacting the signalman. Since October 1987, the stop boards concerned have carried a supplementary sign with a yellow background [26.17]. The wording on the supplementary sign may be modified to include any additional instructions that may be relevant [26.18]. Upon the conversion of certain level crossings on the Cambrian Lines to Automatic Half Barrier (AHB) type in 1989/1990 for example, the supplementary signs (where provided) on the stop boards at the entrances to the sections concerned were altered to include additional instructions relating to those level crossings.

[26.17] Stop Board with Supplementary Sign.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[26.18] Stop Board with Supplementary Sign giving additional instructions.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Current

A stop board that carries no additional instructions below the word "stop" [26.19] cannot be passed under any circumstances, except where a movement authority is granted by other means, such as a 'proceed' aspect exhibited by an associated shunting signal (see Section 3).

[26.19] Stop Board without additional instructions. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

A notice board may need to show instructions that only apply to a specific class of train. In this case, the instructions may be surrounded by a blue border, with the relevant class of train stated at the top of the board [26.20].

[26.20] Notice Board with Train Class Specific Instructions.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

At stations where the front of the train is required to stop beyond the end of the platform there is a risk that the driver, having lost sight of the platform, might release the doors on the wrong side of the train. In such cases a notice board [26.21 - 26.23] may be placed at the relevant stop marker (see Section 21) as a reminder, particularly where it is located on the opposite side of the track from the platform.

[26.21] Door Release Reminder Sign.
Area: Southern   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[26.22] Door Release Reminder Sign.
Area: Virgin Trains   Usage: Low   Status: Current
[26.23] Door Release Reminder Sign.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Current