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Section 28: Distance Markers

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On a section of the West Coast Main Line between Bushey and Hemel Hempstead, large yellow boards with black roundels [28.14] were installed on both sides of the railway in 1992/1993, attached to the electrification masts situated nearest to each quarter-milepost. The boards face in both directions along the track. These 'sighting distance devices' were provided to assist staff working on the line in assessing sighting distances and they have no relevance to train drivers. It was originally intended to equip the entire route between Primrose Hill and Rugby with these devices.

[28.14] Sighting Distance Device. Click Here for Photo
Area: Bushey - Hemel Hempstead   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

In the Manchester Piccadilly area, extra markers have been provided midway between the quarter-mileposts. These markers are of similar style to the mileposts but quote the mileage in miles and yards [28.15]. The lower figure giving the number of yards will be either 220, 660, 1100 or 1540, equating to one, three, five or seven eighths of a mile, respectively.

[28.15] Miles and Yards Marker.
Area: Manchester Piccadilly   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

In some complex areas around London, small yellow lineside markers are installed at intervals of one chain [28.16]. There are eighty chains to one mile. Similar markers are installed at the London end of the Great Western Main Line [28.17], where in addition there are metric markers provided at ten metre intervals from the zero point at Paddington [28.18].

[28.16] Chainage Markers ( (a) - mile marker; (b) - chain marker ).
Area: Various   Usage: High   Status: Uncertain
[28.17] Chainage Marker (miles and chains).
Area: Great Western Zone   Usage: High   Status: Uncertain
[28.18] Metreage Marker.
Area: Great Western Zone   Usage: High   Status: Uncertain

From c.1998, new reflectorised mileposts were installed along certain parts of the Great Western and Southern Zones. These mileposts comprise blue diagonal boards with white figures and a white border [28.19]. They are normally double-sided and placed edge-on to the track so that they face drivers.

[28.19] Reflectorised Mileposts. Click Here for Photo
Area: Great Western and Southern Zones   Usage: High   Status: Uncertain

A chainage marker may carry additional plates showing the full mileage and the Engineer's Line Reference (ELR), which identifies the route [28.20].

[28.20] Chainage Marker (e.g. ELR = 'VIR').
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

A new standard form of kilometre post was introduced in 2003. To distinguish them from mileposts, they have yellow figures on a black background [28.21].

[28.21] Kilometre Post.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

Schedule 9 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996 exempted that railway from Section 94 of the Railways Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 (see above). The CTRL, which opened from 2003, therefore has no mileposts but kilometre markers are provided every kilometre. These comprise large square yellow boards [28.22] clearly visible to drivers. The name of the adjacent track is identified on each board. In addition, a plate giving the kilometrage to the nearest tenth of a kilometre [28.23] is fitted to each block marker (see [2.126]), shunt marker (see [3.89]) and group of emergency replacement switches (see [25.37]).

[28.22] Kilometre Marker (e.g. beside Down Track).
Area: CTRL   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[28.23] Kilometrage Plate. Click Here for Photo
Area: CTRL   Usage: High   Status: Current

Distance markers are placed at 110 yard intervals along the Bedford to Bletchley line. This was achieved by installing three additional markers between each pair of adjacent quarter-mileposts. The new markers give the mileage in miles and yards and also state the Engineer's Line Reference (ELR) for the route, which is "BBM" [28.24].

[28.24] Miles and Yards Marker. Click Here for Photo
Area: Bedford - Bletchley   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

Kilometre posts (see [28.21]) were installed at 500 metre intervals along the Cambrian Lines in 2008 in preparation for the introduction of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). They had been intended to replace the mileposts but were subsequently removed.


A milepost may display the relevant Engineer's Line Reference (ELR) in addition to the mileage [28.25]. This can be beneficial where routes with different ELRs and mileages run adjacent to each other.

[28.25] Milepost showing the ELR (e.g. 'GTW1').
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain