Welcome to "Railway Signs and Signals of Great Britain", where you can learn about the many different signs and signals that appear by the side of Britain's mainline railways for the purpose of conveying information or instructions to train drivers. The object of this website is to illustrate, and explain the meaning of, every signal indication or lineside sign that exists today or has existed in the past. Never before has all this information, which includes historical details as well as modern regional variations and 'one offs', been brought together and made available from a single point of reference.
This site's contents are organised into convenient sections relating to distinct categories of signs and signals. Most of these sections comprise more than one page. Within each section, new or altered signs and indications are arranged in chronological order according to their earliest usage. Where known, the year of introduction is recorded along with any explanatory information. Experimental signs or signals are included, provided they have been exhibited alongside a railway open to normal traffic.
The illustrations on this site deliberately omit any visible detail that has no influence on a sign or signal's meaning (e.g. holes or slots provided in early signals to reduce wind resistance). Variations in a sign's shape or colour, but not its size, are recorded. Signals and signs are generally depicted as being mounted on simple straight posts, as is most usual, but it is emphasised that the method of mounting or the position or absence of a post carries no relevance to drivers. Similarly, while colour light signal aspects are shown inside a typical signal head, the shape of the backboard or the position of the aspect within the head can vary without altering the meaning to the driver.
Signalling and signage through the Channel Tunnel and in the vicinity of the Cheriton terminal follows SNCF (French National Railways) practice and therefore is outside the scope of this website. This site does, however, include information relating to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (or 'High Speed 1').
Each item illustrated within the main sections of the website includes key details summarised under the following three headings:
Clicking on this symbol takes you to a photograph of the relevant item, on a different page.
More detailed information on a range of related topics can be found in the 'Supplementary Information' section.
I welcome your comments and queries about this website. If you can contribute some new information or if you find an error, please let me know. I can be emailed at this address: