Home Page

Railway Signs and Signals
of Great Britain

List of Contents:

Section 1:
Early Signals
Section 2:
Main Signals
Section 3:
Shunting Signals
Section 4:
Subsidiary Signals
Section 5:
Limit of Shunt Indicators
Section 6:
Junction Signals and Route Indicators
Section 7:
Co-acting Signals and Repeater Signals
Section 8:
Over-run Prevention and Mitigation
Section 9:
Signal Post Signs and Signals for Degraded Working
Section 10:
Special Shunting Signals and Indicators
Section 11:
Indicators and Signs associated with Points
Section 12:
Signs associated with Train Protection Systems
Section 13:
Permanent Speed Restriction Signs
Section 14:
Temporary Speed Restriction Signs
Section 15:
Whistle Boards
Section 16:
Signs at Level Crossings
Section 17:
Signs at Bridges and Tunnels
Section 18:
Signs in Electrified Areas
Section 19:
Signs associated with Radio Systems
Section 20:
Notice Boards
Section 21:
Stopping Markers
Section 22:
Indicators associated with Train Dispatch
Section 23:
Signs concerning Natural Hazards
Section 24:
Gradients
Section 25:
Miscellaneous Signs and Indicators
Section 26:
Distance Markers
Section 27:
Supplementary Arrow Signs
Section 28:
Signs associated with Engineering Possessions
Section 29:
Signs applying only to Engineering Trains or Test Trains
  
British Signalling Overseas
Photographs
Supplementary Information
Frequently Asked Questions
What's New?
Links to Other Relevant Sites

A signal and a bunch of signs at St. Pancras

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 is organised into sections, each one dealing with a specific subject. Some 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 within the main sections of the website includes some key details summarised under the following three headings:

Area:
This refers to the location, route or geographical area in which the sign or signal was used or, alternatively, the relevant company.

Usage:
This provides an indicative guide to the level of usage that the sign or signal has seen, split roughly as follows:

  • Low - Fewer than ten examples exist or have existed.
  • Medium - Between 10 and 200 examples exist or have existed.
  • High - More than 200 examples exist or have existed.

Status:
This describes the present status of the sign or signal, as follows:

  • Current - Sign or signal is regarded as current practice, but this does not necessarily imply that any examples exist at the present time.
  • Obsolescent - Sign or signal is no longer current practice, but examples remain in use. Further provision has ceased, except where there is a need to maintain consistency at a given locality.
  • Obsolete - Sign or signal is no longer present on the national network (it may, however, exist on heritage railways).
  • On Trial - Sign or signal presently exists for trial purposes only.
  • Uncertain - Generally relates to a 'one off' sign or signal.

Clicking on this symbol will take you to a page with a photograph.

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:
My email address



Rail privatisation has failed.

What the Tory government told us:
"I anticipate the level of subsidy will be about the same.
It'll then fall, because we're getting better value for money from
the people who bid for the franchises than we got from British Rail,
so the taxpayer will eventually save money, not lose money."

- George Young, Secretary of State for Transport, speaking in 1996.

The reality:
Annual subsidy to British Rail before privatisation: around £1 billion
Annual subsidy to the privatised rail industry: around £6 billion
and the most expensive fares in Europe!

Read the CRESC report on the failure of rail privatisation. 

Sign the petition calling for the renationalisation of Britain's railways. 

© SDL 2005 - 2014. This is not an official rail industry website.

This site has been visited times since 8 October 2005.