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Section 11: Indicators and Signs associated with Points

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The 'remote ground frame marker' was introduced in 1996 as part of a proposal aimed at warning drivers in the event of detection being lost at ground frame operated points in remote areas. The marker, which bears a downward pointing black chevron on a square white background [11.43], was positioned on the approach side of the points, in the facing direction. A colour light distant signal would be provided at braking distance on the approach side of the marker. If detection of the points was lost, the distant signal would display a yellow aspect (see [2.105]), and trains would then require to stop at the marker board. Similar looking signs may be seen at facing points on French railways, but they serve a different purpose. Provision of the remote ground frame marker board was discontinued from 1999.

[11.43] Remote Ground Frame Marker. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Obsolescent

In 1997, mechanical points indicators were provided at Welbeck Colliery, associated with the ground frame operated points at either end of the run-round loop. Separate points indicators were provided for both the facing and trailing directions. Although similar in appearance to 'yellow' disc shunting signals (without lights) [11.44 & 11.45], their meaning was quite different. In the 'proceed' position [11.45], the disc indicates that the points have been operated to the appropriate position and, in the case of facing movements, that they are locked.

[11.44] Points Indicator ('on').
Area: Welbeck Colliery   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[11.45] Points Indicator ('off').
Area: Welbeck Colliery   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

Certain key fouling points at Selhurst Depot were identified c.2001 by painting the relevant sleepers orange.


In 2003, signal MB298 on the Down Arrival Line at Mossend Yard was provided with an additional miniature indicator. When the signal is cleared for a route to the Down Yard, the indicator shows a left-hand or right-hand arrow (along with the route indication "Y") to indicate the lie of the facing handpoints ahead [11.46]. The same arrow indication is repeated at the points themselves.

[11.46] Handpoints Indication (e.g. points set to left).
Area: Mossend Yard   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

In 2003, the original fouling point markers on the West Highland Lines (see [11.40]) were replaced. The new markers comprise a short white post with a yellow reflectorised strip on the side facing away from the relevant points [11.47]. Ironically, just a few days after the markers were replaced, a Class 156 'Sprinter' struck the rear end of a steam-hauled empty coaching stock train that was stopped foul of the crossing loop points at Glen Douglas on 12 June 2003.

[11.47] Fouling Point Marker.
Area: West Highland Lines   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

Some of the American-style handpoints in Bescot Yard are of the non-trailable type. The switch stands that control them have been fitted with indicators to allow the shunter to determine from a distance which way the points are lying. When the points are in the 'normal' position, a white arrow pointing up on a blue background is displayed [11.48]. In the 'reverse' position, the indicator shows a black arrow pointing left or right, on a white background [11.49].

[11.48] Switch Stand Indicator Sign - Normal.
Area: Bescot Yard   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[11.49] Switch Stand Indicator Sign - Reverse (e.g. points set to left).
Area: Bescot Yard   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

In 2006, ground-mounted points indicators were installed on each approach to a particular set of points at Kings Heath Traincare Depot in Northampton. Separate indicators were provided for both the facing and trailing directions. In common with the earlier forms of electrical points indicators, a yellow light is exhibited when the associated points are in the correct position (see [11.36]). These new indicators complied with a revised standard that required a red light to be exhibited when the points are incorrectly set [11.50]. This provided a positive 'stop' indication, in contrast to the earlier indicators where no light meant 'stop'. Two points indicators displaying similar indications were provided at Bourne End (Western Route) in 2008.

[11.50] Points Indicator - 'Stop' indication.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Obsolescent

In 2008, the position light type points indicators (see [11.37]) at Tenby were experimentally replaced by new indicators showing either a steady yellow light (see [11.36]) or, when the points are incorrectly set, a flashing red light [11.51]. This became the standard for future points indicators. Where a points indicator is co-located with a TPWS indicator at a stop board (see [12.25 & 12.26]), both are combined as a 'Departure Direction Points Indicator' (DDPI). The points indicator in this case has no yellow light, and there is no plate worded "points indicator" [11.52]. When the points are correctly set, the flashing red light is extinguished and the TPWS indicator, which is normally unlit, becomes illuminated. The first DDPIs were brought into use at Tenby in 2009.

[11.51] Points Indicator - 'Stop' indication.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[11.52] Departure Direction Points Indicator - 'Stop' indication. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

During 2012, the 'points set' indicators on the RETB signalled lines in Scotland (see [11.35]) were replaced by new indicators that display a flashing red light as the 'stop' indication. The wording on the associated plates remained as "points set" [11.53].

[11.53] 'Points Set' Indicator - 'Stop' indication.
Area: Scotland Route   Usage: Medium   Status: Current