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Section 21: Stopping Markers

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At places where trains regularly come to a stand (such as station platforms), markers may be provided to assist drivers in stopping their trains at a particular point, where this is advantageous or important for some reason.


The general provision of stop markers at station platforms was initially confined to lines where an intensive passenger service was worked by electric or diesel multiple unit trains. Stop markers indicated the point where the front of a train should stop to achieve optimum train positioning. Where a figure was shown [21.1 - 21.4], this applied to a train composed of the number of vehicles ('cars') indicated. The colours of the earliest stop markers conformed to the particular colour scheme of the company or British Railways region concerned, as was applied to ordinary station signage.

[21.1] Stop Marker.
Area: Southern Railway   Usage: High   Status: Historical
[21.2] Stop Marker.
Area: London Midland Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[21.3] Stop Marker.
Area: Western Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[21.4] Stop Marker.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

A stop marker could show more than one figure where the stopping points for trains of different lengths coincided [21.5]. Where a letter "S" was shown [21.6] instead of a figure, this indicated that the marker applied to trains of all lengths.

[21.5] Stop Marker (e.g. London Midland Region).
Area: Various   Usage: High   Status: Historical
[21.6] "S" Stop Marker (e.g. Southern Railway).
Area: Various   Usage: High   Status: Historical

An illuminated marker board was fixed to the post of the signal controlling departures from the terminal station at Guisborough (LNER) to assist drivers of passenger trains being propelled into the station. The marker board faced towards the track and was diamond shaped with the word "seven" painted on it [21.7]. A train propelling seven bogie vehicles into the platform was required to stop with the locomotive cab opposite the marker board. Shorter trains could pass the board by a corresponding distance.

[21.7] Propelling Marker Board.
Area: Guisborough   Usage: Low   Status: Historical

Some stations on the Great Eastern lines have "stop here" indicators to subdivide platforms [21.8]. These are normally extinguished and are illuminated by the signalman only when needed.

[21.8] "Stop Here" Indicator.
Area: Great Eastern lines   Usage: Low   Status: Current

When construction work is taking place at a station and the full length of the platform is not available for use, a temporary board worded "trains stop here" [21.9] may be erected to indicate the point at which all trains must stop. On the London Midland Region, an illuminated indicator displaying a letter "S" [21.10] was used for this purpose.

[21.9] "Trains Stop Here" Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[21.10] "S" Indicator.
Area: London Midland Region   Usage: High   Status: Historical

A marker board may be installed to indicate where freight trains of a specified length should come to a stand. Originally, the train length on these boards was expressed in terms of the number of wagons in the train [21.11]. There may be a series of similar boards located along the lineside, applicable to trains of different lengths.

[21.11] Train Length Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

By 1967, British Rail had introduced a standard design of stop marker for multiple unit trains. Since these have the words "car stop" at the bottom, they are known as 'car stop markers'. The standard colouring is white figures on a black background [21.12]. A car stop marker may show more than one figure where the stopping points for trains of different lengths coincide [21.13 - 21.17].

[21.12] Car Stop Marker. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[21.13] Car Stop Marker. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[21.14] Car Stop Marker.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain
[21.15] Car Stop Marker.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[21.16] Car Stop Marker.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[21.17] Car Stop Marker.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

Where a letter "S" is shown [21.18] instead of a figure, this indicates that the marker applies to trains of all lengths.

[21.18] "S" Car Stop Marker.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

Marker boards may be installed in connection with shunting movements, e.g. to indicate a position that the train must pass beyond before setting back. In many cases, the marker's position will coincide with a track circuit boundary. There are various forms [21.19 - 21.22].

[21.19] Marker Board.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Low   Status: Historical
[21.20] Marker Board.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[21.21] Marker Post.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent
[21.22] Marker Post.
Area: Scottish and Eastern Regions   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent