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Section 26: Notice Boards

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A notice board conveys information or gives instructions in words, for miscellaneous purposes not catered for by any specific alternative sign.


The wording exhibited on a notice board can range from simple pieces of information [26.1] to instructions that are verging on verbose [26.2]. Some early notice boards were fitted with a white light for location purposes [26.3].

[26.1] Notice Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.2] Notice Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.3] Notice Board with Location Light.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

A particular situation where a notice board would commonly be provided is where the method of working changes to or from a signalling system that requires the driver to obtain a staff or token as authority to occupy the section of line ahead [26.4 & 26.5]. These notice boards will frequently be found affixed to signal posts.

[26.4] Notice Board at start of Token Section.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.5] Notice Board at end of Token Section (e.g. RETB).
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

Similarly, notice boards will often be installed where 'yard working' is in force [26.6 & 26.7].

[26.6] Notice Board at start of Yard Working area. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[26.7] Notice Board at end of Yard Working area.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

The Great Western Railway installed "stop" lamps in yard areas, the illuminated letters forming the word "stop" being arranged vertically [26.8]. No movement was permitted to pass a stop lamp unless authorised by the shunter or person in charge.

[26.8] Stop Lamp. Click Here for Photo
Area: GWR   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

In contrast to the GWR's "stop" lamps, most notice boards bearing the word "stop" carry some additional instructions detailing the action to be taken by the traincrew before a movement is permitted to pass the board. Known as 'stop boards', they originally comprised a variety of different styles [26.9 - 26.11].

[26.9] Stop Board.
Area: London Midland Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.10] Stop Board.
Area: Eastern Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.11] Stop Board.
Area: Southern Region   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent

From the late 1960s, increasing usage of stop boards on running lines (at level crossings, for example), where they have a status similar to that of a stop signal, required that they be given greater prominence. As well as being of a larger size [26.12], some of the earliest examples were accompanied by an illuminated indicator showing the word "stop" [26.13].

[26.12] Stop Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical
[26.13] Stop Board with Illuminated "Stop" Indicator.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

The instruction to stop was later emphasised by the word being set against a large red disc [26.14]. By 1976, new stop boards had the word "stop" placed underneath the red disc [26.15].

[26.14] Stop Board. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Obsolescent
[26.15] Stop Board. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current

A stop board that stands at the entrance to a section worked by the Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) system and which is located at an intermediate token exchange point may be provided with a supplementary sign, coloured yellow [26.16]. This indicates that the stop board does not apply to drivers in possession of a 'long section' token. The wording of the supplementary sign may be modified to include any additional instructions that may be required [26.17]. Upon the conversion of certain level crossings on the Cambrian Lines to Automatic Half Barrier (AHB) type in 1989/1990 for example, the supplementary signs (where provided) on the stop boards at the entrances to the sections concerned were altered to include additional instructions relating to those level crossings.

[26.16] Stop Board with Supplementary Sign.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[26.17] Stop Board with Supplementary Sign giving additional instructions.
Area: Various   Usage: Low   Status: Current

A stop board that carries no additional instructions below the word "stop" [26.18] cannot be passed under any circumstances, except where a movement authority is granted by other means, such as a 'proceed' aspect exhibited by an associated shunting signal (see Section 3).

[26.18] Stop Board without additional instructions. Click Here for Photo
Area: All Areas   Usage: Low   Status: Current

A notice board may need to show instructions that only apply to a specific class of train. In this case, the instructions may be surrounded by a blue border, with the relevant class of train stated at the top of the board [26.19].

[26.19] Notice Board with Train Class Specific Instructions.
Area: All Areas   Usage: Medium   Status: Current