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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

Some stations on the Great Eastern lines have "stop here" indicators to subdivide platforms [21.7]. These are normally extinguished and are illuminated by the signalman only when needed.

[21.7] "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" [21.8] may be erected to indicate the point at which all trains must stop. In the Midlands, a yellow board bearing a letter "S" [21.9] is used for this purpose.

[21.8] "Trains Stop Here" Board.
Area: All Areas   Usage: High   Status: Current
[21.9] "S" Board.
Area: Midlands   Usage: Medium   Status: Current

A series of marker boards may be located along the lineside at certain places to indicate where freight trains of different lengths should come to a stand. Originally, the train length on these boards was expressed in terms of the number of wagons in the train [21.10].

[21.10] Wagon Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

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 most cases, the marker's position will coincide with a track circuit boundary. There are various forms [21.11 - 21.14].

[21.11] Marker Board.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Low   Status: Historical
[21.12] Marker Board.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Current
[21.13] Marker Post.
Area: Scottish Region   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent
[21.14] Marker Post.
Area: Scottish and Eastern Regions   Usage: Medium   Status: Obsolescent

On the Southern Region, special stopping markers in the form of a white St. Andrew's cross [21.15 - 21.17] are installed at various places. Generally, these indicate the place where a train should be brought to a stand before setting back into a siding.

[21.15] Stopping Marker.
Area: Southern Region   Usage: Low   Status: Obsolescent
[21.16] Stopping Marker.
Area: Southern Region   Usage: Low   Status: Obsolescent
[21.17] Stopping Marker.
Area: Southern Region   Usage: Low   Status: Uncertain

At a few stations, signs or indicators are provided to mark the point at which platforms are subdivided for platform sharing purposes. At Bristol Temple Meads, boards showing a diagonal yellow cross on a black background [21.18] were provided in 1970 to subdivide the through platforms into two parts, each of which had separate platform numbers. Drivers had to deduce from the route indication (i.e. the platform number) displayed at the previous main signal whether or not the train must be stopped at the indicator board. If signalled to stop at the board, the train was not then permitted to pass it unless a handsignal was given by the person in charge of the platform.

[21.18] Platform Demarcation Board.
Area: Bristol Temple Meads   Usage: Medium   Status: Historical

'Standard length units' (SLUs) were introduced c.1969 as a measure of train length, where one SLU is equal to 21 feet. Train length marker boards for freight trains may specify a number of SLUs [21.19 - 21.22].

[21.19] SLU Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain
[21.20] SLU Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain
[21.21] SLU Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain
[21.22] SLU Marker Board.
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain

Wagon marker boards may refer to wagons of a specific type, such as "HAA" (a type of coal hopper) [21.23]. Other legends include "MGR" for Merry-Go-Round and "FLV" for Freightliner vehicles.

[21.23] Wagon Marker Board (e.g. 32 wagons of HAA type).
Area: Various   Usage: Medium   Status: Uncertain