November 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned about the change in the type of route indicator being used at Basingstoke station. Drivers are reporting having to brake rapidly when leaving the station due to confusion caused by the signalling arrangements.
When the area was re-signalled two years ago, the indicators at
the end of the platforms were changed from lunar lights (feathers),
which give an
actual presentation of the change in direction, to theatre box indicators
which display a letter. Lunar lights indicate if the Driver is to change from
the fast line to the slow line or vice versa. Theatre box indicators simply tell
the Driver if they will be on the fast or slow line, not necessarily indicating a
It is felt that this style of indicator is harder for Drivers to comprehend. Many are unsure if the signal directly applies to them. In addition, the tracks coming in and out of the station alternate as to which is the fast or slow, creating further confusion. The reporter is concerned that this matter might be responded to as a route knowledge issue but in actual fact it is more about signalling arrangements.
Could Network Rail comment on:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
Prior to the Basingstoke area re-signalling project all signals were signal sighted jointly with the train operators who operate over the area. Part of the signal sighting process is to determine the best positioning of the signals and route indicators to give the best possible readability to Drivers. There have been no related issues reported over the past couple of years, at this location.
Where the theatre box indicator indicates that the points are set for a route that requires a reduction of speed by the Driver, the signalling prior to the junction signal will show restrictive aspects to aid the reduction of the train's speed accordingly. All route indicators should be visible at a distance where the Train Driver can safely control the speed of his train through the points. At present there are no plans to replace the theatre box indicators with lunar lights at Basingstoke.