Yellow signalling opening notices

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Front sheet of Opening Notice 70/2 - originally printed on yellow paper. Click on front sheet to see the layout diagrams on full A4.

The introduction of the new temporary colour light home signals at Tan y Bwlch in 1970 followed approval given by Major Peter Olver, one Her Majesty’s Inspecting Officers of Railways, who had just previously inspected and approved the installation. Opening Notices for all operating staff, were provided by John Wagstaff and David Josey, to be issued when the new arrangements were brought into use. They were printed on bright yellow paper, following Southern Region practice, so that they caught people’s attention. The numbering system adopted was xx/nn' where 'xx' was the year in which the notice was issued, and 'nn' the sequence number of the notices. Some of these notices have survived and some it is hoped will appear from people's archives. The series consisted of:

  • 70/1 date - early 1970. Assumed Tan y Bwlch erection of colour light home signals with a cross (X) affixed to show that were out of use though they may display an aspect for tesing purposes.
  • 70/2 date - 16th. May 1970. Temporary Colour Light Home Signals and New Caution Boards at Tan y Bwlch Station and also Minffordd for later in the year - see below.
  • 71/1 date - summer 1971? Possibly Penrhyn old down disc signal brought into use as the Down Caution Board
  • 71/2 date - summer 1971? Possibly Penrhyn home signals erected but out of use.
  • 71/3 date - 2nd. June 1971. A New Down Home Signal at Portmadoc Harbour Station.
  • 71/4 date - 31st. May 1971. New Up Home Signal at Dduallt Station - see below.
  • 71/5 date - 28th. July 1971. A New Up Advance Signal at Portmadoc Harbour Station.
  • Conjecture:
  • 71/6 date - August/September 1971. Dduallt Up Home Signal Banner Repeater brought into use.
  • 72/1 date - 20th. February 1972. New Penrhyn Temporary Colour Light Home Signals.
  • 72/3 date - summer 1972. Penrhyn Down Colour Light Gate Repeater.
  • 72/4 date - 19th. August 1972. New Double Discs at Dduallt facing points.

Transcription of notice 70/2[edit]

Notice No. 70/2 read as follows:[1]

TYB & Minffordd signal layouts from Opening Notice 70/2. Click on diagram for a larger view.
TYB & Minffordd signal layouts from Opening Notice 70/2. Click on diagram for a larger view.


1. From 0600 on Saturday, 16th. May,1970, new colour light home signals will be available at Tan-y-Bwlch station. A similar installation will be introduced at Minffordd later this year.

2. An explanatory diagram showing the arrangements is attached to this notice, the signals worked from Tan-y-Bwlch being distinguished by the prefix ‘TYB’, and those from Minffordd by ‘MIN’.

3. Each of the new signals consists of a group of three lamps; the light shown at any one time, and its meaning, will be as shown on the diagram. Attention is drawn to the meaning of the yellow and green aspects which differ from those in use by British Railways. New rules are now being prepared, and will be issued in due course.

4. During shunting operations, or when running round, the yellow or green aspect must not be taken as assurance that the line is clear.

5. A colour light home signal will be replaced to ‘Danger’ automatically when the first wheels of a train strike a treadle fixed near the facing points.

6. If an engine is propelling vehicles it may be found that the signal will be replaced to Danger (by the leading vehicle) before it is reached by the locomotive, which, in these circumstances, may continue.

7. Unless vehicles are being propelled, and the circumstances are as described in paragraph 6 of this notice, a red lamp must be regarded as a Danger signal, WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A CROSS OR U-SIGN on the signal.

8. The new signals will be positioned as follows:-

(a) Tan y Bwlch Up Home (No. TYB. 1) – about 28 yards below the bottom points, on the left-hand (driver’s) side; with a Caution Board about a quarter of a mile further out, on the same side of the line.

(b) Tan y Bwlch Down Home (TYB.2) – about 59 yards above the topmost points, on the right-hand side (driver’s) side; Caution Board a quarter mile back on the left-hand (fireman’s) side.

(c) Minffordd Up Home (MIN.1) – about 88 yards below the points, on the right-hand (fireman’s) side; Caution Board near Minffordd Crossing on the driver’s side.

(d) Minffordd Down Home (MIN.2) – about 78 yards above the points, driver’s side; Caution Board quarter mile back, driver’s side.


9. Caution Boards are provided about a quarter of a mile on the approach to each of the new colour light home signals. The boards consist of a yellow disc pierced by eight holes, with a black letter ‘W’ in the centre. The general appearance is similar to the old F.R. pre-a923 disc signals, all of which are now out of use (see diagram at back of this notice).


10. When passing a caution Board the driver of an up train must give one long blast on the engine’s normal whistle, and this should be repeated if the home signal is at ‘Danger’. The driver of a down train must give two long blasts on the normal whistle at the Caution Board, or at a home signal showing’ Danger’.

11. If a train has been brought to a stand at a ‘Danger’ signal, and the signal then clears, the driver must give one short whistle before moving off.


12. From the time that an approaching train whistles at the caution board, NO point or lock lever must be touched until the train has either been brought to a dead stand at the home signal, or has passed over, and is standing clear of the points and the bolts worked by the levers.


13. On each of the new signals will be a plate bearing the signal number in black upon a white back-ground; the up signals have an odd number, down signals an even number


14. At times when the station is Unattended by operating staff a hinged flap on the number plate will be turned over to display a letter ‘U’. This is intended to remind Drivers that: (a) the station is Unattended by operating staff, and, therefore, (b) the train crew will have to operate the Electric Train Staff. (c) If the signal is unlit it may be passed if the U-sign is shown.


15. When the stations are attended by operating staff and trains are crossing, Flag Boards will be used as starting signals. Each of these consists of a white board on which is painted a red or green disc.

16. When is use the flag boards govern the departure of trains; the meanings of the red and green aspects are the same as those for the colour lights. Lamps are used at night.


17. Under normal operating conditions it will not be necessary to admit a passenger train direct to the top siding (‘Bay’) at Tan-y-Bwlch, and this should not be done unless unavoidable.

18. If, in exceptional circumstances, it is necessary to admit to the top siding a train which would otherwise run to the Through (water tank) or Down (station house) lines, the down home signal must be kept at red until the train has been brought to a dead stand at it. When it may be cleared to yellow.


19. The new signals are provided to facilitate operation of traffic at busy periods, as arranged by Control. The provision of these signals does not reduce the responsibility of all concerned for the safety of traffic upon the railway.

20. The new signals are interlocked electrically with the point and bolt levers, and are controlled by treadles. Track circuits are not provided.


21. A signal which is at ‘Danger’ must not be passed unless the Signalman gives a yellow or green signal to the driver. A signal which is unlit, and on which there is no U-sign (described in paragraph 14) must be regarded as a danger signal.

22. The signals apply to all trains and vehicles, without exception.


23. Full and detailed operating instructions will be included in an amendment to the Rules and regulations which is now being prepared, and which will be issued in due course. These interim instructions will apply until further notice.


24. The new signals are controlled from a small panel installed near the Electric Train Staff instruments. This panel is to be operated only by the person authorised by the Traffic Manager to do so at that time, and by no other. For the purposes of these instructions, this person shall be designated ‘the Signalman’.

25. During any time that the signals are in use, S. & T. personnel may have access to the panel and associated equipment only with the prior knowledge and consent of Control (when manned) and the Signalman.

26. Keys to the equipment will be held by certain members of the permanent staff, and will be available only to personnel specifically authorised by the S. & T. Engineer. At no time and under no circumstances may any persons not authorised have access to keys or equipment.


27. To give permission for a train to enter a station, the procedure is as follows:-

(a) Set the Direction Switch for the line concerned to ‘Up Train’ or ‘Down Train’, etc, as appropriate. (b) Set and bolt the points, and secure the levers. (c) Either at the control panel, or at the ground frame, press firmly, and hold in for about three seconds, the yellow or green push button appropriate to the route required.


28. These provide a local control for the home signal at that end of the station. The green and yellow buttons will clear the nearest signal, providing that the directions switches and levers have been set.

29. To ensure positive operation always hold in the appropriate button for about three seconds.


30. Upon the arrival of each train the signalman must, other duties permitting, check by observing the indication lamps on the panel that the home signal has been replaced behind the train to ‘Danger’. He should also place the direction switch in the normal position. The direction switches should usually be let at ‘Normal’ and operated for each train.


31. In an emergency signals may be replaced to ‘Danger’ by turning the direction switches to ‘Normal’; the red push button near each ground frame will replace the home signal at that end of the station only. If signals not in use at that time (but available for use) are lit, they will show red.


32. ALL failures or irregularities in or of operation of the signalling equipment must be reported to Control immediately.

33. If a signal stays at red, and will not show the required yellow or green aspect, it is the personal responsibility of the signalman to examine the line, paying particular attention to the points. He must then advise Control of the circumstances. Control may the, at their discretion, authorise the signalman to admit the train by hand-signal.

34. If a signal fails at yellow or green the signalling power switch must be turned to ‘off’ once, and then ‘on’ again. If either signal is then not showing red, the signal lamps must be turned out, and trains admitted by hand signal.


35. The existing rules, regulations, instructions, etc. remain in force. The method of crossing when the station is unattended will not change (see Weekly Notice 4/70). The signals will not be lit for this purpose.


36. At a station hitherto unattended, the control panel must be brought into use as follows:-

(a) Contact Control and obtain permission to bring panel into use. (This will be given only if no train is approaching in either direction of the adjacent staff sections). (b) Ensure that direction switches are at ‘Normal’. (c) Switch on power supplies. (d) Check that the ‘Main Supplies On’ lamp (on the power switch) and the ‘Power On’ lamp (dim blue, on panel) are both lit. (e) Go to the down home signal (top end of station) and turn the flap on the number plate, concealing the letter ‘U’, and showing the signal number; padlock the flap in this position. (f) Check that the red signal lamp is alight. (g) At the top ground frame press each button three times. (h) Go to the up home signal, turn and padlock the number plate, check that the red lamp is alight. (i) At the bottom ground frame operate each button three times. (j) Return to the panel, and report to Control. (k) If any of the steps listed above cannot be completed, advise Control.


37. The panel may be closed down as follows:-

(a) Contact Control and obtain permission to close down (not given if a train is approaching). (b) Ensure direction switches are normal. (c) Go to each signal, display U-signs, padlock flaps. (d) Switch off signal lamps, report to Control.


38. Whenever their other duties permit, Guards should observe the signals, and satisfy themselves that the ‘Danger’ aspect is restored by the time that the engine reaches the points.

Harbour. A.G.W.Garraway 27th. April 1970. GENERAL MANAGER.

Reproduction of notice 71/4[edit]

Click for a larger view.
Click for a larger view.

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Festiniog Railway Heritage Group Journal, Issue 130 Summer 2017, page(s): 42