A prominent feature of the Southern Region, Engine Head Signals identified the route of a train using disc-shaped white boards. During the hours of darkness, the same principle applied, with white lamps replacing discs.
Used by each of the three main constituents of the Southern Railway (SR), a standardised approach was introduced at Grouping in 1923 which employed six lamp bracket positions - numerous arrangements were possible and applied to various duties with splits between areas to avoid possible confusion. The system continued to be used by British Railways (BR) throughout the steam-era.
An exhaustive summary of Engine Head Signals has been compiled by the Southern Railway E-mail Group and is accessible online.
With thanks to the team at Modelu for accommodating the commission, these distinctive 15" discs were launched at the 2023 Bristol Model Railway Exhibition and are now readily available in super-fine detail across several scales.
The digital design was created using several pictures taken at the Bluebell Railway and of note is the intricate handle which is modelled at rest on the rear of the disc - comparable frets are bidimensional, by their nature, and can look unrealistic especially in close-up photography.
Modelu are due to attend the Bluebell Railway Model Railway Weekend in July where they will be working on a range of new figures based on staff and volunteers.