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KMRC Skrifa – SR Steam Engine Head Signals

Unlike the other railway companies that used engine headcodes, see our Skrifa post here, to denote the make up and purpose of the train, the Southern Railway / Region used discs during the day and lamps at night, officially known as Engine Head Signals, to denote the route of the train. 

The three main constituents of the Southern Railway all used discs (including different shapes, some with black crosses and lamp colours at night) and these were all combined in to standard six position (unlike the four positions of the standard head codes used elsewhere) codes using white 15" diameter discs at grouping in 1923. 

This post provides an overview and captures only some of the main routes associated with the disc positions in use from 1944, we are not attempting to show every associated route and timeframe, for the full details including the constituent company headsignals and those for the SR from 1934 and 1936 in addition to post 1944 we recommend the excellent SREmG resource here. 

The Isle of Wight also used Engine Headsignals to denote route, but using only four positions, these Headsignals will be detailed in a future Skrifa post. 

See the notes below the table that highlight the applicable Engine Headsignals for some of our limited edition models. 

SR Engine Headsignals SR Engine Headsignals SR Engine Headsignals
1
2
3
 Victoria and Dover
Brighton and Portsmouth
Reading and Margate
Eastleigh and Bulford
Southampton Terminus to Weymouth
Weymouth and Portland and Easton 
Plymouth Friary and Tavistock North (1)(2)
Exeter and Ilfracombe 
Bodmin and Wadebridge (3)
Exeter Central and Exmouth (1)




London Bridge or Bricklayers Arms and Portsmouth 
Victoria, Stewarts Lane and Clapham Junc to Holborn
Ashford and Eastbourne direct
East Croydon and Holborn via London Bridge
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Southampton Terminus 
(except boat trains)
Willesden and Feltham Yard via Gunnersbury
Yeovil Junc and Yeovil Town (2)
Seaton Junc and Seaton (2)
Barnstaple Junc and Torrington (1)
Halwill and Bude 




Victoria or Battersea yard and Brighton 
Horsham and Brighton
Reading and Esher 
Brookwood and Bisley Camp (2)
Alton and Fareham (2)
Bentley and Bordon (2)
Salisbury and Bulford
Axminster and Lyme Regis
Tipton St John's and Exmouth
Plymouth Friary and Cattewater (1)(2)
Wareham and Swanage (2)
Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier
Bere Alston and Callington (1)(2)

 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals SR Engine Headsignals 
4
5
6
 London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Dover
Ramsgate 
Tonbridge and Hawkhurst
Brighton and Bognor Regis direct
Three Bridges and Tunbridge Wells West
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Reading 
Guildford and Bordon (2)
Exeter Central and Sidmouth (1)
Plymouth Friary and Turnchapel (1)
Waterloo and Virginia Water 
Eastleigh or Southampton and Fawley
Bournemouth Central and Brockenhurst 
Torrington and Halwill (1)







 Victoria, Battersea Yard or Stewarts Lane and Clapham Junc
Brighton and Kemp Town
Ford and Littlehampton
Pulborough, Midhurst and Chichester
Havant and Hayling Island
Brighton and Eastbourne
West Croydon and East Croydon
Tonbridge and Maidstone West
Ash and Aldershot
Stewarts Lane to Victoria
Southampton Docks and Nine Elms
Havant and Hayling Island
Guildford and Bordon via Ash (2)





 

London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Brighton 
Victoria or Battersea Yard and Epsom Downs 
Tonbridge and Brighton via Eridge (3 on test)
Dunton Green and Westerham
Lydd Branch
Canterbury West and Whistable Harbour
Sandling Junc and Hythe
Folkestone Junc and Folkestone Harbour
Crowhurst and Bexhill
Sittingbourne and Sheerness
Queenborough and Leydown
Gravesend Central and Allhallows-on-Sea or Port Victoria
All stations to Feltham (except Mortlake)
Weymouth and Portland and Easton (goods trains) (1)
Bournemouth West and Brockenhurst via Wimborne




 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
7
8
9

Victoria or Battersea Yard and Portsmouth Harbour 
Via Maidstone East line to Victoria or Holborn
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Grove park or Bromley North
Waterloo and Wimbledon via main line
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Southampton Docks 
Salisbury and Dorchester 







London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Brighton via Redhill
West London line to Norwood Yard 
Victoria or Holborn to Dover 
Feltham Yard and Neasden via Kew East Junc
Exeter Central and Exmouth Junc
Bournemouth West to Dorchester
Clapham Junc and Guildford 
Southampton and Salisbury 
Alton and Eastleigh or Southampton Terminus (2)
Southampton or Salisbury to Neasden 
Reading to Neasden 


Victoria, Stewarts Lane or Holborn to Ramsgate
Victoria and London Bridge via Balham and Tulse Hill
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and North Kent line 
Feltham Yard and Brent Via Kew East Junc
Reading to Brent via Kew East Junc
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Guildford via Cobham
Guildford and Godalming Goods
Ascot and Farnham
Portsmouth and Southsea to Salisbury 
Southampton or Salisbury to Brent 



 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
10 11 12
 Victoria or Battersea Yard and Portsmouth
Victoria or Holborn and hastings Branch
Bricklayers' Arms and Guildford
Waterloo to Waterloo
Waterloo and Southampton Terminus (3)
Salisbury and Bournemouth West
Fareham and Gosport
Ballast trains to Meldon Quarry from Exeter Central
Windsor and Ascot 



 

Waterloo and Plymouth (3)
Victoria or Battersea Yard and Eastbourne or Hastings 
London Bridge, New Cross gate or West Croydon and Wimbledon
Brighton and Littlehampton direct
Victoria and Folkestone Harbour or Dover Marine 
Bournemouth Central and Dorchester goods trains
Battersea Yard and Brent via New Kew Junc
Southampton Terminus and Portsmouth Harbour via Netley
Brockenhurst and Poole
Feltham to Salisbury via Chertsey

 Victoria or Battersea Yard and Portsmouth Harbour
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Eastbourne or Hastings
North Kent line via Blackheath
Victoria, Stewarts Lane or Holborn to North Kent line
Southampton Docks and Salisbury via Eastleigh
Nine Elms and Feltham via Mortlake
Exeter Central to Nine Elms (market goods and fish)

 



 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
13 14 15
 Victoria and Newhaven Harbour
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Epsom Downs
Victoria or Holborn to Ramsgate
Waterloo and Nine Elms and Portsmouth
Southampton Docks and Bournemouth
Romsey to Romsey via Eastleigh and Redbridge   


         

 

 Victoria, Stewarts Lane or Holborn
Earlsfield or Wimbledon and Bognor Regis
Oxted and Brighton via Haywards Heath
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Reading
Clapham Junc and Kensington
All trains terminating at Portsmouth and Southsea
Exeter Central and Padstow
Portsmouth and Southsea to Waterloo
Brent or Neasden or Willesden to Reading via Kew East Junc


 London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Tonbridge or Reading
Three Bridges and Eridge
Victoria or Holborn and Folkestone or Dover Tonbridge and Ashford
Victoria and Dover (Golden Arrow & Night Ferry) (3) 
Waterloo and Clapham Junc
Nine Elms Loco depot to Clapham Junc
Clapham Junc and Hampton Court
Southampton or Salisbury to Eastern Section
passenger trains, Bournemouth Central and Weymouth
Bournemouth West and Oxford, GWR

 

 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
16 17 18

London Bridge and Portsmouth 
Victoria and Eastbourne or Hastings 
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Ramsgate 
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Tonbridge or Reading 
Holborn to Clapham Junc
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Woking 
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Hampton Court
Milk and empty trains to Clapham Junc 
Bournemouth West and Havant 
Exeter or Plymouth and GWR line via Lydford

 Victoria or Battersea Yard and Brighton via Quarry line
Victoria or Holborn and Ramsgate, Dover or Hastings
Horsham and Guildford
Twickenham and Shepperton
Salisbury and Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh
Reading or Feltham or Brentford to Temple Mills or Victoria Docks
Exeter and Wadebridge via Lydford and Launceston GWR

 

London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Eastbourne or Hastings 
Victoria or West London line and Ramsgate 
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Hastings 
West London line to East Croydon 
Special boat trains Waterloo and Southampton Docks 
Southampton and Andover via Redbridge
Exeter or Devonport Junc and GWR lines via St Budeaux



 SR Engine Headsignals SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals 
19 20 21
 London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Portsmouth
London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Folkestone or Dover
Victoria and Herne Hill or Orpington (local trains)
Special boat trains Waterloo to Southampton Docks via Millbrook
Basingstoke to Waterloo via Frimley and Twickenham





London Bridge and Portsmouth via Mitcham Junc
Oxted and Lewes or Seaford or Eastbourne 
Victoria and Sutton via Thornton Heath
Holborn and Wimbledon
 London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Dover 
Waterloo and Nine Elms and Brockenhurst and Bournemouth West (3)
Waterloo or Nine Elms and Waterloo via Brentford



London Bridge or Bricklayers' Arms and Dover, Ramsgate or Hastings
Victoria, Oxted and Tunbridge Wells West
Brighton and Newhaven or Seaford
London Bridge and New Cross Gate via Old Kent Road
Holborn and Ramsgate via Herne Hill or Catford Loop
Light engines Feltham to Clapham Junc
Southampton and Andover via Eastleigh
Willesden or Neasden or Brent to Woking via Gunnersbury and Chertsey


 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
22 Westerrn Section 22 Central & Eastern Sections 23

 Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour
Feltham and Brent 


 

West London line to Brighton
Windsor and Dover (Excursion trains) 





 Brighton and Salisbury via Southanpton Central
Windsor and Hastings (Excursion trains)
Windsor and Margate or Dover (Excursion trains)
Nine Elms and Willesden via New Kew Junc
Eastleigh and Micheldever or Basingstoke 

 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
24 Western Section 24 Central & Eastern Sections 25

 To GWR via West London line
Waterloo and Guildford
Southampton and Willesden
Southampton or Salisbury to Willesden 


To GWR via West London line
Via Preston park Spur (Down Goods trains)
Waterloo and Guildford via Leatherhead 
Reading to Willesden


Breakdown Train 
(and Sir Winston Churchills funeral train 30/01/1965) 




 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
26 27 28
 Royal Train
(two red lamps at the rear)




To LMSR via West London line
Brighton and Salisbury 
Windsor and Bognor Regis (Excursion train)
Nine Elms and Brent

 
Portsmouth and Brighton
Waterloo and Wimbledon Park Sidings
Merstham and Staines Moor 




 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals
29 30 31
 Hither Green Sidings and Feltham via Brentford


Hither Green Sidings and Feltham 


 
Hither Green Sidings and Feltham
Plumstead and Feltham

 

 SR Engine Headsignals  SR Engine Headsignals  
 32  33   
 
Plumstead and Feltham 

 All stations to Aldershot Government Sidings  

Notes, suitable Engine Headsignals for the following:
 
(1) A service potentially with our LSWR O2 tanks on the mainland. 
(2) A service potentially with our LSWR Gate Stock
(2) A headcode carried by our Beattie Well Tanks
(3) A headcode carried by our Bulleid Diesels

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