Destination displays on the railway

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Fokx

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Having recently seen a mock-up of EMR’s new IET fleet featuring white LED destination displays, this got me thinking what was the first train in the UK to be manufactured featuring the orange LED destination screens from new? Was it the clubman/turbostar?

In contrast, what was the last train in the UK to not be fitted with these style of destination from new? I’m presuming First/Siemens fleet may be one of the last to be fitted with flip-dot style in the post naughties?

Interestingly it would also seem that these orange destination displays became popularised on trains a few years before use in UK buses which at the time were still largely manual blinds, power blinds or flipdot.
 
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Bletchleyite

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The Networkers introduced in 1991 had dot-matrix displays both inside and out. I’m not sure whether that was the first or not.

Though as built those were yellow backlit LCD (so were the interior displays) rather than orange LED.

I think the first application of orange LED I saw on the railway was the departure board at Liverpool Lime St, installed in about 1998 or 1999, which was installed as a "Solari layout" orange LED display, complete with apologies for it not being as fancy as Paddington and Waterloo's more expensive plasma based displays. Interesting that the cheaper tech proved to be the most successful and widespread, while the plasma display tech was quickly binned off as unreliable and prone to burn-in. It's still there now, though I think the actual display modules have been replaced as they had faded a bit.

I don't like white LEDs in this application, I find them harder to read, and they also seem to fail more often.
 

pompeyfan

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I could be wrong but I believe the 380s were the first desiro family train to be fitted with LED rather than external flip dot so by my guess we’re looking at about 2007. By contrast all Electrostars and Turbostars were likely delivered with LED destination screens from 1999 onwards. I don’t believe there was any other family of trains delivered between 2005 and 2007.
 

Bletchleyite

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I could be wrong but I believe the 380s were the first desiro family train to be fitted with LED rather than external flip dot so by my guess we’re looking at about 2007. By contrast all Electrostars and Turbostars were likely delivered with LED destination screens from 1999 onwards. I don’t believe there was any other family of trains delivered between 2005 and 2007.

Yep, 350s are flipdot (with a green LED behind each dot, revealed when it's "open"). This still seems to be the German default. Actually surprised green is allowed in this context due to the potential for confusion with a green signal from a distance - it's not legal to use green in this way on the road in the UK though it is the German norm.

Interestingly it's very rare to see a "dead pixel" on a Desiro display, whereas when they were the norm on buses they'd be utterly illegible more often than not. Perhaps says something about maintenance standards.
 

pompeyfan

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Yep, 350s are flipdot. This still seems to be the German default.

Would I be correct in saying introduction went 360s, 450s, 444s, 350s and finally 185s meaning 185s were the last stock fitted with flip dot?
 

py_megapixel

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Yep, 350s are flipdot. This still seems to be the German default.
In all honesty a decent flipdot display can be superior to LEDs as they aren't washed out by sunlight. Unfortunately if they are placed behind glass which is too reflective this is negated.

Also the fact that they can't be scrolled as easily seems to encourage operators to make the messages that appear on them clear and concise.

Would I be correct in saying introduction went 360s, 450s, 444s, 350s and finally 185s meaning 185s were the last stock fitted with flip dot?
There was an extra batch of 350s built after the 185s.
 

Domh245

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Though as built those were yellow backlit LCD (so were the interior displays) rather than orange LED.

I believe it was split - the BREL/ABB units had orange dot matrix (including the 365s) the met cam units had the yellow LCD
 

fgwrich

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I believe it was split - the BREL/ABB units had orange dot matrix (including the 365s) the met cam units had the yellow LCD

I believe these were made by Vultron - I remember how slow they were in the Turbo fleet! (Actually come to think of it, I'm not sure what's more annoying, these or the new and useless large TrainFX systems).

I'm not sure if the 158s had anything internally in addition to the front screens.

 

XAM2175

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Yep, 350s are flipdot (with a green LED behind each dot, revealed when it's "open")
The LED is usually positioned in one corner of the mount for the moving disc rather than behind the disc itself - if it were behind the disc then the disc when in the "on" position would obscure the LED.

The disc-LED combination is the display format I prefer most as it combines the excellent daylight performance of the moving disc with the similarly-excellent night-time performance of the LED displays. Additionally, the LED provides a back-up for displays that have discs stuck in the "off" position.
 

Energy

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I could be wrong but I believe the 380s were the first desiro family train to be fitted with LED rather than external flip dot so by my guess we’re looking at about 2007.
The 380s was when they switched PIS supplier from Annax to Televic which maybe why they changed away from flip dot.

This is ignoring the 350/3s and /4s which used Annax for fleet commonality.
 

py_megapixel

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What do 357s have?
They have LEDs inside and out. The exterior ones appear to be the same displays as used on 168s and 170s




A way to tell whether you are looking at an LED or flipdot display is to see what happens if you take a photo of it. Have a look at this image from the front of a bus, taken from my collection:
1611775713497.png

Notice how there are thin lines across the text on the display, which are not present to someone looking at the display in person.
This is an artefact of the way the vast majority of dot matrix displays work. Rather than illuminate every line at once, they switch between which line is illuminated extremely quickly. This is a simplistic description, but the fine details aren't really relevant here. What's notable is that there is no point at which all of the LEDs required to make the image are illuminated at once.

Usually this doesn't matter, because persistence of vision effectively means that our eyes blend it together so we see the complete image. But a camera shutter can be much faster than this, and if it is, then it will only be capturing the image for the time that some of the LEDs are illuminated - and hence, some of the LEDs appear off, causing the black lines on the display.

Depending on the display being photographed as well as the camera, this effect can be even worse. This image was taken with my smartphone instead of my proper camera, and is of a different display. This one's broken up a lot more, and appears much worse.
1611776870608.png

If you're very unlucky, you can actually end up photographing at a point when none of the LEDs are illuminated, which makes the display appear blank (There was a destination written on here):
1611777210842.png


It's worth nothing that this test only works one way. If you see this kind of artefact, you can be fairly sure that you are looking at an LED display. However, there are plenty of combinations of display, camera, and camera settings which don't produce this kind of artifact at all. For example, this display produces pretty much no artefacts at all, despite definitely being LED. (Ignore the fact that this particular display is showing incorrect information!)
1611777395439.png


However, there are other ways of telling what type it is. For example, if the dots that make up the display appear to be turning around when the display changes, that's obviously a flipdot. If the display is able to scroll smoothly, it's definitely LED/
 

jopsuk

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a few years before use in UK buses which at the time were still largely manual blinds, power blinds or flipdot.
TfL buses unusually still use blinds; they believe/have research to show that they are more legible, and any given bus will only run on a small selection of routes
 

CyrusWuff

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TfL buses unusually still use blinds; they believe/have research to show that they are more legible, and any given bus will only run on a small selection of routes
As an aside, Metroline's routes H2 and H3 around Hampstead Garden Suburb use 7.9m Optare Solos with digital displays, as the vehicles don't have room to fit TfL spec conventional blinds.
 

Dstock7080

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TfL buses unusually still use blinds; they believe/have research to show that they are more legible, and any given bus will only run on a small selection of routes
Such a shame that apart from the Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock still using blinds, the Underground use such a mixed bag of digital displays on their trains.
 

py_megapixel

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No internal screens on 158s as built.
Well not PIS displays. There were very primitive displays at the end of the carriages which displayed whether the toilet was working or not, whether it was occupied or not, and whether the payphone was working or not. However I'm fairly sure those were just legends illuminated by a light bulb; no particularly interesting technology there
 

Bletchleyite

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Well not PIS displays. There were very primitive displays at the end of the carriages which displayed whether the toilet was working or not, whether it was occupied or not, and whether the payphone was working or not. However I'm fairly sure those were just legends illuminated by a light bulb; no particularly interesting technology there

It did look like that panel should have had a scrolly screen in it, but all I remember there being was a Toilet Engaged light which was just a bulb behind the panel. I don't recall the other two being indicators, just stickers.
 

py_megapixel

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It did look like that panel should have had a scrolly screen in it, but all I remember there being was a Toilet Engaged light which was just a bulb behind the panel. I don't recall the other two being indicators, just stickers.
I'm fairly sure that because it was only in the early years of the cellular network (I found an old British Railways video about the 158 which suggested it was a partnership with Vodafone), the phone symbol only lit up when there was a signal

I definitely think something happened when the toilet was locked out of use, but maybe it just lit the "engaged" light.
 

Steddenm

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AFAIK When the toilet on the 158s was engaged the same word mark illuminated below the word Toilet using a standard bulb. The non-sliding door toilets had a switch within the lock which clicked into place when the loo was in use. Same as when the loo as out of use.

The payphone symbol was always lit up. Back when the 158s were introduced the mobile network was very patchy on the routes they served. I do remember calls were excessively expensive though!

Am I right in thinking there was a "Door Out Of Use" sign that lit in red on the 158s on the same board?

I remember the old block indicators on the 158s and remember seeing HONG KONG, SHANGHAI and VIETNAM on the boards at a railshow. I'm guessing they could be manually entered?
 

AverageTD

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As an aside, Metroline's routes H2 and H3 around Hampstead Garden Suburb use 7.9m Optare Solos with digital displays, as the vehicles don't have room to fit TfL spec conventional blinds.
It's on Abellio's C10 as well now with those horrific new buses.
 

clagmonster

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I remember the old block indicators on the 158s and remember seeing HONG KONG, SHANGHAI and VIETNAM on the boards at a railshow. I'm guessing they could be manually entered?
I seem to recall that they were added into the displays as a publicity activity when Manchester Airport opened. As far as I know there was no way of manually entering a destination.


As a kid, the internal displays on a Networker seemed positively space age when they were new.
 

ls2270

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I believe it was split - the BREL/ABB units had orange dot matrix (including the 365s) the met cam units had the yellow LCD
Not quite! All were built with the yellow LCDs on the cab fronts.

The BREL/ABB units (365s,465/0 and 465/1s) were the first to have these changed to the orange LED type, retaining the displaying of the two digit headcode numbers.

Later the Met Cam units (the 465/2s, 465/9s and 466s) were modified straight from the as built yellow type to an LED style with a different font (without the two digit headcode numbers), which was then also carried out to the BREL /ABB units so that all 465s and 466s now carry this style.

The Networkers introduced in 1991 had dot-matrix displays both inside and out. I’m not sure whether that was the first or not.

View attachment 89352
This was the second style of destination display used on the 465/0s, 465/1s and 365s as detailed in my post above. All Networkers originally carried the yellow LCD type.

Though as built those were yellow backlit LCD (so were the interior displays) rather than orange LED.

I think the first application of orange LED I saw on the railway was the departure board at Liverpool Lime St, installed in about 1998 or 1999, which was installed as a "Solari layout" orange LED display, complete with apologies for it not being as fancy as Paddington and Waterloo's more expensive plasma based displays. Interesting that the cheaper tech proved to be the most successful and widespread, while the plasma display tech was quickly binned off as unreliable and prone to burn-in. It's still there now, though I think the actual display modules have been replaced as they had faded a bit.

I don't like white LEDs in this application, I find them harder to read, and they also seem to fail more often.
Internally, the Class 365s, 465s and 466s all had orange, horizontally scrolling LCD displays from new. It was only the 165s and 166s that were built with the rather slow yellow LCD type as filmed in post #10.
 
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