Train Reporting Numbers

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Chris Platt

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Hello,

As a new member to this group I have noticed in various threads the use of what used to be called headcodes. As these are no longer displayed on the trains how does one find out about them?

Many thanks in advance for any help.

Kind regards,

Chris
 
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TheEdge

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They are still used by every operational member of staff. Ops staff will never refer to a train by its time or destination. It's not the 1000 Norwich to Liverpool Street, it's always 1P27.
 

theironroad

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They are still used by every operational member of staff. Ops staff will never refer to a train by its time or destination. It's not the 1000 Norwich to Liverpool Street, it's always 1P27.

Most train crew do use the time of the train in general conversation/mess room etc. I.e 'im working the 1000'. Obviously train crew do have to use the train reporting number as well when taking to signallers and control centre staff. I have noticed control centre staff often do talk in only train reporting numbers, which isnt always helpful to train crew unless it is their train with the trn on the schedule card in front of them.

Having said all that about train reporting numbers, I've always understood 'headcode' to mean the number which was displayed on the front of the train years back, often just a two digit route number. I'm not sure how they originated and whether it was for the benefit of signallers or passengers?
 

TheEdge

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General conversation we use time but professionally we don't.

Headcodes originated as lamp codes which were displayed using 4 (?) brackets on the front (head) of a steam locomotive. Different lamps on different brackets identified the type of service, eg express, freight, freight stopping in section and so so signalers could signal appropriately.

The route codes appeared later and I think were mostly used by the Southern and GWR. Southern tended to display route codes and the GWR and BR Western region would display the train reporting number but the lamp codes remained. Headcodes eventually spread over the network but the 4 figure headcode we know and love today came after steam with most early diesels and electrics built with a headcode box. All this was still mostly for signalers.

As signalling moved from men in boxes to signalling centres and trains were represented as their headcode on a panel or screen the trains themselves generally stopped displaying them but every single train still runs with one. And it still does exactly the same job as it did 100 years ago, identifies the exact details of the train;

1 - Express passenger
P - London - Norwich service
27 - Unique train ID
 

richieb1971

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Why do train data sites not include them for freight trains?

There are some people that know the correct codes as they display them on videos and such, but I don't really know where they get this information from.

I presume freightmaster?
 

Freightmaster

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Sacro

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They are available in other places too.

Even though they aren't in the open data, they appear in the working timetable PDFs

And there are still a variety of 'gen' groups around that post things.
 
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