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Hello Could someone please explain to me the function and procedure for using the white discs displayed on the fronts of steam locomotives? I often see them in prototype photos but I have no idea of their meaning and usage. Thankyou.
Mike
 

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These head codes - disks during the day, lights at night - were used to identify a type of train or a particular train. Signalmen would need to know what train and sometime which train was coming down the track so they could allow it through, stop it or divert it onto a branch line for example. This was done in the days before radio and on-board telephone.



Click here for more info.

For Southern Railway head codes, click here.
 
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