Old Fashioned Road Sign To Be Removed

Thu 21st Apr 2022

One of the UK’s most iconic road signs is facing a ban from the roads as younger drivers can no longer understand what it means.

The sign, which features an old fashioned steam engine train, features in many rural areas as a warning that there is a level crossing nearby that does not have a barrier. Sadly, the concept of a steam train is lost on much of the younger generation.

The steam train sign has been on British roads since 1964, but its days were numbered after the Rail Safety and Standards Board recommended that the sign be replaced way back in 2014. There were fears that some drivers might confuse the sign as a warning of slow moving trains, with a 2013 report saying: “Images shown for old-style level crossing gates and the use of steam locomotives depict historic images that may not be readily understood by younger drivers and road users.”

But motoring organisations have argued that  the signage should stay and that modernising the train graphic could confuse drivers for the sign for a tram. Speaking to the Daily Mail, an AA spokesperson said: “The problem faced on remote rural crossings is that the decision to cross is more in the hands of the road user and many don’t either appreciate the speed of an oncoming train or else they recklessly try to beat it.

“Those working to a schedule, such as delivery drivers, may be tempted, although young drivers, locals who think they know how close they can cut it and drivers unfamiliar with such crossings can be vulnerable.

“The new sign is designed to try to convey that sense of speed and therefore the need for greater caution when crossing the line. I think context is the essential factor with this sign.

“You don’t necessarily need it where there is a controlled barrier or gate, and having it as specific warning for one of these dangerous remote rural crossings gives it its significance.

“It doesn’t preclude other word signs to emphasise the danger.”

The Department for Transport has indicated that they will be making a review of the road signage later this year.