4-character Train Reporting Numbers
All trains running on the British railway system were allocated a 4 character identification code - called a train reporting number or headcode, for once it was carried on a display panel on the front of the train. This practice of displaying the headcode was abandoned on the 1st January 1976, so there are very few pictures on my site of trains carrying headcodes - especially as many of the locomotives and most of the DMUs running along the North Wales Coast at that time were not equipped to display the 4 character headcodes anyway!
However, the code was (and still is) used to identify the trains in the working timetable and for train reporting. In the 4-character code, the first position indicates the classification of the train, the second the destination indication as shown in Table 1, and the third and fourth positions the identity number, or, in the case of Class 2 and empty coaching stock trains, the route indication as shown in Table 2.
A number of services which have codes defined in these tables no longer run. Indeed, some of them had ceased before these tables were issued in 1976. Notable are the codes for Rock Ferry, Liverpool Lime St to N.Wales, Runcorn-Chester and New Brighton-Wrexham. Even Aberystwyth-Devil's Bridge appears.
|Letter||Destination Division||Letter||Destination Region||Letter||Other Type|
|A||London||E||Eastern||L||Special train within division|
|B||London||M||London Midland||T||(Passenger) Special train within division|
|C||London||O||Southern||T||(Freight) Trip Working|
|D||Stoke-on-Trent / Nottingham||S||Scottish||X||Royal trains and Out-of-Gauge Loads|
|F||Nottingham / Liverpool||V||Western||Z||Special train outside division|
|H||Birmingham / Manchester|
|J||Stoke-on-Trent / Manchester|
|P||Nottingham / Preston|
|Trains between||and||Via||Route Number|
|Blythe Bridge / Crewe||Chester||50|
|Blythe Bridge / Crewe||Llandudno||52|
|Stoke-on-Trent / Crewe||Holyhead||54|
|Manchester Oxford Rd||Chester||59|
|Manchester Vic / Warrington||Chester||61|
|Manchester Vic / Warrington||Llandudno||62|
|Birmingham New St||Barmouth||Shrewsbury||65|
|Birmingham New St||Aberystwyth||Shrewsbury||69|
|Birkenhead North||Wrexham Gen||78|
|New Brighton||Hawarden Bridge / Wrexham Cent||79|
|Birkenhead North||Hawarden Bridge / Wrexham Cent||80|
|Colwyn Bay / Llandudno Jn||Blaenau Ffestiniog||85|
|Wrexham Cent||Wrexham Gen||90|
|Chester||Wrexham Cent||Wrexham Ex||91|
|Manchester Vic / Warrington||Holyhead||98|
|Manchester Vic / Warrington||Bangor||99|
Back in 1973, Class 47 1614 runs light engine from Holyhead, carrying code 0Z00 - indicating that it was returning to depot - probably Crewe.
Seen at a Crewe Works Open Day in 1975, 47137 is ready for a return to traffic, complete with an appropriate headcode for Crewe.
Following the edict of 1st January 1976 that all headcode displays should be set to '0000', 47444 is seen at Bangor on the 20th April 1976 working the 15:40 to Euston - train 1A72.
For a special working on 19th February 1977 from Crewe to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead, 24133 (the only remaining headcode fitted Class 24) had its headcode display brought back into use to show the reporting number of the train - '1L27'.
On busy days along the North Wales coast with its mechanical signal boxes, it sometimes became necessary for trains to carry their headcode. This was usually done with carriage labels, as seen here. 47187 carries 1P72 on 24th July 1976