A huge new departure board screen has appeared at London Victoria station, and it’s big, bright, and offers a lot more information than the old screens could show.

The screens are much clearer to read, having scrapped the faded orange text for much brighter and cleaner fonts. However, it’s the extra information for each train that makes these displays stand out as more than just swapping lightbulbs.

Big colour blocks at the top of the route indicator show clearly whether a person should wait on the concourse or head to the platform, and helpfully the platform indicators show arrows so you know which end of the station the platform you want will be.

A cancelled train is a screen message we all hope to see rarely, but a nice touch is adding some information as to why the train is cancelled.

Train carriage lengths are also indicated at the bottom of the display, along with branded indication for the train operator, which will be more useful now than when the photos were taken, as the display board can show Southern and Gatwick Express services as well. The clock is huge. There was a clock on the old screen but wasn’t much larger than the rest of the text on the screen. Even in the age of people whipping out a phone to check the time, we find it convenient to have public clocks on display. And very large clocks at that.

A couple of screens can show more local travel information, and the “Next fastest direct train” screen is now much easier to read. The tube status probably seems initially to be less useful here for people heading out of London, but it’s a nice feature to have if you’re waiting for someone to arrive and are planning to catch the tube afterwards.

Compared to what was there before, the new screens are much easier to read — especially for this glasses-wearing train user — and yet they have managed to include more information in the same space as well.

This big screen, costing around £1 million, was installed over the Christmas period and sits above the platforms that mainly handle Southern Railway services. There are no short-term plans to replace the screen on the Southeastern side of the station, as there’s a long lead time for the big screens, not to mention the cost, but Network Rail has plans for some improvements on that side of the station in March.

Photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, when Southern trains weren’t calling at Victoria, hence only half the screen showed trains at the time.

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20 comments
  1. Edward Moye says:

    Looks quite nice, except those rather aggressive blue Wait signs which clash horribly with the green.

    • Webby says:

      I think that’s the idea.

      You want the columns to stand out from each other so that you know a change has been made, instead of ll merging into each other.

  2. Paul H says:

    I miss the split-flap displays! Waterloo was particularly impressive.

  3. Brian Butterworth says:

    What happened to “PLEASE wait” – these rail people have gotten very bossy in the pandemic!

    Perhaps they should read https://www.amazon.co.uk/Transport-Humans-Nearly-There-Perspectives-ebook/dp/B09LRGFBDZ !

  4. William says:

    Any news on the roof?

  5. Jake says:

    As a daily user of Victoria station, these new boards are fantastic and make a big difference in speed of information imparted to the passenger.

    Hopefully they’ll be rolled out across the country, Clapham Junction springs to mind a station which has pretty woeful departure boards at present which could benefit from this sort of treatment.

  6. Simon says:

    I’ve noticed that the clock isn’t always there – maybe it was filling space while there were fewer services. But then that shows one of the other advantages of this approach – things can be shuffled around.

    I am actually finding it harder to read this display at the moment – but suspect that’s because I was used to glancing at the old one while walking. Am sure I’ll get my eye in soon.

  7. Friso says:

    And for some of us, the white is terrible. The letters go fuzzy…

    Just like the bus blinds, I can read yellow letters much better than white.

  8. David says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw some of these at Waterloo over the festive period and was rather impressed!

  9. Dan Coleman says:

    Hoping that Network Rail settle on a format like this to be rolled out across the network! They really do make a difference.

  10. Lloyd Russell-Moyle says:

    I find it much harder to read than the yellow on black which was more gentle on the eyes and clearer.

  11. DannyM says:

    They should update this to read ‘Please wait’ as it feels rather rude in the current form.

    Even if the please/wait cycled (quicker than other info updates) it would be better.

  12. Betterbee says:

    Meopham is a pretty obscure station to describe the route of a train to Dover, seemingly deemed to be more significant than Rochester, Faversham or Canterbury.

  13. Gerry says:

    Logic isn’t its strongest point.
    On the green panels, where is this destination called ‘Platform’?
    On the quick list, ‘Next fastest direct train’ suggests that each train is beaten by a faster one.
    And it’s hardly worth displaying the quick list if all destinations bar one show ‘Pls enquire’.

  14. Richard King says:

    Seems to me like only the other day that those flap displays were being installed as state of the art!

  15. susannah says:

    Long overdue and I hope it isn’t too long before they upgrade signing at all the stations. At Victoria they should put up info at the end of each platform (as they do at London Bridge, for example).

  16. Paul says:

    These are great; As someone with challenged eyesight, I like they’ve kept it short and simple where possible. “Please Wait” might sound more polite, but just “Wait” is much easier to read, especially at a distance, and the clarity is much more important than cluttering a screen with niceties.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Giggling at all the (probably) British people who want the sign to say ‘Please wait’. Nope! Thankfully the sign went for clarity and efficiency and just says ‘wait’. It got straight to the point. Signed, an American. 😉

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