Network Rail is seeking a new design for a station clock that could be used across the UK railway network. In fact, they prefer the term timepiece instead of clock, as people instantly assume they know what a clock should look like, and Network Rail wants to avoid preconceptions.

Although Network Rail has new wayfinding signs that use its new Rail Alphabet 2 typeface, it does not currently have a unified design for the display and communication of time across the rail network.

It’s to create that unified design for a timepiece that they are opening up a design competition.

The full details are here.

Each short-listed Competitor will receive an honorarium of £7,000 (+VAT) on the conclusion of their involvement in the Competition.

There’s also a really interesting history (yes, really!) of how railways and time itself have evolved together with a lot of photos of clocks in railway architecture here.


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  1. MilesT says:

    Variant of the classic Swiss railway’s synchro clocks in Railway Alphabet No. 2. White background, black circular surround, black lettering/hands (red second hand), adequately big for the intended viewing distance (modestly sized for smaller stations, huge for major termini concourses like Waterloo)

    And changing all 24 hours digital clocks to high resolution, black on white or white on black (maybe seconds in red), railway alphabet No 2.

    Set up standardised manufacture/supply for both.

    Job done. Not worth a £7k honorarium

    • Robbo says:

      Not worth £7k honorarium

    • Mike Kay says:

      Could not agree more. Is the Swiss railway clock perfection? If not, it’s not far off, and hard to improve on perfection.

  2. Graham Walker says:

    The analogue clock has the clear and overriding advantage of allowing the brain subliminally to estimate the time you’ll have to wait for your train, without having to do the arithmetic. Sadly a number of young people are unable to read an analogue clock, so some weak minded individual may opt for the ‘easy’ way out and go for digital. As already proposed, the solution already exists, just change the typeface, include a 13-24 hour ring, and you’re done.

  3. Maennling Nic says:

    At 80 I had to take a written drivers test and was asked to draw a clock. I drew a digital clock and was told not to be a smartass. I then drew an analogue clock with roman numerals. I was given a look that would have cut glass. I passed !!

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