Network Rail has started a trial of full-colour, high-definition customer information display at London Waterloo station that’s designed to be easier to read from a distance.

Large colour screens are usually reserved for expensive advertising spaces, but their cost has fallen in recent years, and they offer a lot more flexibility in how they display information compared to the fixed narrow screens used in most stations.

The bright white text is arguably a lot easier to read than the muted orange currently used.

(c) Network Rail

It’s totally coincidental that the top banner which is currently displaying travel safety information could easily be reused for advertising. After all, if you’re an advertiser, what’s the one place in the station that everyone is looking at for a decent amount of time every single day?

The LED display – which measures 3 metres by 1.5 metres – was installed last month by engineers from Network Rail’s Telecoms team and the trial is due to last until December 2020.

A second six-month trial of a larger display (5 metres x 2.5 metres) using the same technology is planned for London Victoria station in late September. Depending on the success of the trial, it could eventually be rolled out across all of Network Rail’s regions in future.


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  1. JP says:

    Oh ye of little faith!
    The top banner used for advertisements? Surely not!
    Well, not until the six month trials have been made permanent.

    No such thing as a free lunch of course. Just as long as we don’t have the main screen subjected to ad breaks as we’re dashing for platform what? for the 1004 to Southsea Hoverport.

    Look forward to seeing what the yellow card means and if they use them creatively so that an autumn leaf or a snowflake pops up next to any delayed services in the future.

  2. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Actually I hate the bright white text… To my eyes it is too bright and the edges blur.

    I have exactly the same problem with the “new” white blinds on the buses, so this is not screen related….

  3. Matt says:

    It’s clearly a mock-up as all the departures are showing as on time!

  4. The new screens are very handy in Waterloo as the giant orange signs don’t show very far ahead. If you’re going to Southampton, say, the service departs every half hour. But you can only see on the signs when there are ten minutes to go. It’s useful sometimes to know that the train isn’t cancelled and you can do something else like visit M&S Foods for a drink for the train.

  5. Duncan Martin says:

    They have already fitted white displays in Glasgow Queen Street. Are these any different?

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