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Warning Sign/Advance Warning of Wig-wag Signals

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Advance Warning of Wig-wag Signals
TSRGD 773.jpg
The standard variant of the warning sign
Cameraicon.png View gallery (10)
TSRGD ref : 773
From : 1964
To : Present
Changes : 1975, 1981, 1994
Variants : 563.1

The Advance Warning of Wig-wag Signals sign (colloquially known as a Stop When Lights Show sign) is a supplementary plate used to indicate the presence of wig-wag signals at either a level crossing, swing or lifting bridge, airfield, tunnel, an emergency service station, or other places where traffic has to stop infrequently.


The automatic open level crossing variant (1981 TSRGD Diagram 537.4)

The sign was introduced in 1964 and composed of the text "STOP when lights show", accompanied by the warning triangle of a gated level crossing ahead. This was used on the first manually operated level crossings. Wig-wags at this point only consisted of two horizontally mounted red lights, but was not shown on this sign. However, automatic half barrier crossings had a variant which had two red circles above the text depicting the lights. On this variant the text was slightly different, reading "STOP when lights flash", and was accompanied by the now defunct warning triangle depicting an automatic half barrier crossing ahead.

After the amber light was introduced on wig-wags in the UK due to the Hixon Rail Crash, the variant at automatic half barrier crossings was replaced, including the warning triangle that came with it. At this time, automatic open level crossings were being introduced, and wig-wags were now being used to protect more situations such as emergency service stations on busy roads. At half barrier crossings, the text "AUTOMATIC BARRIERS" was added to the original sign, to accompany the warning triangle of a gated level crossing ahead. However, at open automatic crossings, the text "AUTOMATIC CONTROL (NO BARRIERS)" accompanied the warning triangle for an open level crossing ahead. At some emergency service stations where stopping traffic on a busy road was necessary, the text "FIRE STATION", "POLICE STATION" or "AMBULANCE STATION" was added to the original sign to be placed underneath the danger ahead warning triangle at these stations.

Present sign

The modern sign shows just the three lights (two red, one yellow) on a backing board of black, with the text "STOP when lights show" underneath. The red and white border on wig-wags isn't depicted on the sign. Diagram 773 can be used at the following locations:

  • Level crossing (accompanied by the warning triangle of a gated or ungated level crossing ahead)
  • Swing or lifting bridge (accompanied by the warning triangle of a swing or lifting bridge ahead)
  • Airfield (accompanied by the warning triangle of planes or helicopters ahead)

The sign can also be used with the tunnel warning triangle, but now wig-wags at tunnels are being gradually replaced with traffic lights so the sign combination is defunct.

In certain circumstances text may be added above the wig-wag diagram to describe the situation ahead (diagram 563.1). These variants always are accompanied by the warning triangle of danger ahead, and can read:


Non-permitted variants have also been made, such as "LIFEBOAT STATION" and "TAY ROAD BRIDGE", which come without any additional warning triangle.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man variant

On the Isle of Man, many level crossings have vertical wig-wags, so a special variant is required for the island.


The Welsh on the signs varies, as there are a few different ways of translating the phrase. Some include "STOP tra bydd golau" and "STOPIWCH pan fo'r golau'n fflachio".


Warning Sign/Advance Warning of Wig-wag Signals
Related Pictures
View gallery (10)
Level crossing - Coppermine - 6997.jpgApproaching the level crossing on Station Road (B1134) - Geograph - 1572365.jpgWhitemoss Signs - Coppermine - 12309.JPGBaldock Bypass - Coppermine - 5100.jpgTSRGD 773.jpg
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