UK: A new Railway Group Standard covering audibility and visibility came into force on March 5, removing the requirement for trains on the national network to have yellow front ends.

Industry safety body RSSB said headlamp technology had improved since the requirement for a yellow panel was introduced the 1950s, when it had been found that diesel and electric trains were quieter than steam locomotives.

Vehicle owners and operators must ensure sufficiently visibility, which for new and modified vehicles includes fitting headlamps complying with the Technical Specification for Interoperability for Locomotives & Passenger Rolling Stock. A yellow front end is still required for trains without the new arrangement of headlamps, and the specification for the yellow panel is still provided in the new standard GM/RT2131 where this is found to be good practice.

RSSB said the change means owners and operators are now able to ‘make their own informed choice’ about front end colour, subject to a risk assessment and consultation with all affected parties. Colours associated with signal aspects or with high-visibility clothing should be avoided.

However, little is likely to change in the short term, as the majority of existing vehicles with yellow front ends are likely to keep them as they do not comply with the TSI headlamp requirements.

On-track plant still has to be yellow, and forward-facing surfaces on shunting locomotives and snowploughs must still be painted yellow with black diagonal stripes where it is reasonable to do so.