Welcome to scot-rail.co.uk, Scotland's online railway community. The group is for any rail enthusiast interested in the railways and trains of Scotland. It not only consists of the wiki that you're reading now, but a busy online forum and mailing list, which is accessible to anyone who registers. If you would like to join in, all you have to do is register with us for free.
IntroductionHeadcodes (also known as train reporting numbers, or WTT IDs) are four character Train IDs used by operational railway staff to identify particular train services. They are used in signalling systems, the Working Timetable (WTT), train crew rosters and various computer systems such as TOPS and TRUST, although on TOPS they form part of 7 or 10 character train IDs.
The term 'headcode' comes from the period 1961-1975 when the reporting numbers were displayed on the front of trains. Some locomotives used on railtours retain headcode indicator panels. <Example>
The four character WTT IDs were introduced on British Railways in June 1961, but it was not until May 1973 that the Scottish Region adopted them for use on all internal train workings.
This page describes how these headcodes are formed for trains operating within, to and from Scotland. A list of headcodes regularly used in Scotland can be found on the headcodes page
How they workThe headcodes used in the Working Timetable are made up of four characters. For Example 1Y11, the 04:50 Edinburgh - Fort William.
The first character of the headcode is a number and signifies the Train Class - in this case 1 for a Express Passenger Service.
|Express Passenger/Postal/Parcels, and Test Trains|
|Slow/Suburban Passenger, also Driver training.|
|Autumn Rail Head Treatment Trains (from 2006). UTU Test Trains (from 2010). Priority ECS and Freight.|
|Freight (max speed 75mph)|
|Empty Coaching Stock (ECS)|
|Freight (max speed 60mph)|
|Freight (max speed 45mph)|
|Freight (max speed 35mph)|
|Express Passenger, between London Euston & Scotland via Birmingham (from Dec 2013) and TPE services via Newcastle (from December 2019). (Previously used for priority Cross Country passenger trains to/from Scotland 2006-2008.)|
The second character is a letter, signifying a destination area or route - Y in this case for Fort William
|Destination area or route|
|Passenger and Freight||area: Aberdeen, Dyce, Inverurie, Keith, Montrose|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Barrhead - Kilmarnock - Ayr - Stranraer.|
|Freight||to Riccarton (Kilmarnock)|
| ||Passenger and Freight||area: Edinburgh, Millerhill, Oxwellmains, Lothians|
| ||Passenger|| |
| ||Passenger||route*: Dalmuir - Glasgow C. LL - Uddingston - Motherwell - Lanark / Carstairs|
|Passenger and Freight||area: Carstairs, Ravenstruther|
| ||Passenger and Freight||area: Cumbria (not to/from Scotland)|
| ||Passenger||route*: Glasgow Central - Carstairs - Edinburgh|
| ||Passenger||route: Dalmuir / Milngavie - Glasgow C. LL - Uddingston - Motherwell (and from Lanark)|
|Freight||area: Mossend, Motherwell, Coatbridge, Uddingston|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Paisley Canal|
| ||Passenger||route: Motherwell - Cumbernauld|
| ||Passenger||route*: Edinburgh - Carstairs - Glasgow Central|
| ||Passenger||route: Edinburgh - Dunbar|
|Passenger and Freight||to former Eastern Region (Newcastle, Tyne Yard, Yorkshire, London King's Cross)|
| ||Passenger||route: Balloch - Springburn / Airdrie|
|Passenger||Amended East Coast trains to/from Scotland.|
| ||Passenger||route: Milngavie - Glasgow C. LL - Hamilton - Motherwell / Coatbridge / Lanark|
|Freight||area: Longannet, Thornton, Westfield|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Gourock|
| ||Passenger||route: Edinburgh - Dunfermline - Cowdenbeath - Glenrothes (and Fife Outer Circle)|
|Passenger and Freight||area: Inverness, Kingussie, Elgin, Kyle, Wick|
| ||Passenger||route: Helensburgh - Airdrie - Bathgate - Edinburgh|
| ||Passenger||The Royal Scotsman tour train.|
| ||Freight||to Drax Power Station (Yorkshire)|
|Passenger||route*: Glasgow Central - Maxwell Park - Cathcart - Glasgow Central|
| ||Passenger||route: East Kilbride - Glasgow Central|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Queen St HL - Springburn - Cumbernauld - Falkirk Grahamston|
|Freight||Engineering trains within Scotland|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Kilwinning - Ayr, Stranraer.|
| ||Passenger||route: Edinburgh - Kirkcaldy, Markinch (and Fife Inner Circle)|
|Freight||to former East Anglia Region (Harwich, Felixstowe, Tilbury)|
| ||Passenger and Freight||area: Tayside, Perth, Dundee, Carnoustie, Linkswood|
| ||Passenger||route: Perth / Dundee - Kirkcaldy - Edinburgh|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Dumfries - Carlisle|
| ||Passenger||route: Dalmuir - Glasgow C. LL - Hamilton - Larkhall|
|Passenger and Freight||to former London Midland Region (London Euston, Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Carlisle)|
| ||Passenger||route: Milngavie - High Street / Bellgrove / Springburn / Airdrie - Bathgate - Edinburgh|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Maxwell Park - Newton|
|Freight||area: Grangemouth, Stirling|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Queen St - Lenzie - Stirling / Alloa / Dunblane (also to Perth, Falkirk, Kirkcaldy)|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Neilston|
| ||Passenger|| |
| ||Passenger||route: Dumfries - Carlisle - Newcastle|
|Passenger and Freight||to former Southern Region (Bournemouth, Brighton, Southampton, Dollands Moor)|
| ||Passenger||route*: Glasgow Central - Queen's Park - Cathcart - Glasgow Central|
|Passenger||route: Edinburgh - Stirling - Dunblane, Perth|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Queen's Park - Newton|
|Test Trains||Track monitoring and measurement trains|
|Non-Passenger||Rolling stock movements with route restrictions|
|Freight||area: Elderslie, Dalry, Prestwick, Falkland Yard, Ayrshire|
| ||Passenger||route: Edinburgh - Falkirk High - Glasgow Queen St|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Carmyle - Whifflet|
|Passenger and Freight||to Scotland from south of the border|
| ||Passenger||route*: Milngavie - Glasgow C LL - Hamilton - Holytown - Lanark|
| ||RHTT||Autumn Rail Head Treatment Trains|
|Freight||On-track plant within Scotland; Engineering trains from Northern England|
| ||Passenger||to Glasgow Queen St High Level (from Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness)|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Largs, Ardrossan|
|Freight||to English Power Stations (short term flows, but not currently used)|
|Engineering||Rail Grinders or Stoneblowers in transit|
|Passenger and Freight||to former Western Region (Reading, Didcot, Bristol, Plymouth, Penzance)|
| ||Passenger||route: Dalmuir - Springburn / Airdrie - Bathgate - Edinburgh|
| ||Passenger, ECS||odd movements in the Glasgow area|
|Passenger||LNER services terminating North of Edinburgh (since May 2019)|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Central - Wemyss Bay|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Queen St HL - Maryhill - Anniesland|
|Passenger and Freight||Exceptional load - special instructions apply|
|Passenger and Freight||area: West Highland Line (Glen Douglas, Crianlarich, Fort William area)|
| ||Passenger||route: Glasgow Queen St - Westerton - Crianlarich, Oban, Fort Willam, Mallaig|
| ||Passenger||route: North Berwick - Edinburgh - Glasgow Central|
| ||Passenger||route: Edinburgh - West Calder - Shotts - Glasgow Central / Motherwell|
|Passenger and Freight||Special or short term working (not in WTT)|
Note: Route letters apply in both directions (except for routes marked *), with odd and even numbers identifying the direction.
Finally, the third and fourth characters are numbers (11 in this case) which identify individual train services.
NotesHeadcodes tend to be sequential, so 1E13, 1E14 and 1E15 are East Coast services to London Kings Cross that pass through Edinburgh at 12:00, 12:30 and 13:00 respectively.
Empty coaching stock trains and Light engines usually use the last 3 characters of the train which they are going to form, or have just finished:
- 5M11 Polmadie to Glasgow Central forms the 1M11 Glasgow to London
- 5S26 is the empty coaching stock from Glasgow Central to Polmadie off 1S26 London to Glasgow.
Freight train headcodes may be changed depending on the load:
- The 6A30 Mossend to Aberdeen could run as 7A30 if it was restricted to 45mph, or run as 0A30 if there were no wagons on the train.
- The 6S65 Carlisle to Mossend is recoded 6X65 if it conveys loaded 'cartic' wagons as these may be 'out of gauge'.
It should be noted that headcodes are not necesarily unique within a region:
- 1M11 23:40 Glasgow Central - London Euston Caledonian Sleeper
- 1M11 07:10 Glasgow Central - London Euston Virgin West Coast train.
On frequent services headcodes may be reused serveral times a day:
- 1R25 is used for the 09:00, 15:00 and 21:30 Edinburgh - Glasgow Queen Street trains.
Special movements often use the locomotive class as an identifier:
- 0Z66 is likely to be a class 66 light engine.
The headcode 1Z99 is used to signify any train which is running to provide assistance to another train:
- This may be a 'Thunderbird' rescue engine, an empty multiple unit or an ordinary passenger train. This also applies to breakdown cranes, snow ploughs and overhead line trains going to clear the line. These trains are generally given highest priority over other movements.