Feature, Transport

6 design standards you’ll need for railway lighting

The Rail Safety and Standards Board, a not-for-profit organisation publishes the standards you need to design lighting on the rail network, such as at the magnificent St Pancras International station in London, above

There’s a library of documentation that describes the ways in which lighting should be employed across aspects of the  railway network.

Standards for lighting of railway premises are published by Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). RSSB is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to support the rail industry to continuously improve the level of safety, drive out unnecessary cost and improve business performance.

RSSB publishes a number of guides and standards that cover all areas of the system.

RIS-7702-INS Iss1 Rail Industry Standard for Lighting at Stations
Provides a standard on lighting at stations, for the infrastructure managers responsible for managing and operating stations, to use if they so choose.

This document is intended as the single reference point for identification of standards and guidance documents required in for the planning, design, operation and maintenance of lighting installations. It provides specific requirements for lighting and also references associated material published by British Standards, Building Regulations, Accessibility Code of Practice, CIBSE/SLL and ILP for lighting in public areas.

GM/RC2531 Iss1 Recommendations for Rail Vehicle Emergency Lighting
Provides an explanation of the purpose of emergency lighting and recommendations on the means of delivering the requirements for emergency lighting.

In a way, a railway carriage is just a building on wheels that happens to move very quickly along a set of tracks, so it’s important that there is a contingency for power failure. This document describes the requirements for an emergency lighting installation in all areas of the train.

GM/RT2176 Iss1 Air Quality and Lighting Environment for Train crew inside Railway vehicles
Prescribes the requirements for ventilation air and normal and emergency lighting levels in Train crew areas of railway vehicles, to ensure a working environment in which drivers and other train crew can carry out their operational duties safely and effectively and maintain safety.

This is a workplace standard that applies to train crew, not the public and provides illuminance standards for vehicles in service, including provision for emergency lighting in the event of power failure.

GK/RT0192 Iss1 Level Crossings Interface Requirements 
Mandates the control, command and signalling requirements for level crossing equipment, so that level crossing functionality is compatible with infrastructure manager operations at stations and railway undertaking operations.

Put simply, a level crossing shall be illuminated if trains run after dark. This is the document that describes how to go about it. But it’s a far deeper document than that and provides vital information on how to deal with the uncomfortable coming-together of road and rail.

GE/RT8060 Iss2 Engineering Requirements for Dispatch of Trains from Platforms
Mandates the minimum engineering requirements for the facilities used in dispatching trains from platforms.

Lighting is about vision and this document is all about the ability of a driver to see what is happening along the length of a platform. Consequently, it relates directly back to RIS-7702-INS Iss1 – Rail Industry Standard for Lighting at Stations, mentioned at the top of this page.

GI/GN7619 Iss1 Guidance on the Safety in Railway Tunnels Technical Specification for Interoperability
This document gives guidance on interpreting the requirements of the Safety in Railway Tunnels Technical Specification for Interoperability (SRT TSI). It specifically gives guidance on the requirements for the Infrastructure, Energy, Control Command and Signalling, and Rolling Stock Sub systems.

Most of us think of tunnels as places where we lose our mobile signals, rather than stirring examples of the Victorian engineer’s craft as the railway was driven through the English countryside. Tunnels also need to be maintained and there are occasions when a tunnel is the scene of an emergency, including passenger evacuation, so lighting standards are required for those circumstances.


Picture: Copyright Eurostar/Troika/M Walter


  • You can find out more about the challenges faced by Rail Operators when upgrading lighting at railway stations at the Transport & Infastructure conference at LuxLive this November. Featuring eight conference tracks and over 100 speakers, LuxLive is Europe’s largest annual lighting event taking place on 14th & 15th November at the ExCeL London. Entry is FREE – simply register to attend HERE