The latest news from the Unipart Rail Group of Companies

LED Wig Wag celebrates its 10th year

LED Wig Wag celebrates its 10th year

since approval for use at Level Crossings

Tags: Collaborative Working Increased Safety Infrastructure Manufacturing Safety Signalling Unipart Dorman

July 2017 sees ten years since the Unipart Dorman/Unipart Rail LED Wig Wag head for level crossings was first approved for use.

This was one of the first true collaborations across Unipart’s Rail Division, in that the LED light modules were designed and are manufactured at Unipart Dorman in Southport, built into complete heads by Unipart Rail in York and then sold through Unipart Rail in Crewe, who also supply relays and other control equipment such as treadles etc. This cross site cooperation has continued across the years and has delivered significant benefits to other projects such as Modular Lightweight Signalling.

The LED units delivered a step change in reliability and through that, level crossing safety with an expected in service life of over 20 years without maintenance. This extremely high availability and greatly improved readability for road users, was instrumental in a national fitment campaign which saw the replacement of filament lit heads with LED units across the UK.

The lenses are made of high impact resistant polycarbonate with an anti-scratch coating on specifically designed to maximise light output and the standard visors are made of LDPE which returns to its normal state if struck or deformed which makes the modules extremely vandal resistant. In addition to their use in the Wig Wag head the LED modules are also used as the light source in ancillary units such as ‘Another Train Coming’ and ‘Standing Red Man’. They have also recently been developed with a new interlocking system for use as part of the Thales 4LM resignaling project on London Underground as a Cross Now Indicator.  

In 2014 Unipart Dorman worked closely with Network Rail to develop the LED module for increased performance into what became known as ‘Mod A’ modules, which are brighter to increase their conspicuity and these have now been accepted as the standard item for supply. There have been improvements to the backboards and there is also a new lightweight signal in development.

The LED Wig Wag head is a part of the new Modular Level Crossing Island commonly referred to as Level Crossing in a box. This new method of working involves delivering all elements of a level crossing from a Barrier Boom Lamp all the way up to fully fitted REB and Location Cases. The whole crossing is then built, tested and despatched to site ready to install quickly and simply using plug couplers. This approach saves significant amounts of time and money by reducing the installation time which can incur line speed reductions or closures and also by bringing all of the logistics and supply under one roof to give a one stop shop, saving design time and product sourcing.

Download the most recent Wig Wag flyer here.

View the latest LED Lightweight Signalling E-Handbook here or download a copy here.

Download the Classic LED Signalling Handbook here.

Visit for more information.


About this author
Graham Scott

Technical Support Manager

I am the Technical Support Manager at Unipart Dorman providing technical and sales support across the Rail, Traffic and New Product Development areas of the business. In my spare time I write Flash Fiction and I also volunteer at a local community creative writing group and for various transport heritage groups.


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