News from VMS


VMS shine at Infrarail 2016

Claire Perry, MP, stopped by the Variable Message Signs (VMS) stand on the opening day at Infrarail 2016.

The Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport, was impressed with the innovative LED signals VMS were exhibiting at the show. In the past 10 years VMS, now part of the Hill & Smith Group, has become a leading manufacturer of signals for the rail industry and they brought a selection to display at the show including; a Lightweight Colour Light Signal (LCLS), an LED Level Crossing Sign, a Banner Repeater, new verions of the SARI and MARI, a PLJI 1-2-3 position, and a bespoke signal combining a 3-aspect CLS and a SUB for mid-platform installation at Birmingham New Street Station.

Claire Thompson, VMS Business Manager for rail was on hand to explain the benefits of lightweight signals and support structures which are now being realised on the Network Rail system.

Left to right: Claire Thompson, Business Manager - Rail; Mark Johnson, Technical Sales Director; Claire Perry, Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Derek Muir, Group Chief Executive, Hill &Smith Holdings PLC.


VMS brings metal fabrication in-house

With the acquisition of its long-time supplier Tegrel, Variable Message Signs (VMS) has expanded its core capabilities with the addition of in-house metal fabrication.

Hill & Smith Ltd, owner of VMS, acquired the business and certain assets of Tegrel to expand the capabilities of its Variable Message Signs business. Established for over 45 years, Tegrel specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of a wide variety of fabrications in mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium and specialist materials.

Bill Hamilton, Managing Director of VMS adds; "VMS has had a close working relationship with Tegrel for the supply of sign enclosures and metal fabrication work since 1987. This latest development is a natural progression for us, expanding our capabilities to cover the entire manufacturing process from raw metal to finished product."

Based in a 33,000 sq ft purpose-built factory, less than 10 miles from the VMS Hebburn plant, Tegrel employs the latest manufacturing methods which enables it to meet a vast array of requirements for electrical or mechanical engineering fabrication. As well as supplying VMS, Tegrel will continue to service other business sectors, including the oil and gas industry.

"VMS has always been a valued customer and was instrumental in the development of Tegrel’s business," says Richard Leech, former Managing Director of Tegrel. "Tegrel is excited to be joining VMS as part of Hill & Smith, a global group of companies offering tremendous opportunities for expansion".

The merging of Techspan Systems & Variable Message Signs Limited

The businesses of Techspan Systems and Variable Message Signs Limited are now operating together. The integration of both businesses is to trade as 'Hill & Smith Limited trading as Variable Message Signs' within the Technology Division of Hill & Smith Holdings PLC.

VMS and Techspan, bigger and better together.

Two market leading companies in the field of signage systems for highways, urban and rail sectors have joined forces. The integration of Variable Message Signs Limited (VMSL) and Techspan Systems brings together two of the leading UK LED display suppliers, creating a stronger business with a broad product range and an extensive technical capability. Following the acquisition of VMSL in 2014, Hill & Smith Limited realised the opportunity to create a world class provider of variable message signs and systems as part of its HS Roads Technology Division. The new combined business will operate under the name of Variable Message Signs.

Managing Director of the new venture, Bill Hamilton, said, “Variable Message Signs can comfortably claim to have one of the largest installed bases of equipment in the UK highways sector. Not only can we service our existing customers more efficiently but, with our combined resources and capability, we are ideally placed to expand our overseas business.” VMS provides the design, manufacture and installation of a comprehensive range of LED based technology solutions for both road and rail applications, and with a combined workforce of over 70 people, it will continue to operate out of the two current locations in Aylesbury and Newcastle.

“The HS Roads Group is committed to maintaining its position as the market leader in its specialist fields,” commented Bill. “The aim of integrating these two businesses is to provide an organisation that can provide the highest levels of service and support to our customer base and to deliver products which meet the increasing requirements for higher levels of reliability and availability. I think that Variable Message Signs is extremely well placed to fulfil all of our objectives.”

VMSL launches first Rail Products Catalogue

Since the introduction of VMS's first LED rail signal in 2006 our range of signals has steadily grown to the point when we decided a full Rail Products Catalogue would benefit our customers, enabling them to see the whole range of products we have on offer.

Full details of all VMS rail products.

The catalogue includes drawings, dimensions, weights and lots more information which will be invaluable to signalling scheme designers and installers. Our product range is still expanding rapidly so be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date version of the catalogue.

We would encourage our customers to download the PDF version of the catalogue by clicking here, but a printed version is also available upon request. If you would like to be notified automatically of future releases, please email to register for our mailing list.

IRSE comes to VMS

Mark Johnson addressing IRSE visitors.

On the 16th May 2013, VMS was pleased to host a visit from the Institution of Railway Signalling Engineers.

Led by newly inaugurated president Dave Weedon, 24 IRSE members were on a Technical Visit to the North East, "Birthplace of the Modern Railway".

Following a tour at Tyne & Wear Metro and later North Yorkshire Moors Railway, they came to VMS for a presentation and factory visit to hear about and see the manufacturing and testing of VMS rail and road products and systems.

Variable Message Signs

Monkton Business Park, Mill Lane, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, NE31 2JZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)191 423 7070
Griffin Lane, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8BP, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1296 673000

Hill & Smith Ltd trading as Variable Message Signs |  Registered in England No: 01270322 | Registered office: Westhaven House, Arleston Way, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4LH