Motorway Services Online

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Help with Infoboxes

The infobox is used as a general information box to display on pages, particularly ones relating to brands and operators.

The purpose of an infobox is to give all the vital information people might need to know. For a long time Google has taken information from it (their algorithm struggles to read the main text but can process the table easily), but now other robotic assistants are too.


An example of an infobox, filled out for Granada.

It should be placed at the top of the page and is used as follows:

|colour = #ED1B2D
|image = Popham_Little_Chef.jpg
|locations = 177
|associated = [[Coffee Tempo!]], [[Travelodge]]

As well as 'colour', 'image', 'locations' and 'associated', the following variables can be used, preferably in this order. Note that each once is optional and can be either left blank or not included at all.

  • |name - The name of the brand or operator, if not supplied it will use the page name.
  • |colour - The brand's primary colour, preferably in hexadecimal form ('#FFFFFF') but text form ('white') is also acceptable. The colour should be extracted from the brand's website. If not supplied it will default to motorway blue.
  • |font - If the 'colour' tag would make the 'name' illegible, you should supply an alternative colour. As above, hexadecimal is preferred but text is acceptable.
  • |image - The main picture of the brand, preferably one uploaded by one of our members. Supply the name of the file as it is uploaded on here.
  • |locations - The number of sites they have. For big brands, you may need to specify what you're counting, such as "45 MSA restaurants".
  • |associated - Names associated with this brand.
  • |introduced - The year the chain was introduced to service stations.
  • |removed - The year the final service station branch closed.
  • |openinghours - The typical opening hours - not for operators.
  • |predecessors - Names of the brands this replaced.
  • |successors - Names of the brands that replaced it.
  • |acquired - For operators only - the company they are acquired by.
  • |chiefexec - For operators only - the chief executive.
  • |hqaddress - For operators only - the address of the headquarters. Use {{newline}} to create a new line, making it easier to read
  • |telephone - For operators only - the head office's telephone number.
  • |rating - For operators only - put their name. This will connect to the database, so it needs to be capitalised correctly and without spaces (ie 'WelcomeBreak').
  • |website - The company's official website, without the http:// or www. unless it is necessary.
  • |facebook - The company's official Facebook page, without the or any tracking information
  • |twitter - The company's Twitter handle
  • |country - Can be 'Ireland', 'UK' or the default, 'both'. 'Both' should be used if the brand has been active on both country's motorways.
  • |gallery - System will try to count how many photos of this brand we have uploaded. Sometimes, it needs help finding them. This line can tell it to search for something else.

Except where the template requires it, external links shouldn't be used here, as we're only after a summary.

A warning about colours

Our infoboxes use colours to make them easily recognisable. We are not trying to perfectly recreate brand logos (if we wanted that we'd use an image). In particular, we need to remember that not everybody's vision is the same and we should stick to high-contrast colours.

Services Infobox

Service stations use their own infobox. It takes exactly the same format, but has a different set of variables. They are:

  • |name - The name of the brand or operator, if not supplied it will use the page name.
  • |irish or |welsh - If there is an established Irish or Welsh name, provide it here.
  • |type - The type of service station - can be either motorway, primary, non-primary, closed, planned or rest area. User:Johnathan404 should be informed of any changes as this will affect the back-end of the site.
  • |operator - The operator. Accepts all current operators and will return with their colour scheme, plus 'truckstop' to create a black colour scheme. It should only be used where the operator is clear.
  • |owner - The operator's name, for use with truckstops.
  • |country - Tells the system which version of the site to list the services on. It will assume 'UK', unless you provide 'NI' or 'Ireland'.
  • |image - Preferably a photo of the front of the services. Supply the name of the file as it is uploaded on here.
  • |road - The road and junction/junction numbers of the services.
  • |address - The services' address, as it appears in directories. Use as much information as is available, minus the postcode. Give the current county, regardless of politics. Use {{newline}} to start a new line, making it easier to read.
  • |postcode or *|eircode - The postcode.
  • |maplink - a Google Maps link, for services which don't have a full map page only.
  • |telephone - The main telephone number for the services.
  • |signposted - Are the services signposted from the road? Enter 'Yes', 'No' or 'As...' if the operator's name doesn't appear on the signs.
  • |opened - The opening year of the services. The year needs to come before any label because this powers the timeline.
  • |prevop - Any previous operators of the services.
  • |prevname - Any previous names of the services.
  • |gridref - The grid reference of the services, this can be taken from Get-a-Map.
  • |stype - Services type, such as 'single site located at a junction'. A correct answer will add the page to several categories.
  • |rating - The identifier we're looking for in the ratings database.
  • |coords - the coordinates of the services, this should already be filled out.
  • |website - the services' official website's unique ID. Don't worry - there's an explanation below.
  • |websitedir - if the two sides of the services have different websites, state the direction the first site applies to.
  • |extrawebsite - to add a second website. Put both the address, and then, after a space, the title of the link.
  • |facebook - the services' official Facebook page, without the or any tracking data.
  • |foursquare - the unique part of the Foursquare address
  • |briefroad - a briefer description of the location which appears on the search page.
  • |markerpost - used to tell the system what order the services come in as you drive the road. Where available we copy the number on the blue km signs next to the road. Sometimes a trick is needed to get around roads with unusual numbering.
  • |planningpage - this and the next two send information to the Planning Authorities page. It is a link to the authority responsible followed by their name.
  • |formerplanning - a link to the authority formerly responsible for planning, who may still hold documents
  • |formerpostcode - a postcode formerly used for the services, which plans may be filed under


For the first time ever, all the operators' website addresses take the same formats. This means that to find the bit you need to specify you just need to take the service area name from the end of the address (like in the example), ignoring the ".html" if this comes after it. The name you need will almost always be the service area name in lower case, with hyphens instead of spaces. Let's see how long they keep things this simple!

For all other operators, the website will be generated automatically (or not at all). To add an extra website, put '|extrawebsite = address title'.

Unbuilt Services

To avoid them getting mixed up with built services, unbuilt services have their own infobox. It works just like the other two, but opens with {{Unbuilt and has variables as follows:

  • |name - the most likely name of the services.
  • |irish or |welsh - if the most likely name has an established translation, provide it here.
  • |road - the road the services would have been on.
  • |location - a rough location.
  • |othernames - other names the plans were known by.
  • |dateplanned - roughly the dates where the services were planned.
  • |coords - the coordinates of the services, this can be obtained using the map (the right-most edit tool).
  • |coords2 - the coordinates of the second planned place of the services, if applicable
  • |maplink - a Google Maps link showing all the planned sites of the services, if there were more than one (otherwise it will be generated automatically).
  • |operator - for more recent plans, who planned or would have operated the services.
  • |seealso - similar, nearby planned services
  • |gridref - the grid reference of the services, this can be taken from Get-a-Map.
  • |image - a photo showing the unbuilt services as best as possible.
  • |gallery - System will try to count how many photos of this brand we have uploaded. Sometimes, it needs help finding them. This line can tell it to search for something else.