Railway signalling is a complex and fascinating subject. This site has a number of pages explaining the systems in use around the world ranging from old semaphore signals still used in the UK and eslewhere to modern electronic high capacity systems used by metros. We also provide links to other railway signalling sites around the world that describe local systems.
Links to pages on this site
The Development of Railway Signalling - A short history of UK signalling with some simple diagrams and text which show the principles of railway signalling.
UK Warning and Protection Systems - A description of the Automatic Warning System (AWS) and the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) used on UK railways.
British Signalling - What the Driver Sees - This page describes the types of signals seen on British railways and their meanings. Semaphore and colour light signals are included.
Metro Signalling and ATP - More diagrams and text showing how the high density services on metros and subways are handled by signalling and automatic train protection.ATP Transmission and Moving Block Systems - Different ways that ATP works and moving block systems - with diagrams.
ATO functions differ from those of ATP but they are linked.
ATC and its relationship with ATO, ATP and ATS.
Route Signalling - Junctions, Locking and Route Setting, with diagrams showing how trains are controlled through an area.
Single Line Operation - A simple description of how trains are regulated over single lines in the US and the UK.
US Railroad Signalling - An outline of the differences between UK and US signalling philosophy with descriptions of basic US signalling.
Links to other sites about railway signalling:
The Signal Box - Lots of excellent information on UK mechanical signalling systems.
Junction Signalling in the UK - A simple description, with diagrams, of how junction signalling is displayed to train drivers on UK main line railways. Written by Clive Feather.
US Railroad Signalling - A good basic outline of US standard railroad signalling rules and techniques. Strange that it should be from Denmark, but well worth a visit.
NORAC Signal Rules - posted on the North Eastern Railroad website, a virtual railroad for train simulator game players.
NORAC Signalling Demonstrator - Signal rules and aspect demonstrator, based on the NORAC 1995 convention, by Henry J Sundermeyer
Railroad Operating Rules - A complete set of the General Code of Operating Rules prepared by Daniel Dawdy on his CWRR site. These rules have been adopted by most US Railroads and including diagrams.
The Railroad Signal Site - A page on the Webville and Hypertext RR website linking to various pages with diagrams of signal aspects encoutnered on a raiilroad operating in the 1950s.
Strategic Railroading - A site run by Ron Lindsey which he describes as "A Technology Strategy in-sync with an Operational Strategy". Mainly to do with signalling and communications and how it interfaces with operations, or not, as the case may be.
West Country Railway Archives - A series of pages form the RailWest site with historical articles on the operation of UK manual signalling covering some technical content, e.g. BR(WR) tokenless block, Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and other lines local to the area.
La Signalisation Ferroviaire - A detailed site (in French) describing French railway signalling by Xavier Geillon.
Early Track Circuits - A reprint by Tom Ehrenreich of an article from the Scientific American of April 1890 describing a newly installed track circuit controlled signalling system with pneumatically operated signals. Interesting too because London Underground still uses a similar system.
British Signalling on the Bluebell Railway - A description of the typically British mechanical signalling equipment used today on the Bluebell Railway, one of the earliest preserved lines in Britain. There are simple explanations and good photos.
Italian State Railways Signals - A site by an Italian Railway's officer describing the systems and signals used. Lots of graphics and diagrams available in Italian and English by Martino Antonio.
The Signal Database - a long and mostly useful list of railway signalling sites from around the world.
Central Line ATP - a good description of the automatic train protection (ATP) system used on London Underground's Central Line by Clive Feather.
Danish Railway Signalling
- A useful description of the signalling of the Danish Railways in
English. Has graphics of aspects and details of S-bahn (commuter) and
main line signals.
Signalling - Another page on Danish railway signalling by Carsten
Lundsten in English - including some excellent diagrams of Danish
signals. Still being expanded.
DLR Signalling -
A good outline of both the original system and the Seltrac system which
replaced it. The page is part of the excellent Docklands Light Railway
site by R.P.F. Consemulder of the Netherlands.
German Main Line
Signalling - An excellent site with clear descriptions with
diagrams of both basics and details of German signalling
practices. By Wolfgang Meyenberg.
& Operations - A good US site being developed with descriptions
of US signalling principles by Mark Bej. It is unfortunate that
it was never finished.
Signalling on the New
York Subway - A good description of the signalling system and its
operation with graphics and photos by Bernard S. Greenberg. The NYC
signalling is similar to London Underground's in some respects so it's
worth a look for UK enthusiasts too.
TGV TVM 430
system - This page has a description of the French high speed train
signalling system originally written by Thierry Davroux for the
European Railway Server site. There is a detailed French language
version at La
signalisation en cabine et sur les lignes à grande vitesse.
Railway Signals - Diagrams of old and new signals in the
Netherlands (English text).
Signalling - German signals and signal boxes in English.
Chinese Railway Signalling
- From the same site as Wolfgang Meyenberg's German signalling pages
above. In English.
Portuguese Railway Signalling - A
description with diagrams of the different types of signalling used in
Portugal. In Portuguese and English.
Signalbox.org links to a wide range of international railway signalling sites