Railroad Signals, reading and meanings, part 1: The basic three light system
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Railroad Signals, reading and meanings, part 1: The basic three light system

August 12, 2019


Being a bit of a railfan before
I actually became a railroader, I’d always been
curious about the signals used on the railroads to
control trains. I actually learned how to read
them before I became a railway conductor, and I know a
lot of railfans have always been curious as
well, and of course, model railroaders wanting to put
in functioning signals onto their layout. So I thought I’d put together
this crash course on reading railway signals. Now –
the signals I’m going to be showing are Canadian
railway signals. A lot of railways in the US use
these same signals, or similar, or the same concept
of signals, but with different methods of
display. We use coloured lights here in
Canada, but the Raton subdivision in New Mexico
still has semaphores. The Pennsylvania railroad, and
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad use a cross between
coloured signals and semaphores – the lights are
coloured, and show the semaphore position of
horizontal, 45 degrees, or vertical. The most common signals are the
searchlight signals. These are a single
light which gets focused through two lenses and
then the light passes through a coloured glass
to make it either red, yellow or green. You can
see the three coloured glasses in this picture
of the internal workings of a searchlight
railroad signal. The holder gets pushed to the right
or to the left by an electromagnet to put the
yellow or green glass in front of the light. Notice that the middle glass is
red – this is a fail safe. If the electromagnet
fails, then the light reverts to red. More and more we are seeing LED
signals, nicknamed Darth Vader signals because of
the large sun hood. The principles are the same as
what I’m going to show you here, only previously,
a single light could display three different
colours through the use of different coloured glass
that would be moved in front of the light. The LED
signals just have three different coloured LED
lights under the sun shield, but you just simply read
the signal as this bank of lights represents one
signal: it’s either red, yellow or green. The signals use the colours
you’ve grown accustomed to with traffic signals: Red,
green and yellow. There are some signals coming
out that are “lunar” – which is a bluish-white
colour, mostly seen in the US but is being seen in
Canada. Trains are slow to accelerate
and slow to stop. I’d been in one emergency stop
situation where our train was only seven cars and
two locomotives, and only going 25 miles an hour. It
was incredible how much space it took to stop that
train with the brakes in full emergency –
probably took about thousand feet to stop. Some heavy freight trains can
book along at 75 miles an hour – it can take them
over a mile, or two kilometers, to come to a
stop in full emergency brake. The reason for this is
the same reason trains are the second most
efficient means of transportation. The contact area
of steel wheels on steel rails is about the size of
a dime. So literally, an entire train’s
contact with the rails can be the equivelent surface
area of a coffee table. That means very little
friction, very easy and efficient moving of
incredible amounts of weight. But the downside of very
little friction and surface area is stopping
that train. So we need to know what we need
to do with the train MILES in advance so we can
take appropriate action to control the train. It
can take two miles or more to bring a freight train
to a gentle, controlled stop – what we call a
“service stop” so we need to know well in advance
what’s happening up ahead. So there are basically two train
control systems in Canada: OCS which is the
Occupational Control System, or CTC which is the
Centralized Traffic Control System. Up here in
Northern Alberta where I work, it is all OCS which means
that, just like air traffic control of aircraft, we
get clearance from Rail Traffic Control to be on
the rails. They give us the rails and assure that no
one else is on OUR track, and we are controlled by
Rail Traffic Control via the radio. Rail
Traffic Control is known as RTC. CTC is the most efficient type
of rail traffic control, and that’s where the
signals come in. It’s controlled by RTC, but RTC gives
instructions to the trains via these signals.
The distance between the signals varies. On the CP
line behind my house in Ontario, they had signals
every two miles for instance, but in heavier traffic
corridors the signals can be closer together. The base CTC signal is three
lights on a mast. This signal, green over red over red,
believe it or not, is “clear signal” – it means go
full bore – whatever your speed limit is,
you are permitted to go full speed ahead, the track
is clear ahead of you. You might wonder why on earth do
they have the red lights then? There are actually multiple
reasons for this. First of all, understand that is it
the COMBINATION of lights that communicate what to
do. The combination of three lights, each of which
could be either red, yellow or green. Secondly, these
are mechanical devices – the light bulbs can
blow out, the mechanics inside that change the
colour of the light can break. Using three
lights, we can get an indication of what we need to do
as much as three signals in advance. So at two
mile spacings, we could know six miles in advance
if we have to slow down or stop. But – if the two lower lights
aren’t lit up, then we’d have to guess what the
signal combination is! We can’t do that – our lives,
and the lives of others are on the line here,
there’s no guessing allowed. So consider the two red
lights as “placeholders.” They’re lit, so
we know that they are functioning, but they are
showing red which effectively means we can ignore
them as they are below the green signal. The three signal heads each
represent three different speeds: The top light
is for high speed – basically whatever the maximum
speed for that track is. The second head is medium
speed. The bottom head is for slow speed. Medium
speed is an actual speed – it is designated as 30
mph. Slow speed is also an actual speed – 15 mph. So if this signal means track
speed, then what does this signal mean? You might have
guessed – it means medium speed. So you should not
be going any faster than 30 mph when you pass this
signal. This signal would mean? You guessed it –
slow speed, or 15 mph. You should not be going any
faster than 15 mph when you pass this signal. If all three are red, you could
probably guess what that means. Yup, it means stop. This is slightly simplified for
instructional purposes, but there you have it:
your first four signals, and the basics of the
CTC signal system. But remember – we’re a train,
and we need to know MILES in advance of what’s ahead
of us. We need to know long in advance what we’re
going to need to do. So we’re trucking along at
track speed, and we come to this signal: Remembering that the uppermost
non-red light is the one we always want to pay
attention to, and we ignore the other red lights as
placeholders. Basically this signal means
we’re okay to pass this signal at track speed, but it’s
yellow – warning us that the next signal is going to
be a stop signal. This signal is called “clear to
stop,” because we are clear to proceed past this
signal at track speed, but we need to prepare to
stop at the next signal. We were just given two
miles warning of what the next signal is
displaying, and simultaneously told what we can
do at THIS signal. Knowing what you now know, you
might just be able to figure out what this signal
means. You guessed it: Medium to stop.
So if you’re driving the train, you must pass
this signal going no faster than medium speed, or
30 mph, and expecting the next signal to be
a stop signal, so you’ll be preparing to stop. Now there is one small catch to
this next signal: The slow speed light is flashing
yellow. There’s a reason for that which we’ll get
to in a minute, but let me just tell you that the
slow speed head flashing yellow means slow, and
because it’s yellow, that means the next
signal will be a stop signal. So this signal is “slow
to stop.” You can pass this signal going no more
than 15 miles and hour, preparing to stop at the
next signal. While we’re on this signal, I’m
going to explain one of the weird signals. Let’s
say the yellow light was solid yellow, not
flashing. This is very similar to the slow signal, but
with a further RESTRICTION. This signal is
called restricting signal for restricted speed. You
cannot go faster than slow speed – 15 mph, but
the further restriction is that you must be
on the lookout for a switch lined against you,
broken rails, and able to stop within half the distance
of vision. Heres why: If I can only see 1,000
feet ahead of me, because of a curve with trees on
the embankment for instance, I have to drive the
train at a slow enough speed so that when I see
something on the tracks, I can stop in 500 feet –
HALF of the distance that I could see. Why
is this? It’s because that something on the
tracks may be another train – moving in the other
direction! So if he is also driving at a speed in which
he can stop in half the distance he can see,
then we both stop in half the distance of sight,
meaning we meet in the middle and don’t collide. Now again, remember – this
system is built up on a mechanical system. Mechanical
systems can fail. So let’s take a look at our slow to
stop signal. It’s a flashing yellow signal on the
slow speed head. There’s a little relay inside
the control box that flashes that light. Let’s say
that relay burns out, and the light no longer flashes.
It is now a solid yellow. What has just happened?
It is a fail safe system – we HAD a less
restricting signal – we were just limited to a maximum of 15
miles an hour. But now because it’s a solid yellow,
it’s now a restricting signal which is more
restrictive than a slow signal: we have to slow
down to whatever speed the terrain demands. We need to
be extra cautious and be able to stop within half
the distance of vision. So those are the two
reasons why the flashing yellow light means slow
speed. you’ll notice this very
carefully thought out trend as we start to get into flashing
lights on the signals: If the flashing fails,
the signal simply reverts to a more restrictive
signal. A flashing yellow light on the
top now tells us what’s going on TWO signals
ahead of us. It’s yellow and on the top head,
meaning we can blow by this signal at full speed ahead
– but it’s yellow, warning us that up ahead is a
stop signal. It’s flashing, telling us that the
stop signal is TWO signals ahead. So this signal
will be a flashing yellow, meaning advance clear to
stop. We have now been given advance warning that
in FOUR miles we’re going to have to stop. The next
signal will be solid yellow on the high speed
head, meaning clear to stop. We can blow by that
signal at track speed if we want, preparing to stop at
the next signal. Now let’s say that the flashing
relay melts down in the control box again, and our
light now stays a solid yellow. What has happened? It’s a fail safe system: It’s
the wrong signal, because we would read it as
clear to stop – we would pass this light thinking
we had to stop in two miles, not four miles. We
would get to the next signal, expecting it to be a
stop signal, but it would turn out to be a clear to
stop signal as well. No bigee – we carry on at
track speed to the next signal, prepared to stop. So now that we’ve seen how the
signals can indicate both what to do NOW, and what to
expect at the next signal, let’s go back to our
first three signals again: This one is a clear signal.
Proceed at track speed. This one as we discussed is a
medium signal, but it is green – indicating that the
next signal is a clear signal. We must slow down
and pass our ENTIRE train by this signal going no
faster than medium speed, then we can speed up to
track speed. The reason for the medium speed
will no doubt be because at that signal, the
train will pass through a switch. You can’t just go
blazing through those switches at high speed! You’ll
take the train right off the rails because it can’t
take the corner at high speed. But this switch is
designed to be transited at 30 mph or less. So,
you pass this signal at medium speed,
indicated by the medium speed head. The light is green
which tells us that the next signal we encounter
will be a clear signal. It’s the same thing if we
encounter a green light on the slow speed head. The
switch will have an even harsher curve to it,
designed for a train going 15 mph or slower. However,
the light is green, telling us that the next
signal will be a clear signal. So once our entire
train has gone through the switch, we can now
accelerate to track speed, knowing that the next
signal is a clear signal. This three head signal system is
the foundation for all of the other signals I’m
going to show you in this series of videos. Just keep
this three head system in mind as you learn the
other indications – high speed on the top, medium
speed in the middle, slow speed on the bottom. In the next video, we’ll discuss
two headed and single headed signals, the
reasoning behind them and how to read them.

100 Comments

  • Reply CRSR DASH-8 40B November 21, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I love how you teach these courses. You make it interesting, easy to follow along, and easy for all ages. You need to do more of these educational videos. Thanks again.

  • Reply Richard Carnegie November 29, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Ian, great job explaining the basics! Β I expect that LED lights are a lot more reliable and durable than the conventional incandescent/lens mechanism…has the failsafe protocol changed?

  • Reply Lon Wall December 4, 2017 at 3:36 am

    An unclear or "confusing" signal must be considered a stop signal.

  • Reply Elise December 25, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this video! I take the train all the time and was always curious how it works, and thanks to you, now I know! You should consider being a teacher, that was extremely clear and understandable. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Aaron Screwface January 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Fantastic shirt hahaha!!!!

  • Reply Sony Abraham January 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    HI, thank you so much for this wonderful video.
    i am selected with CN rail and am going for the conductor training in Winnipeg soon.
    may i know how should i prepare ahead of time to pass the 7 weeks training? i have heard that many got rejected while being on the training. should i learn signals before i go for the training? do you have any tips to perform well in the training and to get selected?

    thank yoiu

  • Reply nicknamethieves January 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    great video. great pace. you introduce a concept, explain it, link it with other concepts, and review. You build on that concept to introduce next concept. well done. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed reading the Transport Canada manual… this is stupid simple! Thanks Bud!

  • Reply Russell Smith January 30, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    A brilliant video – and so well presented too.

  • Reply Jim Bos February 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Well done, and informative . Thank you

  • Reply Hemi204 February 26, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    +Ian Juby Appreciate you taking the time to make these, guess we couldn't get you to wear a GoPro and do some switches eh hehe πŸ™‚
    Probably have seen you roll by my cabin at florence lake (winnitoba) —————>
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s50Qq02p3io

  • Reply Jean-Francois Mezei February 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I do not understand "stop and PROCEED". If the block ahead is not clear, shouldn't the train remain stopped until the signal turns yellow/green? I was always under impression that red meant "RED" (stop). Surprised that by default, it doesn't mean that and only when there are additional signs on the post does it mean "stop, you're not authorized to proceed".

  • Reply DrSwansea March 6, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Very well done; Thank you Mr Juby!!

  • Reply Chris Lynch March 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    how does one become a conductor or even a train driver to begin with? is it like a 4yr college?

  • Reply James Davis March 14, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    "wailway"

  • Reply Jamie Lacourse March 22, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Could you explain the signage sometime? Thanks.

  • Reply J L April 2, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Great vids Ian Working for Cn is in my family im wondering how tough was the cror rules exams? Im in my 30's, just in high school i was not the best at studying and remembering information. Dont get me wrong ive been a railfan for over 15years amd this is something im interested in just afraid the exams might be to much, ive seen the thickness of the cror book haha

  • Reply Dachamp2001 April 4, 2018 at 2:48 am

    In the US blinking yellow lets the crew know the next signal in red (stop) restricted speed 15mph. Each head is also for a turnout

  • Reply Ken Strout April 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    When explaining the positions of a three color light signal you said the top position was high speed. I don't remember a definition for high speed in CROR . Might I suggest you use Normal Speed instead of High Speed in this part of your video. Thanks

  • Reply denelson83 April 22, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    "Wailways"?

  • Reply Wade Ritter April 27, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Want to work for CN Rail
    This free report will show you how to practice for your exams
    https://wadestestprep.lpages.co/passing-cn-rail-testing

  • Reply mspenrice May 3, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    That's actually pretty smart, versus the rather less failsafe lights we have in the UK and Europe. The old semaphores would default to "danger" (stop), but if a modern light burns out you just have to be on your guard to spot that there's a signal emplacement that's not showing any lights (and therefore must be assumed as red)… bit tricky if it's the middle of the night or foggy conditions, and your route knowledge might not yet be fully cemented…

    If only road signals operated in a similar way. Wouldn't it be nice to know in advance that you're likely to hit a red if you proceed at the speed limit, and that you may as well go at two thirds or one third normal speed because it'll only change to "proceed" (itself maybe at a lower speed because of how things are sequenced) after enough time has elapsed for you to have approached it at a slower pace? Get a full green, you know you can charge ahead and blitz an upcoming sequence of all greens at "line" speed… get a lower green, or a yellow, and know that there's no point flooring it, and it's better to drift along in a more relaxed and fuel efficient (and, ostensibly, safer) fashion. Take the guesswork out, cut down on the stop-start, and have smoother flowing, less polluted cities even without having to pay for loads of flyovers and underpasses…

  • Reply Alex268 sunn May 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    It is not possible to display different colours with LED, actually Searchlight could be equipped with LED. Waste of money.

  • Reply helmut23456 May 7, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks Man! I applied for two different conductor jobs so this helps

  • Reply Kevin Pippin May 16, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Yellow usually means some kind of approach

  • Reply anindra pratama May 18, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    i thought the 3 searchlights are for junctions at first

  • Reply Jason howe May 19, 2018 at 7:12 am

    how are you converting kilometers to because a mile in distance is 1.6km, 2 km which = about 1 and a 1/4 miles..

    If you are 75MPH your stopping on average of 50+cars your stopping distance is going to north of 10 km for a dead even at 25-35 MPH you be north 2 miles to dead stop in terms of kilometers 3.2 or more…

  • Reply Jake Eves May 22, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    check out my videos of trains in kingston ontario this is going to be very helpful to me i will be paying more attention to these signals and the way they operate

  • Reply Franklin Martini May 26, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Most informative. The signals in Australia are usually of USA manufacture. Either the American or British 'safe working' systems are used.

  • Reply Franklin Martini May 26, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Kindly remove the music track as it's quite irritating.

  • Reply Mervyn Partin May 27, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Fascinating. It seems to be a lot more complicated than the British 4-aspect colour light signals, but if it works for North American railroads, then it would be wrong to say that one system is better than the other. Thank you for this excellent presentation.

  • Reply Jai Storey June 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    I will give this video a 10 out of 10 good work. keep up the awesome work!!!!!

  • Reply Richard S June 3, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Some rail lines do not have CTC signals. How is rail traffic controlled on those lines?

  • Reply Richard S June 3, 2018 at 3:57 am

    You should check out the Panama Canal Railroad. It's one of Panama's hidden gems.

  • Reply Tachi Tekmo June 11, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been so confused about North American signal aspects (British route signalling, here), and what each position represented. You explained it perfectly, and clearly. Especially the high, medium, and slow-speed *positions*! Makes so much more sense, now.

  • Reply Neil Roy June 12, 2018 at 4:36 am

    Great stuff! I was always curious about those signals so decided to check them out on a whim. Glad I did! You explained these really well! I'm also glad you're Canadian, as so am I. So that was a bonus. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply The Railfan June 16, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    What does Flashing green/Flashing green/red mean? CROR signals

  • Reply steamerthesteamtrain June 26, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Do modern Engineers even know how to read semaphore?

  • Reply Jamie Lacourse June 28, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Thank you SO much for not ruining your videos by using heavy- metal guitar or techno……you have no idea…..

  • Reply Jerald Dunn July 4, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Very informative. Could have done without the background music noise though. It makes it hard to hear what you're saying sometimes. They do this in a lot of videos and I've never understood why…

  • Reply Adrien Gadson July 8, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for the video , and now I can study up for my model railroad operations.

  • Reply Simon Richard July 9, 2018 at 3:11 am

    what is a whaleway

  • Reply Pat L July 9, 2018 at 6:03 am

    The signal at 13:20. Doesn't mean you have to do 30 pass this signal. I have worked for the railroads in the US and that is what we call a diverging clear. The signal prior to that one which normally will be a Yellow over green, Approach Medium. That tells you that the next signal will indicate a diverging route. Speed is not dependent on signal indication in this case. It is dependent on the speed allowed through that switch. Timetables will tell you this. I have seen switches with speeds as high as 50 and as low as 10 with a clear indication.

  • Reply Erzahler July 10, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Interesting to see how different signal systems work. Here in Florida, the FEC uses a slightly different system of signals. The high clear and high yellow are the same, of course. FEC's middle green indicates a diverging clear. A low clear sometimes indicates a clear diverging through a siding instead of the main track when no other trains are present, such as going around a slow order.

    Thank you for the primer on the Canadian signaling system. πŸ‘

  • Reply Jim Lou July 12, 2018 at 4:44 am

    ty u so much i wanted to learn so badly but didnt know where to look

  • Reply KutWrite July 13, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    I thought "Foamer" was a derogatory term given by railroad employees to those who trespass or might interfere with RR operations while getting photos, etc.

    Thanks for the info. Some of these signals seem similar to the BNSF & UP aspects, which are direction signals, such as "Diverging Approach."

    I worked the B&O division of CSX, which was way different 'til about 2004. Now CSX has incorporated 3-light signals similar to the Canadian, with some blinking aspects. They don't have lunar. They are also speed signals, such as medium clear, or approach slow. Your example of Medium to Stop would be called "Approach Medium" = "Proceed, approaching next signal not exceeding Medium speed."

    The signal system near your house, every 2 miles, seems like an ABS (Automatic Block System).

  • Reply Yetus Thy Fetus July 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Nice video, this indeed does help because US signals have the same concept

  • Reply oil9vinergar July 26, 2018 at 1:41 am

    B&O had lunar white for 100 years and it means restricting speed. CSX has 4 lights heads an the 2nd from bottom is lunar white but they can be in one, two, three light heads too….

  • Reply Jamie Lacourse July 26, 2018 at 2:24 am

    How do you know exactly when the last car has passed a signal or switch?

  • Reply Greg Eff July 28, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Great video, well-explained!! I’ve often wondered… LOL

  • Reply Roadman01 August 13, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Great video…annoying music…better done without…

  • Reply jvohanian August 31, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Norac signals are basically the same, except what you call "clear to stop" we call "approach". Good stuff!

  • Reply Elektro lytic August 31, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Hi, i would like to share two very important quotes with you that i try to share with as many people as i can. Jesus said β€œif you do not repent (turn away from sin: lying, stealing, getting drunk or high, pre-marital sex, commit dultery, hate, murder, suicide, witchcraft, homosexuality, using God's name in vain, praying to statues/pictures/paintings or anyone else but God, etc) you will all likewise perish (eternal fire)."

    Jesus also said "no one comes to the Father except through me (no one else).

    God takes sin very seriously. If I steal a car just once I will go to jail, likewise God warns that if we sin just once we will go to Hell, if we lie, steal, have sex before marriage, commit adultery, get drunk or high, etc, just once. But God does not want us to go to Hell.

    God became a human being in Jesus. He took the blame for us and took our punishment. He went to Hell and came back, Jesus paid our fine, then arose from the dead because He is God, he can do that. He paid for us to go to Heaven, the door is open for everyone, but to be forgiven there are two things we must do besides just asking God to forgive us.

    # 1 you must turn away from everything that is a sin because Jesus is not a license to keep on sinning, also if you are in sin you are following sin into Hell. You are going the opposite direction of heaven. Just saying sorry and asking God to forgive you can’t help you if you are going the wrong way. According to God you need to stop following sin, and #2 turn to follow Jesus who will lead you into heaven and then God will forgive you.

    We can pray something like this in privacy; β€œGod, I’m sorry for all the sins I committed against you. I turn away from everything that is a sin, today I turn to follow Jesus. Please forgive me.” God will forgive you as if you have never sinned. Then get submersed in water (baptized). Jesus said β€œthose who believe and are baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe will be damned.” You do not want to be damned to eternal fire so if you haven’t yet, please make peace with God, turn away from sin and turn to follow Jesus, then get baptized. Please do it today, you may not have tomorrow and eternity is a long time to be regretful. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I care about where you will spend eternity.

  • Reply B. C. Schmerker September 12, 2018 at 6:04 am

    +ianjuby Time 9:15 Would a flashing green or flashing amber indicate a thrown switch ahead, as I've observed with the new way signals on the Bay Area (CA, USA) Rapid Transit District extensions?

  • Reply R CallumTo September 13, 2018 at 6:09 am

    Wow. Well.explained

  • Reply northlander September 17, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    wailway signals ??

  • Reply John Studd September 18, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    This coming from a rail fan, but an amateur concerning signals. This system seems overly complex and not very intuitive. How about the 3 lights representing the next 3 blocks, in order top to bottom. Green= proceed track speed, yellow=restricted speed(stop in half the distance you can see).
    Red= stop. Maybe a blinking green or yellow to signify a switch or crossover that is currently switched off the mail line. Knowing the signal 3 blocks down the main would give faster trains time to stop. I'm sure there would be some other minor variations that might need to be addressed , but something like this would seem to be much simpler and less likely to be read incorrectly. That's how I would run MY railroad! lol. Let's hear some feedback.

  • Reply Tubmaster 5000 September 19, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    These signals are rather complicated ( unneccesarily so). There must be an easier (and therefore safer) way to display the signal information.

  • Reply Cameron Jackson September 28, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    I have a question about the "Stop and Proceed" signal. How long should the train remain stopped before proceeding? A few seconds? A few minutes? Do you have to contact RTC before proceeding? Thank you!

  • Reply sneekyturbo_AMG October 19, 2018 at 6:48 am

    I'm sure alot of you rail fans know this by now. But if you go onto your mobile app store. Search for cn signals flash cards. We used them when we did conductor training. Have fun!

  • Reply Seshan Subramanian October 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Please lose the Music. it is terrible and very distracting to the message. Please edit the music away and repost the video.

  • Reply Joe Campbell October 24, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Many thanks! Been looking for someone to give a concrete explanation of this. Also I like how you explain the differences between the U.S. and Canada types. Much appreciated!

  • Reply Ken Rose October 26, 2018 at 4:04 am

    That's why the notes on train orders are important

  • Reply Alessandro Pili November 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    So interesting so similar to italian railway signal…

  • Reply Ludwig van Beethoven November 9, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Hoping to become a CP or CN conductor here soon as a couple openings came up in my area. If I get an interview and get hired I know there'll be a lot to learn but look forward to the challenges. Been a railway fan since a kid.

  • Reply Justin Byerley November 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    I realize you are commenting on Canadian Signals… however, Speed signaling Diverges greatly from our Signalling on the N&W. that's how I see it from my Aspect.

  • Reply General R. E. Lee November 16, 2018 at 5:32 am

    why would different railroads still use different signal systems. it would seem a no brainer in the 21 century of railroading to make everything uniform and the same across the board for all railroads.

  • Reply Bruno Martinengo November 16, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Good filmated and good video.

  • Reply penn707 November 18, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Fuck Canada.

  • Reply skoodledoo November 26, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    As a train driver in UK, I find this type of signalling unnecessarily complicated compared to what we have here, but it's a great instructional video and interesting to see how other countries do it!

  • Reply Cory D December 5, 2018 at 12:50 am

    finally someone who is teaching this the right way

  • Reply The P December 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Well spoken

  • Reply Tim Derks December 11, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Q: What do you think of Dutch train signals? It's been said that it's one of the easiest systems in the world.
    Personally, I think the NA signalling system is waaay too ambiguous. Sure, for an experienced engineer, it's second nature, but if you're having a bad day, it's way too easy to mix speeds up.

  • Reply Kevin Lynch December 16, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Ian, I just came across your channel and I loved this. It was So Very interesting!!! Now I'm going to watch your next video. Have a good day, and thanks again Brother!!!

  • Reply LanceCampeau December 31, 2018 at 4:54 am

    I need to see this video YEARS ago… thanks for posting.

  • Reply Jason Geerer January 5, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Holy shit…..just bought trainz railroad sim 2019 and was directed to this video by a friend of mine….im pretty sure ths little light bulb in my brain just burnt out….no fail safe system in my brain…..GREAT VID…LOTS OF DETAILED INFO…..but im pretty sure im gonna have to get a piece of paper and colored pencils for notes…..

  • Reply The BC Railfan January 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for teaching me about those signals! Now I can tell what each one means!

  • Reply Joe Turner January 18, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    When asked how difficult is it to drive a train I always said "Driving them is easy. Making the buggers stop is what turns your hair grey."

  • Reply Erie Lackawanna Railroad January 30, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Very nice video, Hope my friend sees this and likes it too!

  • Reply Randy OConnor January 31, 2019 at 4:54 am

    What about limited to clear etc.??

  • Reply Kathy Tripp February 3, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you!! 😘😘😘

  • Reply Scrappy Cat February 13, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    That's the most straight-forward explanation I've ever seen.
    Thank you !

  • Reply Kevin Maher February 21, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for this set of three videos on signals – very educational!

  • Reply Vincit Veritas March 4, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Might be a train coming other way so of we both stop within half our vision it'll be OK.
    No way this could happen with UK interlocks

  • Reply wowfubar March 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Great!

  • Reply marcelo km5 urrutia March 16, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Excellent video and very useful. Will there be any way to contact you? (for example: whatsapp or skype). I could ask you some personal questions and maybe you can help me. I'm thinking to work in Canada

  • Reply ttfoley March 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Very good explanation, thank you

  • Reply Soylent Green March 24, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Very informative, thank you, love the Scotland T-Shirt, SAOR ALBA

  • Reply Barny Canuck March 25, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Very interesting. Have you ever done any videos on how the lead engine controls speed etc of the other locomotives on a multi engine setup

  • Reply Adam the rail fan March 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Great video

  • Reply Kelley Harrison April 3, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    The rail system just fascinates me, Thanks for all the interesting info.

  • Reply Mark M April 9, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    I always wanted to know this. Thank you so much for posting; thank your great presentation.

  • Reply ramaraju jagadabi April 28, 2019 at 7:07 am

    English hindi cheputaru pls telugu vedios

  • Reply shivas orion May 30, 2019 at 3:00 am

    Oh Yeah…my kinda video…full of awesome photos and information. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply MOM ITS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE June 20, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    The "darth vader" lights dont always have LED lights. The NS columbus sub near where I live has the same style of lights but they use halogen bulbs.

  • Reply MOM ITS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE June 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    2nd most efficient travel? trains are the most efficient form of land travel. I don't know why you said 2nd.

  • Reply Trains4Fun July 7, 2019 at 2:11 am

    I learned alot watching this video and I'm not afraid to say I thought these train signals work like regular traffic lights. However I can can see that the way they interpreted aren't not the same at all. I'm happier to know my knowledge is improved, because of this video. Thanks for sharing it!!πŸ‘

  • Reply Charles Gault July 8, 2019 at 12:26 am

    I didn't know you were allowed to pass a yellow light at normal track speed. Most US railroads require medium speed for a yellow (approach) light.

  • Reply DGL GAMING July 10, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    All I heard was wailways

  • Reply Danica Huber August 1, 2019 at 1:52 am

    I operate LRVs in Kitchener Waterloo. Going under a bridge where freight passes, I always glance up at their signals, slightly confused. I think you're educational vid has cleared this up for me! Interestingly as well, when I saw the amber LED shown in your vid's light standard, I immediately interpreted "diverge". Lol. For me, an amber aspect is a change in track, a diverge from one track to another. Must be mindful of point position, therefore. Similarly, a green aspect indicates my route is set to normal, switches are set to normal so I'm on the straightaway. A red aspect or light: ALWAYS STOP!! In LOS, we use the lunar aspect or that bluish, whitish light. A vertical bar indicates a non permissive or STOP where by contrast the vertical lunar indicates proceed. A flashing horizontal lunar is preemption, indicating I'll get my proceed shortly. And so I digress….would love to see you do a video on switches!! You'd be a great facilitator anywhere where rail teaching is needed!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰

  • Reply Amir Zoelfie August 9, 2019 at 9:06 am

    tx u so much for sharing this info.. open my mind N can feel what you feel as a railroader.. this video, it's useful enough for me because I'v been working for a project dealing with commuter line.. not as a railroader πŸ™‚ but as a consultant..

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