New Zealand And Overseas Signal Aspects Compared

This page compares the running signal aspects used in New Zealand with those used by the Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC) in NSW and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) in the USA. It is not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of RIC or BNSF signalling. The purpose of the page is to demonstrate that there are many different ways of defining colour light signal aspects. This is one of the reasons why railway signalling is so interesting.

My sources of data are:

  • NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation Safeworking Online site. See NSG 606 and NSG 602.
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Technical Training Center. BNSF uses the GCOR rules and a copy can be downloaded from this site, along with various other operating documents. I have received a report that this link no longer works - the page is behind a firewall (2/10/04).
  • New Zealand Signalling information is from the 1988 Rule Book. I am not aware of a copy online. However, copies of the 1965 NZGR Rule Book and associated Regulations can be downloaded from my Safeworking page.

Points Indicators (with Purple and Red lights) are also used in New Zealand. I have not included a description of them here and have not researched the use of points indicators by RIC and BNSF.





Aspect

New Zealand (1988)

RIC NSW Double Colour (2002)

BNSF (1999)

Illegal

CLEAR

PROCEED. Next signal displays a PROCEED indication.

Illegal

Advance Caution Normal Speed

Proceed at nomal speed. Section is clear and signal in advance is at "Caution" for Normal speed. Introduced after issue of 1988 Rule Book./p

Illegal

Approach Medium.

Proceed prepared to pass next signal not exceeding 40 MPH and be prepared to enter diverging route at prescribed speed.

Illegal

Illegal

Approach Restricting

Proceed prepared to pass next signal at restricted speed.

Illegal

PRELIMINARY MEDIUM

PROCEED. Next signal displays at least a MEDIUM indication.

Illegal

Illegal

MEDIUM

PROCEED. Next signal displays at least a CAUTION or CAUTION TURNOUT indication.

Illegal

Caution Normal Speed

Proceed at normal speed, prepared to reduce to intermediate speed at next signal. Section is clear and signal in advance is at "Caution" or "Clear" for intermediate speed only.

Illegal

Approach Limited

Proceed prepared to pass next signal not exceeding 60 MPH and to advance on diverging route.

Caution Normal Speed

Proceed at normal speed, prepared to reduce to medium speed at next signal. Section is clear and signal inadvance is at "Caution" or "Clear" for medium speed only.

Illegal

Advance Approach

Proceed prepared to pass next signal not exceeding 50 MPH and to advance on diverging route.

Illegal

MEDIUM TURNOUT

PROCEED on turnout route. Next signal displays at least a CAUTION or CAUTION TURNOUT indication.

Illegal

Clear Normal Speed

Proceed at Normal speed. Section is clear and signal next in advance is at "Caution" or "Clear" for Normal speed.

CAUTION

PROCEED. Next signal may be at Stop.

Clear

Proceed

Caution Normal Speed

Proceed at normal speed, prepared to stop at next signal.

Section is clear but signal in advance is at "stop" or is displaying a Low-speed indication.

CAUTION TURNOUT

PROCEED on turnout route. Next signal may be at STOP

Approach

Proceed prepared to stop at next signal, trains exceeding 40 MPH immediately reduce to that speed.

Clear Intermediate Speed

Proceed at intermediate speed. Section is clear but suitable for intermediate speed only, and signal next in advance is at "Caution" or "Clear" for medium, Intermediate or normal speed.

Illegal

Illegal

Clear Medium Speed

Proceed at Medium speed. Section is clear but suitable for medium speed only, and signal next in advance is at "Caution" or "Clear" for medium, Intermediate or normal speed.

Illegal

Diverging Clear

Proceed on diverging route not exceeding prescribed speed through turnout.

Illegal

Illegal

Diverging Approach Diverging

Proceed on diverging route not exceeding prescribed speed through turnout prepared to advance on diverging route at the next signal not exceeding prescribed speed through turnout.

Caution Intermediate Speed

Proceed at intermediate speed, prepared to stop at next signal. Section is clear but suitable for intermediate speed only, and signal in advance is at "Stop" or is displaying a Low-speed indication.

Illegal

Diverging Approach Medium

Proceed on diverging route not exceeding prescribed speed through turnout prepared to pass next signal not exceeding 35 MPH.

Caution, Medium Speed.

Proceed at medium speed, prepared to stop at next signal. Section is clear but suitable for medium speed only,and signal in advance is at "Stop" or is displaying a Low-speed indication.

Illegal

Diverging Approach

Proceed on diverging route not exceeding prescribed speed through turnout; approach next signal preparing to stop, if exceeding 40 MPH immediately reduce to that speed.

Illegal

LOW SPEED

PROCEED ready to stop at the next signal. NOTE: The line immediately beyond the next signal may be occupied. Where train stops are provided, a maximum speed of 25km/h applies.

Illegal

Illegal

CLOSE UP

PROCEED ready to stop at the next signal. NOTE: The line immediately beyond the next signal may be occupied.

Illegal

Caution Low Speed

Proceed at low speed, prepared to find track occupied, and ready to stop clear of any obstruction. Points are in the proper position but track may be occupied or suitable for low speed only.

Calling On or Shunt Ahead

Points are locked. Track may not be clear. This is classed as a shunt signal.

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Restricting

Proceed at restricted speed.

Illegal

Illegal

Restricting

Proceed at restricted speed.

STOP

STOP

STOP



Last Updated: Saturday, December 31, 2005

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