Australian railway signalling
- 1 New South Wales
- 1.1 Systems of train signalling
- 1.2 Power signalling
- 1.3 Three-position lower quadrant semaphore
- 1.4 Two-position lower quadrant semaphore
- 1.5 Upper quadrant semaphore signals
- 1.6 Double light colour light
- 1.7 Single light colour light
- 1.8 Contradictory meanings
- 2 Victoria
- 3 South Australia
- 4 Queensland
- 5 Western Australia
- 6 Tasmania
- 7 References
- 8 External links
New South Wales
Railway signals in New South Wales broadly follow British route signalling practice, with certain American influences and local innovations. The following systems are currently in use, listed in chronological order of introduction: two-position lower quadrant semaphore, three-position upper quadrant semaphore, Double Light Colour Light and Single Light Colour Light.
Double Light signals are capable of showing more indications than Single Light signals, therefore Double Light signals are more appropriate for use in dense traffic areas, such as the Sydney metropolitan area, and Single Light signals for the less intense areas. However combinations of the different types may be found at the same interlocking locations.
Systems of train signalling
New South Wales signalling systems generally follow British precepts, however American influence has increased somewhat since the 1990s. Originally trains ran on the time-interval system and authority of the timetable. From the early 1870s, several near-misses and minor derailments led to serious discussion of improved safe-working arrangements and the implementation of interlocking. Despite this, very little action was taken until 1877, when a new rule book including the Staff & Ticket and Block Telegraph systems was finally printed. The ink was barely dry on 30 January 1878 when two trains collided head-on at Emu Plains, killing three. This put an end to timetable working on single lines. Absolute Block Telegraph for double lines came in 1879, Saxby & Farmer's mechanical interlocking in 1881, Tyer's Electric Tablet in 1888 (lasting until 1959) and the Electric Staff system in 1891. Tyer's One-Wire Block began to replace the original Preece's Patent instruments from 1891. Sykes' Lock & Block was used on a few suburban sections from 1900. Tyer's Three-Wire Block was used for permissive block working on the Up Relief line from Concord West to North Strathfield Junction from 1911 until 1983. In 1913, the two-wire New South Wales Standard Block, which was similar in principle to Lock & Block, became the standard for new installations. It was unique in having a fourth position, known as Train Arrived, and a different sequence of operation to standard British arrangements. The last of these instruments were removed from Exeter, Bundanoon and Wingello on the Main South line in 2007. By 1907, the majority of signalling equipment, including signals and mechanical lever frames, were being manufactured in-house under the direction of the English-born signal engineer, Mr C.L.N.F. Wilkin. The NSWR Signal Engineer's Branch supplanted McKenzie & Holland as the principal supplier in most installations.
Power signalling arrived in 1910 in Sydney Yard, with the commissioning of (Sydney) Station Box. This installation was electro-pneumatic and controlled from a miniature lever frame supplied by the McKenzie, Holland & Westinghouse Power Signal Co. of Worcester, England. Although the lines were not continuously track-circuited and absolute block telegraph remained between signalboxes, there was some control of signals by track circuit and treadle. Upon its replacement by a 432 lever pistol grip power frame in the new Sydney Station West signalbox in the late 1920s, the original miniature lever frame was divided into smaller sections for reuse at other locations. The disused 'Station Box' remained in position for decades after its retirement, but has now been demolished, along with its successor.
Track Circuit Block
On 22 June 1913 the first automatic signals in Australia were brought into use between Eveleigh Loco Junction and Sydenham, replacing Tyer's One-Wire Block. These signals were of the two-arm home and distant type. From that time on, a form of Track Circuit Block (TCB) worked from mechanical and power signalboxes, with the gradual spread of automatic signalling between stations, became the standard for new installations, initially with semaphore but later colour light signals. In practice, the term Track Circuit Block was generally shortened to 'Track Block', of which there were a number of (mainly administrative) variations in the rules, such as Double Line Track Block and Single Line Track Block. Track Circuit Block, now known officially as the Rail Vehicle Detection system, remains the standard system of train signalling on all main lines in the RailCorp network.
The American Absolute-Permissive Block system, known locally as Single Line Automatic, was installed on the Molong to Dubbo line by Mr C.B. Byles in 1925. Train movements on the line were regulated by a Train Controller at Yeoval, who directed the issue of crossing orders for trains on the line. While a technical success, the traffic density did not warrant the cost of maintaining the signalling system. It was replaced by the first installation of the Divisible Miniature Electric Staff system in 1933.
Signalboxes in 2012
Signalboxes remain scattered throughout the RailCorp network, with thirty-six still in regular use in 2012, including nine controlled by local station staff, twenty-six by dedicated Signallers and one shared by both. The majority of these were commissioned before 1970, a few of which have been in continuous use since the late nineteenth century, albeit surviving in a modified state. Eleven are still fitted with Byles-type mechanical lever frames and five have early relay interlocking with Individual Function Switch (IFS) or similar electric switch panels. Newcastle Signalbox, commissioned in 1936 by Mr W.F. Barton, has the last Westinghouse miniature lever power frame in Australia, and one of few remaining in the world. Sixteen signalboxes are fitted with route control relay/solid state interlocking systems and hardwired panels, and three are equipped solely with computerised, VDU-based route control. A few other signalling installations exist outside the RailCorp network, under the control of other rail operators. Junee and Broadmeadow are home to integrated electronic control centres, both of which are run by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, custodian of the busiest lines in the country network of the State.
Three-position lower quadrant semaphore
Standard British three position lower quadrant semaphore signals, with an arm for each direction and spectacles mounted below them, were used from the introduction of time-interval working in 1855. The last signal of this type was removed from Girilambone in 1952. The Danger signal was given by a horizontal arm and red light during darkness. The arm was lowered 45 degrees, with a green light for Caution, to "slacken speed", and to an almost vertical position in a slotted post with a white light for All Right.
Two-position lower quadrant semaphore
Lower Quadrant Semaphore signals use an arm that works in a horizontal position and may be lowered to (about) a 45-degree angle, they can only give two indications. In the horizontal position a red light is displayed, in the lowered position a green light is displayed. There are two types of arms. A Distant signal uses a fishtail arm, Home and Starting signals use a square-tail arm.
Semaphore distant signals in New South Wales are fitted with a fixed green light, positioned above the arm and spectacle, so that they may be easily distinguished from stop signals at night. Although yellow lights were trialled, neither they, nor yellow and black arms were adopted, meaning that distant signal arms are still painted red and white.
If the Home or Starting signal is at Danger, the Distant signal will be at Caution, its arm in the horizontal position with a green light over a red light exhibited at night. If the Home and Starting signals are Clear, the Distant will be Clear, its arm lowered, with two green lights exhibited at night.
The term "Stop" gradually replaced "Danger" for the purpose of identifying the normal position of stop signals in official publications from circa 1927, with both terms mentioned in the rule book issued in that year.
Combined home and distant signals
Where interlockings are closely placed, a Starting signal arm may be fitted above a Distant signal arm. In this case the Starting arm can be placed at Stop and display a red light. As the lower Distant signal arm cannot be cleared while the upper arm is at Stop the signal will show two red lights. The basis for Double Light signalling was thus established by a sequence of Distant and two-arm signals, so that it was then possible to encounter a signal showing two green lights (Clear), followed by a green light over a red light (Caution) then one or two red lights (Stop).
Upper quadrant semaphore signals
The power-operated three-position upper quadrant semaphore signal, American in origin, was introduced to New South Wales by the English signal engineer, Mr C.B. Byles, in 1913. Mr Byles (1871–1948) led New South Wales Railways through its introduction of power signalling, from 1911 until 1929. At night, two lights, one above the other, are exhibited. The spectacle attached to the signal arm has three lenses, that is a green for the vertical clear position and red for the other two lenses. In some cases the semaphore arm moves to the horizontal danger position when the line between the distant signal and the stop signal to which it applies is occupied. The Distant signals capable of exhibiting Danger are fitted with an upper red/green spectacle; the two-position versions have a fixed upper green. The Home/Starting signals give three indications. The arm moves from horizontal displaying a red light, upwards to 45 degrees displaying a green or yellow light, and fully vertical also displaying a green light. In double light areas, the lower light of these signals stays red until a full Clear indication is shown. Therefore these signals will show the same lights indicated by the Lower Quadrant Semaphore Distant and two-arm signals, that is, two greens for Clear, a green over a red for Caution and two reds for Stop.
Double light colour light
Double Light Colour Light signalling is essentially a two-light multiple-aspect route signalling system, with aspects derived from the night indications of two-arm Home and Distant semaphore signals. This system was introduced in 1924 by Mr C.B. Byles. Most of the Sydney and Newcastle metropolitan areas are still equipped with Double Light Colour Light signals, in accordance with principles established during the tenure of Mr Byles, although some has been replaced with Single Light Colour Light.
A basic double light colour light signal consists of two multiple lamp colour light signal heads, one above the other. In case of automatic signals, the upper and lower lights are vertically offset from each other or "staggered". Alternatively, the lower light may be directly below the upper light, like a controlled or semi-automatic signal. An 'A' plate is then fixed to the signal post or the tunnel wall adjacent to the signal to identify it as automatic. Interestingly, the term "semi-automatic" is no longer mentioned in official publications, although the signals still exist. They are classified according to their instantaneous mode of operation rather than capability, i.e. "controlled" or "automatic". Automatic signals in tunnels were originally identified by a white marker light, since the lights could not be staggered, but 'A' plates are now used.
The simplest and original form of double light colour light signal provides three indications, that is Clear (green over green), Caution (green over red) and Stop (red over red). A fourth indication, known as Medium, is indicated by green over yellow. This equates to the "double yellow" in British multiple aspect signalling. The Medium indication was introduced in June 1926, three months after the first double yellow indication was used in the UK.
Facing junction signals may exhibit an upper yellow light where a diverging route is set. The yellow light was originally said to mean "attention - proceed at medium speed" in accordance with a 1924 study by the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers in which Mr Byles participated. However, "medium speed" was never properly defined and the term has now been removed from the official rule book. The exhibition of an upper yellow light does not impose a specific speed restriction for approaching trains; it is still the responsibility of the driver to be familiar with the route and observe lineside speed boards relating to points and crossings. The turnout indications are as follows: Caution Turnout (yellow over red), meaning proceed on diverging route, prepared to stop at the next signal (originally known as Medium Caution), and Medium Turnout (yellow over yellow), meaning proceed on diverging route, the next signal is exhibiting a proceed indication. Oddly, these indications can also be seen at some trailing junctions, at which only one converging route option is available. Whilst the upper yellow light implies that a reduction in speed may be necessary, this is not consistent with conventional route signalling practice. Turnout and junction signals are the most inconsistent and diverse in the NSW signalling system.
Reduced-overlap working and speed control
Projected traffic density warranted the introduction of additional signal indications. One of these was a small green light under the two main red lights of a Stop signal, indicating Low Speed. The Low Speed indication was provided in the Underground City Railway from its opening on 28 February 1932. The standard speed restriction imposed by train stops with the Low Speed indication was originally 17 mph. However, at some locations, the maximum permissible speed is as low as 5 mph, subject to local conditions. In the Underground City and Eastern Suburbs Railway lines, a speed restriction of 30 mph also applies to the Caution indication. The train stops can be seen dropping as the signals step-up to Medium. Closely spaced 'multi home signals', similar to those used on the London Underground, are also a feature of the Underground City and Eastern Suburbs Railway lines. Speed control by intermediate train stops, based on Mr Byles' system, was introduced on the London Underground following the accident at Moorgate on 28 February 1975, in which 43 people were killed.
The sequence of aspects on the approach to a preceding train in areas where the Low Speed indication is in use is as follows: Clear, Medium, Caution, Low Speed, Stop. In some cases, the Medium indication will be exhibited at two consecutive signals. At some locations, the Low Speed indication will only be exhibited under reduced overlap conditions (e.g. owing to the presence of a train ahead). Under such a configuration, the sequence of aspects will be: Clear, Medium, Caution, Stop, provided the full overlap is available.
An additional subsidiary indication below a stop signal is the Close Up. This appears similar to the Low Speed indication, except that the subsidiary green light is provided in a separate lamp case below a plate labelled "CLOSE UP". Speed control does not apply to the Close Up indication, which is manually selected by the Signaller in most cases and indicates that the section is clear but the station or junction ahead is blocked. Close Up signals are equivalent to the British warning ("W") signal for restricted acceptance. They now being superseded by approach-controlled Caution indications for reduced-overlap working.
Preliminary medium indications and turnout repeaters
A fifth main aspect, Preliminary Medium, is now available, with a pulsating yellow light beneath an upper green. It is used before a Medium indication to provide additional notice of the need to reduce speed for a facing junction. The typical sequence of aspects on the approach to a junction where Preliminary Medium is in use is as follows: Clear, Preliminary Medium (with or without directional indicator), Medium, Medium Turnout or Caution Turnout at the junction signal. At some locations, Preliminary Medium may be exhibited at two consecutive signals.
Directional indicators have been introduced to resolve the ambiguity that may arise when a medium aspect (green over yellow) can precede either a caution aspect (green over red) or one of the turnout aspects (yellow over red/yellow). The indicator is provided at the signal in rear of a junction signal. When illuminated it displays a white bar, inclined at 45 degrees to the left or right, placed above the main signal heads. The bar is not lit when the next signal applies to the straight route, but is illuminated when the next signal applies to the turnout.
At high speed junctions, turnout indications are no longer provided. Instead, the signal in rear of the junction signal is provided with a directional indicator. The junction signal is provided with a route indicator, and exhibits the least-restrictive straight route indication permitted by track circuit occupancy.
Double light colour light repeaters
Repeaters in the form of Double Light Colour Light signals are provided at some locations in the metropolitan area. These "repeaters" are unusual in that they do not replicate the indication of the stop signals to which they apply. Instead, they are wired like separate block signals or Distant signals. For instance, the repeater will be at green over red when the signal to which it applies is at Stop. The red over red indication will only be exhibited when the line between the repeater and the stop signal is occupied, and is treated as a Permissive Stop.
Single light colour light
With the replacement of older signals in areas with less traffic, Single Light Colour Light signals were introduced in the 1950s by Mr D.J. Vernon, Signal Engineer. This system is derived directly from British multiple-aspect signalling, with American influence in the form of a marker light. Using a single green light for Clear and a single yellow light for Caution, these signals exhibit a single red light with a smaller lower red "marker" light for Stop. Turnout indications can be provided with three yellow lights at an angle of 45 degrees under a red light in the main signal head. The fourth indication, Medium, which equates to the British Preliminary Caution, is a flashing or pulsating yellow light.
Originally, a permanently illuminated white marker light was positioned beneath the main colour light head in lieu of the red marker light. The caution turnout indication was a single yellow in the main head over three white lights at an angle of 45 degrees. The red marker light was introduced from 1965. The majority of early single light colour light signals had either been replaced or retrofitted with red marker lights, by 2000.
Some Upper Quadrant Semaphore signals were adapted as Single Light Colour Light signals giving the same colour indications while retaining the arm. The sequence of indications of Single Light Colour Light signals is one green light for Clear, one yellow light for Caution, one red light with a lower smaller red light for Stop. The last Upper Quadrant Semaphore Single Light signal was on the Up South Main Line at Moss Vale, which was replaced in 2007 when Moss Vale and Moss Vale Junction were resignalled, resulting in the closure of local signal boxes at those locations.
Signalling systems vary between the states of Australia as each railway was established under the different colonial governments with separate legislation. As with the notorious situation of having different gauges, there are differing signal systems. The Victorian railways use Speed Signalling. This has led to similar signal indications giving very different meanings in these two states. For example, in New South Wales Green-over-Red means 'Caution', indicating the next signal is at 'Stop'. In Victoria that same aspect, Green-over-Red, means 'Clear Normal Speed', indicating the next signal is anything but at 'Stop'. There is obvious potential for confusion.
On the main south line from Sydney, Single Light Colour Light signals are now exclusively used from Spring Creek bridge (south of Galong) to Albury on the Victorian border. This forms a buffer zone between the areas giving conflicting signal indications. Gradually the remaining Upper Quadrant signals (and Double Light Colour Light signals at Binalong) are being replaced by Single Light Colour Light signals.
The railways of Victoria use a mix of railway signalling practices: British route signalling with home and distant signals (2 position signalling) and American speed signalling (3 position signalling).
Semaphore signals were used on the very first railway lines, but only a bare minimum were provided as the time interval system being relied upon instead. The first interlocking of signals to protect trains was provided in 1874, as before this time conflicting moves could be made. The design of the signals also progressed, with the disc type siding signals first introduced in 1885, and the lower quadrant somersault type main line signals adopted in 1887, both of which are still in use today. Green was not adopted as the All Right colour until 1898, with white being used before this time. Red was the usually colour of all signal arms, until yellow was chosen as the colour for distant signals in 1926, with full adoption made in 1930. Colour light signals first appeared in 1918, and by 1924 they were the standard for new installations.
The safeworking of trains between stations on the early lines was time interval working, where a train would be allowed to leave a given time after the train before it. With heavier traffic this method became unsafe, with Staff and Ticket working on single lines adopted from 1873, and telegraph block working from 1878 on double lines. Both of these systems ensured that only one train would be in a section of track at one time. Telegraphic block working was then replaced with Winters Block working between 1883 and 1888, a system that is a predecessor of the Double Line Block system which is still used today. Later years saw variations made to the Staff and Ticket system, with busier lines provided with Electric Staff working which provided greater safely when more trains ran.
Heavier suburban traffic on the Melbourne network saw a greater strain on the block working then used, which required a large number of manned signalboxes to enable trains to run close together. As a result it was decided to adopt power signalling under the Automatic Block System (ABS) of safeworking, where the presence of trains automatically control the signals after them, providing a safe distance between trains. Introduced from 1915, the system was based on American speed signalling practice with GRS2A upper quadrant mechanical signals with two arms able to indicate up to 5 different speed aspects to train drivers. These signals were later replaced by colour light signals which are the standard today, but the old mechanical style remained until 2001.
A variant of the Automatic Block System, Automatic and Track Control (ATC) has since been introduced, which provides the same benefits as ABS on single lines of track, while still ensuring only one train in a section at a time. Centralised Traffic Control was also introduced in the 1960s on the new standard gauge line to Albury, and then on the main interstate line to Adelaide, allowing trains to be directed from a distance.
Today little mechanical signalling remains, with local signal boxes controlling signals abolished from many areas as part of the Regional Fast Rail project. Today the suburban network and busier regional lines use variants of Automatic Block Signalling, while quieter lines use the Train Staff and Ticket or Train Order systems of safeworking. Train protection has also progressed, with the Train Protection & Warning System also introduced on major passenger lines.
South Australia uses two primary forms of signalling. Nearly all signal boxes in South Australia have now been closed, with most rail traffic is coordinated through centralised traffic control systems, either under Australian Rail Track Corporation control from Mile End or TransAdelaide control from Adelaide. Where these two networks interface, such as at the Goodwood level crossing or at Torrens Junction, control is usually from ARTC after release from TransAdelaide. Despite the almost uniform CTC control some signal boxes still exist, such as Dry Creek South although they are not normally switched in.
Before 1988, signalling in the metropolitan area was three-position speed signalling, similar to the Victorian system. All mainline signals have two signal 'heads' (originally upper quadrant semaphore arms but now colour light, LED or searchlight), both are always lit. The aspects shown depend on the allowable speed for the route set. If the route was for Normal speed, the 'proceed' component of the indication is conveyed by the top head, if the move is for Medium speed (40 km/h, such as when entering a loop or siding), the 'proceed' component of the indication is conveyed by the lower head. The colours displayed by either depended on how many blocks ahead were clear; green if two or more blocks were clear and yellow if only one was clear (i.e. the next signal showed Stop).
Hence the aspects (and indications) are:
- Red-over-Red: Danger - Stop
- Green-over-Red: Clear - Normal speed
- Yellow-over-Red: Caution - Normal speed
- Red-over-Green: Clear - Medium speed
- Red-over-Yellow: Caution - Medium speed
In addition to these aspects there is Yellow-over-Green, which carries the meaning 'Reduce to Medium speed' (40 km/h) and is used when the next signal displays one of the Medium speed indications. If either of the two main lights never shows any colour other than red, it is replaced with a permanently lit red marker lamp.
There is also a Low speed aspect for calling-on, shunting or entering a low speed area such as a goods siding. This is indicated by a small yellow light beneath the two main lights, i.e. Red-over-Red-over-Yellow. Dwarf signals are also used to show Low speed aspects. These were originally upper quadrant disc signals but are now all of the colour light or searchlight variety. The aspects (and indications) are:
- Single red or purple light: Stop
- Single yellow light: Low Speed Caution (block may be occupied)
- Single green light: Low Speed Clear (next signal is Clear or Caution).
Permissive vs Absolute
Signals are divided into Permissive and Absolute signals. Absolute signals cannot be passed at Stop without permission from the signaller or controller, whereas Permissive signals at Stop can be passed after having stopped for a one-minute waiting period. Absolute signals can be identified by the fact that the two lights are vertically aligned, whereas with Permissive signals they are vertically off-set (staggered on different sides of the post). Dwarf signals are always Absolute.
In 1988 the TransAdelaide lines were resignalled with the opening of the Adelaide control centre. The system is quite similar to modern UK colour light signalling, being a route signalling system, though it lacks the double yellow aspect and makes use of 'permissive' signals. There are three basic aspects: red for stop, yellow for caution and green for clear. A reduce to medium speed aspect is also used to give early warning of a divergence, and is given by a flashing yellow light. All aspects are indicated with colour light signals. Despite this re-signalling, some parts of the TransAdelaide network still use the original 3-position speed signalling (such as the Dry Creek to Port Adelaide line).
There is also a low speed aspect indicated by a lunar-white position-light signal mounted below the main head. It shows two lunar-white lights at 45 degrees (to mimic an upper-quadrant semaphore) to indicate proceed at low speed. These position light signals are also used for dwarf signals and in this case they can also display 'stop' as a red light and lunar-white light in a horizontal row.
Junctions on running signals are indicated by a row of five lunar-white lights angled in the direction of divergence. If multiple routes are to be signalled, several rows may be used.
Permissive signals are indicated by a circular 'P' plate offset below the signal head and Absolute by a square 'A' plate directly below the signal head. As with three-position signalling, dwarf (low speed) signals are always absolute. An 'A' plate in New South Wales or Victoria means the signal is automatic and therefore a Permissive signal, which is again a source of conflicting meaning between the differing signalling systems.
In the Adelaide station yard Theatre-style route indicators are used on both running signals and shunt signals; platform numbers for 'up' trains and route through the yard for 'down' trains. The down indicators can show these indications:
- SS-south suburban line,
- SM-south main line,
- PM-port main line,
- NM-north main line,
- RD-rail car depot,
- SY-stabling siding,
- NY-north yard.
1. Remote Control Signalling (RCS). 2. Direct Traffic Control (DCS). 3. Staff and Ticket.
Remote Control Signalling is otherwise known as Centralised Train Control (CTC) and Direct Train Control is more commonly referred to as Train Orders.
QR Network follows UK practice, except that flashing yellow allows simultaneous entry into a crossing loop with no overlaps. Also allows trains in the suburban area to follow trains without an overlap.
Unlike Western Australia, there are speed signals and distance signals combined. Some are flashing and three types of indicators below the signal use numbers to give the speed the train needs to reduce to.
The flashing yellow signal is used for quicker crossings but is limited in the prevention of conflicting movement. Where a train may be fouling a set of points (for example proceeding into the loop) only metres from a signal where an opposing train can collide with the train fouling the points if the opposing train has a SPAD (Signal Passed at Danger). There is extra distance of about 20 metres beyond the points to the entrance signal unline in Western Australia where a train would wait and a crew on a stationary train would have time to disembark in case of a train running past the red signal.
The name for these types are Dynamic Speed Indicators. DSIs have numerals on an indicator and are not signals as such, but work in conjunction with the signalling system.
The Queensland system also has the addition of hot wheel detectors and axle counters into the railway signalling system.
Queensland makes use of a "flashing yellow" signal; to indicate the next signal is at STOP. The maximum speed whist travelling on a flashing yellow is 40 km/h.
Queensland and Western Australia railway similarities include junction and route indicators and departure signals.
Staff and ticket was disposed of in Western Australia years ago for Train Orders. A Staff and Ticket system requires more maintenance of the system mechanically.
Primary Queensland signalling standards can be found in QR's standard repository such as QR Network's STD/0037/SWK: Observance of Signals Manual. Similar references are made in the above reference of Institution of Railway Signal Engineers Australasia. Documents can only be obtained by contacting QR Network.
A Form SW10 is required to pass any signal at danger in Queensland. For BOTH Queensland Rail and Western Australia, all signals can be given verbal authority to pass at stop. Also Queensland has bidirectional dual trackage where WA has unidirectional track on its dual track freight system (Avon Yard to Kwinana). The Form SW10 in its Standards contains a large amount of detail.
In Western Australia Proceed Orders to Pass Departure Signals at STOP has 3 pages. In the QR Standard Remote Controlled Signalling Manual (SAF/STD/0040/NET) 24 pages are devoted to Form SW10.
Queensland's rail signalling system has increased complexity when compared to other states. A simple adoption by QR may have generated reforms which would have prepared it for more slimline competitive operations where private companies would not be forced to conduct their own operations as BHP is doing now.
- The Queensland Rail system is divided into two parts. The Goonyella Rail System is operated by Aurizon who also operate interstate trains including those in Western Australia. QR Network manage the rest of the rail corridors.
Western Australia's Pilbara mining railroads will not be dealt with here as there is a lack of information due to the private nature of the railroads.
The rail network of WAGR (1890-1976), Westrail(1975-2000), Westnet (2000-2011) and Brookfield Rail(2011-current day) who now operate it, consists today of Train Orders and Centralized Train Control.
In the southern half of Western Australia, the railways were all 1067mm gauge and there was no standard gauge rail at all, apart from the trans line running from the East to Kalgoorlie.
In the 1960s the Commonwealth and Western Australian Government decide to build a standard gauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Perth.
Leonora and Esperance were also "widened" to standard gauge at this time because they were connected through Coolgardie and that railway was decommissioned once the Standard Gauge project was completed.
Staff and Ticket were the primary form of signalling safe working system used in Western Australia apart from major yards and main lines such as the Eastern Goldfields Railway. This has been replaced with Train Orders and no staff and ticket exists in Western Australia and hasn't for more than 20 years.
In 1968 the standard gauge was completed between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana, with a dual gauge section built in the Avon Valley between Avon Yard and Kwinana. From Avon Yard to Kalgoorlie this is known as the Single Line Automatic Signalling System using absolute block. Absolute block is used all throughout Western Australia with exception to the Pilbara Railways as no information has been attained to cover that area.
A three aspect colour light signal is used in the Western Australian standard gauge railway and this system is it is almost completely uniform through the network in automatic signalling territory (narrow gauge as well). When a crossing loop is reached a Home Signal will have a signal for each with the crossing segment signal being 45 degrees beneath the main line signal in the direction of the turnout. For example if the turnout was a right hand the crossing signal would be on the right side below the main signal. Either signal is taken as the Home signal even if taking the loop. Each has an individual number and letter.
All branch lines in Western Australia use Train Orders, formerly staff and ticket. Train Orders does utilize a signal at the entrance and the exit of the territory.
The Western Australian system is very simple to understand but the complexities of leading position lights and other odd attachments to signalling apparatus have been either eradicated or were never part of it. Switchlocks are used to exit mainline CTC territory for sidings, such as CBH yard terminals on the Standard Gauge. The Train Controller must release the switchlock thus interlocking the signals to stop and this is similar to Queensland.
Points on mainlines in Western Australia are not equipped with leading position light signalling. In fact there is no need for this type of signals as it is just an added cost. This saves money on equipment and also improves the driver's workload by only having to pay attention to critical information during critical phases of approaching signals.
There are simple yellow light shunt signals on signal posts which authorize movements to the next obstruction (vehicle) or signal. An accident occurred at Hines Hill in 1996 where a train entered the mainline from the East at high speed on a slow speed shunt signal indication and due to the driver not maintaining control of the train it collided with an Eastbound Westrail freight train after it had passed Departure Signal at Danger. The driver of the National Rail train had not reduced the speed of his train and the train controller unusually called the slow speed shunt signal, not meant for mainline operations.
There are no speed signals in Western Australia's freight system operated by Brookfield Rail (unsure about Pilbara) and they are either Approach, Outer Home, Home, Departure and Starting signals.
Perth's urban passenger network is operated by the Public Transport Authority and the Rules are identical to that of the freight, with a few minor differences. One of them is the use of Station Limits boards similar to that used in Train Order territory.
Follows UK practice.
- Training manuals of the New South Wales State Rail Authority
- Department of Railways, New South Wales: Regulations for Train Signalling by Block Telegraph on Double Lines, 1967
- Rail Infrastructure Corporation (now RailCorp) Network Rules, 2002
- Dargan, James: Safe Signals - A History of N.S.W. Railway Signalling, 1989
- Sydney Railway Rules and Regulations, 1855
- New South Wales Government Railways Rules and Regulations, 1927
- Dargan, James: Safe Signals - A history of N.S.W. Railway Signalling, 1989
- Byles, C.B.: The Electrification of Sydney and Suburban Railways, II - The Signalling System, Institution of Engineers, Australia, 1926
- Department of Railways, New South Wales: General Appendix to the Book of Rules and Regulations and to the Working Time-Tables, Part II, 1967
- State Rail Authority of New South Wales: Basic Safeworking Manual; Safeworking Signalling Manual, 1993
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. x. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 39. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- "VR timeline". http://www.victorianrailways.net/. Mark Bau. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 62. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 64. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 66. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- S.E. Dornan and R.G. Henderson (1979). Electric Railways of Victoria. Australian Electric Traction Society. p. 20. ISBN 0-909459-06-1.
- Fisher, Peter (2007). Victorian Signalling: by Accident or Design?. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). p. 89. ISBN 978-1-920892-50-0.
- Andrew Waugh. "Somerton" (PDF). Victorian Station Histories. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- "Safeworking in Victoria". Vicsig. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Brookfield Rail
- Trans-Australian Railway
- Hines Hill train collision
- http://extranet.artc.com.au Australian Rail Track Corporation website where NSW signalling standards, principles, safeworking rules are available.
- Safeworking systems in Victoria (Australia)
- http://www.rsae.com.au Australian Railway Signalling and Electrical website of Australian Railway Signalling and Electrical, one of the leading signal construction and maintenance companies in Australia.
- World Railway Signalling database