General Code of Operating Rules

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The General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) is a set of operating rules for railroads in the United States. The GCOR is used by Class I railroads west of Chicago, most of the Class II railroads, and many Short-line railroads.[citation needed]

Some railroads in northeast United States follow NORAC, while Canada and Mexico have their own set of operating rules that govern their railroad operations.[citation needed]


The GCOR rules are intended to enhance railroad safety. The rules cover employee responsibilities, signaling equipment, procedures for safe train movement, dealing with accidents and other topics that directly and indirectly affect railroad safety. Some railroads modify the GCOR rules to suit their specific operations.

The GCOR is supplemented by System Special Instructions, Timetables, Hazardous Materials Instructions, Air Brake and Train Handling Instructions, and General Orders. These documents are issued by each individual railroad. System Special instructions, Timetables, and General Order can modify or amend the General Code of Operating Rules. GCOR 1.3.2 states that General Orders replace any rule, special instruction, or regulation that conflicts with the general order.[1]

Some railroads will maintain what they call a "living rulebook." As amendments are released via general order or special instruction, they will update the specific page that was affected.[citation needed]

Most railroads are using the Seventh Edition, effective April 1, 2015.[citation needed]


The full set of GCOR rules is divided into 17 categories.

  1. General Responsibilities
  2. Railroad Radio Rules
  3. Standard Time **Some railroads may amend this item into the System Special Instructions.
  4. Timetables
  5. Signals and Their Use
  6. Movement of Trains and Engines
  7. Switching
  8. Switches
  9. Block System Rules
  10. Rules Applicable only in Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
  11. Rules Applicable in ACS and ATS Territory
  12. Rules Applicable only in Automatic Train Stop (ATS) Territory
  13. Rules Applicable only in Automatic Cab Signal (ACS) Territory
  14. Rules Applicable only within Track Warrant Control (TWC) Limits
  15. Track Bulletin Rules
  16. Rules Applicable only in Direct Traffic Control (DTC) Territory
  17. Rules Applicable Only in Automatic Train Control (ATC) Territory

See also[edit]


  1. ^ General Code of Operating Rules. 2015.

External links[edit]