Swedish railway signalling

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The signalling system used on the standard-gauge railway network in Sweden is based on that of the traditional mechanical semaphore signals. Currently only colour-light signals are used, together with the Automatic Train Control system.

Main signals[edit]

The main signals (huvudsignaler) display the following aspects:

Signal Meaning Comment
Svenska signal 5 stopp.svg Stop The signal must not be passed without permission from the traffic control.
During shunting operations permission to pass a home signal displaying stop may be given with a radio or with a dwarf signal.
Svenska signal kör.svg Proceed 80 Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 80 km/h or at a higher speed given by the ATC system.
Svenska signal 5 kör 40 varsamhet.svg Proceed 40, caution Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 40 km/h (25 mph) or at a higher speed given by the ATC system.
The next signal might be displaying stop if it is farther away than 450 metres, so the driver must approach the next signal cautiously and be prepared to stop short of it.
Svenska signal 5 kör vänta stopp-anim.gif Proceed 80,
expect stop
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 80 km/h or at a higher speed given by the ATC system.
The next signal is displaying stop, so the driver must decrease speed and approach the next signal prepared to stop short of it.
Svenska signal 2 kör vänta stopp.gif


Block signals on the Swedish ore line can show Proceed 80, expect stop with only one flashing green light (right image)
The next signal is between 800 metres (2,625 feet) and 3,000 metres (9,840 feet) away.
If the distance to the next signal is more than 3,000 metres, a separate free-standing distant signal is used to govern the approach to that signal.
Svenska signal 5 kör vänta kör-anim.gif Proceed 80,
expect
proceed 80
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 80 km/h or at a higher speed given by the ATC system.
The next signal is displaying a proceed 80 aspect.
Svenska signal 5 kör vänta kör 40-anim.gif Proceed 80,
expect
proceed 40
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 80 km/h or at a higher speed given by the ATC system.
The next signal is displaying proceed 40, so the driver must decrease speed and approach the next signal prepared to pass it at a speed not exceeding 40 km/h (25 mph) or the speed shown on the ATC driver's display.
Svenska signal 5 kör 40 kort väg.svg Proceed 40,
short route
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).
The next signal is showing "stop" and is closer than 450 metres.
The next signal could also be a stop light at the end of the line, or an End Board (S-tavla).

The aspects may seem a little inverted, since a single green light means proceed 80, two green lights Proceed 40, caution and three green lights stands for Proceed 40, short route. In other words: more green means more cautiously. The speed limits apply to trains without Automatic Train Control (ATC) equipment. ATC signalling typically allow higher speeds.

Two light signalling (Malmö and Stockholm city tunnels)[edit]

On some routes, for example the City Tunnel in Malmö and the Stockholm City Line, a simpler signal system is in use until ERTMS will be in full use. The interpretation of the signals follow the ERTMS standard, but the actual look is national.
This system uses two light signals with blue number signs (instead of yellow/white in normal signalling) and can show the following aspects:

Signal Meaning
Svenska signal 2 stopp.png Stop The signal must not be passed without permission from the traffic control. During shunting operations permission to pass a home signal displaying stop may be given with a radio or with a dwarf signal.
Svenska signal 2 kör.png Clear 40
expect clear 40
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 40 km/h (25 mph) or at a higher speed given by the ATC or ERTMS system.
The next signal is displaying a proceed 40 aspect.
Svenska signal 2 kör vänta stopp.gif Clear 40
caution
Authorises the driver to pass the signal at 40 km/h (25 mph) or at a higher speed given by the ATC or ERTMS system.
The next signal is showing "stop" and is closer than 450 metres.

These signals should not be confused with normal main signals with two lights. They have yellow number signs, while the "Two light signals" shown here have blue ones.

Distant signals[edit]

Distant signals (försignaler) are informational signals used to give an advance warning about the next home signal. Distant signal are typically located 800 to 1,200 meters (2,625 to 3,940 feet) in advance of the home signal in question.
Before the entry/home signal of a station, there always is a free standing distant signal, with the signature for the station on a board placed under the signal.
The aspects a free-standing distant signal can display are:

Signal Meaning
Svenska signal vänta stopp-anim.gif Expect stop The next signal is displaying stop, so the driver must decrease speed and approach the next signal prepared to stop short of it.
Svenska signal vänta kör-anim.gif Expect
Proceed 80
The next signal is displaying Proceed 80.
Svenska signal vänta kör 40-anim.gif Expect
Proceed 40
The next signal is displaying proceed 40, so the driver must decrease speed and approach the next signal prepared to pass it at a speed not exceeding 40 km/h (25 mph) or the speed shown on the ATC driver's display..

The signal indication is the same as for the combined aspects in the main signals.

Dwarf signals[edit]

Dwarf signals (dvärgsignaler) are used as shunting signals and can show the following aspects:

Signal Meaning Comment
Raideopaste seis vanha.svg Stop The signal must not be passed without permission from the traffic control.
Raideopaste aja vanha.svg Movement allowed Shunting allowed.
Points and derailers are in the right position. The track is free.
Raideopaste aja varovasti.svg Movement allowed
Track not clear
Shunting allowed
Points and derailers are in the right position. The track is not free, or caution is needed.
Raideopaste ei opasteita vanha.svg Movement allowed
Check points and clearance
Shunting allowed
The driver must manually check the position of points and derailers, and the track clearance. Points and derailers are often manual or put in shunting mode.

There are also types of dwarf signals, called "Main Dwarf signals" (Huvuddvärgsignal) used as stand-ins for home signals in stations with lot of shunting or where there are a lot of switches that needs a signal.

Road crossing signals[edit]

Road crossing signals (Vägkorsningssignaler (V-signaler)) are used at road crossings. They tell the driver if the crossing is clear (lights flashing, bells ringing or, if available, gates are closed) They can show the following aspects

Signal Meaning
V-signal stopp 2.svg Stop before crossing
(Crossing not clear)
The road crossing is not secured. The train must stop before the crossing if possible.
V-signal rörelse tillåten 2.svg Pass
(Crossing clear)
The road crossing is secured.

The same aspects are also used at moveable bridges, but with another sign under the signal.

Distant road crossing signal[edit]

Some road crossing signals have a distant signal (Vägkorsningsförsignal (V-försignal)), placed at a distance (usually not breaking distance) from the road crossing signal.

Signal Meaning
V-försignal stopp 2-anim.gif Expect Stop before crossing
(Crossing not clear)
The road crossing is not secured. The train must stop before the crossing if possible.
V-försignal rörelse tillåten 2.svg Expect Pass
(Crossing clear)
The road crossing is secured.

The distant road crossing signal is nicknamed "skull" (döskalle).

Fail safe[edit]

Because the aspects are in reverse with more green lights meaning slower the aspects are not fail safe, so lamp proving is needed to prevent lamp failure giving a faster aspect.

Single and Double Green signals work the other way with Norwegian railway signalling and it would be unsafe for drivers to cross the border, unless ATP were fitted. Before ATP was introduced, it was not permitted for Swedish drivers to drive into Norway and opposite, except for a few kilometers from the border where crew change stations were located.

Sources[edit]