Railway Station Signaling
On the picture you can see typical small railway station.
As a rule home signals are named with a Russian letters Н and Ч (N and Ch) (the first letters of words "odd" and "even" in Russian). This means that the odd home signal is called N and the even home signal is called Ch.
On a single track railway home signal is a border between the station and the stage. On a multi track railway there should be special sign "Station border"
Usually home signals have 5 lights - two yellow, green, red and white.
Departure signals allow or disallow the train to depart the station. Their names are similar to the names of home signals but the number that means track number is added. For example departure signal Н1 (N1) allows (or disallows) the train to depar from the 1st track of the station.
Departure signals can have from 2 to 4 lights.
The station shown on the picture doesn't have shunting signals. As a rule there's no shunting on the stations like this one. But if the shunting is needed it can be done with the permission of station duty officer.
- White lights allows shunting.
- Blue or red light forbids shunting.
We'll describe shunting signals later.
Odd numbers are assigned to switches in the odd station throat while even numbers are assigned to switches in the even station throat.
Normal ( plus ) position of switch is marked by an arrow on the swith gear.
Signal lights naming
In the countries where languages are based on roman alphabet (for example Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) odd and even signals are named with different letters, there's no common rule.
If station is equipped with all-electric interlocking (in most cases) the station duty officer controls switches and signals from interlocking tower (electrical signalbox).
Sometimes the train dispatcher can control several railway stations from the distance of hundreds of kilometers. In this case there can be no personnel on the station at all.
If the station is not equipped with all-electric interlocking there should be switchman in each station throat who switches switches when he gets an order to do it from station duty officer.