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Date: 11/21/22 21:38
CN Signal question
Author: bath_wildcat

Hello all,

Had to move to Michigan back last month as I started a new job at Amazon in Pontiac, MI.

I know the CN is up here however I saw a signal that is a yellow over flashing red on the bottom at Olydyke RD. I'm not familiar with CN or CP signals. Anyone know what this means, and is there a source specifically for CN and CP signal aspects?

Michael Fair
Royal Oak, MI



Date: 11/22/22 02:58
Re: CN Signal question
Author: justalurker66

"Clear to Restricting"
Proceed, next signal is displaying Restricting.

Look for Canadian Rail Operating Rules for more details.

Most US railroads would display an "Approach" signal in this situation (Proceed prepared to stop at the next signal). The "Clear to Restricting" lets the crew know that they will not be stopping at the next signal but they will be proceeding past either on to an occupied track or a track that is not signalled (no occupied / unoccupied status known).



Date: 11/22/22 07:15
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "Clear to Restricting"
> Proceed, next signal is displaying Restricting.
>
> Look for Canadian Rail Operating Rules for more
> details.
>
> Most US railroads would display an "Approach"
> signal in this situation (Proceed prepared to stop
> at the next signal). The "Clear to Restricting"
> lets the crew know that they will not be stopping
> at the next signal but they will be proceeding
> past either on to an occupied track or a track
> that is not signalled (no occupied / unoccupied
> status known).


Michigan is not in Canada. CN uses USOR - United States Operating Rules - in Michigan as well as the rest of the United States. This signal indication is "Approach Restricting."

I'm not sure which other US railroads would use an "Approach" signal in this situation, as "Approach" means the next signal is "Stop" which means you can't go past it.



Date: 11/22/22 07:18
Re: CN Signal question
Author: engineerinvirginia

SpringedSwitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> justalurker66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > "Clear to Restricting"
> > Proceed, next signal is displaying Restricting.
> >
> > Look for Canadian Rail Operating Rules for more
> > details.
> >
> > Most US railroads would display an "Approach"
> > signal in this situation (Proceed prepared to
> stop
> > at the next signal). The "Clear to Restricting"
> > lets the crew know that they will not be
> stopping
> > at the next signal but they will be proceeding
> > past either on to an occupied track or a track
> > that is not signalled (no occupied / unoccupied
> > status known).
>
>
> Michigan is not in Canada. CN uses USOR - United
> States Operating Rules - in Michigan as well as
> the rest of the United States. This signal
> indication is "Approach Restricting."
>
> I'm not sure which other US railroads would use an
> "Approach" signal in this situation, as "Approach"
> means the next signal is "Stop" which means you
> can't go past it.

Approach can indeed take you to a Restricting signal....because with both Stop and Restricting you must be PREPARED to Stop upon reaching that signal...BEFORE you pass it if you can pass it at all. 



Date: 11/22/22 08:59
Re: CN Signal question
Author: toledopatch

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Michigan is not in Canada. CN uses USOR -
> United
> > States Operating Rules - in Michigan as well as
> > the rest of the United States. This signal
> > indication is "Approach Restricting."
> >
> > I'm not sure which other US railroads would use
> an
> > "Approach" signal in this situation, as
> "Approach"
> > means the next signal is "Stop" which means you
> > can't go past it.
>
> Approach can indeed take you to a Restricting
> signal....because with both Stop and Restricting
> you must be PREPARED to Stop upon reaching that
> signal...BEFORE you pass it if you can pass it at
> all. 

Agree on having seen Approach followed by Restricting in many, many situations in the USA.

In the NORAC rules, "Approach Restricting" is the name for the fixed-yellow, accompanied by an "A" board, one often sees as a warning of an absolute signal ahead in dark territory. Their rulebook does not include a specific signal that indicates the next signal is displaying Restricting. I am not familiar enough to know how GCOR handles this scenario.

On the CN in Michigan, however, the current superintendent of signals has introduced numerous "Canadian" signal aspects to the rules for situations like this one. I do not know if those aspects' names match those in use in Canada. I may ask him this question if I get the chance.



Date: 11/22/22 11:03
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> engineerinvirginia Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > >
> > > Michigan is not in Canada. CN uses USOR -
> > United
> > > States Operating Rules - in Michigan as well
> as
> > > the rest of the United States. This signal
> > > indication is "Approach Restricting."
> > >
> > > I'm not sure which other US railroads would
> use
> > an
> > > "Approach" signal in this situation, as
> > "Approach"
> > > means the next signal is "Stop" which means
> you
> > > can't go past it.
> >
> > Approach can indeed take you to a Restricting
> > signal....because with both Stop and
> Restricting
> > you must be PREPARED to Stop upon reaching that
> > signal...BEFORE you pass it if you can pass it
> at
> > all. 
>
> Agree on having seen Approach followed by
> Restricting in many, many situations in the USA.

I agree it's possible. But I also say that more likely a Restricting signal is preceeded by an Approach Restricting than an Approach.



> In the NORAC rules, "Approach Restricting" is the
> name for the fixed-yellow, accompanied by an "A"
> board, one often sees as a warning of an absolute
> signal ahead in dark territory. Their rulebook
> does not include a specific signal that indicates
> the next signal is displaying Restricting. I am
> not familiar enough to know how GCOR handles this
> scenario.

GCOR doesn't have signal indications in it. Each railroad creates their own.



> On the CN in Michigan, however, the current
> superintendent of signals has introduced numerous
> "Canadian" signal aspects to the rules for
> situations like this one. I do not know if those
> aspects' names match those in use in Canada. I may
> ask him this question if I get the chance.

That's interesting.

If a "Signal Superintendent" is introducing "Canadian" signal aspects, you think that CN would notify the crews that work with these new signal indications.

I'll have to check with some friends, but as far as I know the CN's US rule book hasn't been updated with this information.



Date: 11/22/22 11:33
Re: CN Signal question
Author: engineerinvirginia

You need to take a look at ALL rule systems in the US....you cannot generalize because they all have their differences...and as I run a locomotive I can tell you that not only CAN an Approach signal take you to Restricting....it absolutely DOES do that at locations where that is set up. There's no vacillating or waffling...it is a thing. 



Date: 11/22/22 11:39
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You need to take a look at ALL rule systems in the
> US....you cannot generalize because they all have
> their differences...and as I run a locomotive I
> can tell you that not only CAN an Approach signal
> take you to Restricting....it absolutely DOES do
> that at locations where that is set up. There's no
> vacillating or waffling...it is a thing. 

You are correct. Nobody is saying otherwise.

I am questioning the allegation made that "Most US railroads would display an "Approach" signal in this situation."



Date: 11/22/22 16:00
Re: CN Signal question
Author: justalurker66

SpringedSwitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am questioning the allegation made that "Most US railroads
> would display an "Approach" signal in this situation."

What would you display when the next signal is Restricting?
Approach is the most common answer to that question.
What is your answer?



Date: 11/22/22 16:50
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I am questioning the allegation made that "Most
> US railroads
> > would display an "Approach" signal in this
> situation."
>
> What would you display when the next signal is
> Restricting?
> Approach is the most common answer to that
> question.
> What is your answer?


"Approach Restricting."

The signal aspect question that started this thread...



Date: 11/22/22 17:18
Re: CN Signal question
Author: toledopatch

SpringedSwitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> justalurker66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > I am questioning the allegation made that
> "Most
> > US railroads
> > > would display an "Approach" signal in this
> > situation."
> >
> > What would you display when the next signal is
> > Restricting?
> > Approach is the most common answer to that
> > question.
> > What is your answer?
>
>
> "Approach Restricting."
>
> The signal aspect question that started this
> thread...

And where else have you observed this aspect to be used other than in the cited example?



Date: 11/22/22 17:34
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > justalurker66 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > SpringedSwitch Wrote:
> > >
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> >
> > > -----
> > > > I am questioning the allegation made that
> > "Most
> > > US railroads
> > > > would display an "Approach" signal in this
> > > situation."
> > >
> > > What would you display when the next signal
> is
> > > Restricting?
> > > Approach is the most common answer to that
> > > question.
> > > What is your answer?
> >
> >
> > "Approach Restricting."
> >
> > The signal aspect question that started this
> > thread...
>
> And where else have you observed this aspect to be
> used other than in the cited example?


Just about everywhere on UP, CN and BNSF.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 17:40 by SpringedSwitch.



Date: 11/22/22 19:04
Re: CN Signal question
Author: DPM

If you were to take count, an Approach preceding a Restricting would be most common overall by far.  This is because on the roads that have Approach Restricting (such as BNSF, UP, CP, CN, KCS, MRL, etc.), it is not used in every case – many times you will get an Approach before a Restricting, and sometimes you will get an Approach Restricting before a Restricting.  It depends on decisions made by the signal system designers and sometimes on the age of the installation. 
 
As mentioned already, many roads do not have Approach Restricting, including CSX, the NORAC roads (though as pointed out they use the name for a distant signal aspect with a different indication), and most of NS (which still has three sets of signal aspects depending on where you are), so in these cases, an Approach (or Approach variant, such as Diverging Approach or Medium Approach) will come before a Restricting.
 
The CN has had Approach Restricting in their US rule book since 2002.  It carried over from the Wisconsin Central and has now spread to other CN lines in the US as part of resignaling projects.  It has been in the Canadian Rail Operating Rules since at least 2008.
 
 



Date: 11/23/22 02:03
Re: CN Signal question
Author: TAW

SpringedSwitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I'm not sure which other US railroads would use an
> "Approach" signal in this situation, as "Approach"
> means the next signal is "Stop" which means you
> can't go past it.

Actually, Approach Restricting is relatively new. Approach before Restriting was common until maybe the mid-80s. I argued with the BN rules examiners in the 70s that there should be an indication for next signal is Restricting instead of Stop (BN was cheap - no bonded sidings and Restricting to head in). The rules examiners told me that they didn't want the engineers to know that the next signal was Restricting as they might have to stop anyway. I told them that in a lot of places, if they get an Approach, they already have air into it to stop behind a crossing or some place they might not have the ability to keep on moving when they finally see the Restricting and the way was clear. After years of arguing with them, it finally became somebody else's idea (some appropriate person), and the first Approach Restring appeared at BN.

TAW



Date: 11/24/22 04:32
Re: CN Signal question
Author: justalurker66

Clips from four rule books where Approach Restricting is presented with a Approach included for reference.
There is definitely a benefit to having this signal available, especially on BNSF with their dark sidings.

Note all four have a Yellow over Lunar display of the aspect. CN has the Yellow over Flashing Red option.
(Not shown: UP defines Yellow over Flashing Red as Diverging Advance Approach.)




Date: 11/24/22 19:22
Re: CN Signal question
Author: sarailfan

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is definitely a benefit to having this
> signal available, especially on BNSF with their
> dark sidings.
>

The caveat to that is restricted speed requires the ability to stop in 1/2 range of vision. There could be a train 10 feet past that restricting signal, so you must be able to stop essentially at the signal. Properly applying restricted speed negates the "advantage" of approach restricting.

I'm not a fan of the wording of the rule; it implies that you will be able to pass the signal when that isn't automatically the case.

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 11/24/22 20:15
Re: CN Signal question
Author: SpringedSwitch

sarailfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> justalurker66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > There is definitely a benefit to having this
> > signal available, especially on BNSF with their
> > dark sidings.
> >
>
> The caveat to that is restricted speed requires
> the ability to stop in 1/2 range of vision. There
> could be a train 10 feet past that restricting
> signal, so you must be able to stop essentially at
> the signal. Properly applying restricted speed
> negates the "advantage" of approach restricting.
>
> I'm not a fan of the wording of the rule; it
> implies that you will be able to pass the signal
> when that isn't automatically the case.

This depends on the territory and the engineer's knowledge of it. There's a big difference between slowing to 3 to 5 mph versus stopping the entire train arbitrarily at a signal and pulling again when you don't have to.



Date: 11/24/22 22:00
Re: CN Signal question
Author: kgrantly

An overview of this stretch of track.
Would the home signals be plated, like the signals at OPDYKE Rd?




Date: 11/25/22 11:27
Re: CN Signal question
Author: justalurker66

SpringedSwitch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There's a big difference between slowing to 3 to 5 mph versus stopping the
> entire train arbitrarily at a signal and pulling again when you don't have to.

There is a big difference between being prepared to stop at the next signal and stopping at the next signal. The train does not need to actually stop until it reaches the next signal and the engineer sees either a stop indication or a Restricting indication and a reason to stop (obstruction, broken rail, etc.). (Approach does not require a stop at the next signal. The next signal determines the action needed at the next signal. The signal could become less restrictive than a Stop or Restricting and the train would be able to obey the next signal as soon as it was clearly visible instead of stopping.)

While Approach Restricting could lead to stopping just past the signal if there is an obstruction or track problem I will defer to TAW in supporting its use. At a location without bonded sidings one would not want to send trains into a siding on a Diverging Approach or Diverging Clear signal since there could be an undetected obstruction or problem before the other end of the siding. Restricting is appropriate for entering unbonded tracks. But with the route clear the railroad wants the engineer to pass through the interlocking. They want the train to pass the signal at Restricting speed.

The only objection I have to the situation is train crews that become complacent. So accustomed to seeing an Approach Restricting then sliding into an empty siding that the day that there is an occupancy they (literally) run in to a problem.



Date: 11/25/22 11:30
Re: CN Signal question
Author: justalurker66

kgrantly Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> An overview of this stretch of track.
> Would the home signals be plated, like the signals at OPDYKE Rd?

In general - Intermediate signals are plated (number plates). Home signals are not plated.
In experience - There is often a separate sign nearby that identifies the station or controlled point where the home signal is located. Do not confuse such signs with a number plate on the signal.



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