Centralized Traffic Control System (CTC) Rules

Canadian Rail Operating Rules

560. Supervision and Application

CTC is applicable in limits specified in the time table or special instructions and will be supervised by the RTC. Block signals will govern the operation of trains or transfers. The RTC will issue instructions as required.

561. CTC Suspended

When all or part of the CTC is withdrawn from service, trains and transfers will be governed by special instructions.

563. Clearing Opposing Signals Into Non-Signalled Sidings

  • (a) When two opposing train(s) or transfer(s) are to be lined into the same non-signalled siding, each locomotive engineer must be advised of the fact before the signal to permit operation of either train or transfer into the siding is requested.

  • (b) At meeting points, the RTC must not line a train or transfer into a siding until the switch at the opposite end of the siding is set for main track.

    Note: This rule is not applicable where automated office control devices will not permit opposing train(s) or transfer(s) to enter a non-signalled siding and at sidings where SCT is in effect.

564. Authority to Pass Stop Signal

  • (a) A train or transfer must have authority to pass a block signal indicating Stop.

  • (b) The RTC may authorize the train or transfer to pass the signal but before doing so must:

    • (i) ensure that there are no conflicting trains or transfers within, or authorized to enter, the controlled block affected (other than one authorized by Rule 567, 567.3 or 577); and

    • (ii) provide protection against all opposing trains or transfers.

  • (c) When signal blocking devices are used, they may be removed after the authorized train or transfer has entered the controlled block affected. The RTC must not permit any opposing trains or transfers to enter the controlled block until the authorized train or transfer has cleared such block.

  • (d) The train or transfer so authorized need not stop at the signal but must positively identify the signal by number; operate at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal or Block End sign, and must be governed by Rule 104.1 at spring switches, Rule 104.2 at dual control switches, Rule 104.3 at power-operated switches and Rule 611 at automatic interlockings.

  • (e) When a known condition prevents clearing of controlled signals into an affected block, the RTC may authorize operation at REDUCED speed to the next signal or Block End sign. The train or transfer will be advised whether or not equipment is present in the block.

    REDUCED speed remains applicable unless the block is known to be clear of equipment. REDUCED speed commences when the leading piece of equipment has passed entirely through the controlled location.

    The train or transfer must approach the next signal prepared to stop and there be governed by the indication displayed.

  • (f) The authority granted and instructions must be in writing and, where applicable, specify the route to be used. The locomotive engineer must be made aware of the route to be used before moving.

565. Stop Signal CTC to ABS

A train or transfer leaving CTC and entering ABS, if required to move past a signal indicating Stop, will be governed by Rule 564 within CTC and Rule 509 within ABS.

566. Work Authority

  • (a) A train or transfer may be given work authority that permits moving in either direction within specified limits.

  • (b) Before issuing such authority the RTC must;

    • (i) ensure that there are no other trains or transfers within, or authorized to enter, the required limits; and

    • (ii) block at Stop all devices controlling signals governing other trains or transfers into such limits.

  • (c) The RTC must maintain signal blocking against all trains or transfers and must not authorize any other trains or transfers to enter the affected limits except as provided by Rule 567.3 or until the work authority has been cancelled.

  • (d) If work authority is cancelled while the train or transfer is within the affected limits, the conductor or locomotive engineer must inform the RTC of their intended direction. The RTC must maintain signal blocking against opposing trains or transfers until the protected train or transfer has cleared the controlled block.

  • (e) When the authority specifies: “Call RTC ________” the conductor or locomotive engineer must communicate with the RTC as instructed.

  • (f) The authority granted and instructions must be in writing. The locomotive engineer must be aware of the track limits before moving.

  • (g) Controlled signals within the limits other than the entry and exit signals of the authority that are indicating STOP may be considered as indicating “proceed at RESTRICTED speed”.

566.1 Signal Indication Suspended While Switching

  • (a) A crew may be authorized to manually operate specific dual control switches at a controlled location, as prescribed by Rule 104.2, paragraph (d). Such authority must be included with work authority, as prescribed by Rule 566 or 567. The indications of signals governing operation over such switches may be considered suspended while switches are in the “hand” position, but only while switching is being performed at the designated controlled location. Signal indication or Rule 564 must authorize the train or transfer into the controlled location, before being issued the Rule 566/566.1 authority.

    Verbal permission may be given to manually operate specific dual control switches within the limits of Rules 566 or 567 authority that did not include Rule 566.1 authority for those switches.

  • (b) When switching is to be performed over a spring switch, which is included in the limits of a work authority prescribed by Rule 566 or 567, the indication of the signal governing operation over such switch may be considered suspended, if the switch is properly lined.

  • (c) When switching is to be performed at a controlled location that includes only a hand operated switch, which is included in the limits of a work authority prescribed by Rule 566 or 567, the indication of the signal governing operation through the controlled location may be considered suspended but only when switching is being performed through that switch.

567. Joint Work Authority

  • (a) More than one train or transfer may be given joint work authority that permits operation in either direction within the specified limits. Each such train or transfer must be instructed: “Protecting against each other.” The conductor and locomotive engineer of each train or transfer must have a thorough understanding in writing with respect to the intended operation of each train or transfer and the protection to be provided.

  • (b) Before issuing joint authority, the RTC must;

    • (i) ensure that there are no trains or transfers in the affected limits, other than the trains or transfers which are to be authorized; and

    • (ii) block at Stop all devices controlling signals governing trains and transfers into the affected limits.

  • (c) The RTC must maintain signal blocking against all trains or transfers and must not authorize any train or transfer, other than one which is thereby protected, to enter the affected limits until the work authority has been cancelled. Each train or transfer must be clear of the affected limits before the work authority is cancelled.

    EXCEPTION: If the work authority remains to be cancelled to only one train or transfer, it may be cancelled while that train or transfer is within the affected limits. In such case, the conductor or locomotive engineer must inform the RTC of their intended direction. The RTC must maintain signal blocking against conflicting trains or transfers until the protected train or transfer has cleared the controlled block.

  • (d) When the authority specifies: “Call RTC ___________,” the conductor or locomotive engineer of each train or transfer so instructed must communicate with the RTC as instructed.

  • (e) The authority granted and instructions from the RTC must be in writing. The locomotive engineer of the train or transfer so authorized, must be made aware of the track limits before moving.

567.1 Protect Against a Foreman

  • (a) A train or transfer may be authorized to enter or move within the limits of a TOP when instructed to protect against the foreman within specified limits.

    “Protect against foreman (name) between (location) and (location).”

  • (b) The conductor and locomotive engineer must be made aware of the authority granted and have received instructions from the foreman before moving. The instructions must be repeated to, and acknowledged by the foreman before being acted upon.

  • (c) The RTC must not authorize another train or transfer or issue another TOP to apply, within the protected limits granted under this rule until it has been fulfilled by the train or transfer having cleared the limits, or the authority has been cancelled.

  • (d) In addition to the permission and instructions received from a foreman to enter and/or move within the limits, trains or transfers must also be authorized to enter the TOP limits under the provisions of Rule 105(a), Rule 564 or Rule 568, or to reverse within the TOP limits under the provisions of Rule 566.

567.2 Optional: Entering Foreman’s Limits

Trains or transfers may be authorized to enter or move within the limits of a TOP.

  • (a) Each time a train or transfer is so authorized, the train or transfer must be restricted as follows:
    “Protect against foreman (name) between (location) and (location)”.

    Such restriction must be provided to the train or transfer when it is within:

    • (i) two controlled blocks of the limits; or

    • (ii) 25 miles of the limits when there is no controlled block prior.

    The RTC must ensure that the authorized train or transfer is the only one that will encounter the signal indication to enter the limits.

  • (b) No entry into TOP limits may be made until both the conductor and locomotive engineer are aware of the authority and limits granted and have received instructions from the foreman named in the authority. Such instructions must be repeated to and acknowledged by the foreman before being acted upon.

567.3 Proceeding Through Work Limits

Trains or transfers may be authorized to enter or move within work limits of other trains or transfers.

  • (a) Each time a train or transfer is so authorized, the train or transfer must be restricted as follows:
    “Protect against work (number) between (location) and (location)”.

  • (b) A train or transfer authorized as outlined in paragraph (a) must not enter or move within the working limits until a written understanding has been established with the conductor and locomotive engineer or each train or transfer. This understanding must include information with respect to the intended operation of each train or transfer and remain in place until the affected train or transfer has left the working limits.

  • (c) Prior to entering the limits, the train or transfer must also be authorized by signal indication or under the provisions of rules 564 or 568.

  • (d) When entry is to be provided by signal indication, the restriction may only be issued when the train or transfer is within:

    • (i) two controlled blocks of the limits; or

    • (ii) 25 miles of the limits when there is no controlled block prior

    The RTC must ensure the authorized train or transfer is the only one which will encounter the signal governing entry into the limits.

568. Signal or Permission to Enter Main Track

  • (a) A train or transfer must not foul or enter a main track, nor re-enter one after having cleared it, except by signal indication or until permission has been received from the RTC.

  • (b) When entry to the main track is to be made at a non-electrically locked hand operated switch, or at a switch where the seal on the electric switch lock is broken, such permission from the RTC must include the direction and route to be taken and must be in writing. The locomotive engineer must be made aware of the circumstances before moving.

    Before issuing such permission the RTC must;

    • (i) ensure that there are no conflicting trains or transfers within, or authorized to enter, the controlled block affected; and

    • (ii) block at Stop all devices controlling signals governing trains or transfers into the affected controlled block.

  • (c) The RTC must maintain signal blocking and not permit any opposing train or transfer to enter the controlled block until the protected train or transfer has cleared the controlled block. Signal blocking against following trains or transfers must not be removed nor may following trains or transfers be permitted to enter the controlled block until the conductor or locomotive engineer, of the train or transfer being protected, has reported that the train or transfer has entered the main track and is moving in the authorized direction.

    EXCEPTION: Permission is not required to enter or re-enter the main track at a hand operated switch within the limits when authorized by Rule 566, 567 or 577.

569. Cancelling Authorities

  • (a) Authority or permission granted by Rules 564, 567.3 or 568 may be cancelled provided the train or transfer has not entered the controlled block affected.

  • (b) When authority granted by Rules 564, 566, 567, 567.1, 567.2, 567.3 or 577 or the permission in writing granted by Rule 568 is cancelled, the cancellation does not take effect until it has been correctly repeated and acknowledged by the conductor and locomotive engineer of the train or transfer affected. These employees must acknowledge the cancellation by repeating the authority number, “cancelled” and initials of the RTC to the RTC.

570. Entering Between Signals

  • (a) A train or transfer that has entered a block between signals at a hand operated switch, equipped with an electric switch lock, must approach the next signal prepared to stop, unless or until the track is seen to be clear to the next signal and such signal displays a more favourable indication than Stop or Stop and Proceed.

  • (b) When entry to a block is made at a switch not equipped with an electric switch lock, or one where the seal on the electric switch lock is broken, a train or transfer must operate at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal, unless or until the track is seen to be clear to the next signal, and the indication of such signal permits operation at other than RESTRICTED speed.

  • (c) A train or transfer that has entered a block, where it has been necessary to activate the emergency release of an electric switch lock, must move at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal.

571. Restoring Signals to Stop

  • (a) Signals must not be restored to indicate stop when the train or transfer for which signals were first cleared is less than three blocks distant from the first of such signals, unless the locomotive engineer has acknowledged that they are stopped or able to stop their train or transfer without passing the controlled signal to be restored.

  • (b) In case of emergency, a signal may be restored to stop at any time.

573. Reversing Direction

  • (a) A train or transfer, having passed beyond the limits of a block, must not back into that block until the RTC has been informed, and such train or transfer is authorized by;

    • (i) the indication of a block signal, other than a Restricting Signal equipped with a plate displaying the letter “R”, or a Stop and Proceed Signal;

    • (ii) Rule 564 or 567.3; or

    • (iii) Rule 566, 567 or 577.

    Note: (iii) does not dispense with the requirements of Rule 564 at a Stop Signal except in the application of Rule 566(g) or 577(f).

  • (b) When a train or transfer has entered a controlled location on signal indication, and stops with its trailing end within such controlled location, it may only move in the opposite direction within the controlled location with permission from the RTC. Unless relieved by the RTC, the movement must comply with Rule 104.2(b). RTC permission does not authorize occupancy outside of the controlled location.

  • (c) Provided it will not re-enter a block it has cleared, a train or transfer may reverse direction within a block without Rule 566, 567 or 577 protection as follows:

    • (i) to reverse a distance of 300 feet or less, a crew member must take up a position to see the section of track to be used is clear and will remain clear of equipment or a track unit; or

    • (ii) to reverse a distance greater than 300 feet, a flagman must take up a position beyond the farthest point to which the train or transfer may extend. Stop signals must be given by the flagman from a point where they can be plainly seen from an approaching train or transfer from not less than 300 yards.

576. Switching at a Controlled Location

  • (a) Signal Indication - The preferred method of switching at a controlled location is with the use of the signal system by having the RTC signal the train or transfer over the controlled location with directional signals. If unable to clear the controlled location when switching is completed, the RTC will authorize departure by issuing a Rule 566 or 577 to the train or transfer. If the first move into the block was authorized by Rule 564, operation to the next signal must be made at RESTRICTED speed.

    Rule 566 or 577 would not be required when the RTC verbally authorizes the train or transfer to pull ahead to the next signal where there are no dual control switches to be encountered.

  • (b) Switching Signals - A member of the crew will request the switching signal so that multiple moves may be made through the controlled location on a specific route. When switching is completed, the RTC must be advised to ensure the signal will be cancelled. Before doing so, the member of the crew requesting the cancellation must advise all other crew members and receive their assurance that they are and will remain clear of the switching signal limits. If unable to clear the controlled location, the RTC will verbally authorize departure. The RTC will then cancel the switching signal. The train or transfer may then proceed to the next signal at RESTRICTED speed.

    To avoid having to proceed at RESTRICTED speed, trains or transfers should attempt to back clear of the switching signal on the final move and leave on a more permissive signal indication.

  • (c) Rule 566.1 and 577.1 Signals Suspended - The train or transfer must be authorized to enter the block before Rule 566/566.1 or 577/577.1 authority is issued by the RTC. If the train or transfer is unable to be clear of the limits when switching is completed, they must advise the RTC before leaving the location. If Rule 564 authorized the first move into the block, the train or transfer must operate to the next signal at RESTRICTED speed.

  • (d) Taking Head-Room - Provided that the trailing end remains within non-main track territory, a train or transfer may accept a signal to enter a controlled location, where the intent of the move is to subsequently reverse direction so as to be completely in the clear in the non-main track territory. The RTC must be informed of the intended head-room move when the signal is requested. The crew may request one or more head-room moves but each time the signal provides a permissive indication, it is for one head-room move only.

577. Optional to 566/567 with System: Work Authority

  • (a) A train or transfer may be given work authority in writing which permits moving in either direction within specified limits. Before issuing such authority, the RTC must:

    • (i) ensure that there are no other trains or transfers within, or authorized to enter, the required limits, and;

    • (ii) block at Stop all devices controlling signals governing other trains or transfers into such limits.

  • (b) Other trains or transfers may be authorized to work within the limits of one or more trains or transfers authorized to work provided such trains or transfers are restricted on their authority as follows:
    “Protect against work (number) between (location) and (location)”.

  • (c) When entry is to be provided by signal indication, the signal may only be requested when the train or transfer is within:

    • (i) two controlled blocks of the limits; or

    • (ii) 25 miles of the limits when there is no controlled block prior

    The RTC must ensure the authorized train or transfer is the only one which will encounter the signal governing entry into the limits.

  • (d) Trains or transfers so authorized as outlined in paragraph (b) must not enter or move within the working limits until a written understanding has been established with the conductor and locomotive engineer of each train or transfer. This understanding must include information with respect to the intended operation of each train or transfer and remain in place until the affected train(s) or transfer(s) has left the working limits.

  • (e) The RTC must maintain signal blocking against trains or transfers and must not authorize any train or transfer, other than one authorized by Rule 567.3 or as outlined in paragraph (b), to enter the affected limits until the work authority has been cancelled. Each train or transfer must be clear of the affected limits before its work authority is cancelled.

    EXCEPTION: If the work authority remains to be cancelled to only one train or transfer, it may be cancelled while that train or transfer is within the affected limits. In such case, the conductor or locomotive engineer must inform the RTC of the intended direction of operation. The RTC must maintain signal protection against opposing trains or transfers until the protected train or transfer has cleared the controlled block.

    The locomotive engineer of a train or transfer so authorized must be made aware of the track limits before moving.

  • (f) Controlled signals within the limits other than the entry and exit signals of the authority that are indicating STOP may be considered as indicating “proceed at RESTRICTED speed”. Not applicable at automatic interlockings or interlockings controlled by a foreign railway. Rule 104.2(b) is not applicable when advised by the RTC that dual control switch(es) are lined for the route to be used.

577.1 (Optional to 566.1 with System) Signal Indication Suspended While Switching

  • (a) A train or transfer may be authorized to manually operate specific dual control switches at a controlled location as prescribed by Rule 104.2, paragraph (d). Such authority must be included with work authority, as prescribed by Rule 577. The indications of signals governing operation over such switches may be considered suspended while switches are in the “hand” position, but only while switching is being performed at the designated controlled locations.

    Note: Verbal permission may be given to manually operate specific dual control switches within the limits of Rule 577 authority that did not include Rule 577.1 authority for those switches.

  • (b) When switching is to be performed over a spring switch, which is included in the limits of a work authority prescribed by Rule 577, the indication of the signal governing operation over such switch may be considered suspended if the switch is properly lined.

578. Radio Broadcast Requirements

  • (a) Within single track, a member of the crew on all trains or transfers must initiate a radio broadcast to the airwaves on the designated standby channel stating the name of the signal displayed on the advance signal to the next controlled location, controlled point or interlocking.

  • (b) A member of the crew located on other than the engine must confirm that the radio broadcast has been made in accordance with (a). If unable to contact the engine crew to ascertain this information, immediate action must be taken to stop the train or transfer before it will reach the next controlled location, controlled point or interlocking.

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