Interlocking Rules

Canadian Rail Operating Rules

601. Application

A movement will be governed by interlocking rules within interlocking limits. Interlocking signal indications govern the use of the routes within interlocking limits. Instructions may be issued by a signalman when necessary.

602. Proper Signal Indications Required

  • (a) Except in case of emergency, radio or hand signals must not be used when the proper indication can be displayed by the interlocking signals.

  • (b) A movement stopped by the signalman, other than by means of signal indication, while approaching, or within an interlocking, must not move in either direction until the proper signal or instructions have been received from the signalman.

  • (c) When a movement stops with its trailing end within interlocking limits, it must not reverse direction without the proper interlocking signal indication, or permission from the signalman.

604. Establishing and Changing Routes

  • (a) Signals for an approaching movement must not be restored to indicate stop unless the locomotive engineer has acknowledged that they are stopped or able to stop their movement without passing the interlocking signal to be restored.

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

  • (c) No part of a route may be changed, nor signals cleared for a movement on a conflicting route, unless the locomotive engineer of the movement for which the route was cleared has acknowledged that they are able to comply with the new routing.

605. Delayed in Timing Circuit

A movement approaching an automatic interlocking, equipped with a timing circuit, must approach the interlocking signal prepared to stop if occupying the timing circuit in excess of the time specified in special instructions.

At automatic interlockings not equipped with a timing circuit, a movement occupying the track between the advance signal and the interlocking signal in excess of 5 minutes must approach the interlocking signal prepared to stop.

606. Approaching Interlocking Limits

At a location not protected by an advance signal, a movement must approach interlocking limits prepared to comply with a signal indicating Stop.

607. Rule Applicable at a Stop Signal

When an interlocking signal indicates Stop and no conflicting movement is evident, the following will apply:

Type of Interlocking
(as indicated in special instructions)
Applicable Rule
Manual 608
Locally-Controlled 609
Remotely-Controlled 610
Automatic 611

608. Manual Interlocking

Movements operating through the limits of a manual interlocking will be governed by special instructions.

609. Locally-Controlled Interlocking Signal Indicating Stop

  • (a) A movement must have authority to pass a locally-controlled interlocking signal indicating Stop.

    When no conflicting movement is evident:

    • (i) the signalman may authorize such movement to pass the signal, but before doing so, the signalman must provide protection against all conflicting movements; and

    • (ii) the movement so authorized need not stop at the signal but must positively identify the signal by number. It must move at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal or Block End sign and will be governed by Rule 104.1 at spring switches, Rule 104.2 at dual control switches and Rule 104.3 at power-operated switches.

  • (b) Before moving, the locomotive engineer must be informed of the situation.

  • (c) When the signalman is off duty at a locally-controlled interlocking, a movement stopped by an interlocking signal indicating Stop will be governed by special instructions.

610. Remotely-Controlled Interlocking Signal Indicating Stop

  • (a) A movement must have authority to pass a remotely-controlled interlocking signal indicating Stop. The signalman may authorize the movement to pass the signal but before doing so must ensure that there is no conflicting movement in the route to be used, and that all devices controlling signals governing conflicting movements are blocked at Stop. The authorization must specify the route to be used, and must be in writing.

  • (b) The movement so authorized need not stop at the signal but must positively identify the signal by number. It must move at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal or Block End sign and will be governed by Rule 104.1 at spring switches, Rule 104.2 at dual control switches and Rule 104.3 at power-operated switches. If there is a railway crossing at grade equipped with a box marked “switches” within the interlocking, the provisions of Rule 611 apply.

  • (c) The locomotive engineer must be made aware of the route to be used before moving.

611. Automatic Interlocking Signal Indicating Stop

When a movement is stopped by an automatic interlocking signal indicating Stop:

  • paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) apply when no other movement or track work is evident; or

  • paragraph (d) applies when track work is evident.

  • (a) When no other movement or track work is evident;

    • (i) a crew member, after opening the box marked “switches”, will observe panel lights, where provided. If those of the conflicting route(s) are lighted and no conflicting movement is evident, the crew member will open the knife switch and may then allow the movement to proceed;

    • (ii) (MULTI-TRACK) in the box marked “switches” where lights are provided to indicate the approach of a movement, if those of the conflicting route and those of the same railway on the adjacent track are lighted and no other movement is seen approaching, the crew member will open the knife switch and may then allow the movement to proceed;

    • (iii) where lights are not provided, or where those of the conflicting route(s) are not lighted, the crew member, after opening the knife switch, must wait five minutes, unless a greater period is specified in special instructions and posted in the box marked “switches”, before permitting the movement to proceed;

      (MULTI-TRACK) - When the lights of the same railway on the adjacent track are not lighted and no other movement is seen approaching, the crew member will contact the RTC before opening the knife switch, to ascertain whether or not a movement is closely approaching on that adjacent track to prevent displaying STOP indications to such movement.

    • (iv) after complying with (i), (ii) or (iii) the movement must then operate at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal or Block End sign; and

    • (v) after the movement has occupied the crossing, the switch must be closed and the box marked “switches” locked.

  • (b) Where a pushbutton is provided, to enable a reverse move to be made over the crossing, the crew member will open the box, depress the pushbutton and be governed by signal indication. If the signal fails to clear, the instructions contained in paragraph (a) must be complied with.

  • (c) A movement required to switch within or into automatic interlocking limits must, after complying with (a)(iii) leave the knife switch open until switching is completed. When the knife switch is in the open position, signals governing the switching may be considered suspended but only while switching.

  • (d) When track work is evident; i.e. when encountering a “840.3 Protection” visible indicator or a special lock on the box marked “switches”; after stopping at the signal, the movement must not proceed beyond the signal until instructions have been received from the foreman. When so authorized by the foreman to proceed, the movement must move at RESTRICTED speed to the next signal or Block End sign.

612. Stopped Foul of Signal

When a movement, which has accepted an indication of an interlocking signal permitting it to proceed, stops before the leading locomotive or car has completely passed such signal, it may then proceed only after receiving permission from the signalman or under the provisions of Rule 611.

614. Leaving Interlocking In ABS or CTC

When an interlocking is located in ABS or CTC, the indication of the last interlocking signal, in the direction of travel, also governs the movement to the next signal or Block End sign. If necessary to pass such signal in accordance with Rule 609, 610 or 611, unless otherwise specified in special instructions, Rule 509 or 564 also applies beyond the interlocking limits.

615. Single Unit of Equipment Restricted

A single unit of equipment must not be left standing on the movable portion of an interlocked drawbridge or within the interlocking limits of a railway crossing at grade.

616. Damage to Interlocking

When it is known or suspected that:

  • (i) a derailment has occurred; or

  • (ii) track, appliances or signals are damaged or malfunctioning;

    the signalman must block all controls for signals governing movements over the affected routes at Stop.

    No move may then be permitted until the signalman has established that they may pass safely.

617. Disconnecting Track Parts or Locking Devices

Before any movement is permitted to pass over any movable track part or locking device which has been disconnected, all movable track parts affected must be spiked or secured in the required position and their controls blocked to prevent them from being operated.

618. Protecting Against a Foreman

  • (a) A movement 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 signalman must maintain signal blocking against all other movements and must not authorize any other movement, or issue another TOP to apply, within the protected limits until the authority granted under this rule has been cancelled. Other members of the crew must immediately be advised of the cancellation and all copies of the cancelled authority must be destroyed.

618.1 Optional: to 618 with System. Protecting Against a Foreman

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

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

    Such restriction must be provided when the movement 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 movement 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.

  • (c) 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 by signal indication or the provisions of Rules 609, 610 or to reverse within the TOP limits under the permission of the signalman.

619. Transfer by Signalmen

  • (a) Where an ECM is used or where a computer assisted system generates a list as outlined in (b), the relieving signalman must sign into the system in the presence of the on-duty signalman, and receive verbal and/or written transfer of other necessary instructions and information.

  • (b) Except as prescribed in paragraph (a), before being relieved, the signalman must make a transfer in a book or on a form provided for that purpose, of TOP and other authorities in effect. The transfer must include the time and other necessary information and must be signed by both the relieved and the relieving signalman.

620. Non-Interlocked Drawbridges and Railway Crossings at Grade

A movement must stop before any part of it passes the governing stop sign at a non-interlocked drawbridge or at a non-interlocked railway crossing at grade. If no conflicting movement is evident and the route is properly lined, the movement may resume. Special instructions will govern when there is an attendant in charge.

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