8.2 Position of Switches
The employee handling the switch or derail is responsible for the
position of the
switch or derail in use. The employee must not allow movement to foul an
until the hand-operated switch or derail is properly lined.
Employees handling switches and derails must make sure:
- The switches and derails are properly lined for the intended route,
- The points fit properly and the target, if so equipped, corresponds
with the switch's
- When the operating lever is equipped with a latch, they do not step
on the latch to
release the lever except when throwing the switch.
- After locking a switch or derail, they test the lock to ensure it is
When possible, crew members on the engine must see that the switches
and derails near
the engine are properly lined.
8.3 Main Track Switches
The normal position of a main track switch is for main track movement,
and it must be
lined and locked in that position.
However, the main track switch may be left open:
- In CTC territory within track and time limits.
- When attended by a crew member or switch tender.
- During switching operations when it is certain that no other train
or engine will pass
over the switch.
- For another train or engine when the switch is attended by a member
of that crew.
- Within ABS limits when instructed by the train dispatcher at:
- The entering switch of a siding in Rule 9.14 (Movement with the
Current of Traffic)
- Either switch of a siding in Rule 16.1 (Authority to Enter DTC
- Within TWC territory when authorized by track warrant. Track
warrant protection must be
provided for this condition. The switch must not be considered
restored to normal position
until the train dispatcher is notified by an employee at that
On main track switches (if equipped), the target will be red if the
switch is lined in
other than its normal position.
8.7 Clear of Main Track Switches
Except in switching movements, when a train or engine is approaching or
passing on a
main track, employees must not go nearer than 20 feet to any main track
When a train or engine that will be met or passed is on a
siding or other
track, the employee attending the switch must not be nearer than 150 feet
to the switch
when the train is closely approaching.
Inspecting Hand-Operated Switches in Non-Signaled
In non-signaled territory, if the expected train is not closely
approaching, a crew
member will inspect facing point, hand-operated switches the train will
pass over to
determine that the:
- Switches are lined for the intended route.
- Switch points fit properly.
- Switch lever is secured.
8.8 Switches Equipped with Locks, Hooks, or Latches
When not in use, switches must be locked, hooked, or latched if so
making movements in either direction over these switches, make sure the
switch is latched
or secured by placing the lock or hook in the hasp. However, when making
in facing point direction, lock the switches equipped with a lock.
Replace any missing or defective switch locks. If they cannot be
replaced, report the
condition at once to the train dispatcher, yardmaster, or supervisor in
charge, and spike
the switch if possible.
8.9.1 Testing Spring Switch
A crew member tests the switch by lining the switch over and back by
hand and examining
the switch points to see that they fit properly.
A train or engine making a facing point movement over a spring switch
must stop, and a
crew member must test the switch when any of the following conditions
- A block signal governing movement over the switch indicates:
- Stop and Proceed
- Restricted Proceed
- A switch point indicator protecting the switch indicates Stop and
- The switch is not protected by a block signal or switch point
However, a crew member does not need to test the switch if it has been
lined for the
diverging route, or written instructions advise the crew that the spring
switch has been
8.9.3 Hand Operating a Spring Switch Before Making a Trailing
A. With Facing Point Lock
When a train is stopped by a signal governing trailing movement through
a spring switch
and the switch is equipped with a facing point lock, operate the switch by
hand. Do not
return the switch to normal position until after movement is complete.
B. Without Facing Point Lock
Before a train makes a trailing movement through a spring switch not
equipped with a
facing point lock, and only hand operation can establish block signal
protection, line the
switch for the intended route. Return the switch to normal position after
have passed both insulated joints.
8.12 Crossover Switches
The normal position of crossover switches is for other than crossover
switches must be left lined in normal position, except when they are in
use for crossover
Both switches of a crossover must be opened before a crossover movement
movement must be complete before either switch is returned to normal
EXCEPTIONS: On non-signaled track, both switches
of a crossover
not connected to a main track or siding must be left lined either for
normal movement or
for movement through the crossover.
Dual control switches may be returned to power as
prescribed by Rule
9.13 (When Instructed to Operate Dual Control Switches by Hand).
8.14 Conflicting Movements Approaching Switch
When conflicting movement is closely approaching a switch, the track
must not be fouled
or the switch operated. Except at a spring switch, trains must not foul a
main track or
signaled track or pass beyond an insulated joint at the clearance point
until the switch
connected with the movement is properly lined.
Crossover switches must not be unlocked or lined for crossover movement
movement is approaching or passing over either switch.
8.15 Switches Run Through
Do not run through switches, other than spring switches or variable
switches. If a
rigid type switch is run through, it is unsafe and must be protected by
switch, unless a trackman or other competent employee takes charge.
An engine or car that partially runs through a switch must continue
movement over the
switch. The engine or car must not change direction over a damaged switch
until it has
been spiked or repaired.
8.18 Variable Switches
Trailing point movements may be made over a variable switch from either
regardless of the position of the switch points.
When making a trailing point movement and the switch is not lined for
make sure all wheels of the leading car or unit clear the switch points
During snow storms, ice storms, or other conditions that may prevent a
from functioning properly, avoid making a trailing point movement through
switch until it has been lined by hand for movement.
8.19 Automatic Switches
The location of automatic switches will be designated in the timetable.
To operate an
automatic switch to enter the siding, a crew member must do the following:
- Stop the leading end of movement within 200 feet of the absolute
signal that governs
movement over the switch.
- Operate the push button on the signal mast.
After 40 seconds, the signal will display a restricting indication when
the switch is
lined for movement into the siding.
When the signal that governs movement over an automatic switch displays
indication, the switch must be operated by hand before proceeding.
Operating an Automatic Switch by Hand
To operate an automatic switch by hand, the crew member must stop the
train for the
signal that governs movement over the switch and then do the following:
- Unlock the switch lock.
- Place the selector lever in the HAND position.
- Operate the hand throw lever until the switch points move when the
lever is moved.
- Line the switch for the intended route.
- Do not return the selector lever to the POWER position until at
least one unit or car
has passed over the switch.
When the switch is returned to the POWER position and movement over the
complete, the switch will automatically return to its normal position.
On Siding. A train operating on a siding must be stopped before
it passes the
overlap sign until it is authorized to proceed.
Entering Main Track. A train that is about to enter the main
track and is
authorized to proceed must move past the overlap sign. Further movement
must not be made
until the signal governing movement over the switch displays a proceed
indication. If the
signal does not display a proceed indication within 5 minutes, a crew
member must operate
the switch by hand as specified in Rule 9.17 (Entering Main Track at
Spring Switch), waiting an additional 5 minutes, if necessary.
When automatic switches are operated by hand, all
hand-operated switches apply, except cars must not be dropped over the
8.20 Derail Location and Position
Employees in train, engine, and yard service must know the location of
Do not make a movement over a derail in derailing position.
Except when derails are placed in non-derailing position to permit
movement, make sure
they are always in derailing position regardless of whether cars are on
the track they are
protecting. Lock all derails equipped with a lock.
Next Chapter - Block System Rules
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