Rail Traffic Control on the IPP&W/RP&M

Prototype railroad rule books for the operation of trains, known as the Canadian Railroad Operating Rules (CROR), are big and complicated. The complications are necessary to cover every possible circumstance over all permutations of signalled and dark territory, single and multiple tracks, and a wide variety of operating conditions.

The IPP&W/RP&M uses a simplified rulebook far easier to learn (numbered rules are given by a reference number to the CROR though they may have slightly modified wording).  In this simplified set of rules, we have excluded the rules pertaining to multiple main tracks as well as those pertaining to signal indications including rules associated with CTC and with interlockings (the IPP&W is dark territory with only the diamond between Bellamy and Mercer being signalled).

In the prototype world, a distinction is made between five types of movements: scheduled passenger trains, unscheduled trains (formerly known as extras), transfers, work trains and work foreman.  In our modelled world, there are no scheduled passenger trains, no formal transfers and normally no work trains or foremen.  For that reason, the terminology Track Occupancy Permit and Clearance are used interchangeably in these simplified rules even though the CROR formally distinguishes them.  Also in the prototype, lives (and property) are at stake.  Instructions are formalized and in writing.  To keep the model world simplified, especially outdoors in the garden, all rail traffic control clearances and instructions to train crews are verbal although it is expected that the words would be the same as and reflect the same intent as the formal written TOP/Clearance forms.

The following rules will govern train movements on the IPP&W/RP&M.

Occupancy Control System Rules

301. Application and Supervision

  • (a) On the IPP&W and the RP&M, movements outside yard limits will be governed by Occupancy Control System (OCS) Rules.
  • (b) A Rail Traffic Controller (RTC)will supervise OCS territory by means of Track Occupancy Permits (TOPs) known as Clearances on the IPP&W/RP&M and other instructions as may be required.

302. Clearance Required

  • (a) A train must be authorized by a clearance to foul or enter a track where OCS rules are applicable.
  • (b) A clearance will be verbally directed by the RTC to the crew of the train addressed. Before the clearance is acted upon, the conductor/locomotive engineer must acknowledge their receipt of the clearance and that their train is correctly designated.

302.1 Clearance in Effect

A clearance remains in effect until fulfilled, superseded or cancelled.

Clearances that authorize a train to proceed, unless cancelled, must be fulfilled in the order in which they are issued.

302.2 Superseding a Clearance

  • (a) A clearance may be issued superseding a clearance already in possession of the crew of the train addressed.
  • (b) When superseding a clearance that includes limits the train is occupying, the superseding clearance must include that section of track and must not include a requirement to wait until the arrival of an opposing train.
  • (c) If a superseding clearance restricts the authority already in possession of the train addressed, theRTC must not take further action until it has been acknowledged by the conductor/locomotive engineer.

302.3 Cancelling a Clearance

  • (a) Before a clearance is cancelled, the train addressed must be clear of the limits
  • (b) When a clearance is cancelled, the cancellation does not take effect until it has been acknowledged by the conductor/locomotive engineer.

303. Protection against Following Trains

  • (a) The RTC must not authorize a train to follow a preceding train until the crew of the following train has been restricted by its clearance as follows; “Protect against (preceding train) from (location)”.
  • (b) A train so restricted must not pass the preceding train.
  • (c) When the preceding train has stopped, arrangements may be made with the following train to “close up”.

Note: When the preceding train has left the location to which the following train is authorized, Rule 303 no longer applies.

303.1 Changing Direction – Proceed Clearance

Unless otherwise provided by rules or special instructions, when authorized to proceed by clearance, a train must move only in the specified direction.

Provided the track to be operated over has not been released, a train authorized by a clearance to proceed may reverse a distance of one train length or less.

304. Restriction before Leaving

When a train has been restricted by a clearance, such train must not leave the point named until it is positively known that any opposing trains named on the clearance have arrived.

A train has not arrived until its designated engine and marker have arrived.

304.1 Stopping Clear of Fouling Point

A train required to stop at a meeting, clearing or waiting point, or at the end of authority, must be stopped clear of the route to be used by another train.

305. Before Issuing a Clearance Authority

Before issuing a clearance authority, the RTC must:

(a) ensure that there is no conflicting movement within, or authorization to enter, the clearance limits to be granted.

(b) provide protection against all conflicting trains within the limits stated.

The RTC must not authorize a movement to enter overlapping clearance limits

Standard Form for a Clearance or a Track Occupancy Permit

No. ____                             Date: __________

To: Train/Loco ­­­_______ at _____________

  1. TOP No. ____ is void
  2. Proceed from ______ to _______
  3. Work between ______ and _______
  4. Not in effect until ________
  5. This authority expires at _________
  6. Not in effect until after arrival of ___________ at ______
  7. Hold main at last named point
  8. Clear main track at last named point
  9. Between ________ and _______ make all movements at restricted speed. Protect against ________
  10. Do not exceed _____ mph between _____ and ________
  11. Special Instructions ________________

OK at ____ (time)                 RTC Initial _______