Rail signalling jobs

The rail signalling system in the United Kingdom has changed significantly since the early days of the railway transportation. Signalling is an important component of the rail system, it ensures that trains run smoothly in the network and prevents collisions, proving vital for the safety of train drivers and passengers. Some rail signalling methods are shown below.

Semaphore signals

The most successful type of fixed signalling was the semaphore signal which was introduced in 1841. The semaphore signal consists of a mechanical arm that rises or drops indicating an upper-quadrant or lower-quadrant signal. The two main types of semaphore signals include distant and stop signals. 

A distant signal is used to advise the train driver of the state of the next stop signal, positions include:

  • Arm horizontal / yellow light: caution signal
  • Arm raised or lowered 45° / green light: clear signal

A stop signal is used to advise the train driver whether the line ahead is clear or not, positions include:

  • Arm horizontal / red light: stop signal
  • Arm raised or lowered 45° / green light: clear signal

Colour light signals

A signalling system using coloured lights is also used in the UK. The colours and their meanings are as follows: 

  • Green: clear
  • Double yellow: preliminary caution
  • Single yellow: caution
  • Red: danger / stop

Junction signals

Signals which inform the driver of which route to take at junctions are also used on UK railways, this is done using semaphore junction signals or colour-light junction signals.

Semaphore junction signals consist of splitting signals made up of between 2 and 5 stop signal arms on one bracket. Each arm has its own post on the bracket and each arm applies to one possible route.

Colour-light junction signals consist of a row of white lights which are angled to the left or right depending on the route the train is being directed into.

Job disciplines

Job positions in the UK rail signalling industry include:

  • Signalling technician jobs
  • Signalling design engineer jobs
  • Signalling project engineer jobs
  • Signalling installer jobs
  • Signalling tester jobs
  • Signalling engineering manager jobs

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