Danish Signaling, Miscellaneous Signals


Updated 001009

Staff Crossing Signals
Departure Signals
Shunting signals

Staff Crossing Signals

Staff crossing signals are usually activated when there is a route in any track of the staff crossing:

If the staff crossing is situated between the starting point of a train (e.g. a platform) and the first signal of the exit route, the staff crossing signals are activated by the exit route, even though the route does not go through the staff crossing:

If there is an access road between the tracks - or track separation is large for other reasons - the staff crossing is sub-divided, and only relevant signals are activated by a given route:

The examples above can be extended to 3 or 4 tracks.

Departure Signals

Since the 1950s, departure light signals are usually lit automatically whenever an exit route permits departure from the track in either direction:

In this sense, the departure signal acts as a repeater signal for the platform exit signal(s), exit route signal(s), exit block signal(s) or exit signal(s) of the particular track. Thus, the signal is also lit in case of a through route:

This arrangement is almost extinct. Today, agreement on departure is carried out among the train staff using hand signals or flashing lights mounted on the vehicles.

In older days, departure light signals were operated manually as a particular indication of departure permission (similar to the hand signal).

The special application of departure signals as simplified exit signals has ocurred at one or two yards with line access at one end only. The idea is to have only one "proper" platform exit signal, exit block signal or exit signal common to all yard tracks. Mainline tracks are equipped with signals according to standard practices:

There has been at least one example of departure light signals in a station with no exit signals at all.

Refer to description of stations without exit signals for further discussion of  the departure hand signal and the "Unmanned Station" signal.

Shunting Signals

It is not possible to give an exhaustive account of all shunting signal applications because the signals date back 100 years or more, and practices have been changing all the time. Below are listed a number of typical applications being operative in recent years.

Shunting permission for a group of tracks

The purpose of this application was usually to give a general indication as to whether all tracks were free from locked train routes - and thereby free from approaching trains - or not. Usually, disc signals were used for this purpose.

The following example is from Struer in the 1980s:

Shunting permission for a single track

There have been a few examples of route locking indication - as described above - being given for individual tracks by individual shunting signals.

A more common application was the intersection between a mainline and another track. The mainline would usually be protected by derailers, but in case of frequent crossing traffic, shunting signals were added. Disc signals were often used for this purpose, as one signal visible in both directions would be sufficient.

The following example is from Østerport in the 1970s:

Protection of train routes from shunting movements

Older interlockings signalled only for right-main running, often use dwarf signals to control shunting movements in the opposite direction. However, there is at least one example of a similar application of "dwarf" shunting signals.

Below, this arrangement - which can still be found in Horsens - is compared to the more widespread concept of later times.

Simplified interlocking of complicated shunting areas

In industrial and harbour areas shunting may be complicated by numerous intersections and poor overview due to buildings and sharp curves. In such areas, shunting signals might be used to avoid conflicting shunting movements without necessarily providing locking of turnouts and train detection.

The following example is from Århus in the 1930s. Despite changing track layouts, many of the signals remained in service until the 1990s:

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 Copyright © 2000 Henrik W Karlsson