Block Working

(Extract from IR General Rules : Chapter 14)



  	  	
A. General Provisions

      14.01 Means of granting or obtaining Line Clear
            
            The running of every train shall, in its progress from one
            block station to another, be regulated by means of any one of
            or a combination of the following -

            (a) electrical block instruments of token or tokenless type,

            (b) track circuits,

            (c) axle counters, or

            (d) electrical communication instruments.

      14.02 Provision of instruments
            
            (1) Electrical communication instruments shall be provided at
            every station, except at class 'D' stations where they may be
            provided under special instructions.

            (2) (a) The electrical block instruments, where provided, and
            electrical communication instruments at any station shall be of
            a type approved by the Commissioner of Railway Safety and shall
            not be brought into use in the first instance unless they have
            been passed by him.

            (b) The person in charge of the maintenance of electrical block
            instruments or electrical communication instruments shall not
            without the approval of the Commissioner of Railway Safety,
            permit the substitution, for the instruments and installation
            brought into use in the first instance, of any instruments or
            installation which do or does not satisfy the conditions
            prescribed in clause (a).

      14.03 Consent required before interfering with Block working equipment
            
            No railway servant shall interfere with the block working
            equipment, or their fittings for the purpose of effecting
            repairs, or for any other purpose, except with the previous
            consent of the Station Master.

B. Block Stations at which Electrical Block Instruments, Track Circuits or
Axle Counters are provided

      14.04 Certificate of competency
            
            (1) No person shall operate the electrical block instruments
            until he has passed a test in the operation of block
            instruments and unless he holds a certificate of competency
            granted by a railway servant appointed in this behalf by the
            Railway Administration.

            (2) The certificate of competency referred to in sub-rule (1)
            shall only be valid for a period of three years or such longer
            period as may be laid down by special instructions.

      14.05 Bell code 
            
            For the signalling of trains, the prescribed code of bell
            signals [...] shall be used, and a copy thereof
            shall be exhibited in each block station near the place of
            operation of the block working equipment
            
      14.06 Acknowledgement of signals 
            
                (1) Each signal received shall be acknowledged by sending
                its authorised acknowledgement.

                (2) No signal shall be acknowledged until it is clearly
                understood.

                (3) A signal shall not be deemed to be complete until it is
                acknowledged.

                (4) If the station to which a signal is sent does not
                reply, the signal shall be repeated at intervals of not
                less than 20 seconds until reply is received.

      14.07 Train Signal Register
                
            (1) A Train Signal Register shall be kept by the Station Master
            or under his orders.

            (2) All signals received or sent on the electrical block
            instruments and the timings of receipt and despatch shall be
            entered therein, immediately after acknowledgement, by the
            person operating the block instrument.

            (3) The timings entered in the register shall be the actual
            timings, except that any fraction of a minute shall be counted
            as one.

            (4) All entries in the register shall be made in ink.

            (5) No erasure shall be made in the register, but if any entry
            is found to be incorrect, a line shall be drawn through it, so
            that it may be read at any time and the correct entry shall be
            made above it.

            (6) The person who keeps the register for the time being shall
            be responsible for all entries made therein and for correctly
            filling in each column thereof.

      14.08 Authority to proceed
            
            The Driver shall not take his train from a block station unless
            he has been given an authority to proceed -

            (a) on the double line, by the taking 'off' of the last Stop
            signal, and

            (b) on the single line, either 
            
                  (i) by a token for the block section, taken from an
                  electrical block instruments, or

                  (ii) by a Line Clear Ticket duly signed by the Station
                  Master, or

                  (iii) by any document prescribed in this behalf by
                  special instructions, or

                  (iv) by the taking 'off' of the last Stop signal in lieu
                  of tangible authority as mentioned in sub-clauses (I) to
                  (iii) on sections provided with electrical block
                  instruments of tokenless type or track circuits or axle
                  counters.

      14.09 Driver to examine authority to proceed
                  
            (1) The Driver shall ensure that the authority to proceed given
                  to him is the proper authority under the system of
                  working and refers to the block section he is about to
                  enter, and if the said authority is in writing that it is
                  complete and duly signed in full and in ink.

            (2) If the conditions mentioned in sub-rule (1) are not
            complied with, the Driver shall not take his train past or
            start from the station until the mistake or the omission is
            rectified.

      14.10 Conditions for closing the block section -
            
            (1) When the block section has been cleared by the arrival of
            the train or by the removal of the cause of blocking, the block
            section shall be closed by the block station in advance by
            giving the prescribed bell code signal.

            (2) Before such signal is given, the Station Master shall
            satisfy himself
            
                  (a) that the train has arrived complete, or the cause of
                  blocking the section has been removed, and

                  (b) that the conditions under which Line Clear can be
                  given, are complied with.

            (3) The provision of clause (b) of sub-rule (2) may be relaxed
            at class 'A' single line crossing stations. In such cases, the
            Station Master shall satisfy himself that the train is standing
            at its Starter clear of the line on which the second train is
            to run.

      14.11 Responsibility of Station Master as to authority to proceed -
            
            (1) An authority to proceed shall not be given to the Driver
            until the procedure prescribed for the purpose, so far as it is
            applicable in the particular case, has been followed.

            (2) An authority to proceed shall not be given to the Driver
            except by the Station Master or by some railway servant
            appointed in this behalf by special instructions.

            (3) The Station Master shall see that the authority to proceed
            given to a Driver is accurate and that, when it is in writing,
            it is complete and is signed in full and in ink.

            (4) If the train stops at the station and is waiting to cross
            another train, the authority to proceed shall not be given to
            the Driver until the whole of the latter train has arrived and
            is clear of the running line for the former train.

            (5) If two engines are coupled together or if one engine is in
            front and another in rear of the train, the authority to
            proceed shall be given to the Driver of the leading engine.

      14.12 Special responsibility as to electrical token instruments and
      to the token
            
            (1) The Station Master shall be responsible to ensure that
            
                  (a) no one but himself operates the electrical block
                  instruments,

                  (b) the procedure regarding bell signals and, in addition
                  any communication made by electrical communication
                  instruments including the use of a private number, as
                  laid down under special instructions, is correctly
                  carried out,

                  (c) in the case of stopping trains, the incoming token is
                  surrendered by the Driver before an outgoing token is
                  delivered to him,

                  (d) when he receives the token of an incoming train, it
                  is put in the electrical block instrument immediately,
                  and

                  (e) no one except the person authorised by special
                  instructions opens the electrical block instruments.

            (2)   (a) A token shall not be taken out of an electrical block
                  instrument earlier than necessary and when taken out, its
                  number shall be recorded in the Train Signal Register,
                  and it shall be kept in the personal custody of the
                  Station Master till issued to a Driver or returned to the
                  instrument.

            (b) On arrival of the train at the block station in advance,
            the Driver shall give up the token in accordance with special
            instructions, and this token shall then be placed in the
            electrical block instrument at the station.

            (c) If the train has to return to the block station from which
            it started, the token shall, on such return, be replaced in the
            electrical block instrument from which is was extracted.

      14.13 Failure of electrical block instruments or track circuits or
      axle counter
            
            (1) If the electrical block instruments, track circuits or axle
            counters or their electric connections fail, Line Clear shall
            be obtained through the electrical communication instruments.

            (2) When Line Clear has been so obtained, an entry to that
            effect shall be made in the Train Signal Register, and the
            train may be allowed to proceed on the issue of a written
            authority to proceed, which shall also bear a remark to that
            effect.

      14.14 Closing of Intermediate Block Post 
            
            If the electrical block instruments provided at the stations on
            either side of an Intermediate Block Post or the track
            circuiting provided beyond the last Stop signal, or the axle
            counters provided at either end of block section, fail, the
            Intermediate Block Stop signal shall be treated as defective
            and the Intermediate Block Post shall be deemed to be closed
            and the section between the stations on either side of the
            Intermediate Block Post shall be treated as one block section.


C. Block Stations at which Electrical Block Instruments are not provided

      14.15 Transmission of signals 
            
            For the working of trains at such stations where electrical
            block instruments are not provided, signals as prescribed under
            special instructions shall be transmitted, as occasion may
            require, on the electrical communication instruments.

      14.16 Train Signal Register
          
            The Train Signal Register referred to in Rule 14.07 shall also
            be maintained at block stations where block instruments are not
            provided.

      14.17 Forms for messages and written authority to proceed 
            
            (1) All messages despatched in connection with the working of
            trains, and all written authorities to proceed, shall be
            written on forms specially provided for the purpose by the
            Railway Administration.

            (2) Such forms shall be bound up in books and kept at each
            block station by the Station Master, or by some railway servant
            appointed in this behalf by special instructions.

      14.18 Distinction of messages 
            
            (1) Every message despatched in connection with the working of
            a train shall distinctly describe the train to which it
            relates.

            (2) For every train a separate inquiry and reply shall be sent.

      14.19 Writing and signing of messages and written authorities to proceed 

            (1) All messages despatched in connection with the working of
            trains, and all written authorities to proceed, shall be
            written up in ink and signed by the person authorised to
            despatch or issue the same.

            (2) No message or written authority to proceed shall be written
            out, either in full or in part, or signed, until necessary.

      14.20 Completion of messages
            
            No part of any message shall be despatched or acted upon until
            the whole message has been written out except with a view to
            the prevention of an accident, or in some other case of
            emergency.

      14.21 Preservation of messages and written authorities to proceed 

            Messages and written authorities to proceed shall be destroyed
            at such time after issue as may be prescribed by special
            instructions:

                  Provided that no message or written authority to proceed
                  shall be destroyed before one month after issue.

      14.22 Cancellation of Line Clear
                  
            On a single line when a Line Clear has been cancelled, no train
            shall be allowed to leave in the opposite direction until a
            message has been received acknowledging such cancellation and
            stating that the train for which the Line Clear has been given
            is and shall be detained.

      14.23 Driver to have authority to proceed
            
            The Driver shall not take his train from a station unless he
            has in his possession, as his authority to proceed, a Line
            Clear Ticket duly signed by the Station Master.

      14.24 Authority to proceed : when to be given to Driver
            
                An authority to proceed shall not be given to the Driver
                until the procedure prescribed for the purpose, so far as
                it is applicable in the particular case, has been followed.

D. Line Clear Tickets

      14.25 Line Clear Tickets 
                
            (1) When owing to failure or non-provision of electrical block
            instruments the authority to proceed is a Line Clear Ticket, it
            shall, except under special instructions, be in the following
            form -

            

            
          Pro.No.....................................................Railway 

          LINE CLEAR TICKET
          Up (or Down)
          No. of train......................................................
          Date ............................................................. 
          Time ...................... Hours...............Minutes...........
          From 
          Station Master.................................................... 
          To
          Driver of No.............................Up (or Down)
          The line is clear and you are hereby authorised to proceed to ....
          ..........................................................station.
          Private No............................................................. 
            
            
            
          Station Master................ 


          (2) Each such ticket shall bear a serial number which shall be
          recorded in the Train Signal Register, the numbers for the Down
          direction being clearly distinguished from those for the Up
          direction.

          (3) The ticket referred to in sub-rules (1) and (2) shall be
          coloured as follows

              (a) Line Clear Ticket for Down main line on white paper,
              plain.

              (b) Line Clear Ticket for Up main line on distinctively
              coloured paper other than white with vertical red bands on
              both faces.

              (c) Line Clear Ticket for Down branch and loop lines on white
              paper with three black corners on both faces and
              superscription in the fourth corner distinguishing between
              "branch" and "loop".

              (d) Line Clear Ticket for Up branch and loop lines on a
              distinctively coloured paper other than white with vertical
              red bands on both faces, and three black corners on both
              faces and superscription in the fourth corner distinguishing
              between "branch" and "loop".

              (e) If two branch or loop lines leave from the same end of a
              station, Line Clear Tickets for one branch or loop line will
              have the three corners blocked in on both faces as in clause
              (c) or (d), the blocks being in the form of black
              triangles. Line Clear Tickets for other branch or loop line
              will have black circles in the three corresponding corners on
              both faces. If there are more than two branch or loop lines,
              Line Clear Tickets of the remaining branches or loops shall
              be distinguished by a large initial letter in a thick circle
              in corresponding corners on both faces.

E. Use and Operation of Block Working Equipment

      14.26 Use and operation of block working equipment 
              
            The use and operation of electrical block instruments shall be
            governed by special instructions to be issued with the prior
            approval of the Railway Board.


The material on this page is extracted from Indian Railways General Rules (Open Lines), 1976, published by the Government of India.
Note: This site is not officially affiliated with Indian Railways! The official web site of Indian Railways is: http://www.indianrailways.gov.in
Site contact: webmaster@irfca.org
Copyright © 2010, IRFCA.org. About IRFCA  Contact Us  Search this site  Site Map  Links   Acknowledgements  Legal Information & Disclaimers