Chinese shunting signals

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Last update: Dec 2011

This page is based on the safety handbook of China Rail. No guarantee that the translation is totally correct. You find here the most important shunting signals. There are a few more of them. They will be added later.

For semaphore signals on the line, see here. Whistle signals see here For brake signals, see here.
Light signals from signal mast Signals at points Couple and uncouple
Cancel signals General shunting signals

Thanks to Robin Gibbons, Pei Yan, Irene Mykkeltvedt, Huang Taotao for translating some of the text from Chinese.

1. Stop

Daytime - display a red flag
Night - display a lamp

If no red flag or red light available:
During daytime, if no red flag is available, hold both arms above the head and wave them rapidly. At night, if no red lamp is available, use white light and wave it rapidly up and down.

2. Slow down

Daytime - hold a yellow flag in your straight arm.
Night - hold a yellow light.
From station master to passing train:
Daytime - Wave a green flag in a downward movement several times.
Night - same action with green light

3. Move towards the signaler (come)

Daytime - holding a green flag downwards, wave it from left to right
Night - same action with green light

4. Make a small movement towards the signaler

Daytime - holding a rolled up/furled red flag vertically, wave a green flag with a small movements from left to right. The signaler normally stands near the coupling of the train or cars to move towards.
Night - after moving a green light in a downward direction several times, move it left to right in small movements.

This signal is typically used when a locomotive or a shunt is to couple to a standing train.

5. Move away from the signaler

Daytime - wave a green flag up and down
Night - wave a green light up and down

6. Make a small movement away from the signaler

Daytime - holding a furled red flag vertically, wave a green flag up and down in small movements
Night - wave a green light up and down in small movements.

7. Signal to show distance to train to go to

Signal for 10, five, three wagons distance apart. To show the distance from the standing vehicles when coupling wagons. When 10 wagons length or approx. 110 meters from the stationary vehicles move the flag down three times. When five wagons length or 55 meters, move it down twice, when three wagons length or 33 meters, move it down once.

The signal may also be given with a whistle.
Daytime - green flag.
Night - green light. Normally given from moving vehicle (for example from tender of locomotive moving towards a train).

A conductor may also be standing at the end of the train /shunt to couple to. The signal is found here.

8. Shunting light signal

From a normally looking light signal mast (where normally red, green and yellow light is displayed to trains); Sometimes also from small signals placed about 50 centimeters above track level:
Blue or red light - Shunting not allowed
White light - Shunting allowed

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9. Brake check signals

1. Put on the automatic train brake!

Daytime - Conductor holds a hammer head up over his head.
Nighttime - Conductor holds a white light over his head.

Locomotive driver answers with one short whistle or horn blow before setting the brake on.

2. Release the brake!

Daytime: Conductor swings a hammer head down left - right left
Nighttime - Conductor swings a white light left to right to left

Locomotive driver answers with two short whistle or horn blows releasing the brakes.

3. Brake inspection finished!

Daytime: Conductor swings the inspection hammer in a large circle clockwise (from the locomotive drivers seat it will look counterclockwise)
Nighttime: Conductor does the same with a white light.

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10. Point signals


Signals fixed at points.

They are on the left hand side when looking from the place where there is one rail, on the right side when looking from the place where there are two rails.


Point is in "round" direction
Daytime - You see a yellow plate on the signal fixture as on the drawing. (Top left picture)
Nighttime - A yellow light on top of the signal fixture. (Top right picture)

Point is in straight direction:
Daytime - You see only the signal fixture, no yellow plate, no light. (Bottom left picture)
Nighttime - A blue light on top of the signal fixture (Bottom right picture)

The yellow or blue light may also be displayed from a small light signal placed about 50 cm above the rail level, and then the small mast shown in the drawings here, as well as the yellom plate, are not implemented.


Shunting conductor signals, at points, for clear way for train / shunt

From shunting personnel at switch: Way for train is OK, over this switch only.
Daytime - Conductor waves a curled yellow flag in a half circle above the head, back and forth.
Nighttime - Conductor holds a white lamp above the head.

The same but with a not curled yellow flag. Way for train is OK, over more than one switch.
Daytime - Conductor waves a yellow flag in a half circle above the head, back and forth.
Nighttime - Conductor waves a yellow lamp in a half circle above the head, back and forth.

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11. Couple and uncouple

Couple!

Daytime - Conductor holds a red and a green flag, both curled, over his head and move them horizontally towards each other with the shaft. He stands towards the locomotive.
Night time - Green light . Blink ??

Uncouple!

Daytime - Conductor holds the curled red and green flags in his hands above his head and waves them back and forth, sideways, crossing, with their top upwards. He stands with his face towards the locomotive.
Nighttime - Conductor circles a red light with the upper part of the circle outwards from the train, showing the light towards the locomotive.

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12. To show position of standing shunt / train

Night signal only:
Conductor waves a white light left to right to left with arms hanging down. (During daytime it is enough just to stand there beside the coupling).

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13. Cancel of train / shunt start signal


Daytime - Conductor waves curled red and green flag, holding them down across each other some times.
Nighttime: Conductor swings a red lamp in great circle clockwise, and then up and down

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14. Conductor (shunting personnel) whistle signals

. short Train way needed to track number 1
.. short short Train way needed to track number 2
... short short short Train way needed to track number 3
.... short short short short Train way needed to track number 4
..... short short short short short Train way needed to track number 5
-. long short Train way needed to track number 6
-.. long short short Train way needed to track number 7
-... long short short short Train way needed to track number 8
-.... long short short short short Train way needed to track number 9
-- long long Train way needed to track number 10
..-- short short long long Train way needed to track number 20
... short short short 10 car lengths left
.. short short 5 car lengths left
. short 3 car lengths left
...... six times short stop the train
. short put on brake (brake test start)
.. short short release brake (brake test)
.-.. short long short short brake test finished.

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14. Track number signals

From shunting leader or station master to shunting conductors: Requiring a train way secured to track number X (1 to 10). From shunting conductors to locomotive personnel: Train or shunting way to track X is ready.

(These signals are often used in stations wherever personnel has no radio.)
Signalling with yellow and red flag. White light signals at night.
For numbers above 10 combine 10 with next digit signal. For numbers from 20 there may be local rules. These signals are shown in the signal book, pictures 132 til 141.


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