Denny D’s Did You Know

Denny D’s Did You Know


Changing Directions Within a Control Point


6.4.2 - Movements Within Control Points or Interlockings


A: Control Points Outside Manual Interlockings


Except within track and time limits, if movement stops while the trailing end is between the outer opposing signals of a control point, the movement must not change directions without permission from the control operator. However, after a job briefing has been conducted and the control operator has a clear understanding of all movements to be made and tracks to be used, the control operator may grant permission for all movements.




Quite often I hear crews asking for permission to change directions while in a control point when it is not necessary. Thinking of the potential delays caused by this, I also worry about crews not asking for permission when it is required. Understanding proper application of GCOR 6.4.2 is crucial for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, knowing when permission is needed is critical to avoiding a potential main track authority violation and a possible incident. Also, knowing when permission is not needed eliminates unnecessary delays. Understanding this rule depends upon knowing of a couple of terms found within this rule, change directions and trailing end.


Change Directions


When the term change directions is used in this rule, it simply means a reverse move. This rule is the second part of GCOR 6.4 - Reverse Movements. A reverse move is defined in the GCOR Glossary as movement in opposite the authorized direction. This could be whether you are shoving or pulling. In a control point, your authorized direction is determined by signal indication or verbal authority from the control operator. In CTC, this also determines your authorized direction into the block beyond that control point.


Trailing End


The other term for understanding proper application of this rule is trailing end. You trailing end is determined by your authorized direction. If you are pulling, this would be the very last car. If you are shoving, this would be your locomotive. However, it is important to remember that your trailing end is not determined by pulling or shoving. It is determined by your authorized direction. Also, it is important to remember that your trailing end and authorized direction does not change simply by changing the direction you are moving. It is always determined by the direction you are signaled or verbally authorized.


With these two terms clarified, it now becomes simple to remember when permission to change directions in a control point is needed and when it is not. 


To help clarify, here are couple of examples. Before moving, think to yourself, “what is my authorized direction and what constitutes my trailing end”. In the examples, when you see the term, between the outer opposing signal of the control point, this simply means the entering signals at both ends of the control point. You may also hear the term OS used, this is basically the same thing.


Permission Needed


For the first example we will use North Dupo, CP D004. In this example you are given a signal to shove south into the yard onto the Seldom Used Lead to switch a cut of cars at the intermodal ramp. As you come to a stop after shoving, the locomotive is between the outer opposing signals (in the OS). Before you can change directions you must get permission from the dispatcher. 




You were signaled southbound into the yard at the control point, so that is your authorized direction. Also, your trailing end, the very north piece of equipment, which in this case is your locomotive, stopped between the outer opposing signals. In this example, the dispatcher can give a train a signal at Parks CP D002 to come south down to CP D004 while your engine is still in the control point. Think of what could happen if you were to pull forward back into the block. Another point to remember is had your locomotive stopped while in block the ahead of the control point between Parks and North Dupo you would not need permission. This would be a reverse move in the block accordance with GCOR 6.4.1. However, if you were going to leave northbound from this location, you would need permission to depart ahead of the signal.


Permission Not Needed


In the next example we will again use North Dupo, CP D004. This time you are in the intermodal yard switching and the dispatcher gives you a signal to poke north out of the yard off of the Seldom Used Lead. You pull into the control point and into the block between CP D004 and CP D002. When you stop, the cut of cars you are attached to are still in the yard. The crew shoves you back to make a cut and your locomotive stops in the control point between the outer opposing signals (in the OS). In this example you do not need permission to change directions. 


Why Not? 


The signal to poke north determined your authorized direction in the control point and also into the block between North Dupo and Parks. Even though you were shoving south, the locomotive was not your trailing end and your authorized direction for that control point and that block did not change just because you changed directions. In this example, even though your engine stopped between the outer opposing signals of the control point, you did not give up the block. Your authorized direction did not change. Your trailing end is still the very south piece of equipment, the cars, which are back in the yard, this does not change whether you are pulling or shoving. If you pulled completely out of the yard and received a signal to shove back into the yard, then you would need permission as with the first example. It all hinges on your original authorized direction given to you by the signal or verbally..


Additional Information 


If you get behind the signal, obviously you need another signal to go back into the control point. It is also important to know where your wheels are at if your engine is right at the signal when you stop. It may appear as though you are still in the OS because the front of your engine is beyond the signal, but your leading wheels may be just behind the insulated joint. You could actually pull past a stop signal not realizing that you had. It is important to always stay focused.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime.  

Dennis Dunn: (314) 609-2164 / [email protected]