Grade time signals and why train operators are getting days in the street because of signal malfunctions [Member Submitted].

Grade time signals are signals that govern your speed in areas where transit wants you to slow due to the tracks being on a curve, going down a hill or things of that nature.

Before approaching timed areas train operators will see a posted sign that reads for example GT35. Meaning approach the signal doing 35mph or slower and this signal or the following will clear (turn yellow or green).

If you don’t clear that signal the next signal will be red and Any signal that is red is meant for the train operators to stop. If train operators don’t stop  before they reach the red signal they overrun it(hit the signal).

On each signal there is a safety device called stop arms , so when a signal is at danger (red) the stop arm goes up which hits a tripping device on the bottom of the train and activates the emergency brake valve (which works the same as when someone pulls the cord on the inside of the train) if the train doesn’t stop before hitting the red signal.

Once this happens the train is placed in emergency and your to call it in to rail control center and be governed by them. The problem with grade time signals is even if your doing the posted speed let’s say of 35mph the rule is that the signal is supposed to clear for you.

The problem train operators have is that they don’t clear at the posted sign but at lower speeds resulting in signal overruns and getting days in the street. Also the space between signals that are in timed areas are also trap offs to get in trouble because if your going 35mph and you realize you didn’t clear a signal the next signal that will be red is between 100-500 feet away.

So depending on if your going down hill or on a curve that train won’t be able to stop in time.  Once you hit the signal, your sure to get a DAN where they will charge you with a signal over run, excessive speeding, not having your train under control and whatever other charge they can muster up.

As a train operator you’re forced to slow down which takes away from you being on a schedule that TA has made for that run or trying to make up the lost time in other ways( reckless running).

Supervisions way of fixing this issue is to instruct train operators to slow down about 5-10mph  while approaching timed signals to ensure that it clears. But why aren’t the signals working as designed?

If it’s not working as designed that’s a malfunction and that results in train operators getting days in the street starting by at least 5 days. Why isn’t signals being held accountable for this and the even bigger question  is why is the union allowing its members to be persecuted at 2 Broadway over malfunctions that are beyond  train operators control?



– Anonymous Writer

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3 thoughts on “Grade time signals and why train operators are getting days in the street because of signal malfunctions [Member Submitted].

  1. Funny thing when the train operators kept complaining about the timed signal leaving Lenox was wrong rto made a big deal about it. Kept saying signals isn’t maintain the equipment the timers wrong. We had to stay and do a big test on it. Supt. From rto and Signals was there. We tested the timers working as designed. We checked to make sure all relay went to right position. All as designed. But than Supt. Colon still wasn’t satisfied. So the ultimate test came signals and rto on the train going the allowable speed approaching the signal. It was a miracle all 15 test runs the signal cleared and was working as designed. Now supt. Colon wasn’t happy and said we had to adjust the timer where we in signals gladly told him take that up with the engineering dept. This is where I relay saw what my maintainers always told me RTO will always try to blame signals for everything.


    • I do half for the one shot timers. But I was actually at the union meeting about a year ago when they came out with the form to report signals that aren’t working as designed. The way they explained it, when they test to see if a signal is working they send a train at the signal at the posted speed and if it gets tripped, only then will they fix it. They don’t care how close it came to hitting the signal or if the yellow over illuminated S didn’t clear. If the train wasn’t tripped, management had no problem with that signal


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