Question re N&W Manual Blocking Procedures

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Mar 19 17:07:03 EDT 2012

I don't have a rule book handy but I have done dispatching for the model
railroad club I was in, which we had a telephone system doing a verbal
clearance orders, they could write them down as needed.

Its a clearance form giving a train clearance though trackage. A manual
signal might be set one way or another display this or that, it might be
stop, caution or clear, the clearance form will override the signal. If
the signal displays an indication other than noted you may have to treat
it as stop until correct info is acquired. I'm just using signal logic
or nonesuch and experience, thinking about how you protect the block
ahead and the train.

A manual signal could easily be an interlocking point, or disptacher
controlled, and/or signal failure, the form will give authority over the
signal designation.
You could be following a train in a non-permissive territory and be
stuck in the red before the other train clears, you know the immediate
track is clear, the dispatcher could decide to allow the train to pass
the red using the clearance form.


On 3/19/2012 12:36 PM, nw-mailing-list-request at wrote:

> Question re N&W Manual Blocking Procedures

Question re N&W Manual Blocking Procedures
NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
3/19/2012 11:49 AM

N&W Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>

I am probably at least 50 year too late in asking this question about
N&W Manual Block procedures, but here goes...

The Clearance Card, N&W Form CT-37 1/2 (revision of 2-1-1941,) which was
still in use when I hired in 1964, has a curious final line, which leads
me to question how the N&W handled the manual blocking of trains in
territory where Time Table/Train Order was the method operation, and on
which the Manual Block System had been superimposed as a second level of

I'll attach a scan of that Clearance Card. The last line on the card is
a fill-in-the-blanks line reading: "Signal is displayed for ___ and ___
to meet (or pass) as per Order No. ___. Except as stated, Block is clear."

This line was obviously provided for a situation where trains meet (or
pass) at a "blind siding" (no open Train Order Office.)

This raises the immediate question: When a train received a Clearance
Card with this line filled out, what was done with the Manual Block
Signal? Was it held at Stop, or raised to Permissive, or raised to
Clear? And furthermore, if the signal was held at Stop or displayed at
Permissive, at what speed did the train proceed to the meeting/passing

Unfortunately, I never worked over any N&W territory where the method of
operation was Time Table/Train Order + Manual Block System. And I don't
think I've ever seen the situation addressed in any of the old rule books.

-- abram burnett

"No man can hear his telephone ring without
wishing heartily that Alexander Graham Bell had
been run over by an ice wagon at the age of 4."

--H.L. Mencken

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