Work in Progress
Welcome to Railroad Rules Explained!
Our goal is to provide you with easy to understand explanations of everything railroad.
The site was born with the idea of explaining railroad rules and will eventually expand to all things railroad.
Some railroads in the United States have their own rulebook. Other railroads share a common rulebook. All railroads can modify and change those rules at any time.
The rules that are explained on the site will follow the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR). GCOR is being used because of the large number of railroads, big and small, that have adopted the rule book. You can find a list of these railroads in the 7th Edition of GCOR Effective April 1, 2015 HERE.
All of the railroads in the United States have to meet the minimum requirements as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 Transportation, Volume 4, Chapter II, Parts 200 – 299. The Federal Railroad Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, is in place to ensure the railroads comply with these minimum requirements.
Since all of the railroads have to meet the minimum requirements, all of the various rulebooks are very similar to each other with small differences. One railroad’s rule may be more or less restrictive than the same rule of another railroad. Differences will be noted where I am able too.
Disclaimer: These rule explanations as shown are NOT to be used for any railroad operational purposes!
Below are the Definitions showing in the 7th Edition of GCOR Effective April 1, 2015. ABS See Automatic Block Signal System. Absolute Block A length of track that no train is permitted to enter while the track is occupied by another train. Absolute Signal A block or interlocking signal without a number plate, or designated by […]
Below is a the list of Abbreviations showing in the 7th Edition of GCOR Effective April 1, 2015.
Safety Rules. Safety rules are issued in another book. Employees must have a copy of that book, know and comply with the safety rules that have been issued. General Code of Operating Rules. Employees must know and comply with the operating rules that have been issued. While on duty, employees must have a current copy they […]
If you know something about an accident, incident, injury, or rules violation, you must truthfully provide that information to the proper authority.
You are only allowed to provide a statement as indicated below. Statements to any other individuals must be authorized by the designated manager. Information about individuals other than railroad employees involved in accidents or personal injuries can be given to authorized railroad representatives or law enforcement officers. The same as above applies to the injury […]
If a personal injury occurs at any time on railroad property or railroad provided facility has to be reported to the appropriate manager immediately. In addition to reporting the injury, the proper form must be completed If an injury occurs on your own time that will impact your ability to o your job at the […]
When a personal injury or death involves engines, cars, or equipment, that equipment must be inspected before it leaves the location where the accident occurred. The engines, cars, or equipment must then be inspected by the mechanical department at the first terminal the equipment arrives at after the accident. The inspector must them provide the manager […]
When an accident happens and someone is injured or killed , the accident site and any equipment, tools, and machinery requires a prompt inspection. The inspection should be done by a competent inspector which may include a foreman or another person in charge. An inspection report should sent to the appropriate manager as soon as […]
When a personal injury, damage to property, or loss of life involves equipment the following must be done immediately by the employee in charge: Secure the names, addresses and occupation of everyone involved whether they say they know anything or not, Obtain any license numbers of nearby automobiles (other employees may help with this) and […]
When there is an injury on the railroad, employee or not, all reasonable care should be provided to the injured individual.
These definitions have been updated to the 7th Edition of GCOR Effective April 1, 2015. Click Here for the Update Below are the Definitions showing in the 6th Edition of GCOR Effective April 7, 2010. ABS See Automatic Block Signal System. Absolute Block A length of track that no train is permitted to enter while […]
Rules that cover what to do when someone is hurt or there is an accident on the railroad.
Before you use any tool, you need to make sure that the equipment is not damaged or broken before using the equipment. If the equipment is broken or damaged, it must be repaired or replaced before using the equipment. In addition to not using the equipment or tool, the defect should be reported to the […]
Anything encountered that is out of the ordinary should be reported to the proper authority by the first available means of communications. Out of the ordinary can include, but is not limited to, accidents, injuries, defects in track, bridges or signals, defects in equipment or any other condition that affects the safe and efficient operation […]
Employees should always be paying attention and aware of their surroundings to prevent injury to themselves or others. They should plan their work to be completed safely and to avoid injury while completing any task.
Eventually you will run into a situation that you will not be sure what to do. When this happens, evaluate your options and always take the safe course. Just remember the “safe course” may mean doing nothing and calling for help from the appropriate authority.