Lineside signs for speed restrictions

Beside the tracks you might have seen signs reading 'W', 'C', 'NS' or 'N'. They are used to indicate to train drivers of upcoming speed restrictions.

Pile of various speed restriction signs

The usage of the signs is as follows.

ATSB Rail Safety Issue Investigation report RI-2011-015

Warning

The ‘Warning’ sign is placed 2500 metres before the ‘Caution’ sign.

The numbers indicate the speed limit that will apply from the caution sign.

Caution

The ‘Caution’ sign is placed 200 metres before the affected portion of track.

The numbers indicate the applicable speed limit.

Normal Speed

The ‘Normal Speed’ sign and ‘Normal’ sign are placed 200 metres and 1200 metres (respectively) beyond the affected portion of track.

Passenger trains of eight vehicles or less and light locomotives may resume normal speed at the ‘NS’ sign.

Trains with distance counters may resume normal speed when the rear of the train has passed the ‘NS’ Sign.

All trains may resume normal speed when the locomotive has passed the ‘Normal’ sign. However, trains in excess of 1200 metres in length must not resume normal speed until the rear of the train has passed the ‘NS’ Sign.

In areas where the line speed is less than 115 kph, such as suburban areas, the ‘Warning’ sign is positioned 1200 metres from the outer point of speed restriction.

'W' warning board for a 20 km/h restriction in 2500 metres.

Speed restriction sign on the Victorian standard gauge - 'warning' of a 20 km/h restriction in 2500 metres

'C' caution board for a 15 km/h speed restriction.

'C' caution board for a 15 km/h speed restriction

'NS' board marking the end of a speed restriction for 'short' trains.

'NS' board marking the end of a speed restriction for 'short' trains

'N' (resume normal speed) and 'NS' (resume normal speed for short trains) boards located on the same post.

'N' (resume normal speed) and 'NS' (resume normal speed for short trains) boards located on the same post

Sources