The Track Warrant permits a specific train to occupy a specific piece of Main Track between named locations. The Track Warrant also contains information of its own validity; when comes in effect and in some cases when it becomes void.
The upper 2 lines identifies the Track Warrant by a number, a date, the train in question and the location of the train when the Track Warrant is issued.
After this follow 16 standard instruction fields plus one field for non-standardized instructions. Only some of the instruction fields are used in a given Track Warrant. The instruction fields is numbered, and each field has a box to the right of the number. A check-mark in this box marks the instruction field as being in use of this Track Warrant. A typical instruction would then be: "Check Box 1, Track Warrant NO. 234 Is Void."
The instruction fields are described in detail in the following sections.
The 3rd line from the bottom holds information on the "OK" time and dispatcher initials. The 2nd last line states if the Track Warrant is relayed to another person and it states the name of the crew member who copied it. The last line it used to note when Limits are reported clear to the dispatcher.
Boxes 2 and 3 are identical. They simply define that the train may proceed from location A to location B, and in case of multiple Main Tracks, on which track. The need for 2 boxes is to allow for the train to move from Mian Track to another Main Track. It's important to keep in mind that the Track Warrant must include all Main Track allocated to the train, also the Main Track occupied by the rear end of the train. On Double Track it is not necessary to state which track to use as long as the trains are running With the Current of Traffic (i.e. in the normal direction).
While boxes 2 and 3 gives permission to move in the direction specified only, box 4 allows the train to move in both directions on that section of track. This may be handy when a train is doing local switching in an area.
The start point in the Track Warrant is normally referred to as the First Named Point, while the end of the Limits are referred to as the Last Named Point. The named points may be any point that can be exactly identified, such as switches, mile posts or Stations.
To illustrate the exact limits for the Track Warrant at First Named Point and Last Named Point, the following fictional line in unsignalled territory is used:
The line has 4 Stations, Anna, Bolo, Coyote Jct and Danby. Anna and Danby are normal single track Stations with a Siding for meets. Bolo is a Station without secondary tracks amd Coyote Jct is the junction of a branch line. As an example of a non-Station point to be used on the Track Warrant, MP 81.3 is shown.
If the First Named Point is a Station with a Siding, the Track Warrant extends from - and including - the last Siding switch. The Track Warrant thus enables trains to leave the Station, whether it is in the Main Track or in the Siding. If the Last Named Point is a Station without a Siding, the Track Warrant extends to the Station Sign:
If the First Named Point is a Station without a Siding, the Track Warrant extends from the Station Sign. At the Last Named Point the train must stay clear of junction switches:
Similarly a junction switch at the First Named Point is included in the Track Warrant. If the Last Named Point is not a Station, the Track Warrant extends to that point:
If the First Named Point is not a Station, the Track Warrant starts at that point.
Boxes 8 and 10 instructs the train where to go if the Last Named Point is a Station with a Siding. Box 8 instructs to "Hold Main Track At Last Named Point", i.e. to stay on the Main Track. Box 8 checked means that the Track Warrant is valid to, but not including, the last siding switch at the station:
Box 10 instructs the train to "Clear Main Track At Last Named Point", i.e. to enter a secondary track and clear the Main Track. On a Station with a Siding this means, in practical terms, to go in the Siding. On such a station the Track Warrant only extends on to, and including, the first siding switch:
If the Track Warrant ends at the beginning of, say, a CTC territory, the Track Warrant extends to the CTC Limit at that location. Boxes 8 and 10 are not used even if a siding starts at this location, since the first CTC signal will govern the train.
In the example below, a Track Warrant permitting train 908 East to proveede eastwards would be accompanied by the instruction "Check Box 7: Not In Effect Until The Arrival Of 602 West at Anna.":
The National Transportation Safety Board has suggested that box 7 not be used on unsignaled lines, due to head-on collisions caused by misunderstanding the box 7 instruction.
Box 11 is used when another train is on that particular section of track. The perhaps most typical use of box 11 is when several work trains are working in the same are. The trains must move at restricted and thus keep a lookout for each other.
In the example below, a train is working on the line and has authority to work between MP 92.0 and MP 90.8. Both trains would receive a Track Warrant including the instruction "Check Box 11: Between MP 92.0 And MP 90.8 Make All Movements At Restricted Speed. Limits Occupied By Train Or Engine.":
Box 12 is used when work crews are at work on the track.
Box 15 seems to be a remnant of practices dating back to Timetable and Train Order days. It is doubtful that this is used much anymore.
TWC in effect between <Somewhere West> and Danby.
CTC in effect between west switch Danby and <Somewhere East>.
This means that the siding at Danby is under CTC, while the siding at Anna has manual switches.
Two trains are to meet at Anna. The trains will be called 585 East (Eastbound) and 5032 West (Westbound). 585 East will be arriving first to the meet and is to go in the siding. Since the switches are hand-thrown and there's no train crew members on the rear end of the train, the dispatcher lets 585 East leave the west switch at Anna lined for the siding. This way the Conductor won't have to line the switch back and walk up to the locomotive.
The Track Warrant for 585 East would read:
As 5032 West approaches Danby it is time to issue a Track Warrant:
585 East has how arrived at the west switch at Anna and prepares to head into the siding. 5032 West is approaching Danby:
585 East is now in the siding and reports clear of Main Track. This automatically voids their Track Warrant 123.
With 585 East in the clear, 5032 West can be permitted to continue past Anna. The dispatcher first contacts 5032 West for its position. 5032 West reports to be at Coyote Jct, meaning that they have cleared Coyote Jct. The dispatcher now issues a new Track Warrant for 5032 West:
The dispatcher also issues a new Track Warrant for 585 East:
As soon as 5032 West clears the east switch at Anna, 585 East's Track Warrant NO. 131 comes in effect.5032 stops to normalize the west switch before proceeding westwards:
Since the next train due at Anna is a hotshot, our conductor is not saved a bit of walking this time. As 585 East is not explicitly relieved of doing so, the east switch at Anna must be normalized before 585 East can get running again. The dispatcher has set up a new meet for 585 East at Danby, but this time all controlled by CTC:
Text, Images and HTML: Carsten S. Lundsten.