Signals 101 - Choosing and Placement


Yesterdayz Trainz Member
This blog post is merely so I can easily find this info in the future :)

Here's an explanation of
each one's intended use, from 01 through 08. I've nothing going on this weekend so maybe I'll start some diagrams and try to correlate the signal types in Trainz to what is found in real life, as best I can...

01: Not quite fully implemented, unscripted, 3-headed interlocking signal. The bottom head is always red in Trainz, other than that it's essentially an absolute signal that doesn't completely fit into the scheme of prototypical because of the bottom head not being properly programmed.
02: Use facing right-handed diverges (facing meaning the train approaching said signal could go straight or to the right). Absolute signal, and in order to work in Trainz there can be no intervening switches between it and the one you intend. IIRC (If I remember correctly) there's something funky about having diverges off the divergence that cause it to go funky, but for all intents and purposes, it should show green or yellow over red for the straight (switch left) and red over green or yellow for the diverge (switch right).
L02: Opposite the 02 - use facing left-handed diverges. everything I said for the 02, reverse right and left... Not to be confused with left-sided signals.
03: Approach signal to an absolute - indicates to the engineer what to expect at the next absolute signal, in a sense. Trains passing these at anything other than clear are to begin slowing as soon as passing them so that they are at the appropriate speed to pass the absolute signal that follows (either to diverge or stop all together). This is typically a permissive signal (showing a nameplate) meaning they can stop and proceed at restricted speed if it is all red.
04: A single-headed absolute signal (indicated by lack of a nameplate) - typically used on the "trailing" side of switches, ie the side that you don't have a choice of route - all you can do is go back to single track, whether you're on the siding or the main.
05: A single-headed permissive signal (nameplate) used for automatic signal blocks - there's nothing to indicate except track occupancy -- no diverges, and no approach to an absolute signal.
06: Scripted version of the 02/L02 - two heads, on the facing side of a switch. While some are pre-scripted for Left or Right diverges, these can typically still be changed in the properties window no matter which one you choose. Much more robust in options than the 02 series because most scripters give you the ability to program specific routes as main or diverges, so you can program multiple diverges on one signal (in some cases a left and a right in the same signal) - because of this it is more prototypical than an 02 because you can have one signal controlling a more complex interlocking of multiple diverges, as opposed to having to have one 02 signal per diverge. Having only two heads, you can basically only program full speed "thru" or "medium" speed routes.
08: Scripted version of the 01 - three heads, on the facing side of a switch. As with the 06, you can typically program multiple routes, and because it has the third head, you can program both "medium" speed routes and "slow" speed routes, in addition to the all clear full speed "thru" route.

I don't know as 06 and 08 were ever officially "approved" numbers by N3V, I believe they were numbers that were devised by the first creators to make scripted signals because they varied from the originals so much. They have come into more common use than their 01 and 02 counterparts because they're more prototypical and flexible.

As I understand it, the US versions of the signals are meant to closely approximate NORAC rules, which is used predominately by Class I's in the northeast US. Other railroads in the US (including most Class II's) usually use GCOR rules which differ slightly in speeds allowed and aspects that can be shown, while Canadian roads use CROR, which again have other slight variations.