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Railway Knowledge Quiz

1. In Railspeak what is a Possession?

A protected section of rail. It is a way of making sure that a line is safe
to work on during engineering work, using signals, detonators or track

2. What is a COSS and what are his/her responsibilities?

Controller of Site Safety. Person responsible for a safe system of work
when working line-side.

3. What is a SPAD?
Signal Passed at Danger.

4. What is meant by on or near the line?

You are on or near the line if you are within 3 metres of the nearest rail
of any line or on the line itself. This has special safety implications.

5. Where would you find the OLE?

Overhead Line Equipment. Overhead electric wires to power trains.

6. What is the voltage on 3rd rail electrification?

750 volts

7. Is this AC or DC?

8. What is the voltage of the over head electric supply?

25 Kilo Volts

9. Is this AC or DC?

10. If a rail worker tells you they were working Red Zone what
does he mean by this?
This is a safe system of work where there are train movements.
Protection is by use of look-outs or warning systems used to provide at
least 10 seconds of warning of an approaching train

11. What does an ECO do?

Electrical Control Officer. Responsible for all things electrical on the line,
including turning off the power.

12. How does the driver of a train warn line side workers of
the approach of his train?
Two hoots on the horn. This is acknowledged by the worker raising one
hand above the head. The driver should then give one further hoot in

13. What is currently the maximum line speed in the UK?

125 mph

14. On modern rolling stock are brakes air braked or vacuum

Air braked. Vacuum braking is still found sometimes on steam
locomotives and Mark 1 carriages

15. If a driver tells you that on approaching York he stopped

at Yankee 213 what is he referring to?
He has stopped at Signal Number Y123

16. Would he be approaching York from the north or the

south? How can you tell?
He would be approaching from the south. Normally even-number
signals are on the up-line, i.e. heading in the direction of London. He is
on the down line heading north with an uneven signal number, i.e. from
the south.

17. What does a yellow aspect tell the driver?

The next signal may be at Danger. Slow down ready to stop.

18. What is standard gauge?

Four foot eight and a half inches .

19. What does a guard mean by a TSO?

Tourist Standard Open. This is a type of second class coach with a
corridor and 2 seats either side of the corridor, facing and back, to the
direction of travel..

20. What does a double yellow aspect mean?

The next signal may be at green. However be prepared to stop.

21. When does a green light mean stop?

When waived vigorously. Any light waved vigorously means stop, even a
green light.

22. Where would you find a ground frame? What does it do?
Track side by a set of points. It consists of levers to operate the points
and is operated by the driver, guard, shunter etc.

23. Is there any difference in meaning of a semaphore signal

in the upper quadrant or the lower quadrant ?

No, both mean go. A semaphore arm in the horizontal position means
stop. In the upper or lower quadrant it means go.

24. When can a train leave on a red signal?

A long train may pass a green signal when coming into the platform. The
signal will change to red behind the driver but the guard can still give
Right Away because technically the signal is still at green. If a signal is at
red outside a station because of a fault the driver must telephone the
signaller to get permission to pass the signal at danger.

25. What is a Bardic Lamp?

This a lamp used by a guard, or shunter, which has red, green, clear
and sometimes yellow aspects. Used for signalling.

26. What in railspeak is meant by the six foot?

Where there are 2 sets of tracks the distance between the two is known
as the six foot. The distance between the 2 rails of each set is known as
the four foot.

27. Who is the only person allowed to give Right Away to the
driver? What does this mean?
Only the guard. On a long platform, particularly if there is a curve, there
are usually dispatchers. They cannot give Right Away. They signal to the
guard the train is safe to leave but only the guard has the authority to
set the train off.

28. If a track worker tells you they were using TOWS what
does this mean?
They were using Train Operated Warning System. This is one of the
automatic warning system used when working Red Zone. It is operated
by a track circuit and gives a warning when the train enters the section.

29. Who on the railway uses a blue and white chequered flag?
A look-out. When working Red zone Look-outs may be used. They use a
blue and white chequered flag to warn of an approaching train. They
may also warn by blowing a horn, a whistle or by physically touching the

30. What happens if the DSD is released?

The Drivers Safety Device. This must be depressed at all times, either
by the hand or by foot. If released the brakes will come on. This is
sometimes referred to as the Dead Mans Handle because in the event
of a driver fatality the DSD will be released and the brakes will come on.
This is an automatic train protection system.