Signals & Comms

A crucial factor in railway operation is signals and communications. Effective railroad signals, flags, and signage not only keep people safe, but they also maintain the orderly, efficient flow of trains. 

In the early days of railroading, traffic was controlled by timetables. Trains followed a schedule, which prevented more than one train on a track. It soon became clear, however, that unforeseen delays could cause changes to the timetable. 

To adjust to these changes, railroads moved to block systems, which separated the line into different sections, or blocks. Someone on one end of a block recorded when a train entered, then communicated with someone on the other end of the block. That person would then signal to any approaching trains to stop before entering the block. 

Over the years the various railroad signals (including railroad flags and railroad signage) that were used to communicate with trains changed. The first widely known signal was a ball, and from there, signaling systems evolved using semaphore, position lights, searchlights, color position lights, and more.

Today signals and communications systems are far more sophisticated, yet the industry still relies on them to maintain safety and efficiency. Industry-Railway Suppliers, Inc. has been a trusted source for railway tools for over 50 years. Our record as an industry leader since 1966 ensures that you can depend on the reliability of our equipment, from switch and track wrenches to power and grounding equipment.