Numbering of Signals and Tracks

Line 'Kilometerage'

The position on the line (as indicated by the [tenth-kilometre] position indicators or 'hectometre boards') is counted usually from one major station to the next one. Since this is counted for a line (rather than for an individual track), numbers may increase or decrease in the direction of travel. In the sequel I will refer to the direction where numbers are increasing, the 'kilometerage direction' (unless one o'ye folks tell me a better term ;-)

Tracks in Stations

Station tracks are counted from the reception building, main tracks should receive the lowest numbers.

Note that in German stations the tracks, not the platforms, are numbered. In larger stations, tracks & numbers may be grouped according to the station's layout, possibly with gaps between the groups (say 1-12, 21-25, 31-36 etc.). Also when a track is removed, the other tracks are usually not renumbered, again leaving gaps.

Sometimes a continuation or extension of a track receives an appropriate number. The continuation of track 3 may then be assigned the number 103. Also I've seen stations where the main tracks have 'usual' numbers and the S-Bahn tracks one storey below were numbered beginning with 101.

Points and Crossings

Points are counted in the kilometerage direction leaving gaps between groups of points. Double points receive two numbers, single-slip points get an 'a' and 'b' additionally to their number, double-slip points an 'a/b' and 'c/d'.

Crossings and Derailers

Crossings and derailers are given individual series of Roman numerals in the kilometerage direction, where the derailer (Gleissperre) numbers are prefixed by a 'Gs' e.g. (Gs IV).

main signals

For main signals there are two systems: With older signal boxes, the entry signal in the kilometerage direction is signal "A", the exit signals at that side (i.e. facing against the kilometerage direction) are signals "B", "C" etc.
At the other side of the station the exit signals are 'lettered' next (e.g. "D", "E"), and the entry signal is given the highest letter (e.g. "F").

With newer signal boxes a different system is used: Entry signals in the kilometerage direction are labelled by consecutive letters (e.g. "A", "B" ..."E")
Entry signals in the other direction get the next letters (e.g. "F", "G" ...)

Exit signals in the kilometerage direction are labelled "N" followed by the track number (e.g. "N 2", "N 101"), exit signals in the other direction: "P" and track number.

Intermediate signals in the kilometerage direction: "R" and track number, in the other direction "S" and track number.

Automatic block signals are usually given a three-digit number, odd numbers in the kilometerage direction and even numbers for the other direction.

In remotely controlled stations, either three-digit numbers are used with the letters (e.g. "P 1xx", "F 1xx", etc. in station 1, "P 2xx", "F 2xx", etc. in station 2), or the signal numbers are prefixed with a digit (e.g. "1 P 1", etc. in station 1, "2 P 1", etc. in station 2)

Distant Signals

Distant signals are given the same letters/numbers as their corresponding main signals, just that minuscular letters are used (e.g. "a" for main signal A, "d/e" for main signals D and E and "n2/3" for main signals N 2 and N 3.

Line-Close Signals

Mechanical signals are given the letters "Hs" followed by the track number. Light signals are named "Ls" followed by the track number. Note that usually on the number plates for light signals just the number without the "Ls" is given. If there are more than one line-close signal on a given track, they are distinguished by superscript Roman numerals in the kilometerage direction, e.g. 7I, 7II