THE SIGNAL BOX

OVERSEAS

CANADA

The railroads of Canada are heavily influenced by USA practice, not least in their history of signalling. The majority of what is illustrated here could easily be mistaken for any of the railroad companies around the USA, but there is the occasional evidence of British influence. Some of the earliest signals were conventional lower-quadrants, although the arm sprouted from the right-hand side of the post like the USA semaphores. The Canadian Pacific chose to avoid the simplicity of the Train Order system and instead adopted the much safer but more expensive system of Electric Train Staff operation for its single lines.

Nevertheless, the signalling system deployed around Canada today is virtually 100% US, with most lines controlled remotely by Centralised Traffic Control, and lesser lines using Direct Traffic Control. Readers are referred to the Signalling in the USA page for more detailed description of these systems and the signalling in general.

CTC and DTC coverage is now so extensive in Canada that the number of surviving operational towers can probably be counted on one hand.