The Signal and Train Control (S&TC) Division promotes an understanding of and compliance with the various Federal regulations related to signal and train control systems, highway-rail grade crossing active warning systems, and the hours of service laws applicable to signal employees. The applicable regulations primarily address the design, installation, maintenance, inspection, and testing of these signal systems, and the necessary system components adjustment, repair, or replacement, as well as the associated recordkeeping and reporting requirements. The S&TC Division determines the level of understanding and compliance of these standards and requirements primarily through the conductance of inspection and investigation activities on the Nation’s railroads.
A primary goal of the division is to assist in continually improving railroad safety by reducing the risk of train accidents and highway-rail grade crossing collisions that may be caused or contributed to by wrong-side failures in these safety-critical signal systems. Those failures are designated as “false proceed signal failures” within a signal or train control system, and “activation failures” within highway-rail grade crossing active warning systems. Either of these type events is required to be reported to the FRA by the railroads and is investigated by S&TC personnel. Statistics related to the occurrences are available at http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/publicsite/affp/affp.aspx.