Operating A Signal Panel

Opening a panel

If at least one signal panel has been defined for your layout, you can open it with the Open Panel option on the Signals menu. (See Creating A Signal Panel for what to do if there are no panels in your layout.)

Automatic mode

When you open a panel, it is always in automatic mode, i.e. the signals are being controlled for you by Rail3D. In ths mode you can’t intervene in the signalling, but you can use the panel as a live layout diagram to show you the positions of trains and state of routes and signals.

Track sections are normally shown in black. If a section is occupied by a train it will be shown in red; if it is not occupied, but is locked by a route that has been set, it will be green.

Signals show red for a stop aspect, green for a proceed aspect.

Train descriptor panels show (part of) the train’s route name or code.

Manual mode

To enter manual mode, deselect Automatic on the menu.

In this mode, you control all the Controlled Signals in the panel area. To set up a route from one signal to another:

  • click on the track near the base of the start (“eNtry”) signal. It should be higlighted with a white circle
  • click on the track near the base of the end (“eXit”) signal. The route will be set up, if this is allowed by the signal logic (ie there is a valid route and there are no sections occupied, or no conflicting routes), and you will see the track highlighted in green.

If you change your mind about the start signal, just click anywhere on the panel that is not a signal.

Things to note:!!

  • You can set up a route spanning multiple signals.
  • Some signals appear on the panel, but are not controlled by the panel (eg signals controlled by an adjacent panel). These “fringe signals” are shown on the panel by a white ring round the signal.
  • Points where trains can reverse or uncouple are shown by a purple mark on the panel.
  • A route must start from a controlled signal, but can end at another signal, or a reverse or uncouple point.
  • Be careful when setting up “non-obvious” routes — if there is a way to get from signal 1 to signal 2 without reversing somewhere in your layout, Rail3D will find it, even if it means going to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head, and locking up half your layout…
  • The routes set up on the panel override the usual automatic routing at junctions — it is thus possible to send a train the “wrong” way, deliberately or accidentally.
  • The colour of the route in the train describer window indicates the status of the train.
    • White is normal
    • grey means “awaiting timetabled departure”
    • green means “not ready to start yet”
    • yellow means “nearly ready to start”
    • red means “held beyond normal departure time”

For an example of a signal panel, see Crewe