Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad
Historical Society

Dedicated to the preservation of materials regarding the
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad,
its predecessors, subsidiaries and affiliates.

Color Light Signals


The information on this page was compiled from
an instruction manual printed by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad,
dated July 1, 1979.


The operation of many trains over the railroad at the same time makes it mandatory to have Operating Rules. One very important part of the Operating Rules is the section on Fixed Signals. Signals are a means of communicating instructions to train engine crews.

The signal system used on the P&LE Railroad is the COLOR LIGHT SIGNAL SYSTEM. The three colors used are RED, GREEN and YELLOW. The names ordinarily associated with the colors are STOP with RED, CLEAR with GREEN and APPROACH with YELLOW.

ONE LIGHT, TWO LIGHTS, or THREE LIGHTS may be used on a signal to convey instructions.

In addition to STOP, CLEAR and APPROACH instructions, SPEED instructions are also conveyed by the signal.  The most involved instruction that must be given at a particular location determines whether a one, two or three light signal is used.

The name of a signal is read from the top position down.

When Red is used with Green or Yellow, Red is not considered because it contributes nothing to the name of the signal.  It remains lighted to let you know it is in working order and to show the relationship of the other lights - whether in top, middle or bottom positions.