Electric Token Block

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Electric Token Block is the traditional method of signalling on single line routes operated by passenger services.

To ensure that the signallers do not allow more than one train on to the single line section, each train must carry a token - either a Tablet (a small brass disc), or a Key.

The Tokens, of which there are several, are stored in token instruments at either end of the single line section.

The token instruments are electrically linked so that only one token can be taken out at a time. Signals are also interlocked with the token instrument, to ensure the section signal can be cleared only when the appropriate token has been obtained.

There may be intermediate token instruments at unmanned junctions along the line, which allow a train to be 'shut in', allowing other trains to use the single line.

To facilitate handover between signaller and driver, the tokens are placed in leather pouches with large looped handles.

Many routes have been converted to other types of signalling, such as Tokenless Block, Track Circuit Block, and RETB.


Routes in Scotland which remain operated by Electric Token Block:

Inverness - Aberdeen
  • Nairn - Forres (Key token)
  • Forres - Elgin (Key token, with shut in at Alves Jn for Burghead)

Ayr - Stranraer
  • Girvan - Barrhill (Tablet token)
  • Barrhill - Glenwhilly (Tablet token)
  • Glenwhilly - Dunragit (Tablet token)
  • Dunragit - Stranraer Harbour $ (Key token, with shut in for Stranraer Town)

Mauchline - Ayr (Goods line)
  • Mauchline - Signal PA335, Newton-on-Ayr (Key token, with shut in at Annbank Jn for Killoch)


$ When Stranraer Harbour signal box is closed, One Train Working with Train Staff is the method of operation, with the Signaller at Dunragit as Train Staff custodian.




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