Cab signaling enforces the separation between trains as well as enforcing trains to reduce speed as the train approaches signals displaying STOP. Cab signaling allow for and provides a safe way to eliminate the number of wayside automatic signals while the number of controlled speeds can be increased. Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems today are built completely with cab signaling and only fixed wayside signals are placed at interlockings for routing information. Experimental cab signaling systems began in the United States in the 1920s, kicked off by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ruling that required some form of Automatic Train Control (ATC) be installed on one passenger division by 1925.
This paper will begin with examining the initial ATC designs (intermediate and continuous), the first experimental installations, the testing challenges and the overall enhancements that pioneered cab signaling systems in the US. The focus will include the teaming of the Pennsylvania Railroad with Union Switch and Signal (US&S) to develop, build and successfully test the continuous cab signaling system which later became the de facto standard. The early systems implemented used two (2) speeds, methods on adding a third speed and how the system became integrated with the existing automatic block signaling. How Pennsylvania Railroad (currently Amtrak) is still using the technology that started 100 years ago on the North East Corridor. It will also introduce how Light Rail systems operate on speed commands using cab codes.