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Train Working

NTR 406 Using lights

This document describes the requirements for using lights for identification and warning.

Version 4.2, 4 December 2022


This document describes the requirements for using lights for identification and warning.

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To prescribe the rules for using lights for identification and warning in the Network.


Train direction-of-travel and completeness must be shown by:

  • at least one white marker light at the front of the leading vehicle, and
  • at least one approved red tail light, or an approved end-of-train marker, at the rear of the last vehicle.

Marker lights and tail lights must be:

  • lit during travel, and
  • if defective, repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

End-of-train markers and tail lights

End-of-train markers must be lit in conditions of low visibility.

Defective end-of-train markers or unlit tail lights

If an end-of-train marker is unlit at night or in conditions of low visibility, the Signaller must direct the Train Crew to have the end-of-train marker repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

If a train is not fitted with an end-of-train marker, and the train does not have at least one working tail light, and train completeness cannot be assured, the Signaller must:

Missing end-of-train markers

If the end-of-train marker is missing:

  • the identification number of the last vehicle of a train must be checked against the train consist documents, or
  • the train must be otherwise verified as complete.

If the numbers are the same, the end-of-train marker must be replaced as soon as possible.

If the numbers are not the same, the Signaller must:

  • prevent rail traffic entry into the section last exited by the divided train until the missing vehicles are located and the section is established as clear, and
  • arrange for Drivers and Track Vehicle Operators on adjacent lines to be given a Condition Affecting the Network (CAN) warning.

The crew of the divided train must act in accordance with NTR 416 Disabled rail traffic.

If the train can travel, it must be worked as a block train until the end-of-train marker has been replaced.

Number lights

If fitted, number lights on the leading end of the leading vehicle only must be lit during travel.

Shunting marker lights

Locomotives shunting within yards must show two red marker lights at each end.


The marker lights of shunting locomotives do not indicate direction-of-travel.

Visibility lights

If fitted, visibility lights must be switched on during travel on running lines.

Defective visibility lights

If all visibility lights on the leading end are defective, the operator must arrange for rail traffic:

  • to be worked to a suitable location for repair, and
  • not remain in service for more than 24-hours.


Trains must have a working headlight fitted to the leading vehicle, and travel with the headlight switched on, when the train travels beyond the area bounded by:

  • Helensburgh, Macarthur, Emu Plains and Cowan, including intermediate branch lines
  • Newcastle Interchange and Fassifern, including intermediate branch lines
  • Thirroul and Unanderra, including intermediate branch lines.

Unless headlights are needed for safety, trains fitted with headlights must have their headlights switched off when travelling through the areas prescribed above.

Switching headlights off

Headlights must be switched off during approach to rail traffic.

Headlights must be dimmed or switched off during approach to:

  • a platform
  • a location where shunting is in progress
  • a motor vehicle on a nearby road
  • a signal box.

Headlights may be switched off to prevent back-reflection into a Driver’s or Track Vehicle Operator’s eyes.

Before headlights are temporarily switched off, visibility lights, if fitted, must be switched on.

Using lights for warning

If necessary, Drivers or Track Vehicle Operators may flash the headlight to give warning.

A Driver or Track Vehicle Operator may also change the colour of marker lights from white to red to give warning.

Defective headlights

In areas where headlights are required, rail traffic with defective headlights that cannot be remedied may continue to travel only as far as the first suitable location for repair or replacement of the headlights.

An affected train may continue to travel at up to normal speed if there is:

  • good visibility, and
  • the Train Crew can see clearly that there are no people, animals, or obstructions on or near the track.

In conditions of low visibility, a train without a working headlight must travel at restricted speed, and not exceed 25km/h:

  • over level crossings
  • through tunnels and cuttings
  • through platforms.