Novice - How to Get Started

When the application starts, the desired signalbox and train service may be selected. In the free version some timetables are not available. Several windows will open, including one showing the levers and block shelf - this will show 'Simulation paused' and note that the auto pilot will start after a short time if not started manually. Either click over 'Slow' to start or just wait for the demonstration mode to start.

There are therefore two options:

The booking boy will pull the levers and operate the block instruments (everything except answer the telephone), making the best job of regulating the trains that he can. As each train in the timetabled sequence initiates, an entry will appear in the inset box giving a description of the train and its next movement. The next movement will appear in red until a decision is made that this movement should proceed, at which point it turns black and the necessary levers and block instruments will be operated by the booking boy.

Each point where a movement is allowed to proceed is a regulating decision and you can let the booking boy make all these decision, the best he can. Alternatively you can elect to make all the decisions and just let him do the work. However you cannot change your mind again. To make the decisions yourself, click on the inset box where it says 'Click: go to manual'.

In manual mode, where you make the regulating decisions, movements may be allowed to proceed by clicking over the red text (you can also click over the red text in 'auto' mode to make individual decisions but this is not without risk). There are a number of conflicting movements which need to be regulated. The fundamental purpose of the signalman is to regulate the trains safely and to minimise delay. Not all delay can be avoided as some compromises are made in the timetable (especially on summer Saturdays!). The score, which is continuously displayed, contains penalties for late running and for operation outside the regulations, with penalties differing according to the severity of the error.

In the free version, you can therefore choose to watch a demonstration of the whole sequence of trains proceed, with someone else pulling all the levers and operating the block bells. You see and hear the result, with a commentary scrolling up explaining what is happening. The score stays at 100% as no mistakes occur! To operate the simulation yourself, just click on the 'Simulation Speed' box within the first 20 seconds and you are on your own!

In the full version, the deminstration mode is more complex, with many movments operating in parallel - again you can just watch a demonstration or you can operate as a superviser, just making the regulating decisions, leaving the details of pulling the right levers and sending the right bell codes to a menial. A taste of how this works is provided for the last two movements in the free version where you choose in which sequence they depart.