Exit signal

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Exit signal with signal aspect Hp 0, stop at Aalen station
Two form exit signals in Hausen im Tal (2018)

An exit signal (abbreviation Asig , AS ) is a railway signal with a specific operational function. An exit signal is the last main signal of a train station in the direction of travel that is passed when driving in the direction of the free route (however, the free route does not begin at the exit signal itself, but at the level of the entry signal in the opposite direction). No train is allowed to leave a station without the consent of the dispatcher . As a rule, the dispatcher grants approval for departure by “setting the drive” on the exit signal.


The travel position of the exit signal depends on the one hand on the complete setting of a route into the main track, but on the other hand also on the fact that the following section of the train is free. This can either - if available - be ensured by the route block , which technically ensures that the route is clear, or by a corresponding train reporting procedure .


The obligation to equip with exit signals results from § 14 paragraph 3 EBO . This obligation always applies on main railways, on secondary railways only if you want to drive out at more than 60 km / h.

If the exit signal cannot always be seen from the platform, its travel position is indicated by a travel indicator attached to the platform area . This shows a white glowing bar rising to the right. The trip indicator is not signal-technically safe and does not belong to the railway signals ; it does not release the driver from observing the exit signal. When visibility is poor, the driver must approach the exit signal so carefully that he can stop the train if it stops unexpectedly.

In Germany, the driver is not given a departure order based on a journey term in the exit signal. It only shows that the “exit is stopped ”, that is, the route is set for the exit and the train can leave safely (hence the expression “ consent of the dispatcher” , see above). The departure order is given by the train supervisor with the signal Zp 9 . Train supervision can be assigned to a local supervisor or to the train driver . For this purpose, an additional indicator is often attached to the exit signal, which shows Zp 9 as a light signal (a green glowing ring or a vertical green light strip). This light signal is often set by a switch on the platform. If the driver himself is the train driver to whom the train supervision has been assigned, the signal Zp 9 is not issued.


In the Swiss driving regulations, the definition is analogously the same as in Germany, but no abbreviation is specified for the term; a common abbreviation in the German-speaking area is AS .

For situations in which the driver cannot see the exit signal, a so-called travel position indicator is installed in Switzerland as an analogy to the German speed indicator . However, this differs fundamentally in its appearance from the German counterpart. When illuminated, it shows an upward pointing white or orange arrow. In appropriately equipped stations, approval for the journey can also be given to the train driver via the ZUB display.

The driving position of the exit signal is basically only valid as a driving service "consent to the journey", it does not yet constitute a departure permit. This is issued by the train attendant by activating a stationary signal for the departure authorization, by hand signal, or in appropriately equipped stations via SMS. Unaccompanied trains such as S-Bahn and regional trains are handled in a different way. The train driver gives himself the permission to leave, based on the customer service readiness (passenger change completed) and the departure times published at the stations.

For individual trains, the traffic regulations and for individual stations in the provisions of the infrastructure operator can stipulate that the departure permit must be given by the dispatcher.

Group exit signal

Group exit signals can sometimes be found in older train stations. Such a signal is usually on the exit points of several associated tracks and applies accordingly to all journeys on this group of tracks.

Since this constellation requires increased security, some special provisions apply.

So there is often a so-called group signal stop board in each of the tracks in question, which marks the latest stopping point for an arriving train. Because of its appearance - an orange triangle standing on its tip on a white background - it is also known colloquially among the train drivers as the "carrot" board.

There are various possible additional signals to clearly indicate for which track the approval for the journey applies: Driving information board (the group exit signal must show the driving concept assigned to the track ), driving position indicator (the one belonging to the track must light up), dwarf signal indicating the journey (that of the track The corresponding dwarf signal must show movement), illuminated track number signal (the track number of the corresponding track lights up on the group exit signal), illuminated indicator arrow group signal (the illuminated arrow points to the track that receives approval for the journey).

If none of these are available, the dispatcher must, before setting the group exit signal to move , notify all train drivers in the track group for whom the approval for the journey does not apply. This can also be the case, for example, with a single waiting train when it is to be overtaken by a passing train.

Due to the increased risk of train collisions, group exit signals are mostly replaced by regular exit signals when modernizing train stations. Nowadays group exit signals can only be found on secondary lines and not on main traffic axes.