Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee

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The Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee (NORAC) is a body of railroads that establish a set of operating rules for railroads in North America. The NORAC rulebook is used by full and associate member railroads, located mostly in the Northeast United States.


Full members[edit]

Associate members[edit]


The NORAC rules are intended to enhance railroad safety. The rules cover employee responsibilities, signaling equipment, procedures for safe train movement, dealing with accidents and other topics that directly and indirectly affect railroad safety.

These rules govern operation on main lines, defined as those with some form of block control system.

The 10th edition of the NORAC operating rules went into effect on November 6, 2011.[1]

The 11th edition of the NORAC operating rules goes into effect on February 1, 2018.


In January 1985, six railroads (Conrail, Amtrak, Metro-North, New Jersey Transit, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and Delaware & Hudson) met in Newark, NJ with the goal to create a common operating rulebook. In May 1985, a second meeting was held, with eight railroads present, five of the original six (Metro-North withdrew) plus Providence and Worcester, Long Island Rail Road, and Boston & Maine.

The first rulebook was released in January 1987. It contained rules for three types of train control: automatic block (ABS), manual block (MBS), and voice (VCS). The MBS and VCS systems were both governed by NORAC's Form D, which is a train order transmitted directly to the train.

In 1993 the fourth edition combined the MBS and VCS rules into a single "Form D Control System" (DCS).


The full set of NORAC rules is divided into 25 categories.

  1. Terminology, Definitions and Authorized Abbreviations
  2. General Rules
  3. Reporting for Duty
  4. Miscellaneous Signals
  5. Tampering
  6. Inspection of Equipment
  7. Movement of Trains
  8. Protection of Trains
  9. Movement Permit Form D
  10. General Signal Rules
  11. Signal Aspects and Indications
  12. Form D Control System
  13. Automatic Block Signal System
  14. Cab Signal System
  15. Interlockings and Controlled Points
  16. Radios and Telephones
  17. Movement of Track Cars
  18. Dispatchers
  19. Operators
  20. Train Service Employees
  21. Engine Service Employees
  22. Yardmasters
  23. Station Masters and Assistant Station Masters
  24. Foremen and Track Car Drivers
  25. Form D Illustration

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NORAC Operating Rules" (PDF) (10 ed.). Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee. 6 November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2016 – via National Transportation Safety Board.

External links[edit]