This page describes some of the more common signs found in the New York City Subway. If you find any not listed that you've seen while riding the front of a train, send E-Mail to Joseph D. Korman. I'll add it to this page. All of the signs in the system are used to tell the train crews how to operate their trains safely.

Quick Index
Speed Limits
Stop Positions
Other Signs
Conductor Signs

Speed Limits

This warning to train operators that there is a grade time control area ahead. From what I undersatnd, this particular one is at Bay 50th St southbound. Following this would be the actual GT (speed limit) sign.

Rule 2.41(b) states that when operating in reverse direction the train must be moved at RESTRICTED SPEED AND WITH EXTREME CAUTION, which means not more than 10 MPH and be prepared to stop.

This sign is used, mostly at river tunnels where the tracks are signal controlled for single track opertion and over rides rule 2.41(b).


15 mile per hour speed limit


10 car train may resume normal speed if signals are clear (used after curves and switches).


Grade Time signals ahead set for 15 MPH. The signal will clear based on how long the train takes to travel in the track section (block) approaching the signal (TIME=DIST/SPEED). See Subway Signals Web Page and the WD Signs .


Same as GT above


Station Time signals speed. This allows the following train to enter a station while the first is leaving.


Trains using the DIVERGING ROUTE 15 MPH


Begin Wheel Detector area - speed 15MPH. This section has sensors that detect the speed of the train wheels. The signals are similar to Grade Time Control signals, but detect the actual speed of the train. Signals will be set to stop to warn the train operator and control towers.


End Wheel Detector area.

Enter CBTC
Enter CBTC

Entering and leaving Communication Based Train Contol (CBTC) area.

When entering, the train operator must insure tha the wayside and in cab aspects agree.

When leaving, the operator must insure that the cab aspects return to non-CBTC operation.

Train Stop Position

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10 car train stop. The train operator stops at the number for train.


Trains of any length stop. See the note for the conductors' boards below.


10 car train is clear of switches to reverse direction.

opto stop

Position for One Person Train Operatotion (OPTO) to stop the train in the station.

Fouling Point

This sign is placed at the fouling point of a switch in yards. If any cars are past this point, the tower operator will not be able to throw the switch to the track. Also there is a danger that trains moving on the yard lead or next track will hit the corner of the train.

Other Signs

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Added Feb 2015 -This is a reminder that are trains are running automatically, employees must get permission to enter the tracks.


A telephone (TA phone not NYTEL) is near by.


This sign is usually found at the door to the repair shops. The train operator must stop, sound horn and proceed with caution.


At the entrance to shops and inspection barns, this sign reminds the train operator to make sure the door is high enough to clear the roof of the train.

At interlockings where different routes diverge, signs like this remind the train operator which signal aspect is for which route.

Every 600 feet or so, throughout the subway, there is a BLUE light in the tunnel. At or near the light are the following items:

  • Fire Extinguisher
  • TA system telephone
  • Some locations have a ladder for use during train evacuations.
From time to time crews need to be reminded about special instruction. This one is a reminder to train operators to NOT stop at the lower level of Bergen St. on the Culver-F line. This pre-dated the fire at the Bergen Tower when the switches to and from the upper level were locked in place. The platform on the lower level was not to be used for passenger service.

Conductor Signs

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Conductor's Indication Board - Is located where the conductor should be when the train stops in a station. Since the late 1990's the conductor is required to point to the sign, after the train stops and before the doors are opened. This is for an eight car train. If he/she cannot look straight out from the cab and see this indication board, some of the cars in the train are not in the station. The doors MUST NOT be opened. On some lines there are special Conductor's Boards for different car types and alternate positions, where the conductor is not in the center of the train. There are some locations (like 59th Columbus Circle on the middle platform) where the sign says WRONG SIDE DO NOT OPEN.

In late 2008, the TA began to replace the R-38 cars on the C with R-40 and R-42 cars. These cars could only be set up 3-5 and 5-3 conductor positions. Instead of adding conductor boards, the TA elected to make all of the stations S car stops, so all trains stop at the far end of the platforms and position the conductor at 5-3 in the train. So a conductor on an eight car R-40 train at 5-3 is at the same spot as a 10 car train of other 60' cars or an eight car train of 75' cars.

This presents a few problems:

The conductor must change positions every time the train reverses.
If one conductor position is not working, the train may have to be taken out of service.
At stations where only one end has an open exit to the street, the train will stop 120' away from the exit in one direction.

Signs for specific locations to remind conductors of special conditions.

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New York City Subway Signals
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Train Whistle Signals

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- Joseph D. Korman - The JoeKorNer