2On a plug-in relay, such as BR930 series, the original derivation of the terms“Front” and “Back” contacts is no longer relevant.However, by convention, the terms remain to describe the contacts that areclosed when the relay is energised and de-energised respectively.Different types of relays have different combinations of Front (F) and Back (B)contacts, dependent on the main application of the relay. E.g. in the BR 930series of relays, used on Singapore SMRT, the QN1 relay which is the basicneutral relay in the series, is commonly available in either 12F 4B or 8F 8Bconfiguration, dependent on the contact requirements of the circuits in whichthe relays are used. These relays are supplied by Westinghouse Rail Systemsin the UK.
The basic signalling relay is known as a Neutral Relay. Variations on thisinclude “Slow to Pick”, “Slow to release”.In these, the operational pick/release times are increased, by the addition of ametallic “slug” at either end of the relay armature.It should be noted that the addition of these “slugs” also make the relays “ACimmune”. That is they will not operate if AC voltage is applied across the coils.This is important on railways that have AC traction supply voltage, to preventrelays incorrectly energising due to voltage induced from AC traction supply.(Not applicable to Singapore).Note that techniques to change the relay operating times, such as addition of diodes or capacitors across the relay coil, are not usually used in vital signallingcircuits, due to potential for wrong side failure. They can be used in non vitalcircuits, where there are no safety implications if the relay timing reverts to thatof a neutral relay.Another type of relay commonly used in interlocking circuitry is themagnetically latched relay. This type of relay has two windings. These areknown as “Pick Up” and “Release” coils. Once the “Pick Up” coil of a latchedrelay has been energised a permanent magnet will maintain the relay in the“latched” state, until the “Release Coil” is energised. The “Release” coil iswound in the opposite direction to “Pick Up” coil, such that when it isenergised, an electromagnetic field is created that is in opposition to thepermanent magnet. When the “Release Coil” is energised, the relay unlatches.By use of latched relays, the state of the signal and point interlocking can bemaintained following a power failure. This is particularly important in the caseof points, to ensure that they remain in their last set position and don’t movefollowing restoration of power, unless legitimately called to, by the signallingsystem.“Biased” relays are similar to neutral relays, except that they will operate onlyif the voltage polarity is correct.