Here’s Why There Is A Cross Sign At The End Of All Trains!

Here’s Why There Is A Cross Sign At The End Of All Trains! : Have you ever seen an X on the back of a train? If you have ever traveled by train, you will surely be aware that a large white or yellow colored X mark is painted on the back of the last compartment of the train. Have you ever tried to know about this sign? In this blog post, we will take you through the history, significance and reasons why the X symbol painted on the back of trains is still used today.


History of the X mark behind the train:

The X symbol painted on the back of trains has a long history, dating back to the early days of rail transport. In the past, trains did not have high quality brakes so that trains could not be stopped quickly, and derailment of such trains was a common occurrence. To prevent derailment, a brakeman stood behind the train, who was responsible for operating the hand brakes to slow or stop the train. If anything went wrong, the brakeman would be ready to signal the engineer in the engine compartment.

The first form of signaling to the engineer was the hoisting of a flag or lantern. However, these methods were not reliable, especially at night, and accidents still occurred. So this signaling had to be improved from time to time. So then to improve the signalling, a white light was installed at the rear of the train, which could be seen from the front of the train, indicating that everything was fine.

However, this signaling mechanism still had drawbacks. If the light went out, or the train separated, the engineer would have no way of knowing whether the train was still intact or the last compartment was missing. It was only later that the X mark was developed, which was considered a more reliable signaling method.


The X symbol was first used in the United States in the late 1800s. It was a simple white X drawn on a black background and placed behind the train. If the train is intact, the X will be clearly visible. If a compartment separated from the train, the X would break or become blurred, signaling to the engineer that something was wrong.

Significance of the X mark on the back of the train:

The X marking on the back of trains is still used today, and its significance has not diminished. A topic showing various significance of X symbol is given below.


The X mark is an important safety feature, indicating to the engineer if the train is intact or if there is a problem. If a car becomes separated from the train, the engineer will be notified to stop the train and investigate the problem before proceeding.


The X mark is a clear communication tool, indicating to the engineer that the train is running normally. If the X is blurred or broken, the engineer knows there is a problem that needs to be addressed.


The X mark is a standard symbol used around the world, ensuring that train engineers can understand signaling regardless of their language or location. The X mark has a long history in the world of rail transport and has become a tradition that is still in use today. .

Types of X Signs:

Many types of X symbols are used on the back of trains today, some examples of which are given here.

Conventional X symbol:

The traditional X symbol still in use today is drawn as a simple white X on a black background.

Electronic X Mark:

Some modern trains use an electronic X sign that can change color, indicating the train's status. For example, a green X may indicate that everything is normal, while a red X may indicate a problem.

Reflected X Mark:

Reflective X signs are designed to be more visible at night and are made of reflective material that reflects light. 

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