The development of the effective and economical protection measures is vital for the railway signaling systems because the lightning damages cause the disruption of the railway transportation systems. In general, the railway signaling systems are set up at a wayside and directly connected to the rails through cables. The lightning surges can invade the railway signaling systems via the cables and cause damages to the systems. Accordingly, clarifying the propagation characteristics of lightning surges along the rails is essential to develop the lightning protection measures in the railway signaling systems. We have carried out the field tests to examine both surge impedance and surge propagation velocity of the rails. This paper proposes a calculation model of the surge propagation characteristics along the rails. We measured the frequency-dependent four-terminal parameters of the rails to estimate the distributed parameter adopted in the calculation model. The results of surge impedance and surge propagation velocity calculated by the proposed model almost agree with the experimental results. Moreover, the proposed model can calculate the surge attenuation along the rails. This model is applicable to the development of lightning protection measures for the railway signaling systems. Copyright © 2010 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.