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My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for help

Signalling outside the UK (but including Northern Ireland), past, present and future

Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Frank » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:22 am

Hello,


There are probably others, but it is difficult to search the internet archive for non-English language books!


And the Problem of Copyright-Protection in Germany......most electronic Books (.Pdf) are only over Pay-Accounts accessible
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Mike T » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:38 pm

I still struggle to fully comprehend the intracacy of German signalling and find this site very useful and fascinating, probably because it is so different to Anglo-American signalling. Having looked at the IRSE papers on Germany from the 1920's an idea is forming in my head, are British layouts "oversignaled"? I really need to try and consentrate and read T.S. Laselles paper from 1927 but with the number of signals on a British layout, they looks very busy compared to a German layout which seems to do away with the shunt signals and just use point indicators. However on your blog you show a small German station with shunt signals. Are shunt signals common in Germany and Austria or would point indicators be used to show the lie of the points and then shunt moves in loops and sidings be controled by hand signals?
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby davidwoodcock » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:53 pm

One very basic difference between UK and German signalling practice was pre-eminence in Germany (and some other continental countries) of the timetable and stationmasters, particularly on single lines. Trains occupied single line sections strictly in accordance with the timetable having been authorised to enter the section by the stationmaster's baton. If trains were running out of course, the stationmasters at either end of a section conferred to agree a revised passing pattern and train drivers were given specific instructions accordingly. This worked surprisingly well, but it did depend on getting the timetable right in the first place.

In the mid-1970s a mistake was made with the summer Sunday timetable on a single track branch near Munich. Being Germany this inevitably led to a fatal cornfield meet on the first Sunday that the summer timetable was in operation. Both stationmasters had noticed the error but both assumed that the other would take the lead in avoiding a collision. I was head of BR's international timetable section at the time and some of my staff were on first name terms with the DB timetablers who were sacked, despite their "established" status, as a result of the accident.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Frank » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:38 am

Hello,


at first to Warngau Accident
http://wwwhomes.uni-bielefeld.de/cgoeke ... arngau.pdf

Warngau is on the Main Line between Munich and Lenggries and was on that Time without Blockaparatus for the Single Line Sections.
Only Secure was the Zugmeldeverfahren (Train Announcement Procedures) witch means Announcing the Train over the Omnibus-Phone between the Signal Boxes controlling the Section (Block).This Procedere was impropper handled by the Signal man of the Box in Warngau and in Schaftlach.From the Voicerecorder of the Telephone-Line the speek was originaly recorded:
Stellwerk Warngau (Signal Man at Box in Warngau)
3594 angenommen ? (Signal Man at Box in Schaftlach)
ab 3 äh 29 (Signal Man at Box in Schaftlach)
ab 29....ja (Signal Man at Box in Warngau)

N 3594 was the Train from Schaftlach to Warngau.....N 3591 was the Train from Warngau to Schaftlach.....
Of this confused Announcement evry Signal Man think he had permission for his" Train and so both Train enter the Section with Signal for normal Proceed.
The Luftkreuzung (Air Intersection) in the Timetable for the Line was critized,because it is impossible to cross in Air.


at second to this
One very basic difference between UK and German signalling practice was pre-eminence in Germany (and some other continental countries) of the timetable and stationmasters, particularly on single lines.


On Single Lines we here used the Zugmeldeverfahren (Train Announcement Procedures),for Explaining i`ll refer to the Map in the Pdf.-Document above.On Single Lines without Blockapparatus the Trains where protected by Zugmeldungen. For Example we will take a Train from
Schaftlach to Warngau.Ringing the Omnibus-Phone...
Signal Man Huber,Warngau
Signal Man Xaxer,Schaftlach ,Train Announcement,would you take Train 4711 ?
(Huber) Train 4711 accepted
(Xaver),Train 4711 depart at 37
(Huber) i repeat......Train 4711 at 37 from you
(Xaver) all right ,Bye
This was written in the Train register Book and then Schaftlach could give the Train Permission with Signal.
On many Single Lines there where no Semaphore Signals and the Permission was given to the Train with the Befehlsstab
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... ffners.jpg
a common "Signal" in Germany from 1910 on.Before that a Flag was used for that Purpose.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:02 pm

Mike T wrote:I still struggle to fully comprehend the intracacy of German signalling and find this site very useful and fascinating, probably because it is so different to Anglo-American signalling.

I'm not so sure about this. Yes, for almost every aspect of signalling, there are more ways to do it. As I see it, there are three main areas of signalling:
  • signalling train moves in and around stations
  • block signalling
  • signalling for shunting moves
For each of these areas, railroads and authorities chose different levels of equipment, which could be categorized as:
  • none
  • hardly "technified" (not secure; signalman/station master must check visually)
  • heavily "technified" (very secure; e.g. interlockings, track circuits)
And they chose various ways how the three areas overlapped/interacted:
  • separate signalling for all areas
  • reuse of signalling for one or more areas, but separate interlocking machinery
  • reuse of signalling and interlocking machinery
I just invented these categories - one could argue that e.g. "local supervision"/"central supervision" of moves was also a very important categorization, which of course interacted with the categories above.

We could now put each installation into one of the "cubicles" resulting from these categories. For example, American signalling in lightly travelled territory was, after the invention of track circuits, (-/block signalling/-) * (-/heavily technified/-) * (-). Austrian standard signalling even on main lines like the one where I grew up was (station moves/-/-) * (heavily technified/-/-) * (-) - no block signalling! German signalling even on less important main lines was quite soon (station moves/block signalling/some shunting signalling) * (heavily technified/heavily technified/hardly technified) * (reuse of signalling and interlocking).

Mike T wrote:Having looked at the IRSE papers on Germany from the 1920's an idea is forming in my head, are British layouts "oversignaled"?

If I look at the signal box diagrams in my copy of "Signal Box Diagrams of the Great Western and Southern Railways/Volume ten" by G.A.Pryer (I only have this one detailed list of Britsh signalling installations), it seems the standard was always (station moves/block signalling/shunting signalling) * (heavily technified/heavily technified/heavily technified) * (...), even for very small station like "Nailsea West". So yes, from an Austrian and even German perspective, British signalling was done very expensively:
  • Even small stations had disc signals for shunting moves;
  • And these signals were interlocked with points.
Both was deemed unnecessary in Germany and even more so in Austria.

Mike T wrote:However on your blog you show a small German station with shunt signals. Are shunt signals common in Germany and Austria or would point indicators be used to show the lie of the points and then shunt moves in loops and sidings be controled by hand signals?

Austrian and German perspective on this is different: In Austria, you would never havd found such a small station with shunt signals. In Germany, they were more infected with the Britsh virus of signalling everything :wink:

It is hard to describe, but Austrian and German signalling practice were different in some underlying assumptions: German engineers (and authorities, I assume) tended towards better technical solutions; whereas in Austria, it was deemed to be sufficient if two people took part in a process, so they had a sort of four-eye-principle. A special example: On the German "Einheitsstellwerk" (developed around 1910), you could not reverse a signal lever more than once - there is a special "repetition lock" ("Wiederholungssperre") so that you could not allow two trains into a track (line or station) without an intermediate interlocking action. In Austria, there was never such a lock in mechanical frames.
==== Austrian signal boxes and interlockings (German and English), with some looks beyond ====
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:32 pm

davidwoodcock wrote:One very basic difference between UK and German signalling practice was pre-eminence in Germany (and some other continental countries) of the timetable and stationmasters, particularly on single lines. Trains occupied single line sections strictly in accordance with the timetable having been authorised to enter the section by the stationmaster's baton. If trains were running out of course, the stationmasters at either end of a section conferred to agree a revised passing pattern and train drivers were given specific instructions accordingly. This worked surprisingly well, but it did depend on getting the timetable right in the first place.


Like Mike, who puts German and Austrian signalling in the same box, I tend to put American and British signalling into one ("Anglo-American signalling"?). But as far as I understand it, in American signalling, the timetable was the all-important and pre-eminent "control machinery", even reaching into railroad operations safety: After all, they had this idea of "superiority" of trains, even depending on the trains' direction! But probably this only applies to "dark territory," which, I gather, was not seen in Britain.

But for all other lines, I do not see a fundamental difference between German/Austrian and UK practice: After all, trains had to run after a timetable also in the UK; and someone (station master, traffic controller, central disptacher) had to decide which train could make which move. If you write
If trains were running out of course, the stationmasters at either end of a section conferred to agree a revised passing pattern ...
this is true, but if someone else (one or more "dispatchers"?) would decide on the revised passing pattern, this would not change signalling in any way. Yes, one had to decide whether signal indications alone would suffice to inform the train drivers about the modifications (i.e., was the signalling system safe enough so that no "mistrust" was necessary), or additional redundant information was introduced. But again, this does not change signalling - or does it?

davidwoodcock wrote:In the mid-1970s a mistake was made with the summer Sunday timetable on a single track branch near Munich. Being Germany this inevitably led to a fatal cornfield meet on the first Sunday that the summer timetable was in operation. Both stationmasters had noticed the error but both assumed that the other would take the lead in avoiding a collision. I was head of BR's international timetable section at the time and some of my staff were on first name terms with the DB timetablers who were sacked, despite their "established" status, as a result of the accident.

This was a very special, and "Germany-only," incident. They had introduced something literally called "meet in the air" ("Luftkreuzung"), where two trains were to meet either at one or the other station at the end of a section depending on what the station masters decided that day. I have never heard that this was done in Austria or any other country. Frank, in the previous posting, describes some aspects of this procedure and accident.

It is true that the communication process on lines without automatic or half-automatic block occupancy checking* (the majority of lines e.g. in Austria, but I assume also in Hungary, Czechia etc.) requires that both station masters exchange messages on the telephone in a very specific way that would make sure that only one train is on the line. This protocol is used up to today e.g. if interlocking work is done. The difference between that tragic special German practice and timetables without "Luftkreuzungen" is that this protocol was an overlay on, i.e. a redundant addition to the timetable: Even if both station masters would misunderstand each other heavily, only one train would be on the line by timetable. And this rarely used "Luftkreuzung" was abolished immediately after that accident, as far as I know.

So I would never cite this "Luftkreuzung" as something "characteristic" of German (and even less Austrian) signalling, timetable construction, or railway operations in general.

* I need this term "block occupancy checking", because it is different from "block signalling", I'd say: The former puts the starting signals of a station under additional locks that are controlled by some - well - "block occupancy checking"; but there is not a single additional "block signal" on the line, and no section between stations is divided into two or more blocks. Does this differntiation make sense?
==== Austrian signal boxes and interlockings (German and English), with some looks beyond ====
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:41 pm

hmmueller wrote:And I'll add a schematic track plan soon - of course, I should have done that much earlier!


This posting about my 12SA lever frame now, finally, also has a track plan and some speculation about the missing distant signal on one side.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Frank » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:18 pm

Hello,


some to different terms and definitions between UK and Germany in the Times.....

The definition of Stationsmaster had changes in Germany over the times.In the early Time of Railways the Stationsmaster was
-Head of the Admininstration on the Station and also
-Chief Signal Man
in German so called Stationsvorsteher or Bahnhofsvorsteher.
With the growing of Trafic and also of the Railway Net and the begin of Building seperate Signal Boxes in the Stations the daily work
of Signalling was transfered to a new Function,so called Fahrdienstleiter (Chief Signal Man).He controlled the Train movements in the Station and if there where more than one Signal Box,he gives Orders (Befehlsabgabe) with Blockapparatus to the other Boxes.
This System works until now,every Station has its "own" Fahrdienstleiter,but today the Signal Man sit 100 Miles away in a electronic Control Center.


Shunting and Signals
In the early Time there where only the manually worked Point Handles as Signals for the Train Crew.
With the first Signal Boxes this hold on,now with remote moving the Points from the Box.
Special shunting Signals where much later introduced for Stations with many Shunting Operations.So all Terminal Stations in Germany where fitted
with Shunting Signals.
These Shunting Signals where no Part of a Route Lever,you could pull them every time except there was a Train Route set,because the Train Route Lever locks them.
Only on electric Signal Boxes (Spurplanstellwerke) and some Underground Boxes the Shunting Signals where Part of a shunting routes.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Mike T » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:23 pm

Hmmueller I like your discription of hardly technified and very technified. It hits the nail on the head as i see it and a lot of British secondery stations could have been economically worked by hand points and signals cleared from a frame in the station building. I understand this method of operation was used on branch lines upto the 1890's. Many British engineers fell into a method of working because it was the British way and how layouts were signalled. British engineers overseas were more original in my opinion and adopted methods of signalling with similar basis to German and Austian signalling. A paper The Economical signalling of a Colonial Railway by A.C. Rose was read to the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers in 1916 illustrating the type of signalling at each type of layout and a large station had a box at each end of the layout and signal levers were electrically released in the box by the station master who also controlled the block instruments. It is still a very technical installation as it has a lot of track circuiting. However i think from your block and answer i am starting to understand Austrian signalling.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Sat May 18, 2013 9:03 pm

After quite some time, I have added a new posting to my English blog, this time with some details about electric locks on my 12SA frame.

In addition, I give away a secret: I am working on a simulation (like this [still only German] one about the "Kleeblatt" barrier drive) that explains the workings of the standard Austrian - but almost extinct - mechanical interlocking type "5007". Here is a glimpse of my drawings ... and I promise to translate all descriptions (how the machine works, but also of the underlying operational process) to English as quickly as possible!
==== Austrian signal boxes and interlockings (German and English), with some looks beyond ====
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:41 am

After quite some time, I have added a new posting to my English blog site - this time with 30-year-old photos of two stations in Lower Austria. The stations themselves are not that prominent - rather, they are normal on the verge of being (or having been) boring. However, that posting is intended to be the preliminary to two upcoming postings that explain the workings of the Austrian standard mechanical interlocking type 5007 with text and (hopefully also interesting) animations.

After these postings, I will "reverse the viewpoint" and post in both my English and my German blogs photos (and maybe some explanations) from English signal boxes, taken during my recent vacation in England.

H.M.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:16 am

Here are now the links to my two postings about the typical Austrian station block:
Of course, the well-known "big divide" between German-based and UK-based signalling and interlocking principles makes it difficult to translate such a text. I hope that my explanations and considerations are first faithful to the Austrian side, but as well understandable for and without prejudice about the English side.

I am sorry to say that the quality of the video streaming seems to be quite bad - I do not know the reason, but I'm searching for a better alternative.

H.M.
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby PDR » Wed Oct 2, 2013 4:39 am

As far as I can figure out, the reason German signalling arrangements look so economical is that the basis of their system is speed signalling rather than route signalling. Thus a single semaphore Hauptsignale can control multiple routes through a station or junction. If one imagines a bi-directional passing loop, in Anglo-Irish practice there would be a distant, followed by a bracket signal with an arm for both sides of the loop, and a starters at the other end for a total of 10 signal arms, eight of which have to be worked. On a low speed (50km/h) in Germany, the distant would be replaced with a board, and a two arm Hauptsignale would be used to control the loop giving a 'proceed' indication when the route is set for the mainline, and proceed with caution when the road is set for the loop. With the locking being done with route levers it is my understanding that the route would be set (often using hand levers), then locked by the route lever. This in turn releases the correct signals, and as German signal levers tend to have three positions, a route can be locked by a single bar in both the up and down directions. This seems a much more economical arrangement than the usual UK tappet locking.

I might be missing something here, but I believe the usual German block instrument locks the signals at both ends of a single line section thereby eliminating the need for a physical token or staff/ticket. This system was preceded by something analogous to the American 'Timetable and Train Order' system with the stationmasters being in overall charge, and changes to the scheduled running of trains being communicated by telegraph and later omnibus phone circuit.

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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby Frank » Wed Oct 2, 2013 5:24 am

Hello Peter,


I might be missing something here, but I believe the usual German block instrument locks the signals at both ends of a single line section


If there is a Line Block on the Single Line,yes and in a double way.There is a seperate Permission Block (Erlaubnis-Block) between the Stations.Only if you have the permission (Erlaubnis) on your Station,you can move the Signal Lever.

But the normal operation on Single Lines is the Train Announcing (Zugmeldeverfahren) between the Stations.Only a few Single Lines where equipped with Line Block,most lines where without.
Until the 1950th it was with the Morse-Aparatus and from then on the Omnibus-Phone and nowadays with GSM-R
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Re: My website of Austrian interlockings, plus a call for he

Unread postby hmmueller » Wed Oct 2, 2013 8:24 pm

PDR wrote:As far as I can figure out, the reason German signalling arrangements look so economical is that the basis of their system is speed signalling rather than route signalling. Thus a single semaphore Hauptsignale can control multiple routes through a station or junction. If one imagines a bi-directional passing loop, in Anglo-Irish practice there would be a distant, followed by a bracket signal with an arm for both sides of the loop, and a starters at the other end for a total of 10 signal arms, eight of which have to be worked .... This seems a much more economical arrangement than the usual UK tappet locking.


I'm not so sure about this (and, actually, my gut feeling is just the opposite). In the case you cite, the number of arms (and discs) would be identical in Austria, and even larger in Germany: For one direction, you need
(a) three-position distant home (=2 "arms")
(b) three-position home (=2 "arms") + (at least) two-position distant starter (1 arm)
(c) two two-position starters (=2 arms [actually 2x2 arms, but the 2 arms are coupled together on each starter])
which comes to 7 levers. For both directions, this gives a sum of 14 levers, *not* counting the route levers (8 in this case) (and 2 points levers and 4 FPL levers, in contrast to 2 points levers and 2 FPL levers in UK/Eire).

(On the other hand, if one adds advanced starters and inner homes, you'd also have 14 arms in UK/Eire, wouldn't you?).

However, for more tracks, you should be right: In Germany, the number of arms increases only for the starters, not for home signals (and possibly distants). However, the number of levers will still increase because of those route levers.

... and now we've both completely lost track of the counts, haven't we? :)

You know what? - when I find time, I'll try to design fully signalled interlockings for a few medium stations and try to compare the results ... but this may take some time.

And/but of course, the problems already start before the interlocking design:
  • How "fully" signalled? ok, the placement and number of stop signals at a station at a double track mainline with heavy traffic - near London or near Berlin - should not be that different; but for smaller stations in the countryside, the discussion might be more difficult); however, with shunt signals, the ideas about how many and where were already radically different.
  • and even the question of how to place the points might not be too easy - UK track plans had a fear of facing points that - because of the blade locks required on all points - was never present in Germany, which leads to different numbers of routes.

PDR wrote:I might be missing something here, but I believe the usual German block instrument locks the signals at both ends of a single line section thereby eliminating the need for a physical token or staff/ticket.

This is, of course, true. But besides the (viewed from Germany) operational nightmare of actually passing an object from the ground to a train running 100km/h and back, this does not change the complexity/cost of the system that much, I'd believe.

PDR wrote:This system was preceded by something analogous to the American 'Timetable and Train Order' system with the stationmasters being in overall charge, and changes to the scheduled running of trains being communicated by telegraph and later omnibus phone circuit.

... which is practically exactly the same as the system used in Britain as long as block intruments were mere communication instruments (showing that someone had moved a handle on the other side of the block, but not locking anything). The essential differences arose when, in England, the DC block instruments were without hesitation coupled with signalling levers, whereas in Central Europe only more complex AC instruments were trusted as a technical means - with the obviously paradoxical result that fewer lines got technical block working at all.

And again, one scratches one's head about the question how to compare the approaches - the UK/Irish approach was probably cheaper per instrument, but on the other hand, more of the instruments were put in place.

And the "death rate," AFAIK, has been comparable between both areas - so the safety level is probably, over the very long run, in the same range.
But, of course, interlockings and block working are not only there for increased safety, but also for handling a larger number of trains - and also there, all mechanical desings seem to have reached in their most advanced designs that limit of 2...3 minutes between steam-driven trains that is anyway necessary because of the typical braking distances (and is still the norm on all mixed-traffic railways as far as I know).

Ok - so much for a lot of considerations, but also gut feelings and, well, "head-scratchings" ...

Harald
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