Function of ETCS

The function of ETCS, unifies all train control system on the European rail network. It replaces conventional country-specific train control systems, but it offers more than that. It is upward and downward compatible, in other words, an ETCS-equipped train can accept and process signals from several train protection systems.

Above all, the different levels, i.e. different technical states, shape the railroad world to an enormous extent. Incidentally, the mode of operation of the respective levels varies widely. The entire range of railroad technology is represented, from driving on sight to driving at a braking distance. The function of ETCS is therefore the central train control technology in Europe and overseas. All the relevant processes are considered in this explanatory video.

Function of a tram switch

A classic tram switch which can be set remotely is called a “single switch”. The necessary impulse for control comes from the vehicle. It is therefore not set via interlockings, as is the case with railroads. However, the technical effort and the safeguarding before, during and after the operation of such a switch is similar to the processes of a route. In this chapter, the processes of this switch system in tram operation are described chronologically.

A variant of the train-operated setting process is the methodical request by radio. With this method, the vehicle receives an order via a trackside beacon to send a radio telegram to the switch after a certain distance of track has been covered. The switch controller then gives the setting command to the switch, whereupon it sets and locks. It is then driven over and cleared, similar to a route in railroad engineering.

Definition of tram

The tram is a transport system that cannot easily be squeezed into a concrete scheme. It takes on the most diverse forms and modes of operation in the cities across the world. In this chapter, we will discuss all relevant forms of operation, both in front of and behind the scenes. In addition to the classic one-way tram, there’s also bi-directional operation. Or the tram independent of road traffic. More inconspicuous to the passenger are other forms of development, such as operation with signaling systems, depot control systems, or speed monitoring systems.

Thought one stage ahead, the tram system can occasionally be conceptualized as a train configuration coupled to each other.And last but not least, there are trams that do not even touch road traffic in any way. Especially with the last-mentioned developments, they are already initial stages or already converted systems of a light rail or subway, for which separate definitions apply in each case.

Operating points

The infrastructure of railroad systems can be clearly divided into different facilities, categorically and spatially. For this purpose, there are the so-called operating points and their respective designations. These would be, for example, junctions, transfer points, stations, stops, connection points and many more. Each of these types of operating points fulfil their own function in the overall rail operation process, which is explained in detail in our video chapter. By clearly classifying and assigning an operating point to the categories, the related operating rules and responsibilities are then defined. They standardize the behavior of driving personnel, control center personnel, but also, for example, the behavior of planning engineers.

Another part of this short video is the superordinate division of rail lines into station areas and areas of free track. It also serves to standardize procedures by establishing rules. Further, it represents a further level of categorization in rail operations. It may happen that the above-mentioned types of operating stations can be operating stations of the free track. Otherwise, it can be an operating stations of the station area.

Train configuration

Trains have a certain train configuration. This refers to how individual train sections can be combined to form an entire train set. Locomotive-hauled trains are a classic example of this, but not only in freight traffic. They also used in passenger traffic. However, they are increasingly being replaced by multiple units. These are closed vehicle units that can only be separated for workshop purposes, but no longer for operational reasons.

How the car bodies and their axles are arranged, or where the traction motor is installed, these are all criteria for the classification of trains. But there are more than the before mentioned. Each train configuration has its advantages and disadvantages. Usually, they are system decisions adapted to the environment that we deal with in this chapter.