Configuration of a safe route

The configuration of a safe route is a necessary measure before a train can safely run the planned track section. This special configuration of a safe route is segmented into six sub steps. These are also part of their respective security levels, which are required for each configuration. Only on passing each of the relevant requirements, a safe and collision-free train run is ensured.

The relevant part of railway safety is embedded in the configuration of a safe route. After initializing this route configuration, which is also called route trigger. The setting of switch positions and other movable track units begins.If these units are in correct position, the signaling control locks these track units and their positions. Subsequently the route is set, which is an intermediate safety step.Afterwards, each track sections occupation status is examined. If all track sections are free, the appropriate route signal is settable and “go” signal aspect can be shown.

Axle count system

An axle count system is a wide spread detection system in railway technology. They detect both the front and end of the train by counting and registering the axles of trains. An axle count system is composed at a minimum by two trackside axle detection units and an electronic control system. Thereby the trackside units provide the control system with input data.

At first a trackside detection unit at the beginning of a track section counts the passing wheels of a train. Thereafter another axle detection unit at the end of the same track section registers the same number of wheels passing by this train. The electronic control system processes the information of both trackside units. With the given information it can deduce, if the train occupies the track section or not. In some situation the technology fails, for example when one, of the twelve axles, is not registered entering the section. When this is the case there are special safety rules, which allow the track section to go to the status of not assigned or free. In some situations, the signal box operator or dispatcher can reset the axle count system to its basic position.

End-of-train detectors

End-of-train detectors belong to necessary basic technology of train protection. This installation recognizes the beginning and the end of trains crossing. Therefore, this is a system of point by point detection of trains. On the one hand these detectors enable that several trains can run safely on the same track. Furthermore, these detectors fulfil other important functions which we will explain in this chapter as well.

End-of-train detectors are the limit of a track section. If a train passes this detector by its head, then the following track section becomes “occupied”. When the following track section is likewise the beginning of the next block, then the signal gets the signal aspect “halt”. If the end of train finally passes the detector, then the last track section gets the status “not assigned”.   

Flank protection switch

Flank protection is one of the most important safety conditions which is realized by train routes controlled by signal boxes. As the name implies, a flank protection switch avoid collisions of trains to each other from the side. This dismissive position of the switch is normally for safe routes. For all neighbouring switches the dismissive position is a basic requirement of a route.

But not always this requirement can be implemented in logical route requirement. There are some exceptions. If there are two routes for example. When both of them need the dismissive but different position of the same flank protection switch. If switches can´t ensure flank protection, then the function has to ensured by a signal or a trackside derailer. Both the rule and the exception are explained in this clip.