Dispatching in Kleinstadt

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Page is under construction. Information is subject to change.

Before you get your approval to run the service on a signal box, you need to find out about the local characteristics. After training as a general trainee signalman, dispatchers were always paired with a person skilled in the signal box. This chapter is the brief introduction to the area. Read it carefully. It contains very important information. The text is "peer to peer" written as if you are in the signal box, the first day after training.

Don't panic! Make sure you're in a comfortable chair and immerse yourself in your responsibilities as a Train Dispatcher!

Have a more detailed look at the Kleinstadt panel here.

Signal Box Kleinstadt

Signal box Kleinstadt

General

The signal box of Kleinstadt is located along a electrified double-track main line. In Kleinstadt we also have the start of the non-electrified branch line towards the town of Celle.

Neighbouring Dispatching Areas

At the upper left (tracks 10/11) we have the connecting tracks towards the dispatching area of Erle. Bi-directional running (Gleiswechselbetrieb or GWB) towards and from Erle is possible.

On the upper right (tracks 24/25) the main line leaves our dispatching area towards Dortstadt. Bi-directional running towards and from Dortheim is not forseen on this part of the main line.

At bottom right side the branch line connects to the dispatching area of Celle. As this is a single track line we have to offer each train to the dispatcher of Celle before sending it to there. He will do the same when he wants to send us a train.

What is Dispatching?

One Train Per Block

Trains have many advantages: besides their fantastic rolling qualities, trains are above all SAFE! Trains also have disadvantages: they cannot avoid things on the track, the way automobiles can avoid things on the road. And because the rolling qualities are so good, trains cannot brake quickly. This is due to their low friction coefficients; during braking action there are limits to the force that can be transferred to the track. The result is that trains have longer brake distances. Braking from 1000 metres (3300 feet) to a full stop from 140 km/h is normal. In combination with the issue that trains cannot avoid things on the track so quickly they need a certain distance ahead of them free of any obstacle to be able to stop on time. This distance is called the “brake distance.” Therefore trains must run at least one brake distance from each other. But looking ahead for 1000 metres is quite a challenge. Even the sharpest eyes cannot handle that. And even with a telescope you are not able to look around corners. What if it’s foggy? Simply put, it is impractical to require that a train driver be able to look ahead 1000 metres. To tell a train driver that the track ahead is free, signals are placed next to the track. These signals tell the driver how fast he may go to run his train safe and to ensure he can stop on time. Between those signals it’s only allowed to have one train. This is called a “block”. All trains in the world adhere to this principle.

What is a Route?

Within railway stations, trains must have the ability to change tracks. This is done with switches and crossings. It must be prevented that trains come into one block together or end up head-to-head. Moving the position of a switch (throwing a switch) while a train is on the switch must be prevented. It must also be guaranteed trains have sufficient brake distance ahead of them.

Such conditions are provided by route setting. “Setting and locking a route” for a train consists of the following:

  • Switches are locked until the train has fully passed
  • Railroad crossings are closed on time and stay closed until the train has fully passed
  • Trains from an opposite direction to the same track are blocked
  • A bridge is closed and locked while closed
  • The track is free of railway vehicles

(There are more conditions, but we won’t make it too technical here.)

What is a Dispatcher?

This simulation platform offers you the opportunity to take over the job of a Dispatcher. The role of the dispatcher is to manage the traffic in his area of responsibility. This means managing the flow of traffic through the use of routes, and planning ahead to avoid scheduling conflicts. Above all, safety is paramount.

Timetable

The timetable is the guideline for your role as the dispatcher. But read literally: guideline. The timetable is no “law.” Deviation from the timetable is allowed, as long as the safety of the traffic is guaranteed and the trains are going in the correct direction.

Within the simulation you have access to graphical charts depicting trains, where they come from, where they’re headed, where they stop, and for how long. You don’t need to memorise the timetable, but with experience you’ll begin to know where traffic needs to go. Then, only unforeseen occurrences will give you a hard time as you attempt to mitigate such events.

Automatic Block Sections

On the tracks to your neighbouring dispatchers are automatic block sections. This means that on those tracks are automatic working signals. You do not need to worry about them; all trains will nicely follow each other. Where the trains are located is not exactly visible on the panel. If a train enters a section before an entrance signal, you will see the occupancy light come on. In that case you’re actually already too late, in case the entrance signal is still at stop. As soon as that occupancy light comes illuminated, a train approaches that signal. If that signal is at stop, the driver is already braking harshly. With low visibility it also means that if you operate the signal at that moment, the driver STILL must reduce his speed expecting stop. He can’t see the signal due to the low visibility. For you this means: think ahead!

Dispatching traffic

Managing the traffic through your area might look easy, but don’t be fooled... there are a couple of things that need all your attention at any time!

Please don’t let the traffic suffer from your way of dispatching! Ensure that route setting is on time, but not premature. Otherwise, you commit yourself too early.

Making Decisions

You as Dispatcher are responsible for a correct traffic management in your area of responsibility. As such you are a mighty powerful person. The honour is yours to make something of it!

No one is born a dispatcher. Everyone must learn the trade by doing it the hard way! So please don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work at once and things are flying over your head. Confusion sometimes happens, even with experienced dispatchers! The interlocking system is designed so that errors are kept to a minimum. The train drivers help by looking out of their windows in case you don’t pay attention…

Therefore it’s team work! And you are the team leader!

Platform Information (Train Indicators)

The train passengers would like to know where the approaching train is heading towards. This system is operated by the dispatcher. It is automated by default: the corresponding Expert Option must be enabled if you wish to interact with the platform system. It is a detailed operation of the historic punch card system used by several railways.

Your Colleagues

No worries, you’re not alone in the signal box. This panel was normally operated by 2-4 signallers, a coordinator and announcer. ((There were more people in the room but only indirectly involved with the actual task of operating the panel.)

And there you are: all on your own? No not really! You’ll reminded by your colleagues from time to informing you about a possible forgotten train. These are simply reminders to prevent difficult situations.

Abbreviations

Short Name Full Name
XC Celle
XD Dortheim
XE Erle
XKS Kleinstadt

Street Names of Level Crossings

Box info Mile Post Steet Name
I 1 km 32.900 Hauptstrasse


Track lengths

Track lengths Kleinstadt

Track Length (m)
Kleinstadt 1 700
Kleinstadt 2 655
Kleinstadt 3 650
Kleinstadt 4 600
Kleinstadt 4.1 440
Kleinstadt 4.2 200

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