Dispatching in Köln
- 1 Familiarisation Around Köln
- 2 Steering Numbers in Köln
- 3 Train Number Series in Köln
- 4 The Köln Hbf Panel
- 5 Peculiarities in Köln
- 5.1 Route Presets
- 5.2 Half-Distance Rule
- 5.3 Cover Signals
- 5.4 Train Following
- 5.5 Middle Switches (Use of MGT button)
- 5.6 Routes to Köln West/South, Köln-Ehrenfeld, Köln-Nippes
- 5.7 Routes to the Shunting Yard (Betriebsbahnhof/Bbf)
- 5.8 Routes From the Shunting Yard (Betriebsbahnhof/Bbf)
- 5.9 The "Schlundgleis" Track Between Köln West and Köln Station
- 6 Special Trains in Köln Hbf
- 7 Overview Offering Trains Using ZNP
- 8 Abbreviations
- 9 Track Lengths
Familiarisation Around Köln
If you wish, you can download a PDF to familiarise yourself with the railways around Cologne. I can tell you: it's massive! And you're in the centre of it! Detailed Map of the Cologne Area
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 Köln Hbf panel here.
Steering Numbers in Köln
The steering numbers (identifiers used to automatically route traffic) are as follows:
- Number 1: All trains (except for trains under Kz 3 to 9), Freight Trains and Light Locos with speed larger than 100km/h.
- Number 2: Light Engines, Empty Stock and Freight Trains with speed of less than 100km/h.
- Number 3: S-Bahn trains on Line S-12. (These trains go in direction Köln-Kalk at Posthof Junction)
- Number 4: trains to Bonn, stopping in Roisdorf.
- Number 5: trains to Bonn, stopping between Köln and Bonn, but not in Roisdorf.
- Number 6: S-Bahn trains on Line S-6. (These trains go to track 141 in Hansaring)
- Number 7: Köln-Overath/Gummersbach S-Bahn trains. (These trains go to track 142 in Hansaring)
- Number 8: trains from Neuss to Köln Hbf.
- Number 9: S-Bahn trains on Line S-11. (These train go in direction Köln-Mühlheim at Posthof Junction)
The steering numbers are normally handled automatically, but it is the dispatcher's responsibility to detect and correct any errors as compared with the timetable.
Train Number Series in Köln
|Number Series||Train type||Connects||From||To||Remarks|
|1-99||EC||International Eurocity||-||-||various connections|
|14x-15x||ICE||Amsterdam CS - Köln Hbf/Bbf||KD||KK/KKB||ICE-3M / NS International|
|4xx||D||Köln-Deutzerfeld - Oostende||KKD||KKER||NMBS HLE 16|
|5xx-8xx||IC||Nationale Fernzüge/Intercity||-||-||various connections|
|9xx||ICE||Berlin - Köln (-Bonn Hbf/Frankfurt Hbf)||KD||KKW/KKB||ICE-1/ICE-2|
|81xx||RE||Koblenz - Venlo||KKA||KKER|
|94xx||Thalys||Köln-Deutzerfeld-Paris Gare-du-Nord||KKD||KKER||TGV-PBKA (8 wg)|
|100xx||RE||Aachen Hbf - Bielefeld Hbf||KD||KKER||NRW-Express|
|107xx||RE||Münster - Düren/Bbf||KOPL||KKER|
|111xx||RE||Emmerich - Koblenz||KD||KKW|
|112xx||RE||Wuppertal-Oberbarmen - Koblenz||KOPL||KKW|
|1140x-1144x||RE||Köln-Deutzerfeld - Gerolstein||KKD||KKW||Diesel|
|1145x-1149x||RE||Gießen/Siegen - Krefeld||KKA||KKN|
|115xx||RB||Aachen Hbf - Köln-Deutzerfeld||KKD||KKER|
|116xx||RB||Köln-Deutzerfeld - Kall/Gerolstein||KKD||KKW||Diesel|
|118xx||RB||Gummersbach/Overath||KKA(S)||KKHRW||Diesel / S-Bahn steering ID 7, track 142 KKHRW|
|220xx||RE||Koblenz - Mönchengladbach||KKA||KKER|
|226xx||RE||Köln-Deutzerfeld - Gerolstein/Trier||KKD||KKW||Diesel|
|7xxx||Lr||-||-||-||empty stock / light engines|
|976xx-977xx||S||Essen Hbf - Köln-Hansaring||KKM(S)||KKHRW||S-Bahn steering ID 6, track 141 KKHRW|
|987xx-988xx||S||Bergisch-Gladbach - Neuss - Düsseldorf||KKM(S)||KKN(S)||S-Bahn steering ID 9|
|9890x-9894x||S||Au (Sieg) - Köln-Nippes||KKA(S)||KKNW||S-Bahn steering ID 3|
|9895x-9899x||S||Hennef (Sieg) - Köln-Nippes||KKA(S)||KKNW||S-Bahn steering ID 3|
The Köln Hbf Panel
The Köln-Deutz station has its own dispatcher, and has an electric signal box. In the simulation, this dispatcher is simulated in the neighbouring area of Köln, and does his best to route traffic without your assistance.
Tracks 866, 266 come from Köln-Mülheim, while tracks 661 and 651 head to Köln-Mülheim. Tracks 203 and 204 lead to Köln-Kalk (Right Rhine traffic). Track 463 heads north to Köln-Kalk (freight only)
- Track 866: Mainline from Düsseldorf (KD) (Düsseldorf track)
- Track 266: Mainline from Wuppertal/Opladen (KOPL) (Wuppertal track)
- Track O66: Exit track from Köln-Deutzerfeld Abstellbahnhof (KKD)
- Track 204: Mainline from Troisdorf/Köln-Kalk (KKA)
- Track 203: Mainline to Troisdorf/Köln-Kalk (KKA)
- Track 651: Mainline to Düsseldorf (KD) (Düsseldorf track)
- Track 661: Mainline to Wuppertal/Opladen (KOPL) (Wuppertal track)
Tracks 601-608 are tracks from Köln-Deutz (KKDZ). Tracks 603 and 606 have no platform.
Track 176/177 is the S-Bahn to Köln-Mühlheim (S-Bahn Commuter).
The dispatcher in Köln-Deutz operates the pre-announce number boxes V630 and V640 which indicate which train is sent via which track.
- Tracks 210, 211, 212, 220, 221, 222, 230, 630, 640, 240, 231, 241 and 150, 151 are all located on the Hohenzollern bridge.
- The Köln-Deutz dispatcher indicates which bridge track is being used by train by using the pre-announce block descriptors V640 und V630.
- 221, 230 and 240 are the entrance signals of Köln Hbf. These entrance signals do not have distant signals, as pass through is not permitted in Köln Hbf. These signals are equipped with speed indicators (Zs 3) and will show Kz 3 (30 km/h) when the a train route has been set upto next main signal (at the end of platform). If a train route has been set, whilst one of the cover signals on the destination track is at danger, the speed indicator at the entrance signal will show the aspect Kz 2 (20 km/h).
- Ra 10 Rangierhalttafeln - end of shunting area signs - are located at signal 231 and signal 240.
- Signals 211, 221, and 231 are automatic block signals in the central block.
- Traffic normally goes via 230 and 240. Traffic may go via 221 when the normal tracks are otherwise blocked.
The exit tracks from Köln Hbf are after track 211 and 221.
- Switches 12 and 13 are middle switches for signals 011/012. The normal position of the switch is straight (non-diverging). When the switches are in reverse (diverging) and a route is being set from 011 or 012, the MGT group button must be used.
- Signals 011/012 and 021/022 can be set using short and long entrance/exit.
- The cover signals in Köln Hbf offer the possibility to apply the so-called "Nachfahren". The drivers are all instructed to drive upto the exit signal OR the first cover signal showing the Stop aspect.
- Signals 110/114 und 111/115 can be set using short and long entrance/exit.
- There are 3 train number indicators for each platform track. The system will move the train number automatically. When an exit signal drops to stop, the first number will be transported to the next train number indicator. At entrance of the a platform track, the number will jump to the most front indicator, except when it is already showing a number.
- Tracks 370, 360 and 350 are the so-called "Kitchen Tracks". Vehicles are rarely placed here.
- Signals 315, 325 and 335 are the entrance signals of Köln Hbf. These entrance signals do not have distant signals, as pass throughs are not allowed in Köln Hbf. The signals are equipped with Zs 3 (speed indictators), and wil show aspect Kz 3 (30 km/h), when the train route is set upto the next main signal. Aspect Kz 2 (20 km/h) is shown in case a cover signal at the platform track is set to stop.
- A maximum speed of 40 km/h will be allowed, incase atrain route has been set from signal 315 towards track 2, and when an overlap route is available.
- Track 345 is the normal entrance track towards Köln Betriebsbahnhof (KKB). However, the dispatcher Bbf can decide to send the train via track 356/357.
- Track 371 is used for stabling of locomotives or turnaround.
- Ra 10 Rangierhalttafeln - end of shunting area signs - are located short ahead of switches 601 (track 315) and 602AB (track 325) and in front of signal 335.
- Track 005, the entrance track towards Köln Betriebsbahnhof, does not have a train number display. So a train in front of signal 7 (entrance signal KKB) will not be shown by means a train number.
Departures to the West
Train routes starting at signals 015, 049, 059, 069, 078, 088, 097 are indicated with signal Zs 2 (direction signal). The direction aspect will only be shown in case a complete route, starting at the platform's exit signal towards the destination exit track, has been set.
- For routes towards Köln-West signal aspect "K" (Koblenz/Kalscheuren) is shown.
- For routes towards Köln-Ehrenfeld signal aspect "E" (Ehrenfeld) is shown.
- For routes towards Köln-Nippes signal aspect "N" (Nippes) is shown.
- No direction aspect will be shown if the train route into the west has only been set upto signal 355/365.
Westside (Further West)
- Tracks 02, 004, 002, 04, 120, 118, 116, 714 are the entrance tracks of the main line from Köln-West (KKW) (Linksrheinischer Verkehr)
- Tracks 204,101,61,41,13,614 are the entrance tracks of the main line from Köln-Ehrenfeld (KKER) (Aachen Hbf, Mönchengladbach Hbf)
- Tracks 530, 528, 526, 524, 518, 516 are the entrance tracks of the main line from Köln-Ehrenfeld Köln-Nippes (KKN) (Neuss)
- Tracks 711, 713 are the exit tracks of the main line towards Köln-West (KKW)
- Tracks 611, 613 are the exit tracks of the main line towards Köln-Ehrenfeld (KKER)
- Tracks 511, 513 are the exit tracks of the main line towards Köln-Nippes (KKN)
- Signals 355/365/450/460 are equipped with Direction Indicators (Zs 2).
Köln Shunting Yard
- The track panel and junctions on the panel ist just schematic, and does not match the real situation.
- The Train Nummer Indicators 1 through 6 show the announced trains from Köln Betriebsbahnhof being ready for departure towards Köln Hbf. The order of the outgoing trains is from 1 to 6 (stacked indicator)
S-Bahn Main Line
- Tracks 176 and 177 head to Köln-Mülheim on the S-Bahn main line.
- Track 170 is the shunting area Zoobrücke (KKZO). It is used only in emergencies.
- Tracks 183 and 184 lead to Köln-Kalk via the S-Bahn main line.
- Tracks 107 and 184 includes the Köln-Trimbornstrasse (KKTR) stop.
- Between signals 183, 163 and 160 and 164, 184, 158 is the Abzweigstelle Posthof (KKPH).
- Tracks 155/154 is the Köln-Deutz (S-Bahn) stop.
- Signals 111/115 and 110/114 can be used in the short/long entry exit mode.
- Tracks 141 and 142 are the turnaround tracks in Hansaring. Steering numbers 6 and 7 leads trains in to 141 and 142, respectively.
- Tracks 504 and 505 (in the neighbouring Köln-Nippes) are the S-Bahn platform tracks of Köln-Nippes.
- Track 510 is the turnaround track for Köln-Nippes. Trains with steering number 3 apply here. To save time, take a train from Hansaring, directly to track 504.
Zuglenkbetrieb (Automatic route setting)
- Signals 158 and P123 are equiped with Zuglenkbetrieb (automatic route setting). Train routes being set depend on train's steering number.
- All other signal have the simple fleeting system (Selbststellbetrieb).
- Fleeting of signals 115 or 110 should be disabled in case a S-Bahn train terminates at Köln Hbf,
Peculiarities in Köln
In Köln Hbf some specific routes can be set using the Number Entry window.
- ALT + 1 = 712-315
- ALT + 2 = 612-315
- ALT + 3 = 612-325
- ALT + 4 = 512-325
- ALT + 5 = 230-069 (via switch 17 and 23 (243) to allow simultaneous entrance to track 6 and an exit from track 5)
- ALT + 6 = 325-041 (via switch 55 (322) without UFGT)
- ALT + 7 = 059-345 (via switch 60 (342) without UFGT)
In Köln Hbf there are several places where the half-distance rule is employed. This is controlled by the interlocking system and is completely automatic. The half-distance rule is used to increase capacity in high-traffic areas.
Here are some examples of signal aspects as a train moves though an area with this rule in place.
Cover signals are used at the platforms in Köln Hbf to increase capacity by providing more accurate stopping points. You'll notice that there are quite a few of them and they form a critical part of dispatching in Köln.
To put a cover signal to stop, use the HaGT group button. To put it to proceed, use the SGT group button.
The timetable specifies where a train needs to stop. Before setting a route into the platform, check if you need to put a cover signal to stop. If the train is not stopping at the end of the platform, you need to put the appropriate cover signal to stop, such that the train will come to a stop at the correct track. Once the signal is at stop, set a route towards that signal to get the train to its platform.
When the train is ready to depart, put the cover signal to proceed once more, using the SGT group button. Then, set a route from the platform's exit signal (not from the cover signal). You can deviate from the timetable, but be aware that you might have trouble fitting trains alongside the platform.
You can use the number entry to work with cover signals. First, type the 3-digit signal number for which you wish to operate. Then, use ALT-H (HaGT) or ALT-G (SGT). Lastly, use the left or right arrow key to indicate the direction (ZT1 or ZR1), and send the command using Enter (ATK).
Example for train route from 315 to 014 using Number Entry panel:
- Set 014 to Stop : enter 014 + [ALT]-[H] + [arrow left] + ENTER
- Set route from 315 to 014 : enter 315014 + [arrow left] + ENTER
Example for train route from 240 to 095 using Number Entry panel:
- Set 095 to Stop : enter 095 + [ALT]-[H] + [arrow right] + [ENTER]
- Set route from 240 to 095 : enter 240095 + [arrow right] + [ENTER]
or even faster, for the same examples as given above:
- Set 014 to Stop, set route from 315 to 014 : enter 315014 + [arrow down] + [arrow left] + [ENTER]
- Set 095 to Stop, set route from 240 to 095 : enter 240095 + [arrow down] + [arrow right] + [ENTER]
This principle is something very special in Cologne. It allows a further capacity increase for the train traffic. In most of the long distance tracks you will notice up to 10 Cover Signals. This means that such Cover Signals are located at approximately every car length.
To use the "Train Following" System, you must do following steps like in following example:
- A train is ready for departure in Track 051. It occupies the track 051 until 056. The arriving train has to stop in 052.
- Enter in a normal route from 325 to 052.
- the cover signals at 057 drops to stop immediately to cover the tail of the departing train
- the route will come in fully, expect that the start signal 325 will be held at stop
- the first train now departs
- as soon as the train's tail leaves the section 056, will the cover signal jump from 057 to 0056. At that moment the start signal 325 will clear immediately.
- the stop aspect in the cover signals will follow the tail of the departing train until 052
- you will notice that both trains are moving!
This principle is used many times by the signallers
These switches always show their current position. In Köln, switches 12 and 13 (on tracks 1 and 2, respectively) are middle switches. They are interesting because their position has an effect on how a route is called from signals 011 and 021.
If a route is set from either signal 011 and switch 12 is in the normal position, the MGT group button is not needed. If however, the switch is in the 'reverse' position, the MGT group button must be pressed as part of the route setting procedure.
In the following case, the use of the MGT button is not necessary:
In the following case, MGT must be pressed, together with the start and end signals in order to set the route.
Middle Switch Examples
Routes to Köln West/South, Köln-Ehrenfeld, Köln-Nippes
Routes from Köln Hbf to Köln West(KKW), Köln-Ehrenfeld (KKER), and Köln-Nippes (KKN) are normally set to tracks 355/365.
The Köln panel has an interesting way of quickly setting exit routes via these tracks. Imagine you have a train on track 078, and that this train is headed for Köln-Ehrenfeld. Normally, you'd first set a route from 078 to 365, and then a second route from 365 to 611.
A quicker way is to do the following: Set a route from 078 to the end button beyond signal 365 labeled "n. E". This attempts to automatically set the two routes for you. The three buttons (n.K, n.E, n.N) correspond to routes to 711, 611, and 511 respectively. Notice the same procedure applies to the end buttons beyond signal 355 (n.K and n.E) which correspond to 711 and 611.
Now, these kinds of routes can be set using the Number Entry window. Remember to focus the Number Entry window with the space bar first. Here are some examples. The first two are for routes via 355.
'078655' + ZT1 Right + ATK
'078755' + ZT1 Right + ATK
Here are some examples for routes via 365.
'078565' + ZT1 Right + ATK
'078655' + ZT1 Right + ATK
'078765' + ZT1 Right + ATK
Routes to the Shunting Yard (Betriebsbahnhof/Bbf)
If you want to set a route to 356/357 or 345/005, you must have permission from the manager of the shunting yard.
You must call him via the telephone, and provide him with the train number of the train being offered (the steering number is omitted). He will either allow or refuse the train. Avoid deviating from his instructions: failure to do so could result in a huge headache for everyone.
Once a train is accepted, first set a route to 345/356/357. With routes set to 356/357, the shunting yard manager will set a second route into his area.
Routes to the shunting yard through 326/327 are not possible (as they are unnecessary).
Routes From the Shunting Yard (Betriebsbahnhof/Bbf)
If a train becomes available, the shunting yard manager will call you to offer it. You must choose whether to accept or refuse the train. When you accept, you will often have a choice of which track through which to receive the train.
You must set a route out of the shunting yard first; the manager will set a route out from his side also. He will wait for you to set your route!
Once both routes have been set, the train will begin to exit the shunting yard. Remember to be patient with trains exiting the shunting yard. You won't immediately see any indication that the train is on its way out.
The "Schlundgleis" Track Between Köln West and Köln Station
Between Köln West and Köln Station is a special track that runs through the shunting yard (Betriebsbahnhof/Bbf).
If the main line to Köln Station from Köln West is disabled, Köln West will route traffic via Schlundlgeis. Naturally, trains going through here go more slowly than they would if they came via the normal way. When normal main line operation is restored, traffic will resume normally once more.
Conversely, if you need to send traffic to Köln West and the normal main line track is closed, you can send it into the shunting yard. As always, you must first offer the train to Bbf. When he allows the train, be sure to send it on the track specified! He will make sure the train gets to Köln West.
Special Trains in Köln Hbf
Shunting in Köln Hbf is in principle NOT allowed. This means: even running around is not allowed. That's because limitation in capacity as well as time to do so. However, there is a nice exception.
Train pair 224/225
These trains run on the connection between (Vienna) - Koblenz - Köln Hbf - Aachen - (Bruxelles) and turn around at Köln Hbf. For this purpose a loc will arrive from shunting yard Bbf and will couple with the cars at the westside (right). Meanwhile the arriving loc will uncouple from its cars at the eastside (left). The arriving loc will drive towards Bbf as soon as the train has left into the direction of Koblenz/Aachen.
A lot of S-Bahn trains will come out of BBf, via tracks 356/357, heading for the S-Bahn line early in the morning to start their service. Really a lot of attention is required then. Trains will turn around at Köln Hbf, Köln-Hansaring und Köln-Nippes. Read the schedule carefully after 4.15 am!
Overview Offering Trains Using ZNP
More information : ZNP801 communication panel
|Track||Offering field||Neighbour [F-Key]||Example|
|13||A13||KER [F7]||123456 KER 13 ANB|
|133||A133||KN [F8]||456789 KN 133 ANB|
|136||A5511|| KER [F7]
|789123 KER 5511 ANB|
|137||A137|| KER [F7]
|123456 KER 137 ANB|
|172||A172||KM [F3]||456789 KM172 ANB|
|220||A220||KDZ [F5]||789123 KDZ 220 ANB|
|230||A230||KDZ [F5]||123456 KDZ 230 ANB|
|276||A276||KM [F3]||456789 KM 276 ANB|
|502||A502||KN [F8]||789123 KN 502 ANB|
|513||A511||KN [F8]||123456 KN 511 ANB|
|518||A518||KN [F8]||456789 KN 518 ANB|
|613||A611||KER [F7]||789123 KER 611 ANB|
|Short Name||Full Name|
|Köln Hbf 1||380|
|Köln Hbf 2||460|
|Köln Hbf 3||500|
|Köln Hbf 4||500|
|Köln Hbf 5||500|
|Köln Hbf 6||510|
|Köln Hbf 7||455|
|Köln Hbf 8||420|
|Köln Hbf 9||470|
|Köln Hbf 10||400|
|Köln Hbf 11||400|
|Köln-Hansaring Wendeanlage 141||250|
|Köln-Hansaring Wendeanlage 142||250|
|Köln-Nippes Wendeanlage 510||240|
|Köln-Zoobrücke Wendeanlage 170||250|
|Köln-Zoobrücke Wendeanlage 172||800|
|Köln-Zoobrücke Wendeanlage 177||800|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 11||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 12||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 13||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 14||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 15||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 16||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 17||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 18||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 19||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 20||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 39||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 40||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 41||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 42||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 43||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 44||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 45||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 46||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 47||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 48||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 49||300|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 50||339|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 51||218|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 52||171|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 53||188|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 54||213|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 55||253|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 56||153|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 57||218|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 63||111|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 64||111|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 70||231|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 71||261|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 72||318|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 73||468|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 74||480|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 75||467|
|Köln Betriebsbahnhof 76||479|