The timetable is a guide for your work as a dispatcher – it’s not written in stone and deviations from the timetable are often necessary.
The simulation includes realistic timetable screens and visualisations. The “time‐way” diagrams are especially useful. We have also included some advanced features which do not even exist in real life (yet).
From the View menu, choose TimeTable Visualiser. You will see a diagram that looks similar to the image shown below.
Shown are train tracks, green lines, station abbreviations and the orange "now" time. Understanding the diagram is very important and really not that difficult.
These kinds of diagrams are popular with railways worldwide. The graph shows time on the vertical axis, and locations on the horizontal.
A vehicle always needs a certain amount of time to travel a length of track. The slope of the lines indicates the speed of a train as it travels between locations. A fast train has a near‐horizontal line, while a slow train has a steeper line. A train stopped in a location has a vertical line, indicating that it is not moving.
Below is a graphic example of a piece of track between Hengelo (HGL) and Bentheim (Bh) via East Hengelo (Hglo) and Oldenzaal (Odz). The time window is from 08:00 to 08:15. Train 1234 departs at 08:00 from Hengelo in Hengelo East at 08:05, shortly before 08:10 at Oldenzaal
Train 5678 departs at 08:03 from Bentheim in Oldenzaal and arrives at 08:05 and will leave again at 08:08. The short vertical line indicates the platform stop. This means that no path is made, but time expires. The train is so quiet during that time to the station in Oldenzaal. The train passes by, or has a very short stop in Hengelo East (Hglo) at around 08:12 and arrives in Hengelo at 08:15.
Below is an example from the simulation. The orange bar indicates the current time. Train 7228 will depart at 08:04 from Oldenzaal; stops in Hengelo East at 08:11; and arrives at 08:15 in Hengelo.
Additional colors and functions are explained in the following chapters.
Time‐Way Diagram Window
When you first open the window you’ll see a three‐paned view shown below:
The toolbar has an extensive array of buttons and controls to configure the window.
- A = Toggle window inside/outside main window
- B = Render Quality
- C = Print
- D = Show Train Delays
- E = Show Freight Trains
- F = Show Non‐Electric Trains
- G = Toggle Location Clicking
- H = Show Extra Trains
- J = Show Trains with Written Orders
- K = Show Station Conflicts
- L = Show Engineering Works
- M = Show Engineering Trains
- N = Current Time Window (minutes)
- P = Increase/Decrease Time Window Size
- R = Toggle Auto Scrolling
- S = Toggle Time Direction
- T = Toggles double clicking/ single click + F12 to open Timetable Viewer when clicking on a train
- V = Choose Left Panel
- W = Choose Middle Panel
- X = Choose Right Panel
- Y = Hovered Train Numbers
There are three controls at the left side of the window that determine what time is shown:
- Green “Reset” button. The time shown is returned to the current time, and the window is chosen automatically to give the best possible view of current trains
- Five “hour” buttons. The middle button indicates the current hour: clicking on a button above or below scrolls to that time.
- Scroll bar. Quickly scroll to a different time of day.
As you move your mouse over the graphs, you mouse cursor will periodically change to one of the icons shown below:
This is shown when you are hovering over a train (a line in the graph). Clicking on a train highlights it and shows additional timetable information next to the train. Double‐clicking on the line brings up the Timetable Viewer for that train. If there is more than one train where you are clicking, successive clicks cycles through the trains, highlighting each in turn. Additionally, multiple hovered train numbers are shown in the toolbar, so you know what you are hovering above.
This is shown when you can click on a location. Clicking on a location opens the Track Occupation Viewer for that location. There are three ways of choosing a location:
- Click on the abbreviated name of the location at the top of the graph (in yellow)
- Click anywhere on the vertical axes beneath abbreviations while holding the CTRL key down
- Toggle the button indicated with “G” in the diagram of the toolbar on the previous page; when active, click on a vertical axis beneath an abbreviation
When the “Show Engineering Works” button is active, engineering works are visible as blocks. The height of each block is the expected duration of each work item. The << or >> indicates the direction of track that is out of service. In the example, the right track to Hengelo from Almelo is possessed.
Clicking on a train’s graph line will select the train and causes the line to show in yellow. Additional TimeTable information is shown next to the line.
A green box indicates that a train passes through a location; a red box indicates a stop. Grey boxes indicate where the train is scheduled to stop.
In the example, 5717 comes from HGGL (Gross-Gleidingen) at 07:55, stops in HBTZ at 07:57 on track 2, and ends in HBS (Braunschweigh Hbf) at 08:01 on track 7.
If you wish to view more information about a train, you can do so using the Timetable Viewer. There are two ways to open the viewer from within the Timetable Visualiser:
- Double click on an activated train
- With the button labelled “T” , single click a train, then press F12.
If you turn on the Show Station Conflicts button, potential conflicts are indicated in red.
Track Occupation Window
The track occupation window is a detailed and sophisticated tool for dispatchers wanting to visualise when and where trains are, and whether there are possible scheduling conflicts. Each location has its own graph. Below is an example of such a graph, showing the time from 7:35 in Braunschweig Hbf
The tracks are symbolized using horizontal lines, and are in the order they appear on the panel and in the yard.
The track names are shown at the left. Tracks that are split into parts, 2w, and 2o, for instance, are closer together. The top of each line is the left end of that track; the bottom is the right side.
If you quickly need to see how long a particular track is, mouse over the left side of the screen, and each of the track lengths are indicated in the window’s tool bar. Split (a/b) tracks, when hovered with the mouse, indicate information for both tracks and the combined track as a whole.
A track line coloured blue indicates that there is no catenary on that track. Pressing the ‘show diesel trains’ button shows diesel trains in blue also. Having an electric train on a non‐electric track would be an obvious scheduling conflict.
Platforms are shown as grey boxes at the left side of the screen – they are for reference only.
Trains are indicated using horizontal and vertical lines. The vertical lines indicate direction, while the horizontal lines show the length of the track occupation (in time). Below are some examples:
Above, track 202 is depicted. At 5 minutes past the hour, train 1617 arrives from Deventer, and leaves for Enschede at 7 past the hour. At 9 past, 7920 arrives from Enschede and leaves for Nijverdal at 11 past. There’s a freight train passing through (not stopping) at 13 past the hour.
A more complicated scenario happens when we have split tracks, above.
At 4 minutes past the hour, 77978 arrives from Deventer. The train then becomes 7978 and leaves for Nijverdal 5 minutes later. The dotted line indicates that the train is actually ending. During those 5 minutes, 203a is occupied but 203b is free and available.
Train 2343 arrives from Deventer, occupies both 203a and 203b, and departs for Bentheim at 11 past the hour after having been stopped for a minute. At :13, 7228 arrives from Oldenzaal and leaves a minute after, headed for Zutphen.
Trains are normally grey. If you click on a train number (just the number, not the lines around it) the train number and its occupation graphic will change to either pink or yellow. If the graphic becomes pink, you are free to move the train to another track by simply dragging it with the mouse. If you move a train to a track that has a conflict, you will not be able to assign the train to that track. Be aware of placing electric trains on non‐electric tracks – you’ll hear a beep telling you that that is not permitted.
Trains that become yellow when clicked cannot be moved – you as dispatcher do not have authority to reassign these trains.
If you wish, you may print the current location’s track occupation graph using your printer. Each location has 24 pages (one per hour).
With the engineering works button activated, engineering works are shown using red boxes. If a train appears within such a box, then you have a conflict.
In the example below, track 302b is out of commission from 14:28 to 14:37. Train 1652 is expected to leave via 302b for Enschede at 14:36.
Notice that platform tracks 303a and 303b are free at that time. When 1652 is in your area of responsibility, you can click the train number and it will become pink, indicating that you can drag it to 303a/b, easily resolving the conflict.
Fixing conflicts by clicking and dragging is not (currently) realistic, but is designed to show what is possible with modern dispatching equipment.
If you notice two trains with a red stripe, this indicates a conflict. These are more likely to occur when introducing trains delays into the system.