Dispatching in Marburg (Lahn)

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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.

Have a more detailed look at the Stellwerk Marburg panel here.


The station Marburg (Lahn) is a railway station along the Main-Weser-Bahn. The Main-Weser-Bahn starts in Kassel and ends in Frankfurt (Main). The line is electrified. The power signal box (Stellwerk) "Mf" controls the line between kilometer 99.5 and km 112. A maintenance depot (BW = Bahnbetriebswerk) Marburg (Lahn) as well as a big freight yard used to be part of the station of Marburg in the past. That is why it has been decided to situate this simulation as how it was in the year 1970, as in that time both the BW and the freight yard were still operational. In 1970 Marburg (Lahn) was managed by the Federal Railway Authority of Kassel.

The neighbouring dispatchers along the main line were Cölbe / Kirchhain towards the North, and Niederwalgern towards the South. Back then there used to be two mechanical signal boxes in Cölbe. To allow connecting to the Kirchain simulation the compromise has been made to represent those signal boxes as a modern Sp Dr S 60 panel. The bottom part of the panel is the actual panel of Marburg in 1970. Later on the the signal boxes of Cölbe were shutdown and added on top of the original Marburg panel.

As Cölbe is also part of the dispatching area, there is another neighbouring dispatcher namely Sarnau. Dispatcher Sarnau is to be contacted for traffic on the branch line Cölbe - Sarnau.

The timetable is a 1:1 of the passenger timetable of winter 1970/1971. The freight traffic is fictional, but based on freight volume statics back then.


Besides the Main-Weser-Bahn Kassel <-> Frankfurt (Main), there was the branch line Obere Lahntalbahn starting in Cölbe towards Sarnau. In Sarnau there was another branch onto Burgtalbahn. In Marburg-Süd is the entry onto the branch line Marburger Kreisbahn.

The main line was mainly used by freight trains. The maximum speed for freight trains was 80 km/h. For the passenger services there were regional trains (N=Nahverkehrszüge), fast regional trains (Ns=Nahschnellverkehrszüge) and express trains of which some of them started or ended their service in Marburg (Lahn). Fast trains (D=Schnellzüge) existed for fast connections between Marburg (Lahn) and Gießen.

Freight trains usually had a BR 140 loc as traction. The D-trains and IC-trains were mostly pulled by a BR 103 loc, and so now and then the E-trains by a BR 110. The regional trains with their Silberlingen mostly had a BR 141 for traction. Some of the Silberlingen of the N- and E-trains had steering cars. Running around with the locomotive was no longer needed for those train. The express trains did not have the steering car in their train consist.

The Schienenbusse and Silberlinge older design with a BR 211 were used for the passenger services on the branch lines. The rare fast trains (E) had a BR 216 as traction. There were also some freight trains with a BR 211 locomotive, servicing on the branch lines. The branch lines were single track.

There were no passenger services onto the Marburger Kreisbahn in 1970. Only freight trains used the tracks of this line.

Marburg (Lahn) used to have three platforms.

  • At platform 1 there were tracks 6 and 8 along the main line, mainly used for traffic from the South towards the North.
  • At platform 2 there were tracks 4 and 2 along the main line, mainly used for traffic from the North towards the South.
  • At platform 3 there were tracks 1 and 46.

Cölbe used to have two platforms.

  • At platform 1 there were tracks 3 and 4. Track 4 was used for stopping services towards Kirchhain -> Kassel, track 3 for trains towards Marburg -> Frankfurt (Main).
  • At platform 1 there were tracks 1 and 2. Track 2 was used for services towards Sarnau, track 1 for trains from Sarnau.

The glass collars on the signal buttons of signal N321, N332 and P331 are to protect you from accidentally setting routes. Note that the route from Sarnau into platform 1 is always set as route without overlap. To set a route from signal N321 towards Marburg, you must use this Overlap button as start button for the train route towards Marburg.

There used to be two more train stops into the direction of Kirchhain -> Kassel, namely Anzefahr and Bürgeln. Those train stops as well as the block signals were controlled by Kirchhain. Into the direction of Niederwalgern -> Frankfurt (Main) there was the train stop Marburg-Süd.


Basically, the stations of Cölbe and Marburg (Lahn) as well as the main line were already electrified. However, the northern shunt yard located in Marburg (Lahn) were without catenary. The branch line to Sarnau could only be driven by steam or diesel as well.

There was quite some activity in Marburg (Lahn). In the morning there were regional freight trains (Ng) to and from Marburg (Lahn). In the evening other similar freight train arrived and departed, bringing the wagons to the main shunt yards of Kassel Rbf oder Gießen Gbf.

During the day their were shuttle freight trains (Üb) to and from Sarnau. Locomotives of the series BR 211 were used for those freight services.

At the station, a shunt loc of the BR 360 series was available for the local shunt activities, mainly assembling the wagons for freight trains on track 60 through 66.

The maintenance depot Marburg (Lahn) (BW) serviced both locs and wagons. This BW included a large roundhouse with turntable. Steam locomotives where turn around on this turntable in the past. There were no steam locomotives here any more, as tracks were already electrified in 1970. In addition, there was a large stabling area for passenger trains.

The Turntable and the upper stabling area

Mbg ds ab57.jpg

tracks 59 and 70 lead to the turntable of the depot (BW). Right next to those tracks, track 57 leads into the upper stabling area of the station.

Lower stabling area

Mbg ab47-52.jpg

The lower stabling area, including tracks 47 through 52, can be reached via switch 100.

Both stabling area have a critical point. Outgoing and incoming trains have to turn around (on track 56 or 80). Before using tracks 56 or 80 as well as entrance trakcs of the stabling area, you must be sure that there are no other trains coming out of there. Otherwise you will end up with two trains blocking each others path. The only thing to get such situation resolved is by moving the ingoing train somewhere else, and let the outgoing train exit the stabling area first.

The Freight Station

Mbg gbf.jpg

The entry tracks towards the freight yard can be found on the right (tracks 60 through 79). The upper tracks are arrival/departure tracks: track 15 for freight trains towards Niederwalgern, track 16 for train into the direction of Cölbe. A train route into those tracks is not possible. Departing trains must be assigned with a steering number and its train number. Tracks 9 through 11 must be used for incoming trains. After arrival the trains should be shunted in to the freight station.

The level crossings in Cölbe are closed when a train route is set over the level crossing.

Marburg (Lahn) has a Platform Information Display Systems on the platform, which can be operated by the dispatcher.

Trains on the branch line must be announced and accepted by the neighbouring dispatcher.

It can become pretty busy on the Main-Weser-Bahn in the event the Nord-Süd-Strecke North-South line is closed due to an incident. This scenario can be acitivated with the Fax System.

Trains with exceptional loads

Trains with exceptional loads (known as Lü-trains) require special attention. If you have a Lü train of classs C (Cäsar) or D (Dora) on its way, there may not be any other Lü of class C or D (Dora) traffic on the adjacent tracks . You might run into big problems when another Lü-train is on its way out of the other direction.

A Lü-train always has steering number "0" assigned. This means that the auto fleeting system won't work for those trains, and that you have to set any part of the route yourself.

Finally one more tip: Try to stay calm! Even when the train drivers keep calling frequently telling you that are waiting in front of a signal at danger. So what? You decide which train can drive, and which one has to wait. And don't be afraid, there are no passenger on board the trains. So you can coordinate and dispatch in the most optimal way!

Line Operations

The signal box Marburg (Lahn) can be connected with the signal box of Kirchhain (Bz Kassel).

Train Series

Train Serie Train Type
10-1499 Schnellzüge (D/IC/TEE)
1500-1999 Eilzüge (E)
2000-4999 Nahverkehrszüge (N/Ns)
5000-5199 Durchgangseilgüterzüge (De)
6000-7999 Durchgangsgüterzüge (Dg)
8000-9999 Nahgüterzüge (Ng)
10000-12999 Schnellzüge (D/IC)
13000-13999 Lokfahrten (Lz)
14000-14999 Leerfahrten (Lr/Lto)
15000-17999 Übergabezüge (Üb)

In the past, trains could change of train type during their journey. A D-train on one line could change into an E-train on another line.

Steering numbers

Steering numbers Used for
0 Extra trains and Special trains (.i.e. trains with exceptional loads)
1 Trains travelling at speed of 100 km/h or higher; Cölbe towards Kassel track 305
2 Trains travelling at speed less then <100 km/h; Cölbe towards Kassel track 305
3 Passenger trains on the main line, which stop in Cölbe
4 Passenger trains on the main line, which stop in Cölbe and end in Marburg (Lahn)
6 trains to and from Sarnau

When auto fleeting of signal F396 is enabled, then train routes starting at this signal will be set depending on the steering number. Train route towards Sarnau (steering number 6) will not be set automatically, as this is a train route oonto non-electrified track. Those train routes must be set manually.

For trains which turn around in Marburg (Lahn) and continue their journey under a new train number, the dispatcher must check the correctness of the steering number and change it when needed. The steering number is not changed automatically.


De Durchgangseilgüterzug
Dg Durchgangsgüterzug
IC Intercity
Lz Lokfahrten
Lr Leerfahrten
N Nahverkehrszug
Ng Nahgüterzug
Ns Nahschnellverkehrszug
Üb Übergabegüterzug

Main-Weser-Bahn: Destinations used in Timetable

Short Name Full Name
AZ Anzefahr
BNG Burg- und Nieder-Gemünden (Ohmtalbahn ab Kirchhain)
BRG Bürgeln
COE Cölbe
FF Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
GEM Gemünden (Wohra) (Wohratalbahn ab Kirchhain)
KIH Kirchhain
KS Kassel Hbf
MBG Marburg (Lahn)
MBGS Marburg-Süd (Kreisbahn)
MBS Marburg-Süd
SR Sarnau (Obere Lahntalbahn ab Cölbe)

Mbg entry exit.png

Track Lengths

Track Lengths Marburg (Lahn)

Track Length (m)
Marburg (Lahn) 1 240
Marburg (Lahn) 2 220
Marburg (Lahn) 4 400
Marburg (Lahn) 5 515
Marburg (Lahn) 8 300
Marburg (Lahn) 9 690
Marburg (Lahn) 10 590
Marburg (Lahn) 11 470
Marburg (Lahn) 15 500
Marburg (Lahn) 16 500
Marburg (Lahn) 46 200

Track Lengths Marburg-Süd)

Track Length (m)
Marburg-Süd 49 470
Marburg-Süd 50 520

Track Lengths Cölbe

Track Length (m)
Cölbe 1 530
Cölbe 2 350
Cölbe 3 600
Cölbe 4 550
Cölbe 335 690

Street Names of Level Crossings

Box info Mile Post Steet Name
I 1 km 99.709 Kasseler Straße
I 2 km 88.090 L 3089

This simulation is part of the Main-Weser-Bahn | Marburg (Lahn) | Kirchhain (Bezirk Kassel)