Dispatching in Streckenzentralstellwerk Wuppertal-Oberbarmen

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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 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen panel here.


Stelltisch der Streckenzentralstellwerk Wuppertal-Oberbarmen

Control areas

There are 4 control areas at Signal Box Wuppertal-Oberbarmen: W-Unterbarmen, W-Oberbarmen, W-Langerfeld and Schwelm. The Group Button window are assigned to a specific control area. this means, that not all Group Buttons on the panel work with ALL control areas. In case the wrong Group Button has been operated, "nothing" will actually happen when operating an other button on the panel. There will be just a pink circle around the buttons pressed.

The switch chain mechanism is also split into four areas. This means, that if you want to activate a subsidiary signal using the ErsGT button, you must deactivate JUST the switch chain within the respective control area. The indicators showing switches are being thrown (WL) only blink when switches within its control area are thrown.

Important: The number entry panel and group button window are "independent" of the control areas. From here you can operate any item on the panel without having to worry about pressing two buttons in different areas.


  • in case one or more switch chains are deactivated, the indicator LK is lit on both the Number Entry panel as well as on the Group Button panel.
  • in case one or more switches are being thrown, the WK-indicator will blink on both the Number Entry panel as well as on the Group Button panel.


First of all, we have the green line which runs from the top left all the way across our panel to the top right. This line actually consists of 3 lines, namely:

  • 2525 Neuss Hbf - Abzw Linder Hausen, electrified main line, double track up to Schwelm before becoming a single line.
  • 2143 Abzw Linder Hausen - Gevelsberg-West - (Witten); Electrified main line, double track
  • 2423 (Düsseldorf-Gerresheim) - Gevelsberg-West - Hagen-Heubing - (Dortmund-Westfalenhalle); electrified main line, double track

We denote the distance simply as S-Bahn here because the line S8 (Mönchengladbach Wuppertal-Hagen) is the only service operating here.

Kwo sbahn.png

Then we have the Fernbahn or main line, which is the red ribbon from left to right. This is the double-track 2550 Aachen - Kassel main line. Differently than the name suggests, we have both the various long-distance services and regional trains.

Kwo ferngleis line2550.png

In the middle we have the orange line, which is line 2700 W-Oberbarmen - Remscheid-Lennep - (Solingen). This is a non-electrified double track line (don't forget to operate the (FfrT button).

Between Oberbarmen and Rauenthal there is the Rauenthaler Tunnel which we will come back to later on.

From Rauenthal there is still the branch line 2703 into the direction of Wilhelmsthal. It is single track and not electrified. Here we could go to Wuppertal-Beyenburg and earlier on even towards Radevormwald. The route is blocked however due to a landslide in Wuppertal Beyenburg a long while ago. However, from time to time special trips to the memorial of the former concentration camp Kemna place on this line. These are carried out as a so-called Sperrfahrt.

Kwo branch line2700.png

In the middle at the top of the panel we have the blue line (2701). This is the freight line from Oberbarmen to Schwelm. It is primarily the connection to the container terminal at Langerfeld. The route is electrified throughout but has only double track up to Langerfeld.

Kwo freight tracks line2701.png

In the middle to the right of Gevelsberg-West, starting from track 993, there used to be the branch line (2423) to Schwelm-Loh. This is completely overgrown now.

Diverting Options

In case of failures on the S-Bahn line towards Wuppertal Hbf, the S-Bahn and RB47 trains can be diverted via the "Fernbahn" as in Wuppertal Hbf there is the possibility to send these trains back on to the S-Bahn line there. However, diverting such trains over the main line means that stops at Unterbarmen will be cancelled as this station does not have platforms along the tracks of the Fernbahn.

The other way around: The trains which normally use the main line tracks can be diverted over the S-Bahn line between Wuppertal-Oberbarmen and Wuppertal Hbf.

For both ways of diverting, it is important to know that it should be applied in case of failure and not in case of delays as routing the trains back to the original assigned lines can only be done after Wuppertal Hbf, and thus that station will overloaded even more. Coordinating operations with Dispatcher "Ef" is essential!

If there are problems on the S-Bahn towards Schwelm, you could divert the traffic over the freight line via Langerfeld or even via the main line. In this scenario, all scheduled stops between W-Oberbarmen and Schwelm, including Schwelm itself, will have to be cancelled.

Long distance traffic can only be diverted over the freight line, though it will generate very dense traffic. The same applies to the regional services with the addition that the stops at Schwelm will be cancelled.

You cannot use the S-Bahn line for redirecting the traffic that normally uses the main line, as there is no connection to the Fernbahn tracks at Schwelm.

Neighbouring Dispatching Areas

On the top left tracks 123/124 are the connecting S-Bahn tracks towards Wuppertal Hbf (KW). The tracks 133 and 134 are the connecting Fernbahn tracks towards Wuppertal Hbf (KW). Wuppertal Hbf is controlled by dispatcher "Ef". Bi-directional running (GWB) is not used on both lines.

The main station Wuppertal Hbf was named (Wuppertal) Elberfeld up to the year 1992, so that is the reason why that signal box still bears the name "Ef". Moreover, this is also the reason that at the exit tracks to/ from the main station are indicated with the texts Elberfeld. It has never been changed on our panel.

At the bottom center (754/755) we have the signal box of BF Wuppertal-Ronsdorf (KWRO). This signal box is remotely controlled from Remscheid (KR). Our contact person therefor is the dispatcher Remscheid "Rf". There is no overhead line and no GWB (bi-directional running) on this line.

At the bottom right (911/912) the main line leaves our control area into the direction of Hagen Hbf. The next controlled area is Hp Ennepetal (EENP), the next station is Gbf Hagen-Haspe (EHGP). The dispatcher is Hagen Hbf "Hpf". This signal box is operated using one of the first ESTW systems. Bi-drectional running between Schwelm and Hagen Hbf.

Also on the right, but then in the middle (652/943), it goes on to station Hagen-Heubig. The dispatcher at Hagen Hbf "Hpf" is also our neighbouring colleague for this station. Bi-directional running is not possible here.

Stations and Sidings

Let's have a more detailed look at our stations and sidings:

Bf Unterbarmen (KWU)

Wuppertal-Unterbarmen (S-Bahn)

Only the S8 and RB47 stop at Wuppertal-Unterbarmen. The trains from Wuppertal Hbf stop at track 4 (304), the trains towards Wuppertal Hbf stop at track 3 (303). There are no platforms along the Fernbahn tracks as well as along track 5.

Sometimes a train of the RB47 from Wuppertal Hbf is temporarily stabled at track 305, just to create some space at Wuppertal Hbf. This RB47 turns around in Unterbarmen and will then return to Wuppertal Hbf for its next service. So mind the timetable for these trains.

Track 313 is a non-isolated tracks which runs along the S-Bahn tracks all the way towards a yard at Wuppertal-Barmen. This yard is out of order however.

Hp Barmen (KWBA)

Wuppertal-Barmen (Long-distance & Regional)
Wuppertal-Barmen (S-Bahn)

The tracks 1 (138) and 2 (135) are used for long-distance and regional trains (RE). In Barmen only the RE4 (104xx) and RE13 (202XX) services stop here. In Wuppertal-Barmen tracks 3 (148) and 4 (145) are dedicated for the S-Bahn trains (S8) and RB 47 service. Trains from Wuppertal Hbf stop at track 4, the trains towards Wuppertal Hbf stop at track 3.

Bf Oberbarmen (KWO)

There are 6 upper platform tracks at the station of Wuppertal-Oberbarmen.

The tracks 002 and 003 are for the long-distance and regional trains (except RB47). Track 001 is used very rarely, for example to overtake a delayed train in Wuppertal-Oberbarmen. The trains of RB4 (104xx), RB7 (107XX) and RE13 (202XX) stop in Wuppertal-Oberbarmen. Long distance services do not have a scheduled stop here.

Track 004 can be used for long-distance and regional trains (RE) as well as for the S-Bahn services, depending on need and timetable situation.

The S-Bahn (S8=308XX and 309XX) and the RB47 (307XX) trains from Wuppertal Hbf halt at platform track 6 (006). The same game into the other direction: Planned stops are at track 5 (005). Some commuter trains stop there and take a short drive to Langerfeld Gbf to turn around and wait there until their next service. Watch the movement orders for the details.

Track 009 through 011 used to be used for stabling extra trains or measuring trains. But beware, the tracks 010 and 011 are not electrified. Consequently, routing trains with electrical traction into these tracks is not allowed.

In Wuppertal-Oberbarmen we normally enable auto fleeting for all signals on the Fernbahn line, because there are not that many different routes to be set. For the few exceptions, we must not forget to set the route in time before the auto fleeting beats us. If you do not feel comfortable with the auto fleeting, then just switch it off using the SBRT button.

Hp Langerfeld (KWLP)

Wuppertal-Langerfeld (S-Bahn)

The S-Bahn stop Langerfeld has outer platforms along the tracks.

Rauenthaler Tunnel

Rauenthaler Tunnel

Tracks 771 and 772 (closed) are located in the so-called "Rauenthaler Tunnel". the eastern tunnel tube (track 772) is complety closed for all traffic due to severe damage. That is the reason why the line is single track between Rauenthal and the entry signal at Oberbarmen.

Bbf Rauenthal (KWR)


Wuppertal-Rauenthal does not have platforms and no timetabled stops are forseen there. This location used to be a junction where the traffic towards Wuppertal-Oberbarmen (via the Rauenthaler Tunnel) was split from the traffic towards Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf (via the Langerfelder Tunnel). The Langerfeld Tunnel has been closed years and years ago and is not even shown on the panel.

Traffic out of the direction of Remscheid can use track 703 to turnaround, but only for (multiple) train units, as running around is not possible. Due to the tunnel damage mentionned earlier, track 702/752 is closed. All traffic out of the direction has be routed over track 701.

Gbf Langerfeld (KWL)

There is a pecularity for routes to and from Langerfeld Gbf, as this is the boundery of operation for dispatcher Westside and dispatcher Eastside. But I'll explain that in more detail later.


The container terminal of Langerfeld is located on tracks 501-504. Only the first 50 meters of track are electrified at both sides. Normally, a container train reaches the freight station on the track 560, where the electric locomotive will be uncoupled. This then moves to Langerfeld Abstellung (515-528), and (pay attention to the movement orders) waits for its next service. The arrived container cars will be moved on to the tracks of the container terminal by a diesel locomotive. That diesel locomotive is normally stabled at Langerfeld Abstellung.

As tracks 501-504 are not equipped with catenary because of the portal cranes overthere, you must set shunt route into those track using the FfrT. Train routes into tracks 501-504 from a main entrance signal can not be set! This is a safety precaution because of the possible hazards with respect to the portal cranes overthere.

Langerfeld Abstellung (Stabling)

The tracks 515-528 are used to temporarily stable trains or letting them turn around there. Many trains are also stabled here during the night. In addition, there are always two locomotives for the various shunt maneuvers at the container terminal. The incoming electric locomotive coming of an incoming container train is stabled here temporarily.

The tracks are 517-521 and 523 used for the stabling of passenger trains (S8, S9, RB47, RB48). This stabling should be done, as required by the stabling plan, otherwise you may get problems with the track lengths. Track 524 is used by the cleaning personnel to empty the toilets of the passenger trains of the RB47 and RB48 services. In addition, the same tracks is also equipped with a fueling point, both used by trains of the RB47 as well as by the shunting locs of Langerfeld. The track 522, and occasionally also track 523, is used as start point and endpoint of train movements. Trains which need to go to 524, first arrive at 522 (523), and then continue towards 524 as shunt movement. After that, these trains have to shunt towards their final stabling track.

Make sure you know in advance where a train needs to go. Not that you already have a next train on 522, causing that you have to stable your train still on 524 on the eastside of Langerfeld, as the Westside of the stabling track is already occupied. By the way, tracks 517 through 521 are divided in a Westside (towards W-Oberbarmen) and eastside (towards Schwelm). Track 526 is used for turning around the trains out of track 524, which need to be stabled on track 517 through 521.

If the siding for stabling is completely free, then of course you can also stable the train on the Westside. Trains that do not require any service (cleaning or fuelling), so the S8 and S9, may be routed into their stabling track (517-512 and 523) as a train movement directly, except when the tracks is occupied. Then you must let these trains end in a adjacent track or 522, and after that shunt them to the final siding. Tracks 515 and 516 are reserved for the freight train locs. 516 is for our shunting locomotives, and 515 for the locs coming of the arriving freight trains. Be aware, that those two tracks are not that long.

  • 517 - 521 and 523: Sidings for passenger trains. For tracks 517-521 there is a distinction between west and east, 523 is too short for such distinction.
  • 522: Here passenger trains begin and end (empty stock) which cannot go directly from / to the siding or which need to go to 524.
  • 524: Pass-through track, toilet disposal system and fuelling point.
  • 526: Track where trains turn around to get to the eastside of tracks 517-521. (526 is not meant for stabling trains)
  • 516: Siding for the two shunting locomotives of Langerfeld.
  • 515: Siding for the locomotives, coming of the arriving container trains.
  • 531: Connection to timber traders (without OHLE), currently out of service.
  • branch at track 528: Westfalen AG (without OHLE)

Langerfeld Laderampe

Track 563 on the right side of Langerfeld is the connection to the non-electrified loading dock tracks of Langerfeld. There are only a handful of train movements throughout the day.

Hp Schwelm-West (KSWW)

Schwelm West (S-Bahn)

A S-Bahn stop with an island platform.

Bf Schwelm (KSWE)


Tracks 1 (401) and 2 (402), which have a island platform, are used for the S-Bahn service. Tracks 3 (403) and 4 (404) are intended for long-distance and regional traffic. On this Fernbahn tracks only the RE4 (104xx), RE7 (107XX) and RE13 (202XX) services have their stops. 405 is the freight track towards Langerfeld, and 406/416 is a siding, but due to the superstructure of defects the last can not be used. 405 and 406 have no platform. The track 441 has been built for letting the S-Bahn trains turnaround, but it is not used as such for a while. You could use it to put a defective train aside.

Abzw. Linderhausen (KLIH)

Abzw. Linderhausen

Here the freightline from Langerfeld connects with the S-Bahn line. A bit of attention is required here, as the S-Bahn is single track here over a short distance.

Bf Gevelsberg-West (KGVW)

Pb kwo gevelsberg.png

Track 953 is an electrified track, which is theoretically only used for overhauls, but this almost never happens as we only have the S8 and a few freight trains here. Tracks 964 and 993 run to the west towards the station of Schwelm-Loh. Schwelm-Loh is a former passenger station and freight depot, from where the tracks continued towards Wuppertal-Langerfeld via Wuppertal-Wichlinghausen. Passenger traffic was discontinued 20 or 30 years ago, and since then only a local scrap dealer in Schwelm-Loh was served from Gevelsberg-West. This was initially done with V60 locomotives, and later on with V90 locs. There is still a piece of overhead line upto the high-positioned entry signal B993. The tracks after Schwelm-Loh are more and more overgrown with shrubs etc for years already. The last time that I've seen a train there was 7 years ago.

The sidings beneath the station (960) are dismantled and no longer exist. The tracks 955/959 next to 953 were not used anymore either and have been dismantled. There are still a few large storage building where we still see some business, but the tracks are there have not been served for the last 10 to 20 years.

Hp Gevelsberg-Kipp (KGVK)

S-Bahn stop with outer platforms.

Hp Gevelsberg Hbf (EGVH)

S-Bahn stop with outer platforms.

Hp Gevelsberg-Knapp (EGVA)

S-Bahn stop with outer platforms.

Hp Hagen-Westerbauer (EHWB)

S-Bahn stop with outer platforms.

Hp Ennepetal (EENP)

Ennepetal Hp

Only the services RE4 (104xx), RE7 (107XX) and RE13 (202XX) stop in Ennepetal. The passengers use the island platform there.

Peculiarities in Wuppertal-Oberbarmen

Station buttons

Station button

The Station buttons on the panel look different than the ones you might have seen on other panels. Each area on the panel has a dedicated station button next to the group buttons.

Middle Switches

These are switches which are positioned in front of exit signals or intermediate signals that must be part of a train route. This kind of switches are located directly in front of the main signal. The middle switch's position indicator light is always on.

Middle Switches in Wuppertal-Oberbarmen

In Wuppertal-Oberbarmen switch 44 at track 4 is a middle switch.

If you set a route whereby the position of the middle switch is in normal position, you will not have to do any special operations.

However, when you want to set a route when the middle switch is not in its normal position (diverging), you must press the MGT button prior to setting the route. The middle switch will then be locked in its diverging position, and only then the main signal will change to Proceed.

For this train route operation of the MGT button is not required:

MGT not required

For this train route you must first press the MGT button, and then press the buttons for the required train route:

MGT operation required

Boundary of operating area

Dispatcher Westside operates the panel between Wuppertal Hbf (tracks 123,124,133,134) up to Wuppertal-Oberbarmen including the yellow branch line.

Dispatcher Eastside operates the panel between Wuppertal-Oberbarmen to the right side of the panel.

A special point on the panel is where the Freight tracks 661 and 662 connect to the station tracks.

Routes from W-Oberbarmen towards W-Langerfeld

When the Westside dispatcher needs to send a train to Langerfeld Gbf (freight yard) he sets his route up to track 661 or 662. On number entry panel this would be 006-661. The rest of the route setting into the freight yard is done by the Westside dispatcher. For example, he sets the route from 651 towards 516.

Route setting from W-Oberbarmen towards Langerfeld Gbf

When setting such routes the signal will not be set to Proceed until the Eastside dispatcher has given his permission. Giving permission is done by operating the ZGT button together with the end signal button (here 651 or 652). Only then the route will be completely set and the start signal will be change to Proceed.

Routes from W-Langerfeld towards W-Oberbarmen

If the Eastside dispatcher needs to send a train out of the direction of Langerfeld Gbf, he will set his route up to track 661 or 662. In the image below this is shown as yellow lines. The signal towards track 661 or 662 will not clear then, as the route setting has to be completed by the dispatcher Westside. The last will set the route from 661/662 towards the station. For example: 661 to 254. Only then, and if all safety checks have been passed, the signal for this part of the route will show Proceed.

Route setting from Langerfeld Gbf towards W-Oberbarmen

Train Series

Number Series Train Type Connects From To Remarks
1-99 EC Internationale Fernzüge/Eurocity - - diverse Verbindungen
2000-2400 IC 31 Intercity - - diverse Verbindungen
2000-2400 IC 55 Inter City Leipzig Hbf Köln Hbf -
500-900 IC 10 Inter City Express - - diverse Verbindungen
309xx S S-Bahn S8 Mönchengladbach Dortmund Hbf -
307xx RB Regional Bahn RB 47 Remscheid-Güldenwerth Wuppertal Hbf -
317xx RB Regional Bahn RB 47 Remscheid-Güldenwerth Wuppertal Hbf -
319xx S S-Bahn S9 Wuppertal Hbf Bottrop Hbf / Haltern am See -
104xx RE RE 4 Dortmund Hbf Aachen Hbf -
107xx RE RE 7 Krefeld Münster -
202xx RE RE 13 Venlo Hamm -
202xx RB RB 47 Köln Hbf Wuppertal Hbf -
111xx RB RB 48 Köln Hbf Wuppertal Hbf -
113xx RB RB 48 Bonn-Mehlem Wuppertal Hbf -

Steering numbers

To enable certain automated mechanisms, it is necessary to ensure that each train of the following trains has the correct steering number assigned:

  • Steering number 1: Long distance services, using the Fernbahn tracks
  • Steering number 2: Freight trains
  • Steering number 3: S-Bahn S9 Wuppertal Hbf - Haltern am See / Bottrop Hbf
  • Steering number 4: RegionalBahn RB48 with destination into the direction of Köln Hbf (z.B. Bonn-Mehlem)
  • Steering number 8: S-Bahn S8 Wuppertal Hbf - Hagen Hbf

Trains from Wuppertal Hbf to/from Remscheid Hbf do not have a steering number assigned

The steering numbers of incoming trains are set by the neighbouring dispatchers. The dispatcher of Oberbarmen needs to set the correct steering numbers starting in his dispatching area, so monitor the accuracy of the steering numbers being applied and correct them when necessary.


Short Name Full Name
EENP Ennepetal
EGVA Gevelsberg-Knapp
EGVH Gevelsberg Hbf
EHG Hagen Hbf
EHGI Hagen-Heubing
EHWB Hagen-Westerbauer
EVLR Velbert Rosenhügel
ENV Velbert-Neviges
EWAP Wülfrath-Aprath
KGUI Gruiten
KGVK Gevelsberg-Kipp
KGVW Gevelsberg West
KHOL Hochdahl (Abzw)
KHOM Hochdahl-Millrath
KSWE Schwelm
KSWW Schwelm West
KW Wuppertal Hbf
KWBA Wuppertal-Barmen
KWL Wuppertal-Langerfeld
KWLP Wuppertal-Langerfeld (Hp)
KWO Wuppertal-Oberbarmen
KWS Wuppertal-Steinbeck Pbf
KWSO Wuppertal-Sonnborn
KWR Wuppertal Rauenthal
KWU Wuppertal-Unterbarmen
KWV Wuppertal-Vohwinkel
KWZ Wuppertal Zoologischer Garten

Track Lengths


Track Length (m)
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 1 385
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 2 420
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 3 550
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 4 400
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 5 220
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 6 500
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 9 560
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 10 520
Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 11 500


Track Length (m)
Wuppertal-Unterbarmen 3 680
Wuppertal-Unterbarmen 4 670
Wuppertal-Unterbarmen 5 650


Track Length (m)
Wuppertal-Barmen 1 1340
Wuppertal-Barmen 2 1350
Wuppertal-Barmen 3 1050
Wuppertal-Barmen 4 1350

Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf

Track Length (m)
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 501 700
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 502 700
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 503 700
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 504 700
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 515 160
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 516 85
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 517 445
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 518 375
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 519 355
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 520 285
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 521 335
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 522 130
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 523 125
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 528 630
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 560 720
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 561 720
Wuppertal-Langerfeld Gbf 562 720


Track Length (m)
Wuppertal-Rauenthal 701 260
Wuppertal-Rauenthal 702 380
Wuppertal-Rauenthal 703 270

This simulation is part of the Wuppertal series | Wuppertal-Oberbarmen | Wuppertal Hbf | Wuppertal-Vohwinkel | Düsseldorf-Gerresheim