Dispatching in Streckenzentralstellwerk Wuppertal-Vohwinkel
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-Vohwinkel panel here.
The signal box "Vpf" encompasses an area of 5 stations and sidings. The station of Wuppertal-Vohwinkel and the remotely controlled signal box Gruiten "Gf" controlling the station of Gruiten, the Stop Gruiten and the junctions Gruiten and Linden.
The station Vohwinkel has a small peculiarity: its station building is located between two separated lines.
Let's have look at which lines lead through our dispatching area.
Let's start at the top right up with red line. It is the so-called Kölner Ferngleis. This mainline has three different line numbers.
- Solingen - Bf Gruiten: 2730
- Bf Gruiten - Abzw. Linden: 2731
- Abzw. Linden - Wuppertal Hbf: 2550
This is a double track electrified main line. It connects Köln (Cologne) to Hagen via Wuppertal.
Directly below are the S-Bahn tracks, which has line number 2525. This is a double-track electrified line that runs from Düsseldorf to Hagen via Wuppertal.
Parallel to the S-Bahn tracks, up to junction Linden, runs the brown colored line 2550. We call this line the Düsseldorfer Ferngleis as this line is used for the regional trains RE 4 and RE 13 to and from Düsseldorf. This line is also electrified, however, between Düsseldorf and junction Gruiten it is only single track. Towards Wuppertal it continues as a double track line.
At the top left you can see the short freight line between the stations of Gruiten and Vohwinkel (blue line). The line is electrified but has only one track. Originally, this was the connection towards Vohwinkel Gbf (freight yard) but that hasn't existed for years. Therefore, this line no longer has any special meaning.
Nowadays it simply serves to relieve the red mainline. If for example, a RE train comes out of the direction of Gerresheim, while at the same moment freight train from Solingen is approaching, we could either let the freight train stop at junction Linden, or we try to solve it in the most energy-friendly way by sending the freigh train towards Vohwinkel via the blue line. In this way we kan keep both trains moving upto Vohwinkel, where have to shuffle the cards again.
The maximum speed on the blue line is 80 km/h. The line used to have an important role at the time when we still had a shunting yard there. From here trains could start their service at the station of Gruiten, from where the departed into the direction of Solingen.
Into the opposite direction we have a similar situation. If for example a freight train is shortly ahead of a RE or ICE service, you direct the freight train onto the blue line, and so let the faster train overhaul it. If there are no such situations, the freight trains stay on the red mainline.
Now let's talk about the orange line at the bottom of the panel. It makes the station of Vohwinkel a split station. It is the Essener-Strecke for the S9 with the number 2723. As the name suggests, it goes towards the city of Essen. The route is double track and electrified. The underpass connecting to the (green) S-Bahn line, which is located directly in front of our signal box, is single track and could give us some challenges in cases trains are delayed.
The line on the lower left is closed down since 1999. It was line 2722 towards Wuppertal-Varresbeck. This was once a single-track line without electrificaton. Unfortunately there is not much left of this line. In earlier days this line, the so-called Nordbahntrasse, was line that went all the way through the Wupper valley upto Gevelsberg-West, where it joined the S-Bahn mainline again.
In case of disturbances on the S-Bahn into the direction Wuppertal, you can easily divert the trains over the (red) mainline (Fernbahn). However, doing so means that the S-Bahn services will have to skip their stops at Zoological Garden, Sonnborn and Steinbeck! Same thing for the opposite direction. When the Fernbahn can not be used, we can divert the trains via the S-Bahn tracks towards Wuppertal Hbf, though this might make that we hit the capacity limits of these tracks.
When things get stuck on the mainline between Abzw Linden and Vohwinkel, you could send the trains from Köln onto the freight line, which can be accessed from the station of Gruiten. But beware, you can only send thess trains back to the Fernbahn in Vohwinkel via track 4. If things really get tight, you should keep such trains on the S-Bahn line all the way down towards Wuppertal Hbf.
Towards Düsseldorf we have both the S-Bahn tracks and the (brown) Fernbahn. Because the Fernbahn is a single line there, we could send trains over the S-Bahn tracks in case of delays, which is also done quite often to be honest. The diversion of the S-Bahn trains over the Fernbahn is very rare, because then stops in Gruiten (no platform along the Fernbahn tracks!) as well as in Hochdahl-Milrath, Hochdahl and Erkrath have to be skipped.
Neighbouring Dispatching Areas
At upper right (track 012/518) it goes towards Solingen Hbf. Along this line there is one more stop, called Haan. The dispatcher in Solingen "Sof" is responsible for this part of the line. Bi-directional running (GWB) is possible here.
The three tracks (512/533/514), just underneath the line towards Solingen, all lead to Düsseldorf Gerresheim. Next possible stop along the S-Bahn is at Hochdahl-Milrath, which is shown on the panel for information purposes only. Further down the Fernbahn track there is junction Hochdahl, which is also shown on the panel. The responsible dispatcher is sitting in the station Düsseldorf-Gerresheim, at signal box "Gf". Bi-directional running is not possible into the direction of Düsseldorf.
On the lower left us the S-Bahn and Fernbahn tracks leave our dispatching area into the direction of Wuppertal Hbf. Wuppertal-Sonnborn is the next halt along the S-Bahn line. There are no stations between Vohwinkel and Hbf along the Fernbahn tracks. 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". Finally, bi-directional running is not forseen on both lines.
Wülfrath-Aprath is the next stop along the Essener-Strecke, the next station is Velbert-Langenberg. There is a signal box "Lf" there, but it is being remotely operated by the dispatcher in Essen-Steele ("Sf").
Stations and Sidings
Let's have a more detailed look at our stations and sidings:
Bf Gruiten (KGUI)
Yes, actually 3 yards are called Gruiten, so we have to watch out here! First of all, we have the station Gruiten. It is located along Kölner mainline (Fernbahn). In both directions (track 505 and 508) we have the possiblity to let trains overhaul eachother. There is a platform between tracks 506 and 507, but no platforms along the outer tracks. Track 508 is occassionaly used for holding back an intermodal train with destination Langerfeld, in case it is fully occupied overthere.
Hp Gruiten (KGUH)
The stop Gruiten is located along the S-Bahn tracks from and towards Düsseldorf. A central platform is located between tracks 503 and 504. Normally only the S 8 service stops here.
Abzw. Gruiten (KGUA)
At junction Gruiten the so-called Ferngleis towards Düsseldorf becomes single track. It also provides a connection to the S-Bahn tracks.
Abzw. Linden (KLID)
The tracks of the mainlines from Köln (Red) and Düsseldorf (Brown) join each other at this junction. From here the tracks continue further towards Vohwinkel and Wuppertal Hbf, and onwards towards Oberbarmen and Hagen.
Bf Wuppertal-Vohwinkel (KWV)
The station of Vohwinkel has 8 platform tracks in total. There are platforms between 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6. The tracks 2 and 3 are used for the long-distance and regional trains, S-Bahn S8 stop at platform tracks 5 and 6. Track 1 and 4 can be used to a train to the side, but due to their short length they should not be used for long-distance and freight trains. On the other side of the station building, there is the central platform between track 11 and 12, along the line towards Essen. Entrance- and exit routes are possible on both tracks here, but normally we keep the trains on the rightside track.
The single track underpass connecting to the S-Bahn line towards Wuppertal can make things a bit tricky, especially in case delayed trains are on their way. Remember that in general the regional services have priority over the S-Bahn services.
Just right above the freight line we can see the few remains of the former freight yard, where a few sidings are left. The track 222 leads to the signal workshop Wuppertal where still a lot of work is being done. So now and then we have traffic overthere.
Just right of platform 1 the dispatcher has a few tracks available. That is also the the home of a railcar.
Peculiarities in Wuppertal-Vohwinkel
SpDrS 59 Technology
The station of Wuppertal-Vohwinkel is constructed using the Sp Dr S59 interlocking logic, instead of Sp Dr S60. There are some specific differences between Sp Dr S59 and Sp Dr S60.
On the panel we can see that particularly for the following items:
- main signals : the main signals of a Sp Dr S59 system do not have a square Route Locked indicator and Overlap route indicator
- route indicators : in the station tracks three indicators show the state of the routes being set
To enable certain technical processes, it is necessary to forsee each train, shown in the train number windows, with a steering number according to the following listing:
- 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
Route setting (Zuglenkung)
The signal box of Wuppertal-Vohwinkel has signals which feature route setting and signals with auto fleeting. The signals featuring route setting can normally be found at junctions with more then one possible route. The signals with only auto fleeting are normally found at places where just one route is possible. Exceptions are the signals N507 and H556. These are signals with only auto fleeting mode.
The applied route setting system here uses the complete train number, and not just the steering number. When train number is unknown to a signal equiped with route setting, the number in the train number window will fully blink. This indicates to the dispatcher that he needs to do something there himself. Either the dispatcher sets the route himself or he corrects the train number. Maybe your collegue has entered a wrong number for a train starting its service here in Vohwinkel. We're all just people! Beware that a wrong train number can result in trains being send into the wrong direction. So always keep an eye on this and of course try to avoid mistakes.
All timetabled trains passing the dispatching area of Wuppertal-Vohwinkel are programmed in the route setting system, except the ones of the S-Bahn service S 9. A few years ago the line towards Essen has been expanded to double track and electrified as well as the underpass was built back then. Before, the line towards Velbert and Essen was a diesel line and mostly single track. It diverted from the Fernbahn tracks back then. Due to the forseen introduction of the ESTW signalling box on a relatively short term, it was decided back then to not install the route setting system for this line. Even the auto fleeting system has been omitted for the entry- and exit signals at tracks 11 and 12.
Enabling and disabling the route setting at signals is done the same way as done with signals with auto fleeting. The indications for signals with auto fleeting or route setting are shown in the green group tiles.
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