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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

Safety On The German Railways

Safety On The German Railways

Speeds up to 100 miles an hour for through trains on the main lines are the goal at which the German Railways Company are now aiming. But such speeds demand still more highly perfected safety measures, and hence a special department has been created in the central operating division in Berlin, charged with the perfecting of control methods. The chief aim is the developing of a system for the electromagnetic (inductive) controlling of operation. Only such a system comes into question for all speeds above 100 kilometres (62.13 miles) an hour.

The newly introduced inductive system has the advantage as against former systems that no parts of the locomotive come into physical contact with the apparatus on the lines. The locomotive is equipped with a magnet which constantly sends out electromagnetic waves of a fixed frequency throughout the trip. At all precautionary or stop signals along the line magnets tuned to the same frequency are attached, protected by cases. If the signal stands at track clear, the magnet of the locomotive is not influenced. If it stands at stop, however, different results ensue.

The first experiments along this line were made with a magnet of only one frequency in the locomotive, but the most modern apparatus permits the generating of three different frequencies. A frequency of 500 Hertz brings a full stop at the main signal, one of 1,000 Hertz a warning at the precautionary signal, and a frequency of 2,000 Hertz draws the engine driver's attention to the fact that he is exceeding the permissible speed on this or that section of track.

If the engine driver passes a warning signal, the train is automatically braked ten seconds later, unless he presses the so-called “attention lever.” If, having done this, he still does not slacker, speed, the brakes are applied automatically after another ten or fifteen seconds. And the brakes are set automatically immediately if a stop signal be passed. If the train is running at too high a speed, a warning bell is sounded in the locomotive cab.

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