What sounds like an archaic ritual is actually just one of the building stones that make it possible to operate railways safely. The wheel-rail system allows for low rolling resistance, but at the same time requires very long braking distances. At 160 km/h, a train stops only after 1000 metres – driving on sight is not possible. Before a train sets off, it must therefore be ensured that the correct track is set, that there are no other vehicles on this track and that no other vehicles can enter the track.
As early as 1858, it was no longer necessary to rely solely on humans to do this, but began to shift more and more of the responsibility for ensuring that these conditions were met to technical systems. This development continues to this day, whereby the basic operating principles have remained unchanged regardless of the technology used, from the mechanical interlocking to the electronic interlocking.
In our museum, these operational and technical processes are demonstrated by means of two indoor mechanical signal boxes, the outdoor installations of which are represented by a model railway for reasons of space. Here you can observe or try out for yourself what all has to happen for a journey from Aschaffenburg-Nilkheim (using the standardised signal box from 1953) or to Neckarbischofsheim (using the Bruchsal “H” four-crank mechanism from 1902) until it is said:
“Train announcement! Train 0815 in Neckarbischofsheim.”
Accessibility of the exhibition:
For better reading, the masculine form is used for personal names and personal nouns on this website. Corresponding terms apply in principle to all genders for the purpose of equal treatment. The abbreviated form of language is for editorial reasons only and does not imply any valuation.
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