You are here:

Physics/Railway signals control system.

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Dear Prof Steve

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_signal

In cases where specific railway signals are not working on the railway tracks, is it possible for the motorman or train driver getting automatic alarms inside the train ?.

Can a electronic panel and a signal control system be designed within the train cabin to the motorman indicating railway signals strategic locations and signal status (red,green,orange etc) displayed as a map at a distance say 1 or 1/2 km before the train approaches a railway signal ?.

Can i get inputs, views and opinion from your end regarding the pros and cons if such a system is integrated within the train cabin to the motorman ?.

Examples :

The railways signals positioned at strategic locations near the railway tracks can be completely or partially eliminated if such a system is built ?

The motorman will have a better control of train operations ?.

The cost of building and implementing these systems will be not a significant amount ?.

These systems if implemented will better for Long distance trains as compared to short distance Local trains transport or vice versa ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello Prashant,

Of course such a system could be built. I don't know, but I would guess that each train now has GPS systems. The GPS coordinates of the location that the motorman (we call them engineers) should be given the signal could be programmed into the system in the cabin. Then the system would have to ask for the status. The status could come from a signal broadcast point at the location where the old semaphores (the signals with the red,green,orange etc lights) had been.

I don't know how it works now. If the motorman misses seeing a semaphore because of sunshine, smoke, or whatever, is there a backup? I don't know. But this system you suggest could set a light in the cabin that would stay on until the motorman cancels it. Seems better.

The railways signals positioned at strategic locations near the railway tracks can be completely or partially eliminated if such a system is built ?

The motorman will have a better control of train operations ?. If the motorman is alert, probably no difference. If not alert, probably better.

The cost of building and implementing these systems will be not a significant amount ?. Compared to the cost of accidents, not significant.

These systems if implemented will better for Long distance trains as compared to short distance Local trains transport or vice versa ?. I think more important for the local train that probably is required to get out of the way of the express trains.

I hope this helps,
Steve

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof Steve

Thank you.

Do you feel if The railways signals positioned at strategic locations near the railway tracks can be completely or partially eliminated if such a system is built ?.

Electronic panel and a signal control system will be integrated in the train cabin for train operations to the motorman ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
Hello Prashant,

The need for visible signals at the side of the tracks are eliminated only if every vehicle traveling on the rails has the new system on board. That must include every motorized maintenance vehicle.

Yes, the electronic panel and signal control system would be integrated in the train cabin.

I hope this helps,
Steve

Physics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Steve Johnson

Expertise

I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.

Experience

I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

Education/Credentials
BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.