Visit the Railway Signalling Lab (ELVA) of the Institute of Transport Science

Visit the Railway Signalling Lab (ELVA) of the Institute of Transport Science.
“Synthesizing Structured Reactive Programs: How Much Memory Do They Need?”.

The meeting point will be in the foyer of the building of civil engineering (Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 1) at 10.15 a. m..

The AlgoSyn members starting from the Informatikzentrum will meet in front of room 5052 at 10.00 a. m.



The Railway Signalling Lab of RWTH Aachen University

The Institute of Transport Science of RWTH Aachen University holds a Railway Signalling Lab for research and development, for the education teaching of students and for further educational seminars. The lab has several functional models with different scales. There is a railway network models with scale 0, which can be controlled by different types of interlocking systems. The model was built between 1960 and 1962 in the basement of the new building of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The special clearance, traction voltage and track-release of the lab require certain adaptations when using general scale 0 vehicles.


The scale-0-model is controlled by seven original interlocking systems. Four mechanical interlocking boxes are situated. One station is controlled by two electromechanical interlocking boxes of type E 43. Further there is another station which is operated by a relay interlocking box of type DrS.

The station (type DrS) is supplied with an automatic presence-of-trains indication. The operation of the track circuits is simulated by the model. The automatic block sections between two stations DrS and E 43 are controlled by track circuits, too. All other sections are protected by electric manual blocks. The block in E 43 and DrS is partly supported by motor inductors.


The scale-0-model can be used in two modes for educational and further educational purpose. In the first mode, special switch orders can be simulated and trained for regular-, irregular- and disturbed operation. In this special operation it is important that the block handles and plungers, emergency buttons and storing relays can be directly manipulated for educational reasons, which is not possible in real operation for safety reason. In the second mode, it is possible to operate the lab with a given timetable of 30 minutes. This period can be stretched out to one hour to let the students have time enough to be familiarized to the system. After familiarizing is finished, it is also possible to accelerate the model clock. The experiences the students achieved by operating after a given timetable is very useful. The students run into high level of operational stress that might lead to mistakes that gives rise to disposing problems, like for example a deadlock.

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