THE SIGNAL BOX

OVERSEAS

AUSTRIA

Index to pages

Until 1938, the railways of Austria employed left-hand running, but the annexation by Germany led to an enourmous expenditure being made on altering operations to right-hand running and the deployment of german-style signals. Previously, signal arms pointed to the left side, and they had no circles on their ends. The arms were of a very strange 'louvred' pattern having rows of vertical slits in them to diminish wind pressure and risk of ice accumulating. They were however painted white with red borders, like the German ones. The posts of these signals were tubular steel. The signals had the 'two arms for junction signals' arrangement like the German ones, only the arms were much closer together, so that the lower one extended over the fulcrum of the upper when in the vertical position. The Austrian distant signal was basically like the German one, except that the board was an orange rectangle instead of a disc, and it too had the 'louvre' pattern.

Austrian semaphore signalling was also used by railways in countries once associated with Austria -the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and other parts of former Yugoslavia. Some of these were certainly still be in use in 2011.

The control of movements at any station was in the charge of the Station Director or Station Master, and in typical circumstance there would be a box at either end of the station controllling the points and signals. The Station Director would instruct the signalmen which moves were required through Rank block instruments for the setting of the route and by Seimens block instruments which allowed the signal boxes control of those routes..

After 1927, signals also followed the style of German signalling, with the ubiquitous "blob" on the end of signal arms, and striped posts. The provision of running signals appears to have been kept simple, but every set of points (whether worked from the box or hand-operated) would be provided with an indicator disc to show which way they were set. Usually, stations were and are equipped with a home signal for each entering line; and a separate starting signal for each running track. However, as in Switzerland, small stations - e.g. with only a single loop - could be equipped with a single "group starter" for all track

Modern ÕBB signalling has transformed the position. The colour-light signalling of today employs multiple-aspect signalling with a large range of indications.

Additional notes by Michiel Rademakers and Harald Mueller