Österreichische Bundesbahnen

by John Hinson

Station Directos' control frame at Worgl
Photograph 8/55, by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

The majority of mechanical signalling in Austria was worked on the principle common in Europe, whereby the Station Master or Director had charge of all movements at a station, and orders were transmitted to the signalmen at satellite boxes regarding the moves required.

This is the Station Director's control frame at Worgl, which is a junction station between Innsbruck and Kitzbühel on the Arlberg - Salzburg - Vienna and Brenner - Kufstein - Munich lines. The control frame is of the OES K47 type. The principle of operation is much the same as that described at Völs (using Siemens & Halske equipment) -operation was as follows:

  1. The station director turned the green "route selector" (for the track where the train is to arrive or depart) by 45° (an example can be seen in the picture above "nach Innsbruck").
  2. After this, he turned the red "authorisation knob" by 90° (an example can be seen to the left of the turned route selector), which would light an indicator lamp at the signal box's frame (not an indicator window - lamps were used instead at this time).
  3. The pointsman would now line up the points and turn his green "route lock lever" by 45°.
  4. Finally, he would turn over the red "signal knob" by 90°. The signal would certainly not have been motor-operated (only the Germans had this idea, in Austria there were only a handful of motor-driven signals prior to WW I), but would have been a light signal.

The sequence above corresponds almost exactly to the mechanical system e.g. at Völs: There, step a) was the movement of the knob on the Rank instrument; step b) was blocking the "authorisation block lock" (or "signal lock block lock"); step c) moving the small route lever at the signal box's frame; only step d) required two actions in the mechanical version: First, locking the route electrically (that "third block lock"), and finally pulling the signal.

Interior of west box at Worgl
Photograph 8/55, by Dr J W F Scrimgeour

The box at the west end was mechanically operated on the double-wire system.

The box at the east end had, at the time of these photographs, recently been renewed as a power-operated box. Nevertheless, it was still worked on the traditional principle under the supervision of the Station Director.

Additional notes by Harald Mueller and Michiel Rademakers

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson