Integrated Engine Drivers Training for German High Speed Line VDE 8.2


A lot of railway lines will be build or renewed worldwide so that the engine driver will find them unrecognizable. For safe operation usually the engine driver and train staff have to be trained about the common properties and peculiarities of the line and stations before the first usage of the line.

Tight agendas for the construction works don’t give time for a direct training of the staff on the line, which usually means that the engine drivers have to run on the line several times with a trainer. Due to this reason it’s needed and mostly also cheaper to visualize the railway lines by modern video equipment and to show additionally important infrastructure data like signals, tunnel escape routes or lower pantograph sections. With the track video the engine drivers have the possibility to run virtual on the new or rebuild lines to gather the called “line knowledge” (Streckenkunde). Together with this aim also information about economic or customer friendly operation like energy optimized driving or best stopping places at a platform can be given. There is no need for multiple rides on the line anymore for the locomotive drivers.

By the example of the new opened Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig high-speed railway line the best practice to obtain the line knowledge by using of track video data and other digital documentation will be explained below.

The Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig high-speed railway line is Germany’s first line the the European Train Control System (ETCS Level 2) without any physical main or distant signals on a slab track which started operation in December 2015. The line can be operated with a maximum speed of 300 kph (190 mph). This line consists of six long brigdes, including Europes longest railway bridge, the bridge over the valley of the rivers Saale and Elster with a length of 6,5 kilometers, as well as three tunnels with the tunnel beyond the Finne ridge with a length of 6,97 kilometers. Especially the new cab signalling of the ETCS train protection system is a huge challenge for the engine drivers.

In close collaboration with the Infrastructure manager DB Netz and the Railway undertakings like DB Fernverkehr and others a “line leaflet” (Streckenprospekt) was developed to achieve line knowledge for the engine drivers together with the track video. The line leaflet shows all the constructional and technical properties of the line like line standards, equipments, operational modes, connections to existing infrastructures, operation control points and stations. Additionally detailed graphics and sketches with ETCS enabled routes, schematic track plans of the stations et cetera were provided.

Thereby a safe and economically efficient way of achievement of a comprehensive line knowledge for the engine drivers following the DB’s corporate policies (rule 492.0755) was made by the intelligent combination of conventional training material with geographic localised track video. Only with the interaction of line leaflet and track video the engine drives had the opportunity to become familiar with all the technological innovation, operating specialities and processes of the Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig high-speed railway line

Since December 12th, 2016 the Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig high-speed railway line is in daily passenger operation at complete satisfaction of operators and customers. An expansion of this successful digital learning process to other German projects is still designated and therewith on the way towards an accepted code of practice.