the railway is rail-bound means of transport to the transport of persons and goods.

The vehicles of the railways drive with mostly steel wheels on steel rails. Flanges at the wheels ensure the whereabouts of the vehicles in the rule enterprise upthe rails. Progressive movement takes place nowadays via different machine drives in the vehicles themselves (motor coaches) or via special towing vehicles (locomotives).

According to the same technical principle function also different means of transport, which are not railways strictly speaking,for example streetcars, metropolitan railways, undergrounds, overhead railways and mountain railways (see also course). They are not after German right railways. Internationally they are considered as specialized railways.

Die Eisenbahn
The railway

table of contents


The railway developed from the linkage of the wheel and rail technology with machine drives. The weight of the machine drives and the requirements of a smooth drive led to the use of iron rails in place of the materials wood and stone for wheels and drives, used at that time.

“Railroad” in Montana, the USA

from it is derived also the name: „iron course “. The course is first the drive; only derived from it the word is used „course “for the whole means of transport (drive and vehicles) (Pars per toto).Also in other languages the etymon designates originally the drive and now the whole means of transport: French chemin de more fer, Netherlands spoor away, Spanish ferrous carril, Russian: dschelesnaya daroga (the iron road), English: rail way.- In German however the word for the drive became so indistinct that it is alone used also for the rolling material: Colloquially one says „comes there the course “. The German course AG works to it with: It does not callonly one course kind regional course, but even the course.

to history and meaning

Stephensons “Rocket” 1829

see major items: History of the railway

as historical beginning is generally regarded the year 1804, as smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Trevithick the first steam enginein enterprise took. The first public railway was the 1825 opened stick clay/tone and Darlington Railway in England, which carried persons beside goods for the first time also.

Arising the first railway connections in the first half 19. Century became from at that timeContemporary differently taken up. The one were afraid of the smoke and the smoke of the locomotives, more farsighted and business thinking humans saw special in the railway a welcome means for the overcoming of smallnational patronizing, in Germany.

The actual meaning of the procedure hashowever at that time nobody correctly recognized, also not the military with its Vordenkern. It lay in the speed, in which the railway developed to interlaced means of transport. From the most modest beginnings of a bare transport and pit course those developedRailway as a system, which overcame space and time for the conceptions at that time. Heinrich Heine wrote in Paris exiles: „[...] I smell already the smell of the German lime trees, before my entry door break the North Sea. “

See also: History of the railway inGermany, history of the railway in Austria, history of Swiss railway

of vehicles

of rail-mounted vehicles of the railway are led as courses, which consist of one or more one behind the other coupled railway carriages (railroad cars). Such a course mostly becomes from oneor by several locomotives pulled or pushed. A Triebzug has its own drive system, which is either in the head and/or final car (Triebkopf) or is distributed over the cars (Triebwagenzug).

One seizes locomotives, Triebköpfe and motor coaches under the term Traction vehicle together. Accordingly one speaks with the course of traction vehicle leader (engine driver is colloquial) for the coworker, who leads the vehicle. In the specialized jargon one uses also the generic term rolling material or roll material for all vehicles of the railway.

The drive took place inthe start times of the railway by course animals (horse course), later with steam engines - drive, starting from 1879 with electric drive (invented of Werner von Siemens), starting from 1900 also with Otto - and/or. Diesel engine - drives and in more modern time also with turbines. ThoseEngine and machine drives turn usually the wheels, those on the rails (or by means of other aids, e.g. a rack between the rails, rim drive (skin locomotive) o.a.) unreel and thus the vehicle move. Experimentally also propeller and jet drives were tested, thosehowever did not work satisfactorily. In former times usual stationary rope hoists, in order to carry courses on steep distance sections, became unnecessary by the development of the Lokomotivantriebs meanwhile.

On main routes and in densely populated areas the electric drive is preferred, otherwise Diesel drives.

See also: Series register

traction resistance

under the term traction resistance become all resistances, which when driving a course with even speed on more evenly, straight lines distance to arise, in summary. In particular to it the rolling friction and air resistance belong. On the basis of empirical data are formulasdeveloped for the computation of the traction resistance, which are used also for the computation by travel time.

see for example:

F. Sauthoff, kinetic resistances of the railway carriages with special consideration of the newer attempts of the German National Railroad, Dr. - engineer - thesis technical university Berlin Charlottenburg 1932, 69 S.

G. Voss,L. Gackenholz, R. Wiebels, a new formula (Hannover formula) to the determination air resistance of trace-bound vehicles, ZEV - glazier annals 96, 166-171, 1972.

B. R. Rockenfelt, travel time and course travel calculations at the German Federal Railroads, in: Elsners paperback of the railway technology, Tetzlaff publishing house,Darmstadt, S. 255, 1983.

railway facility

Bahnanlage (in Bremen)
railway facility (in Bremen)

railway facility one calls the railway infrastructure. It covers the railway system, buildings and further technical plants, which are necessary for the enterprise of a railway.

track and underbody

With the conventional track the rails in short distances on crosswise lying thresholds are fastened. The attachment takes place with different systems, z. B. Nails or clamps. The attachment guarantees the track width and prevents a moving of the rail in longitudinal direction. ThoseThresholds consist of impregnated wood or in newer building method of prestressed concrete. To smaller extent thresholds from steel are used.

The track rust from thresholds and rails is stored in a track bed (usually from crushed stone), that the static and dynamicForces takes up and to the underbody passes on. The upper's building consists of the track and its bedding. A modern upper's building (z. B. on the high-speed distance from Frankfurt/Main to Cologne) a track bed made of concrete, on that has thoseRails with damping elements are installed. These celebrations to roadway building method mentioned permits very high speeds with larger quiet running.

Land water viaduct of the Albulabahn.

Railroad lines permit no large upward gradient and require large turning radii. But is particularly in the mountains a aufwändiger underbody with structures necessary.Many mountain distances are famous because of their bridges and tunnel. Examples are the Semmeringbahn in Austria or the Albulabahn and the Berninabahn in Switzerland.

Important railroad lines (main courses) and such with a large density of traffic are mostly double-railed built . Upmehrgleisigen distances can cross and with restrictions overhaul railway trains on the way, which is possible on single-railed distances only in stations.


electrical traction vehicles need a driving current supply. The river is mostly supplied by way of an overhead line over the track, more rarely(mainly with undergrounds) over a bus bar laterally beside the track. To the system also the substations belong to the current supply, over which the river is fed. Larger railway companies operate also own power stations and channels for traction current.

Stations among other things

Stations are railway facilities with at least one switch, where courses begin, end, to evade or turn may. As border between the stations and the free distance generally the Einfahrsignale or Trapeztafeln are considered, otherwise the Einfahrweichen. “

Critical points are Railway facilities without switch, where courses keep regular, to begin or end may. “

Stops are branch places or connection points, which are locally connected with a critical point. “

(§ 4, exp. 2 building of railways and factory regulations)

railway company

course company

For the railway company, D. h. the safe and punctual execution of course travels, the railway companies are responsible. At the course companies one differentiates state railways -- where the railway is in government property -- of private railway companies. The courses become traditional mostlyfrom the same society as the infrastructure operated. Since the end 20. Century demands the policy in Europe a separation of the organizations in infrastructure and traffic, in order to ensure a discrimination-free net entrance.


misfortune place inIn addition,

Eschede the technology of the rail-mounted vehicles has many advantages, saves dangers. Railway trains have a long braking distance because of the small friction. Because of the Spurführung it is impossible to evade to another course or an obstacle on the distance. Beside frontal andlateral collisions (in the technical language Gegenfahrt and flank travel) lead also derailing to damage. The fact that the course is considered nevertheless as safe means of transport and it comes only rarely to disasters in the rail traffic is to be owed different organizational and technical measures.

Traction vehiclesand railway facilities have safety devices, which are to ensure as drive-free an enterprise as possible. In addition belong Eisenbahnsignale, signal towers and strain-relief systems, on the vehicles the brakes and Sicherheitsfahrschaltungen.

These systems are not landspreading however yet standardized. Therefore must at the bordersfrequently still the locomotive with the associated protection facilities to be changed. The new system ETCS is a European-wide standard for course steering element and - influence become. Before however ETCS will ensure security in the railway company, the proven systems with block sections become and/or. that Line train control system uses.

After one had said good-bye to driving on view in the initial years of the courses, a distance was divided into sections, so-called. Streckenblöcke. A Streckenblock is protected against bringing in courses with a signal. On high-speed distances and/or. for courses alsoControl speeds of over 160 km/h to Germany the line train control system was introduced. Here information is conveyed to the traction vehicle leader over before it operating courses by between the tracks shifted data cables on an announcement in the flight compartment.

Railroad overpasses, where roads cross the railway,must become likewise secured, for example by barriers.


the most important tool in the railway company is the timetable. He is arranged in such a way that an optimal enterprise is possible. When planning different factors must be considered: Crossing possibilitiesin stations and on the distance, the possible maximum speed of the course, minimum distance between two following each other courses (given by the distance of the interlocking signals on the distance) and connections to other courses as well as further dependence (Zuggewicht, traction power, inclinations, curvatures, minimum brake hundredth, braking distances etc.).Substantially for an economical enterprise is also the optimal employment of vehicles and personnel: they can be at the same time only at a place, are however not unnecessarily. A good timetable does not contain sufficient, but not too much reserves, thereby small delaysto other courses to be transferred.

Passengers estimate the clock timetable, because he is to be noticed with his regular structure easily. For the planner the advantages are in the constant, symmetrical system. Clock timetables are designed as network plan.

In the timetable courses become indifferent course kinds divided, z. B. Intertown center for courses in long-distance traffic or rapid-transit railway in the urban suburban traffic. In the internal timetable for the personnel also goods trains and empty travels are contained.

enterprise and automation

Stelltafel eines Stellwerkes
Stelltafel of a signal tower

the planning manager supervise thatTrain service, particularly whether the timetable is kept. During disturbances and delays he can arrange measures, shift for example course crossings to another station or turn courses prematurely. It decides also whether connections are waited for or broken. The operational decisions becomeconverted by the driving service leader, that carries the responsibility in the signal tower.

Adjusting the drive was ever continued to centralize and automated in the history of the railway. Signal towers took over the operation of the switches and signals locally. Can with the employment of the operating instrumentationalso the signal towers of whole regions to be operated by remote control. An automatic course steering element adjusts routes on the basis electronically stored timetable data. Also the arrangement is supported by computer systems and automated to a large extent.



a definition for railwaysis in § 2 to general railway law (AEG) of 27. December 1993:

„(1) railways are public mechanisms or enterprises organized under private law, which furnish railway traffic capacities or operate a railway infrastructure.
(2) Railway traffic capacities are the transport of persons or goods on oneRailway infrastructure.Railway transport enterprises must be able to guarantee the Zugförderung. ...
(3) The railway infrastructure covers the equipment of the railways including the traction current long-distance lines.
(3a) Operator of the railways is each railway infrastructure enterprise, that the enterprise, the building and the maintenance of the railways thatRailway to the article has, with exception of the railways in service facilities. “

No railways in the sense of this law are thereby „other rail courses such as magnetic levitation transport systems, streetcars and the courses, mountain railways similar after its building or mode of operation and other courses of special design “(§1 exp. 1 S. 2 AEG).

For the enterprise of regelspuriger public railways became in accordance with § 26 exp. 1 AEG the building of railways and factory regulations (EBO) issue. Narrow-gauge railways are subject to the building of railways and factory regulations for narrow-gauge railways (ESBO). Beyond that have the Lands of the Federal Republic forclosed railways regulations on the building and enterprise of brench lines (BOA and/or. EBOA) issue. A standardization of EBO/ESBO and BOA/EBOA is aimed at. There is the problem of the federation land competencies.

On railways of the federation as well as on not-Federal railways with seat inForeign country exercises the railway Federal Office (EBA) the supervision. For the not-Federal railways with seat in Germany the countries are responsible; most of them transferred the supervision of railway however the EBA.

Further railway laws:

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the Swiss railway law [1] defines:

„Railways in the sense of this law are enterprises, which can be used after their purpose from everyone to the transport of persons and goods and whose vehicles on or at rails to run. The Upper House of Parliament decidesover the assumption of railway facilities under this law. “(Kind. 1, number. I)
„the Swiss Eisenbahnnetz consists of main and secondary lines. Main courses are the normalspurigen courses, which serve the domestic and international transit traffic; Secondary lines are the normalspurigen courses, in thatServe main thing only the traffic of a certain national area, furthermore all narrow-gauge railways, rack railways, streetcars and endless rope haulage systems. “(Kind. 1, number. II)

see also

Wikiquote: Railway - quotations


  • Franz Czygan (Hrsg.): The railway in word and picture: Fundamentals of the practical railway nature after newest conditions of the railway-technicalScience in easily fasslicher representation, north living, 1928 (2 volumes)

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