Track Svitavy - Žďárec u Skutče gets a modern signalling system


Prague, 08/12/2010 – Residents of Krouna (track No. 261 Svitavy-Žďárec u Skutče) can still vividly remember the fatal railway tragedy which occurred on 24th June 1995. A service car and three freight wagons loaded with wood and scrap iron weighing 123 tonnes spontaneously got away and along a 4km-long descending section they gathered the speed of about 100km/h. The location lacked any kind of communication system, let alone the system „General stop“, and this uncontrolled freight was about to crash into a motor passenger train.  In the critical moment the crash speed reached 133 km/h, as a result of which only four of 23 passengers survived this accident.

Today nothing like this can ever happen. It is prevented by the completed Rationalization of the railway section Svitavy-Žďárec u Skutče. The investor was the Railway Infrastructure Administration, state organization. The new signalling installation was implemented by the company AŽD Praha in cooperation with Starmon, Chládek and Tintěra and JICOM. The objective of the construction, which started in October 2008, was to establish long-distance control of the station interlocking system, block signalling system and level crossing safety installation from the Unified Control Place at the railway station Svitavy. A fully operational substitute control place was also established at the railway station Žďárec u Skutče, including graphic-technological upgrade and diagnostics of signalling installations.

Electronic interlocking belongs to 3rd category type ESA 33. The control level is placed at the railway station Polička and the executive level (panels EIP - Electronic Interface Panel) is decentralized in the operating control posts Květná, Borová u Poličky, Čachnov and Skuteč. The electronic interlocking K 2002 of the company Starmon was installed at the railway station Žďárec u Skutče.

The integrated block signalling system of 3rd category AH-ESA-04 was put into operation in the inter-station sections Květná – Polička, Polička – Borová u Poličky, Borová u Poličky – Čachnov, Čachnov – Skuteč. The railway sections Svitavy – Květná, Skuteč – Žďárec u Skutče are equipped with the signalling installation AHP03.

The rationalization also included three new level crossing safety installations PZZ EA. Six original level crossing safety installations VÚD were replaced with PZZ EA and four level crossings were reconstructed. All level crossing safety installations were supplemented with diagnostics which discloses the culprit of the accident. Safety was enhanced by supplementing driver´s indication signals. The engine drivers receive visual information on the condition of the level crossing safety installation and can respond to the critical situation in good time. In the whole section there are 97 rail crossings with roads. For that reason any extension or reconstruction of obsolete level crossing safety installations is beneficial to the enhanced safety of rail and road transport.

„Enhancement of the safety at level crossings is the priority for SŽDC”,said Ing. Pavel Habarta, entrusted with the leadership of SŽDC and added: „By investing in higher-quality and state-of-the-art level crossing safety installations we prevent much higher cost of disposing consequences of tragic accidents at level crossings. On the other hand we are aware of the fact that even the state-of-the-art level crossing safety installation may not discourage some drivers from senseless and risky behaviour at the level crossings.” 

The track radio system (TRS) was established along the whole railway section Svitavy-Žďárec u Skutče. This system may prevent accidents by staff´s immediate responding. By the application of the so-called „General stop“, it is possible to stop all trains along the whole controlled section and to prevent tragedies such as e.g. the aforementioned railway tragedy near Krouna, where 19 people unnecessarily lost their lives.

Unmanned operating control posts were equipped with local radio networks in the band of 150 MHz and a camera surveillance system monitoring the trackage area. The video is watched by the dispatcher at the railway station Svitavy. From there it is possible to provide long-distance control and to automatically report by means of the loud-speaker installation, which was installed in the operating control posts Květná, Polička, Borová u Poličky, Čachnov and Skuteč.

An autonomous fire-protection system was also installed in interlocking equipment boxes and in rooms of the station buildings of the operating control posts Květná, Polička, Borová u Poličky, Čachnov and Skuteč supervised from the dispatcher control post at the railway station Svitavy.

The construction also included electric switch heating between through tracks at the railway stations Květná, Polička, Borová u Poličky, Čachnov, Skuteč and Žďárec u Skutče with long-distance control from the dispatcher control post at the railway station Svitavy. Simultaneously, the operating control posts Chrast u Chrudimi and Slatiňany were also supplemented with the long-distance electric switch heating.

Under the construction work we adapted current spaces for new station dispatcher rooms and interlocking equipment boxes with features of passive mechanical defence. Part of it was also demolition and disposal of St.I and St.II at the railway station Polička.

„The installation of DOZ (long-distance control of the signalling installation) along the whole section from Svitavy with a fully operational substitute control place in Žďárec u Skutče decreased the staff number by 46, which will save substantial amount of financial means not only in terms of wages but also in terms of possible errors of human factor. The expected return on investment is about 13 years,“says Ing. Zdeněk Chrdle, AŽD Praha Director General.

Electronic interlocking SZZ ESA 33 – control level 1
Distributed panels EIP – executive level            4
Block signalling system SZZ K 2002 (Žďárec u Skutče) 1
Integrated TZZ AH-ESA-04 5
TZZ AHP 03 2
Electromotive point machines 11
Auxiliary control posts 8
Signals 56
Flashing light crossing signals (PZS) type PZZ-EA 3
PZS type VÚD replaced with type PZZ-EA 6
PZS reconstructed 4

Further information:

Pavel Halla
Head of Public Relations Department
Railway Infrastructure Administration, state organization (SŽDC, s.o.)
tel.: +420 602 665 850
e-mail :

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