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German class yard gets Siemens control system

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Siemens Mobility will equip the classification yard at Maschen, Germany, the largest freight hub in Europe, with new control technology. Siemens has been awarded the order by DB Netz AG to upgrade a total of 88 classification tracks with the MSR 32 classification control system by mid-2013. The first classification tracks are due to go into service as early as August 2010. The order is worth E$18 million euros (US$27 million).

The Maschen class yard, near Hamburg, is the main hub for freight traffic of the seaports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven as well as traffic bound for Scandinavia. Cars of regional, national, and international freight trains are split and made up into new trains for the next leg of their journey. To provide for the increasing importance of freight transportation at the seaports, equipment from the 1970s is to be upgraded as part of comprehensive construction measures.

The modification of the classification yard will be carried out while normal operation continues. Siemens will be modernizing 48 classification tracks and the classification zone of the South-North (MSN) hump yard and 40 classification tracks of the North-South (MNS) hump yard. The MSR 32 control system deployed by Siemens controls radio remote control-operated locomotives,  routing of rolling stock and their speed at  master, intermediate, and group retarders and, by means of the haulage systems, makes up the cars ready for coupling in  classification tracks. The routing control sets the switches for all the cuts from the hump to the classification tracks automatically. A continuous computation of the variable hump speed and cut monitoring reduces the risk of bumping or catch-ups.

During the modernization phase, the MSR 32 system will control both the old and new classification systems.