What are the men and women at the head of the train doing?
“Be careful,” says Gerhard Lader, pointing to two yellow lights that flash on a signal.
This means that in a few hundred meters the route will probably not be clear. Since the train accident in Styrian Niklasdorf, when for the second time a Cityjet is likely to have caused an accident because of a signal crossing, the drivers have to announce each stop signal. Or “address”, as it is called in jargon. The idea came from Japan and caused fewer accidents – there must also be shown on the signal.
Respond to Signals
“However, this does not have to be as exaggerated as in Asia,” explains Bernhard Benes, Managing Director of ÖBB-Produktion.
Together with the KURIER, the manager is on the so-called main line of the Vienna rapid-transit railway from central station to Floridsdorf (and back) on local inspection.
On the way there we drive with an old 4020-set, which has the charm of a power plant from the 70’s at the driver’s cab.
Erwin Haas, a train driver for 20 years, has a lot to do. For the layman is not understandable how many signs along the railway tracks are – km / h information, Verschubsignale, main signals. Also surprising: When two green signals are lit, it is slower to drive than when only one green signal is lit. Then the oncoming traffic – as usual with bus drivers – must be greeted.
In the station, main station caution is necessary, an old folding mirror goes out. A woman is still trying to get in, although the doors are closed. Slowly it’s out of the station when the lady retreats.
For Haas routine: “It only gets bad if something does not go away or if many messages come in via the radio.” That can be the case with snowfall. And that’s what ÖBB is all about.
Since the train attendants were saved, the locomotive driver is also directly responsible for the safety of the train passengers. Loader controls with the indoor cameras, whether the passengers are all right.
“I had to intervene several times and also received commendations,” reports the “Cityjet pilot”.
About 4,000 such train drivers (and 100 train drivers) have been hired. The merit is good (about 2800 euros starting salary, including allowances). But the service hours are getting used to.
Sometimes you have to drive at night, the place of work is not the place of residence – that’s not for everyone.
“However, there are older colleagues who enjoy driving so much that they prefer to be scheduled to drive more often,” explains manager Benes. “Every year ,around 200 new train drivers are wanted.”
Since 2015, there has been a strict ban on handling your mobile while driving. Haas has his lying down next to him. As there were rumors recently, one of the last accidents had something to do with the use of a mobile phone, it was again pointed out that the phone is taboo.