Can a model railway improve train reliability?

27th November 2018 RWTH, Aachen, Germany

For a young model railway enthusiast this must be an ideal course of study. Over the past 3 years the Rhine-Westfalen Technical University (RWTH) in Aachen, Germany has invested over €750.000 in modernizing ELVA – die Eisenbahntechnische Lehr- und Versuchsanlage (the railway technical training and test facility).

On 27th November the facility was officially reopened. Over the next 3 years students and teachers will try to solve how to alleviate problems when things go wrong in a live railroad system; cancellations, signal failure, delays, derailments, etc.

Effective utilization of rail networks is of vital importance not only for passenger, but also for freight transport. ELVA has at its disposition over 1200 m of track. With the aid of computers they will try to simulate the chaos the exists in real railway networks. The aim is to create mathematical models for how to effectively handle this so as to reduce the impact of irregularities on the rest of the network.

Besides railway safety technology, ELVA is able to realistically map railway operations, and remotely control individual trains which allows simulation of the Europe-wide ETCS (European Train Control System) thus enabling mapping of control and safety technology.

If you are interested in model railways, then take the opportunity to visit the world’s largest model railway in Hamburg, Germany; Miniatur Wunderland.This is an incredible site with not only trains, but ships and an airport. For more details follow this link: