If you want to run a railway, you’ve got to train people to control the tracks, so that trains can get where they need to go without crashing into each other, or snarling up traffic for hours at a time. In Germany, these signal operators are trained at the Eisenbahnbetriebsfeld in Darmstadt. The facility has a model train that may not be the biggest or prettiest in the world, but it is probably the most accurate, because it is used to teach rail traffic control.
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However, not every train station in Germany uses the same controls. The Eisenbahnbetriebsfeld model train can be controlled by mechanical switches, which can be a hundred years old, or by electronic switching from the mid-20th century, or by computerized systems that only the wealthier cities have. If you want to be a railway signal operator in Germany, you’ll have to learn all the systems. Tom Scott shows us how it’s done.