Track Warning Systems – The perfect solution to increase safety on railway worksites

Each railway worksite is different – our flexible and modular automatic track warning systems are approved for service in France and offers you the best solution for a safe worksite.

Regular maintenance of the railway track is indispensable to assure safe and punctual train operations. Often it is not possible to get possession (line blockage) for maintenance work, making safe solutions for warnings on the active or adjacent track imperative.

Zöllner automatic track warning system: Look-out with mobile ZFS and warning devices ZPW and WGH
Look-out with mobile ZFS and warning devices ZPW and WGH

Mobile Radio Warning System MFW

ZÖLLNER Signal GmbH is the world’s leading supplier of automatic track warning systems for track workers. Approximately 1000 MFW systems have been in use all over Europe since 2010. SNCF approved our MFW in 2013. As of 2018 qualified private companies can use the MFW system on the French rail network. The MFW is an evolution of the Autoprowa® hardwired automatic track warning system (ATWS), in use in France since 2004.

Zöllner automatic track warning system: Operator mounting a train detector on the track
Operator mounting a train detector on the track

Mobile and versatile

The MFW is a small, light-weight system which allows fast set-up times for mobile, small worksites and worksites with short duration. Based on bi- directional radio technology with dedicated frequencies, the system consists of a control unit (ZRC) supervising the entire system, one or more personnel warning devices (ZPW), and one or more radio transmitter devices (ZFS) that can be used stationary with a train detector or by a look-out. For very loud sites, an acoustic warning device (WGH) can be added. It should be noted that the WGH can also work as a stand-alone horn. It is then operated remotely by a look-out. The system thereby aids efforts to improve occupational health by allowing a distance to the warning horn.

The Autoprowa® effect for noise-sensitive areas

Recent projects, particularly at Clamart train station in the Paris outskirts [that the future metro Line 15 of the Grand Paris Express project will serve, ed.], have shown that our MFW system is also suited for use in urban areas. People living next to a railroad know all too well that work performed at night generates a significant amount of noise. The disturbing noise is due not only to the construction machinery but also the shrill sound of the horns activated by the lookout.

Our MFW allows an automatic sound level adjustment on each individual warning device (ZPW) so that the announcement of traffic is only heard by workers on the site, avoiding many complaints from neighbouring residents. This makes it possible to preserve the sleep of the people living near a station or a line where work is in progress! The MFW also offers the possibility to select a silent mode, keeping only the optical warning active for a traffic announcement. In emergency cases, the acoustic signal activates again automatically and thus assures optimal safety.

Zöllner automatic track warning system: MFW system layout
MFW system layout

Flexible configuration and quick setup

The Clamart site once again showed the interest, flexibility and benefits of the MFW when the work orders changed in the course of the evening. The work area decreased from 150m to 50m and it moved so it was necessary to announce only one track instead of two. Operators changed the configuration and put the system back into service in 10 minutes. It should be noted that the operators used the system on a real worksite for the first time just one month after their training.

The ZÖLLNER MFW can be used with inductive train detectors, especially suited for high-speed lines, or electromechanical detectors for conventional lines.

Zöllner automatic track warning system: First MFW worksite in Paris using reduced sound level and automatic train detection
First MFW worksite in Paris using reduced sound level and automatic train detection

SIL4: the highest safety level

The MFW is SIL4-certified making it more reliable and more suitable than the conventional warning with a look-out. This becomes evident when carrying out risk analyses, as required by the EN 16704 standard for protection and safety during work on the track.

Moreover the MFW is usable under any weather and all visibility conditions including fog when it is not normally possible to deploy look-out in France and it is necessary to increase the number of operators due to the reduced visibility instead.

Hardwired Automatic Track Warning System (ATWS)

The ZÖLLNER Hardwired Automatic Track Warning System was approved in France in 2004 and is currently deployed by SNCF, SFERIS and Eurotunnel. Some people may know it as the “Autoprowa”.

The ATWS has been designed to meet the requirements for a more reliable, functional and more cost-efficient system than a chain of look-out.

The modular design enables the Autoprowa®hardwired system to provide warnings for work sites from 50m to 1050m. Regardless of the worksite length, only one person is needed to operate the system because it is fully automatic and manages warnings in accordance with the information from the strike-in and strike-out detectors. As of today it is the most suitable system for many types of fixed work sites, as well for the repair of structures and large-scale track renewals.

The sole approved system for complex worksites

The Autoprowa® hardwired system is designed to handle complex track layouts and longer worksites where several 1000m systems are installed consecutively, e.g. “GOPs & Suite Rapide”. This is the only warning system approved in France that is fully automatic and that can cover lengths beyond 200m.

Close to you

Our company develops and manufactures at our main facility in Kiel, northern Germany. In Europe we have subsidiaries in France and in the UK in order to provide after-sales services and training in each country and to be closer to local customers.

Read: Did you know… we’ve just published our SIFER Special Magazine

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