A language in themselves

2018
Cryptic messages
Cryptic messages

This decommissioned British Rail goods wagon entered service in 1964. The numbers and abbreviations that were vital to its operation can still be seen. (05.01.2009, Wikipedia)

The trains operating on the NRLA network bear all kinds of inscriptions. Indecipherable to the casual observer, they are of vital importance to rail operators and staff. The vehicle number is a unique identifier. For a double-deck coach operating through the Lötschberg, for example, it might look like this: Bt 50 85 26-94 934-4. The number contains information on the type of vehicle, the country of origin, the coach class, permitted speed and the heating system. Other data include the vehicle's weight and length, braking systems, top speed, voltages at which it can operate, and minimum curve radii. The signs, symbols, letters and numbers are all part of a much larger system. They are as essential to rail operations as the wheels on which the vehicles run.

« Trains and marshalling movements on the line are indicated by even numbers in one direction and odd numbers in the opposite direction. »

FOT, Train Operating Regulations, «General information», p. 52, 01.07.2016

The tragic story of St. Barbara

18.03.2016, SRF

Die tragische Geschichte der Heiligen Barbara, 18.03.2016 (SRF)

code 50

in the identification number of a double-deck passenger coach used on the Lötschberg line denoting that it has no air-conditioning and is only permitted for use in Switzerland.

code 85

for Switzerland.

code 6

for double-deck coach.

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