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What is a "Lock Switch" ?? (in WIKI)


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Hello everyone, please see after my comment/question, the WIKI part Google translated that I copied and pasted.


My question is: what is exactly a "Lock Switch" ? Why we need it ? I know many of you speak a perfect English (compared to Google !!) so I would love if someone could explain this part "stop signal with comfort feature". This entire paragraph is very confusing (because again badly translated by Google) as well as the sentence "the blocking is only effective...." (I am lost !)


Thank you so much for all your time and help.


Virginia / USA






Stop signal with comfort features


Compared to the preceding circuit, there are additional functions for safe stopping, secure passage, premature braking and delayed Driving.

Participating switching objects

  • Signal (controls the behavior of the train when approaching or when stopping in front of the signal)
  • Retaining track (red, controls the speed of the locomotive available on the track)
  • Brake track (orange, causes premature braking of the train on approach speed)
  • Locking switch (purple, effected in the closed state of the forced stop of the retaining track on the moving train)
  • Main track (green, intensifies traversed train at cruising speed)

The "lock switch" is a switch construct in which the radius and the length of the diverging line are so small that this string does not appear in the representation of the switch by the model railway club. These strand no track is connected. Therefore, the train will stop when the switch is set to "branch". Due to the shortness of this strand of the train remains in front of the branch are and can therefore continue to drive in straight strand, once the lock switch has been changed to "straight". The blocking is only effective when driving the lock switch in the direction of the branch when the "automatic activation" is set the course for the locomotives (is in the opposite direction "slit").

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Hi Oliver,

i try to explain the lock switch: it is an "emergency brake", because the train couldn't pass the switch in direction to the right side. if there was built a track, the train would run. the switch is constructed like length 10mm (straight ahead) and an angle about 50° to 90° with radius smaller than 10mm. now you can't see that this is a switch, but the train will do. because of the shortness and the small radius, the train will stop in front of the switch. after changing the switch to straight the train can move on. but you have to change the "automatic activation" to "no" at every locomotive, because she would turn backwards in cause of missing tracks.

i hope you could understand and excuse my efforts in using english without google

sincerely Michel, N-gauge-worker

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Dear Michel, thank you so much, your English is very good and I now I know what a lock switch is thanks to you !

Forgive my questions, as I am just a beginner:

- Do they exist in real life?
- Do you create one using an existing switch (using your dimensions:  " length 10mm (straight ahead) and an angle about 50° to 90° with radius smaller than 10mm " ) or is there any in the 3D object catalog ? 


Again thank you and I am very glad :) you are not using Google because Google translate is horrible !







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Hello Oliver,

with the newer versions of TrainStudio it is no longer possible to make the "barricade path" of the "lock switch" invisible by reducing its radius (see the left side examples of the following picture and the "track settings" below it).

Einstellungen 1b.jpg

But you can minimize its visibility by positioning both tracks along the same line. This is shown on the right side of the 1st picture above: The long path (light + dark yellow) allows the train to pass the lock switch. The short path (only light yellow) stops the train because there is no track continuation at its end.

Einstellungen 2b.jpg

You can realize such lock switches as "straight" switches (see the configuration above) and also as "curved" switches (configuration below).

Einstellungen 3b.jpg

There is no ready configured "lock switch" within the online catalog. But it is very easy to generate individual lock switches as shown within the configuration pictures above.

In the real life, "catch points" or "derails" ensure, that a train coming from a side track cannot get in the way of a train coming along the main track. For example, see the descriptions of the following links:

Schutzweiche, Gleissperre (German descriptions), Catch Points, Derail (English descriptions)

But catch points and derails cannot stop the train immediately and allow to drive on at a later time as realized in the TrainStudio. The train not stopping by self before reaching the blocked lock switch will be directed to another way or gets forced to jump the rails.

Many greetings


Edited by BahnLand
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The article (in English) was very interesting. I learned a great deal today thanks to you. I had no idea these existed in real life !

Thank you so much BahnLand for your extremely detailed answer to my question. And yes indeed, I will have no problem creating individual lock switches following your instructions.



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  • 3 months later...
On ‎13‎/‎07‎/‎2016 at 1:11 PM, lys_knight said:

- Do they exist in real life?







Hi Lys,

Derailers and run-off tracks exist in real life, but like the lock-switch in model layouts,  they really are a method of last resort. They are usually found on long inclines where a break away carriage can cause havoc if allowed to accelerate back down the hill.

In a perfect world you would be able to control your rolling-stock so well that lock-switches would not be required. However, things conspire against you, and occasionally your computer or the software will hesitate so long that the appropriate commands to change the engine speed or whatever will arrive too late. That can of course cause things to go rather out of control. Therefore it is prudent to include lock switches as a catch all if you know what I mean. Despite the fact that there is a significant added overhead in controlling them, it pretty much guarantees you a more stable system.

Another object that is used far more widely in the real world is a wake up alarm. A physical device between the tracks that trips an alarm in the drivers cabin when the train passes over it. The driver then has a short time window to cancel that alarm. If they fail to do so, the engine is cut and the brakes are automatically applied. You can implement a similar safeguard in MBS by having a short piece of track before the lock switch and an appropriate event handler to set the engine speed to zero if the train enters it while the switch is closed. But again, that method only works if everything happens in time.

As a modeller, it's considered bad practice to rely on the lock switch alone to stop the trains. The goal is to get it to work so that the trains never hit them under  normal conditions.

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