Cab Controls

Different types of trains have different types of controls, the example below shows the controls in the class 101 DMU, for other types of train see:  

  • Driving the RhB Electric loco - a modern electric loco with a combined controller.
  • Driving the 303 - a relatively simple EMU
  • Driving The Class 37 Diesel - a diesel loco with more controls to operate
  • Driving the Class 101 DMU - a diesel unit with a mechanical gearbox
  • Driving A Steam Engine


Main controls and guages

  • Power Controller controls the power from the unit's engines, in the class 101 DMU the control is pulled back (clockwise) to apply power, and pushed anti-clockwise for power off.
  • Gear Selector  The gear selector sets the gearbox in this diesel unit with mechanical transmission.  It has five positions:  Neutral, 4th gear, 3rd gear, 2nd gear and 1st gear.  See Driving the Class 101 DMU
  • Brake control The brake control applies or releases the brake. 


  • Speedometer  this shows the train's speed
  • Tachometer   shows the engine RPM
  • Brake Gauges  shows the pressure in the various brake systems.  See note below on using the brake controls and gauges

AWS controls

The AWS controls are linked to the signals and provide an audible warning of the signal state.  Appox 200 metres before the signal, there is a magnet in the centre of the track (the "AWS ramp").

  • When the signal ahead is clear (green) a bell rings in the cab and the AWS indicator displays black.
  • When the signal ahead is not clear (red or yellow indications) a horn is sounded in the cab and the indicator displays the yellow warning (As above).

When an adverse warning is received (yellow display and horn sound) the AWS warning must be acknowledged by pressing the AWS cancel control (click on the control plunger in Rail3D). This cancels the horn sound.  IF the AWS cancel control is not clicked in two seconds, the train brakes are applied.

Note, not all Rail3D models have this feature.

Train brake controls

Most older train types use a air or vacuum braking systems with a brake control that increases or decreases the brake pipe pressure.  These controls take a little practice to get used to.

  • The brake gauges show the pressure in the train brake pipes.  When the needles are at the top of the gauge (as above) the brakes are fully released:  as the needles move down the gauge scale, the braking effort on the train is increased.
  • The brake control does not directly control the braking effort: instead it decreases or increases the brake pressure - and hence the brake effort.  The brake control has positions as follows:
    • Release (in the class 101 DMU this is the fully anti-clockwise position).  In this position the brakes are released and the brake gauge needles move to the top of the gauge - the released position.
    • Lap.  The next position clockwise around the control is the lap position - this holds the brake pressures at their current values.  In this position the brake gauge needles will remain in the same position and the braking effort remains the same
    • Apply.  Clockwise from apply, the control applies the brake by changing the brake pipe pressure.  If the control position is a smalll amount clockwise from the lap position, the brake pressure is changed slowly - the needles move down the guage slowly.  As the control is moved further clockwise, the brake pressure is changed more quickly - the needles move faster around the gauge.

See Driving the 303  or Driving the Class 101 DMU for more details on braking these trains.

Other brake types

  • More modern train types sometimes have a "Self-lapping" brake system, this works differently to the system described above and is described elsewhere.
  • Very modern train types often have a single combined brake and power control, this is moved one way to apply power, and the other to apply braking effort.  See Driving the RhB Electric loco for an example of this.



MRG 13/12/2013 15:53:49