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When i first wanted to try playing with all the german saftey systems i was getting emergency braked left and right and had to jump from forum to forum finding out just what i did wrong. If you feel the same then welcome to this guide where i will go over all the unanswered questions i had as a newbie and how to drive your train without worry of a random brake application.
This Guide will cover PZB,LZB as well as Sifa.
The Basics: How to get things set up
First things first we need to find and enable the switches for said systems. These are most commonly located in the engine room or electrical control panel just behind the drivers seat. Though there may be some exceptions like on the ICE3 where the switches are inside a fuse box to the lower right of the drivers seat.
If you cannot find them you can alternatively use hotkeys to remotely activate them. Controls can be found in the settings menu. Though be careful with the PZB, if you enable that mid-runs while going over 45km/h it will apply the brakes.
The Zugart in it’s most basic form is used to determine a trains maximum speed. In the real world railway workers have to calculate the weight of the train as well as it’s effective braking force to get a certain value that specifies your trains Zugart. But to keep it simple heres how i do it:
- Obere/Highest: Used on passenger locomotives or very light freight
- Mittlere/Middle: Used for light-medium freight trains. I personally set this limit at <1500t
- Untere/Lower: Used for heavy freight
The PZB breaker will need to be restarted if you set a different Zugart while it is active
LZB: On or off?
LZB is used for high speed trains, specifically ones going over 160km/h. If your train is not on Zugart O you can safely leave it off.
If you are still learning the ropes with PZB i would suggest playing on medium speed passenger trains first without using LZB
Back to the drivers seat. What now?
These right here underneath the speed display are your indicators. Just so you know what these indicators are that i will frequently mention in this guide. The most important ones also show up on your UI
Begin the Journey
Proceed as normally and get going. Once the train has detected you’re on the move two of your number indicators (depending on your set Zugart) will start alternating. This means you are locked to 45km/h. If and only if you can see the next signal is a full clear you may press the middle PZB button to release this restriction.
Up to speed
Following speed limits you should soon reach your routes high speed zone. The table below may look a little intimidating at firstbut lets go over it step by step.
This table is your cheat sheet of how fast you are allowed to go.
Focus on the first row for now.
Now let’s assume you are running a passenger service and are using Zugart O. From the rightmost column we can read that your maximum permitted speed is 165km/h. Although i would drive at 160 as if you go over 165 even by 1km/h the train will slam on emergency brakes.
To understand the rest we will need to go through learning all the signals first.
Types of signals
As with other countries germany has its signals split into main and distant signals.
In example 2 we can see a main signal with the red and white board attached to the pole. This is the signal that tells you when to go or stop.
Example 3 has the Ne2 sign attached. This identifies a distant signal that tells you what the next main signal is displaying. These also have a diagonal light pattern to better identify them at night.
Example 1 combines these two into one.
Theres also a yellow and white variant but in TSW2 this acts the same as a main signal
Reading the lights
There is already a great steam guide touching up on the subject and as this guide centers around the PZB system i’ll give a brief rundown of the signals and for a more detailed explanation check out the linked guide.
- Green is go (duh)
- Yellow indicates the next signal is red (not to be mixed up with the green and yellow distant signal)
- Red is not to be passed not even by a centimeter unless given permission by the dispatcher.
Braking the right way
And here we are. The part where emergency brakes can happen left and right.
So now that we know how to read the signals how do we actually respond to them?
As you know the PZB system features 3 buttons, as seen in the guide thumbnail. From left to right they are Override, Release and Acknowledge. I strongly recommend using hotkeys to control these. They are set by default on delete, end and page down.
For this section you wanna mainly focus on your acknowledge key.
As you may have noticed the german signals have these little boxes lying next to the track.
These are the magnets and once a signal turns yellow or red they activate for your train to resonate with. Once the lead axle of your train has passed the magnet next to the yellow signal you have to acknowledge it by pressing and releasing the corresponding button. Note that it only registers once released again so don’t hold it the entire time.
You will know it has worked if the 1000hz indicator lights up.
Remember the table we went over earlier? Let’s refer back to it now. Same process as before, we are running on Zugart O and just got a 1000hz activation. So we can read from this table that we have 23 seconds to slow down to 85km/h. You can also tell this by the flashing 85 indicator.
(This may also keep you below 85 outside of 1000hz applications. Make sure to press PZB release if the signals are clear to remove this restriction)
But be careful. The 23 seconds can be misleading as the train will also detect it if you are braking too slowly.
Red signal approach
Next up is the 500hz magnet, typically located a few hundred meters before a signal. Refer to the table again. Here we can see that if we do not pass this signal at 65 or lower we will get braked off. So if you got the 1000hz from a fully yellow signal be sure to get down to 500hz speeds before the red signal approach. Once the 1000hz indicator goes out you will get the 500hz in a few meters if the signal is still red. If that happens start reducing and come to a standstill.
Congratulations you have properly braked your train without any emergency applications.
The Signal is green again
Heres an important thing you should know:
At a certain point two of your number indicators will begin alternating. What this means is you are in restrictive mode. This normally caps you at 45km/h but under the influence of a 500hz magnet you should keep it down to 25.
Once you have no more hertz indicators and you know the next signal is green you can press the release button to lift restrictions and return to schedule.
If you were on approach for a red but it turned green by the time you got there you can also press release if you got clear visual on the signal with no 1000hz indicators active.
Bypassing a red signal
A red signal has an active 2000hz magnet that will always stop your train. However if you are given permission to bypass this signal by the dispatcher you may use the PZB override button to ignore the 2000hz magent. Hold this button until your entire train engine has passed the red signal at wich point the “Befehl 40” indicator will light up restricting you to 40km/h
I got a Zwangsbremsung what did i do wrong?
Zwangsbremsung with the letter G
G stands for Geschwindigkeitsüberschreitung/Speeding. Pretty self explanatory, you were either going over your designated Zugart limit or got caught by a speed trap.
Zwangsbremsung with the letter S
By far the most common one to get braked to. S here standing for Selbstauslösung or self trigger. This happens whenever you have failed to acknowledge a yellow signal or upcoming speed limitation (more on that below) This can also be caused by failing to brake in time for 1000/500hz applications or going over your current restrictions represented by the number indicators.
Recovering from an emergency stop
Once your train has come to a complete stop you may recover the train by pressing the release button to drop the emergency brakes. Then wait for a couple of seconds for your brake pipe to recharge and you are good to go again. Just don’t forget about any speed restrictions the Zwangsbremsung put on you.
PZB Conclusion: When to use each button
- Passing a full yellow or yellow/green distant signal
- Passing triangle shaped signs warning you of upcoming speed limits close or under your 1000hz speed limit (refer to signals guide for more detail)
- You are sure the upcoming signal is green in order to lift speed restrictions
- The LZB Ende indicator starts flashing (more on that below)
- Given permission to pass a red signal. Hold all the way until the engine has fully passed the signal
Once you’ve figured out PZB and want to start piloting some of those high speed engines LZB will be your best friend. If you have driven the french or british high speed rails before you will know about the built in speed limitor. Same principle here.
These 3 Icons represent the LZB system.
The B stands for Bereit/Ready, indicating it is active and ready to go
If you see a wire running in the center of the rails thats how you know you’ve entered the LZB zone.
Secondly you will hear an audible buzzer sound and the Ü symbol lighting up standing for Übertragung/Transmission. The LZB is now in effect.
While this is active PZB is entirely disabled and you do not have to pay attention to restrictions or signals for the time being. Instead the LZB will be your helper in driving at the right speed. On your UI this will appear as a blue needle and on the analogue screen as a red needle pointing at the best current speed. Use this in combination with the AFB and you got your train running on autopilot.
Adhering the speed limits
Once you need to slow down the yellow bar in the center of your speed gauges will begin counting down the distance. The distance when you need to be the speed of the red numbers underneath your speed display. To help you with this the red needle will begin slowly ticking down towards the goal speed and the G indicator will turn on. But don’t panic yet this is only a reminder that if you do not brake according to the needle the train will do it for you.
One handy trick here is to just leave the AFB lever up and it will automatically adjust the spedometer with it, effectively further leaving it on autopilot.
Once the LZB route comes to an end the Ende indicator will start flashing and you will get another buzzer sound. Confirm this by pressing the PZB release button and it will turn into a solid light. The third buzzer finally confirms you’ve exited the LZB zone and are back on PZB restrictions.
B Indicator=LZB ready
Ü Indicator= LZB active
PZB is disabled with the Ü indicator
While in LZB simply follow the blue needle on the speed UI
Once Ende starts flashing confirm it using the release PZB button
The german dead mans pedal system. Will need to be reset every 30 seconds and will first remind you visually, then via sound and finally with a nice emergency brake. Unlike with some other locomotives this does not reset itself when interacting with other controls so it can get quite annoying. If you do play with it for the realism you will absolutely need a hotkey for it.
Hope this guide helped in understanding the complicated mess that is the Indusi PZB 90.
And remember whenever you’re unsure wether to acknowledge a slightly yellow signal or an upcoming speed limitation just do it. Theres no penalty in pressing it too many times.
And have that cheat sheet ready
Good luck, engineer. May you drive that ICE like a pro.