University introduces miniature railway for practical training

In general, railway automation facilities are distributed along railways across the country and therefore it is almost impossible to achieve a full understanding of the overall automation process by practising in one area. And since all pieces of the railway equipment is in constant operation, students cannot control them at their will.

Pyongyang University of Transport switched from on-the-spot practical training to a simulation practice based on the transport automation general practising device to improve the practical abilities of students.

The device is comprised of miniatures of different kinds of transport structures such as stations, block sections, trains and railway bridges and tunnels with realistic automation systems that are applied to locomotives, switches and signals.

The new device can be effectively substituted for on-the-spot practice, said lecturer Paek Kwang Ryon.

Ahead of a practice lecture, the lecturer sets the students the task of making an interface program according to the state of a certain station yard and installing one-chip processors for controlling signals and switches and operating model locomotives and a serial communication port and writing a corresponding control program.

Students can manufacture and test devices for automation of a station yard, section and dispatch assigned to them and confirm their accuracy in the course of controlling the station yard and operating the model train in the section with their programs.

For example, when a student practises on operating two trains at the same time in an automated railway block section, he loads a one-chip processor and program onto the locomotive and, on the basis of the created interface of the control computer, sends the dispatch order in accordance with the direction, speed and state of the front observation signal through the serial communication port.

If his program runs correctly, the model train moves forward controlling its speed as indicated by the front observation signal. If not, the model train would not run properly and he would get low marks from the evaluation system.

The introduction of the device into practice lectures enabled students to acquire comprehensive and detailed knowledge about railway automation facilities through the course of building, testing and programming of models.

The teaching method based on the transport automation general practising device won the special prize in the national presentation on teaching experiences held last year.