from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Historic platform roof in Warnemünde train station

A platform (in Switzerland , formerly also common in Austria and Germany : the Perron , French loan word, but used for boarding platforms for all types of transport such as bus barriers) is a paved platform that is parallel to and at a short distance from a railway track is designed to make it easier to get on and off trains . You can therefore find them in train stations or at stops ( stops ). Similar constructions are available as working platforms next to provision tracks.

The German railway operates in Germany platforms with a total length of 2,300 kilometers.

Platforms are also located at the stops of trams , underground trains and cable cars .


Munich S-Bahn platform Hirschgarten (2011)

While in the past, simple, possibly asphalted gravel fillings with a more or less paved front edge were considered sufficient, today's elevated platforms are much more massive constructions. The edges usually consist of angle retaining walls (L-stones) made of concrete , the vertical part of which is profiled at the top and thus forms a tactile edge stone. The body of the platform is poured in and / or concreted and usually houses rainwater sewer systems as well as lines for platform lighting and possibly the control, safety and telecommunications technology of the operating point. The surface is mostly covered with concrete paving stones and, if not covered, provided with central drainage . Natural stone coverings are also used in the interior.

Towards the ends and, if it is not a central platform, towards the rear, the platform either flows smoothly into a traffic area or is delimited by parapets. From platform ends that open freely onto the track field, stairs that are closed to the public usually lead down to the level of the track.

Increasingly, platforms are no longer built from curb stones, earth or concrete bodies and paving, but are prefabricated using prefabricated panels. Pavement, guide strips for the blind, safety markings, etc. are already incorporated. These slabs can be placed on pile foundations with cranes within a few hours , which reduces the necessary blocking breaks, especially when building under the rolling wheel , and thus significantly lowers the costs for warning systems and security posts.

Transport facilities

Platforms are furnished with different elements depending on their size and frequency of use.

If they are not located in a station concourse, above-ground platforms often have their own platform roof. These are usually versions of flight roofs . They are available in different constructions. Today they are often realized as butterfly or flat roofs protruding from a middle row of columns on both sides . Alternatively, single-sided pent roofs can also be used. Until the beginning of the 20th century, flat pitched gable roofs on two rows of supports (in the form of historicized cast iron columns) were also to be found, as is still the case today, for example, with the Berlin S-Bahn. This basic principle with two rows of columns, but with a curved flight roof, is used today by Deutsche Bahn as part of its corporate design .

Loudspeakers and lighting are either integrated into the roof or mounted on masts that are set up at regular intervals.

Seating groups and - if there is no platform roof - weather protection devices are almost always provided. Wind protection walls that are open at the top are sometimes built under the platform roof.

At least one train destination indicator is normally set up per platform edge ; Fixed signs “Direction XY” are sufficient for access points without any operational variation. Each platform also has at least one station clock and a sufficient number of station name tags.

Next there may be: waste bins , ashtrays , light boxes for timetable -Aushänge, cards , car level indicators and other information, ticket vending machines , large screens for advertising and information , chapter points, parking for luggage carts and mobile hoists , public phones , marketing areas ( billboards ), surveillance cameras , emergency call and information intercoms , drinks and candy vending machines, lockers . Pavilions can be set up on wide platforms to accommodate kiosks and other commercial or service areas.

Company facilities

For rail operations, there is almost always one or more stop boards on a platform , often pre-signal repeaters , intercom systems and line telephones , handling systems with control panels and departure signals , and sometimes brake test systems. In order to secure high-speed passages, a passenger safety system may have to be installed. In the above-mentioned pavilions one can sometimes still find a local platform supervisor with an operational function.


Platform ticket machine in the DB Museum

As part of the station grounds, the platform is the private property of the station operator, i. H. at DB AG this is DB Station & Service AG. Access was previously regulated by the railway companies through so-called " platform barriers ". Today it is possible in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to stay on the freely accessible platforms of branch lines ; according to customary law , they are considered public traffic areas, although they are by no means. Basically, they are only reserved for collecting and delivering traffic, unless a means of transport is used.

For the use of platforms within several transport networks , a is a ticket or a platform ticket necessary. It is thus possible to carry out ticket controls outside the platforms at the marked “barrier system” on the access structure. Of this z. B. often made use of it in Hamburg .

In many metropolises, access to the metro stations (at least in the city center) is common through automatic barrier systems with automated ticket checking.

Platform types

Platforms are divided into different types according to their location and design.

House platform

The main platform of the Wissembourg train station : House platforms are always located directly at the reception building

A main platform is a platform which is right in front of the reception building a station is and therefore there without crossing of tracks can be achieved by the passengers.

Intermediate platform

An intermediate platform lies between two tracks, but has only one edge of traffic and can only be reached from the house platform by crossing one or more tracks (passenger crossing). The track spacing for this platform is smaller than for a central platform with two traffic edges. This type of construction is still common. However, it has the disadvantage that the travelers cross tracks and have to be secured so that vehicle movements can be ruled out. This limits the efficiency of the station. Furthermore, the possible heights are limited because of the necessary transitions. In old Austria-Hungary in particular , the entire platform area next to a platform edge on the house platform was often only leveled with gravel, from which the rail heads protruded. In recent decades, many intermediate platforms have been replaced by island or outer platforms that can be reached at no level. Intermediate platforms may not be set up in Germany.

Outer and central platforms

"Typical" central platform between two tracks ( Recklinghausen Hbf )

Other platforms are either side platforms or central platforms .

Outside platform

Outer platforms (also: side platforms or edge platforms ) only serve one track and are therefore usually on one "side" of the station. Side platforms do not require any widening of the track spacing. Therefore, they are more cost-effective to create than central platforms, especially if they are retrofitted on existing routes .

Central platform

On a central platform (also: island platform ) there are tracks on both sides of the platform, the platform furniture including information equipment can be used for both tracks.

If there is more than one central platform, there are different concepts for operating it. Which concept is chosen can depend, for example, on whether the subsequent routes are used in one- way or regular-line operation . There are assignments according to:

Line, route
The trains of a line or a selection of lines stop at the same central platform. The execution trains often stop at one edge of the central platform, and in the reverse direction at the second edge of the platform. If the station is on several routes, the trains on a single-track route can always stop at the same platform edge in the outward and return directions. In any case, one or more lines are also assigned to each additional central platform. These variants arise usually on routes that in line operation are performed, or where independent routes touching as the simplest solution with the lowest construction costs.
Trains from different lines that continue in the same direction stop at each central platform. This variant offers boarding passengers the advantage that they can choose between trains from several lines without having to change platforms and so can simply wait for the next train instead of first looking at the timetable or the electronic board for train movements search for the correct platform for the next train.
Transfer relationship
The trains of the lines between which most of the passengers transfer stop at both sides of a central platform. This variant is optimized for short transfer routes and times. So there are z. B. on the Hamburg U-Bahn several such directional platforms , where trains from two lines stop at the same time (Kellinghusenstraße, Berliner Tor, Barmbek).

Especially with short cycle times , trains often require expensive and space-intensive overpass structures in order to control the platforms in the desired manner.

Tongue platform

Planned tongue platform in Hanau main station with new platform 1a for the Nordmainische S-Bahn - schematic representation

Tongue platforms connect to a platform or the inlet area and end at the other end between tracks. Tongue platforms are connected to the transverse platform at head stations, for example. A tongue platform on a central platform can extend its first platform edge and opens up a third track, a stump track that ends before the beginning of the second platform edge of the central platform, as planned in Hanau main station . If a stub track ends in front of the beginning of a house or outside platform, the tongue platform can extend the edge of the platform and develop the stub track, the other edge of the platform can extend the house track or develop a second stub track. In the Kiel main station , a terminal station, two of the regular platforms, which are already tongue platforms, were narrowed halfway in 2013-2014, so that one platform edge was shortened and another tongue platform was connected there, each with an additional, shorter one to develop the dead end there. A higher number of, but shorter, trains can be handled there.

Twin platform

Buenos Aires, Retiro station on subway line C with two platform tracks, the central platform is used for boarding

If a platform edge is used on both sides of the track, one speaks of twin platforms . This arrangement was used in Spain , hence the name " Spanish Solution ", although it was seen earlier in New York.

  • with separation of people getting on and off, for example S-Bahn Munich :
    At three of the five stations of the S-Bahn main line tunnel , Hauptbahnhof , Karlsplatz (Stachus) and Marienplatz , twin
    platforms are used to strictly separate people getting on and off: the one that is driven in The train opens the doors on the right in the direction of travel to let passengers get off and, with a slight delay, also the left doors to let people on. With this separation of boarding and disembarking traffic on different platforms, shorter cycle times are possible, as the stopping time of the trains can be reduced. A similar solution exists at the two endpoints Retiro and Constitución of the subway line B in Buenos Aires . Instead of a regular S-Bahn line, this connects the stations in the north and south through the city center, which leads to a particularly high number of transfers.
  • without separation of passengers entering and exiting, e.g. Metro Barcelona , New York City Subway , London Underground , MRT (Singapore)
  • for transfers to two other platforms at the same platform, for example Ulzburg Süd station and Norderstedt Mitte station

Cross platform

Cross platform of Leipzig Central Station with shopping arcade

A special form of the platform is the so-called cross platform at head stations , also called head platforms . There are usually one or two reception halls in front of it. As the most important platform in a terminus, it is usually also the widest.

A cross platform is arranged at right angles to the other platforms in front of the track ends and is therefore not actually a platform as no trains stop at it; rather, it has a distribution function: from here, all other platforms can be reached at the same height . It replaces the platform entrances required at through stations, which are often created in the form of pedestrian crossings or underpasses . Nevertheless, there are seldom other overpasses or underpasses in the middle or at the outer end of the regular platforms, e.g. B. in Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof and in Leipzig Hauptbahnhof .

Combined platform

A combined platform is usually an island platform with two different means of transport stopping on both sides. This type of construction often exists at bus stations where trams stop.

Luggage platform

Former luggage platform in Hamburg Central Station

As long as the rail operator's service included the loading of luggage and express goods on passenger trains, there were baggage platforms at large stations that were not intended for passenger access. These platforms were lower than the passenger platforms, so that the luggage could be reloaded at the same level between the railroad baggage car and the baggage cart. These platforms can still be found without being used in many older stations as long as the track layout remains unchanged (e.g. Leipzig main station).

Special forms

In addition, there are special forms of the platform types mentioned, such as:

  • Movable platform : The platform moves depending on the trains to be served, for example Seattle monorail
  • A combi board is a specially designed platform edge that enables barrier-free entry to two different types of vehicle or means of transport, such as the " Dresden Combi board ".

Platform edge

A train on the edge of a platform in Hong Kong
Stop under construction, in the picture on the left the finished platform edge

The platform edge, also called the platform edge in Swiss, is the edge of the platform from which passengers board and leave a train. The edge of the platform is particularly defined as a structural boundary line. The platform edges have an internationally defined height in order to be able to use wagon types as effectively as possible depending on the design.


Today platform edges are mostly made of concrete. The height of the platform edge - measured from the top edge of the rail - is a quality feature for platforms. The DB Station & Service is the platform height along their station information with the platform length for each platform on.

In the course of railway history , both the height of the lowest steps of the passenger cars and the height of the platforms have increased continuously. As a result of this measure, the length of stay of the trains in the stations has been reduced, as it is possible to get on and off the train more quickly. In particular, people with walking aids or luggage need more than twice as much time to climb just one step compared to a level crossing. In commuter trains, in particular, it makes sense to have the platform edge and passenger compartment at the same height to enable barrier-free access.

The situation is similar with low-floor technology , in which the height of the passenger compartment has approached street level over time, because high-altitude platforms are usually not feasible due to limited space.

Platform height

Low-floor platform in Cologne

To enable comfortable and safe boarding, the platforms are raised by up to about one meter compared to the upper edge of the rails (SO), depending on the route. The exact platform heights depend on the vehicles predominantly used and the legal regulations applied. Different platform heights can be found around the world, which are only standardized regionally. A platform that is higher than about 40 centimeters above the top of the rail is usually referred to as an elevated platform . In contrast to this, conventional systems are referred to as low or low platforms .

The TSI “Infrastructure” states that the standard platform height for long-distance railways within the EU is that the platform edge must be either 550 millimeters or 760 millimeters above the top edge of the rail with a height tolerance of –30 mm / + 0 mm. The usable length of the platform should be 400 meters. The implementation of the TSI INS should be completed by 2020.

Structural and organizational security measures

Platform screen doors in
Canada Water Station, London Underground

In Germany there are usually no mechanical security devices against intended or unintentional access to the track area. In many other industrialized countries, the platforms of newer underground lines are mechanically separated from the track area by so-called platform screen doors. These doors are at the height of the car doors and are only opened after the train has stopped. This system exists in Singapore, whereby the driver does not have to brake to 0 km / h, but the last few meters to the door are taken over by an automatic program. Three of the MRT lines (equivalent to the subway in Germany) are completely driverless.

Due to the height of the platform, it is often difficult or impossible for injured or elderly people who have entered the track space to get back on the platform. For this reason, especially in the case of subway systems in German-speaking countries, shelters (so-called cigarette niches ) are created directly below the platform edge , in which people from the track area can take shelter (e.g. Vienna subway ).

With automatic underground trains, the track area in front of the platform is electronically monitored for people there (e.g. Nuremberg underground ).

The platforms are regularly monitored by video cameras in order to be able to provide rapid support in the event of accidents and other special events.

Guiding strips for the blind can be embedded in the floor as an orientation aid for blind and visually impaired passengers . There is no legal obligation to set up such guide strips; some subway operators (e.g. in Munich ) set them up voluntarily; DB AG has not yet been able to decide to set up guide strips at all stations.

The line that marks the safety distance to be maintained for trains to be driven through can also be marked as such a visually and tactilely highlighted strip of concrete elements . In Germany, such lines are mainly found on railway platforms, as there is only a very high speed limit for trains passing through on railway platforms - in contrast to underground and trams, where trains pass the platform without stopping at a maximum of 40 km / h may (BOStrab).

Legal requirements for platforms

The BOStrab regulates in Germany legal minimum requirements for platforms on roads and subways and buses . Practically no protective precautions for passengers are mandatory.

With the third ordinance amending the railway construction and operating regulations , additional provisions for high-speed travel on platforms were introduced in May 1991 ( Section 13 ). For past journeys of more than 160 km / h were up 200 km / h loudspeaker announcements, the identification of kept free platform surfaces and height free compulsory platform accesses. For pass-bys at more than 200 km / h, additional precautions were prescribed to prevent travelers from being in the danger area. At the beginning of the 1990s, aerodynamic studies were carried out at the Deutsche Bundesbahn to determine the extent to which it was possible to pass platforms at more than 200 km / h.


ÖBB: A platform divided into 3a and 3b by a protection signal with sector designation C

At the Austrian Federal Railways , the platform edge is referred to as the platform in the passenger information . Until the early 1990s, the term track was used for it, as is the case with many other railway companies to this day . Since the track numbers used internally did not always match the track names written on the platforms or the arrangement of the track numbers was not always understandable for the passenger, the ÖBB decided to change the name. For example, if it was previously called platform 2, track 4 , platform 4 is now used uniformly .

Each platform edge is designated separately. Continuous platforms are numbered consecutively starting with "1" away from the reception building . Platform edges on butt tracks are designated consecutively in groups within a decade. If tracks at a platform edge are divided by intermediate or protection signals , a lower case letter starting with "a" was added to the platform designation in sections in the direction of the terminal station . In contrast, the sectors indicated in the car position indicator are indicated with capital letters. Since 2004, the platforms have only been designated by sectors and, if they are separated by a protective signal, are combined into groups (e.g. platform 1A-C).

In stations with several track levels, the platforms are grouped together ( Wien Südbahnhof 1–9, 11–19 and 21–22 and Wien Handelskai 1–2 and 11–12, but not at Vienna Central Station ).

When it comes to platform types, ÖBB Infrastruktur AG differentiates between the edge platform (this also includes the house platform located directly in front of the reception building ), island platform with rail-free access (underpass or overpass), central platform with rail-level access, tongue platform and cross platform .

Web links

Commons : Platforms  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Platform  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. This is what Deutsche Bahn does for you - every day! . In: mobile . September 2011, p. 38 f.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Railways . Second, completely revised edition 1912–1923 in 10 volumes, Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna, keyword platform
  3. Example Vienna Westbahnhof
  4. Dominik Bugschat: Bad Endorf. August 5, 2012, accessed December 20, 2015 .
  5. Example of Locarno train station
  6. More trains to Hamburg and the beach: Two new tracks for Kiel Central Station. In: shz. Retrieved December 20, 2015 .
  7. R. Müller: Contribution to increasing the performance of passenger transport systems / aspects of the use, design and dimensioning of twin platforms . Cottbus, 2005
  8. Seattle moving platform. Retrieved November 24, 2011 .
  9. Duden "platform edge"
  10. ^ Walter Mittmann, Fritz Pätzold, Dieter Reuter, Hermann Richter, Klaus-Dieter Wittenberg: The Third Ordinance to Change the Railway Construction and Operating Regulations (EBO) . In: The Federal Railroad . No. 7-8 , 1991, ISSN  0007-5876 , pp. 759-770 .
  11. ÖBB additional provisions for signaling and operating regulations ZSB2 § 5
  12. ÖBB service regulation B 50, item 13