Customer application September 18, 2020
SBB Train Stations at a Glance

The control and error messaging system for the SBB (LSS-CH) replaces 23 different control systems with WAGO’s automation technology.
The SBB monitors the electrical systems at around 1,500 locations, like train stations and tunnels, throughout Switzerland. At the end of 2012, SBB commissioned a comprehensive control and error messaging system for this task to ensure a rapid and targeted response to malfunctions and faults.


  • More than 1,000 WAGO stations are being used successfully by the SBB.

  • A high degree of standardization can be achieved through configuration using the WAGO Webserver. 

  • Two standardized versions of the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM, for 60 and 200 data points, make the start-up process faster.

Even before the first travelers arrive, the lights go on at many Swiss train stations. This also occurs at locations where no personnel are on site. In addition to lighting, there are other systems that the SBB must control and monitor, for example, elevators, escalators, clocks, door locks, building technology systems and pumps. Previously, around 23 different control systems, scattered across Switzerland, accomplished these tasks. In 2005, the SBB began a project to replace these different systems with a single new one. “We wanted to reduce the complexity and thus make the costs more transparent,” explains Milun Bozovic, Product Manager for Building and Control Technology at the SBB. At the end of 2012, they were ready: The control and error messaging system (LSS-CH for short) at the SBB became operative across the country following a four-year roll-out period.

Using the LSS-CH, the SBB controls railway electro-technical systems. These include ventilation, elevators, escalators, clocks, building technology systems, door locks and pumps.

A High Degree of Standardization

For on-site data recording, the SBB equipped around 1,500 locations with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) from WAGO. It puts each location into operation in the same way: The SBB prepares the controllers centrally; each PLC has the same software and the same references. The SBB then installs automation boxes and connects them to the control system via the SBB’s data network. This enables them to convert a location and put it into operation within one day. The locations have different sizes. Therefore, there are two different versions of WAGO’s controllers: The more data points a location has, the larger the WAGO Controller must be. The small controller is designed for 60 data points, the large one for 200. Bozovic explains: “We install pre-assembled automation boxes. However, they have a very flexible design, so that they can be supplemented with additional modules as needed.” WAGO’s controllers are normally programmed with CODESYS. However, since each stationmaster must be able to operate the controllers, the engineers installed the Webserver on the WAGO Controller. This allows configuration using a browser and the graphical interface. This achieves a high degree of standardization. Milun Bozovic adds: “The train stations are all different. But they have similar systems that have to be monitored. Lighting, clocks and pumps are present everywhere.” There are currently six 24-hour locations from which all the railway electro-technical systems of the SBB infrastructure are monitored. By the beginning of 2015, there will be only four.

Beginning in 2015, the SBB infrastructure will monitor and control railway electro-technical systems from four locations.

The software is designed for the maximum. Thus, the controllers can be configured in any way, yet they always function using the same software. The controllers can autonomously exchange data with each other across all of Switzerland. The SBB administers all nodes centrally via an engineering database, which also stores the graphical user interfaces for each location. The integrator initially records which lighting groups, elevators, pumps and other systems should be monitored. Then he or she configures the graphical user interface to make clear across different hierarchy levels which system is located where.

Using pre-assembled automation boxes, the integrator can convert a location in one day and put it into operation.

Accurate Localization

At the moment, the LSS-CH comprises more than 250,000 data points. In order to maintain an overview at this level, a uniform designation system had to be introduced. Thanks to the Machinery Designation System (MDS), each machine, down to the last wire included in a controller, has a unique name within the control and error messaging system. Each system, each floor, each building and each site also has its own code. Therefore, it is easy to determine where a fault is located. The error messaging system is uniform throughout the entire country. Each train station is designed the same way and operated the same way. “A colleague working in Zurich today can work in Lausanne tomorrow,” says Milun Bozovic. An additional challenge was that every component and system must function in three languages: German, French and Italian. This way, the employees can simply set the language for the system, while the graphical elements remain unchanged.

Connection to the SBB Data Network Necessary

The SBB invested around 33 million Swiss francs in the overarching LSS-CH project to monitor railway electro-technical systems. “For us, the LSS-CH is a project that we can sell to other railway systems or even within the country,” explains Bozovic. SBB Immobilien uses it to monitor and control fire alarm systems, escalators and elevators in the large train stations, for example. The system communicates exclusively over the SBB’s data communication network. Therefore, customers who want to use the LSS-CH have to have a data communication connection. Milun Bozovic explains: “The customer is given space on our servers, but then administers its own monitoring station.” There are security considerations behind this constraint. The SBB guarantees fewer than four hours of downtime per quarter of the data communication network in round-the-clock operation. The controllers also offer a high level of security against faults: “We have already installed more than 1,000 WAGO stations. The system has proven itself,” says Bozovic.

If emergency lighting is switched on in a tunnel, the LSS-CH indicates this. Because a train passes by certain locations every two minutes, measures are immediately taken in the control center to block affected track sections.

Text: Stephan Rey, WAGO

Photo: SBB, WAGO

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