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European Railroad Discussion > "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines

Date: 11/19/16 06:41
"Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: Railroad39

A co-worker  recently rode the Cog Railway to the Swiss Alps.

In the cab of the engine in front of the engineer is what looks like a steering wheel.

Can anyone provide the proper term for this apparatus and explain its function so that the mystery is solved.


Retired Canadian Pacific Locomotive Engineer
Smiths Falls, Ontario Canada.

Date: 11/19/16 08:37
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: 86235

I believe it's the power controller (throttle).

Date: 11/19/16 09:45
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: GPutz

This is the throttle of a locomotive, Imatra, Finland, 6/11/12, or 11.06.2012.  Gerry

Date: 11/19/16 20:21
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: NGotwalt

I have an old video from the early 80's showing motormen on the RhB and FO (now MGB) using such throttles. Never fully understood how they worked.

Date: 11/19/16 21:57
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: Krokodil

In German its called Hüpferschalter or Stufenschalter to control acceleration and braking,  basically a rotary device that connects the motors with different access points within a ring of resistors for DC, or different access points in the transformer for AC. The contacts are made by various means, i.e mechanical contact or pneumatic control. A scematic and picture of a mechanical controller can be found here:  https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stufenschalter

Hope this helps.

Thomas Eckhardt

Date: 11/20/16 21:27
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: railstiesballast

Not very different from the early TGVs in France (I have never seen the cab of newer ones).
It quickly becomes intuitive, move the wheel one way to add power, back the other way to reduce, or transition to dynamic braking.
My hosts let me "drive" at track speed for maybe five minutes under very close supervision.
No need to reach for different levers or remember which way to move them.
Something designed with the user in mind, instead of the manufacturer's economy.

Date: 11/20/16 22:31
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: SP4360

Wait until you see the size of the clutch pedal.

Date: 11/21/16 08:59
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: colehour

So would this be more or less like a controller on a streetcar, with the addition of dynamic braking? 

Don't some modern modern controllers/throttles operate in a similar way with a lever -- forward controls speed, back controls dynamic braking? I presume there is a separate control for the air brakes. 


Date: 11/22/16 22:16
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: leonz

Some of Amtraks locmotives have the throttle wheels or they did. The Beilhack
snow clearers and their shunter locomotives that can be used with snow clearer
attachments and other attachments for MOW work.

Date: 12/16/16 06:40
Re: "Steering Wheel" - Swiss Engines
Author: dcfbalcoS1

Just like in the Pikes Peak Cogway train, been there for 30 + years maybe.

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