Service, water supply, and wastewater disposal for bus, railway, and boats
Vogelsang service equipment—From pump systems and cleaning cabinets to online monitoring
In Germany alone, roughly 150 million people use long-distance trains or buses to travel from A to B every year1. Europe-wide, more than 9 billion passengers boarded trains in 20152. The logistical achievement behind this is immense—and that includes the drinking water supply to buses and trains and disposal of their wastewater. In addition to the fundamental investment in technical installations for supply and disposal, all kinds of national and international regulations need to be observed for hygienic reasons. This is a tight regulatory framework that the manufacturers of the corresponding equipment components can only master with in-depth expertise.
As a main supplier of major tran operating companies, Vogelsang is a market leader in the train car service sector in Germany, with decades of experience to look back on. Vogelsang's range encompasses not only the systems for supply and disposal of water and for interior cleaning, but also operating data management and system monitoring. We also offer corresponding systems for buses and boats as well.
1 Source: Destatis 2016
2 Source: Eurostat File „Evolution of rail passenger transport“; 2015
Applications in the railway, bus, and boat sectors
In accordance with Germany's Drinking Water Regulations, the German Federal Railway Authority is not the only body that makes strict demands of the materials used in the systems. The operators of the relevant public wastewater systems are also entitled to regulate the properties of the wastewater fed into their sewage system.
At an international level, the specifications of the system interfaces for refilling drinking and service water must also be taken into consideration. The International Union of Railways (UIC) also stipulates specific measures for the hygiene and cleaning systems in passenger railcars in its Leaflet No. 563 .
Flexibility and functionality are indispensable properties of technical systems that contribute to simple and reliable vacuum extraction of fecal matter and wastewater out of passenger cars and into the central wastewater system of a railroad yard or maintenance station. Powerful pumps and user-friendly stationary and mobile supply and disposal systems on the platforms now ensure both greater cleanliness in washrooms and far shorter train stoppages. Wastewater and fecal matter tanks of passenger trains can also be drained almost anywhere.
The vacuum pumping station as a central pump unit
As the toilets in the trains need to be available continuously, the reliability of the pump plays an important role for multiple-station systems. The heart of every system is the Vogelsang rotary lobe pump developed specially for viscous media contaminated with foreign matter, which have proven themselves in this sector for decades in the form of the VacUnit vacuum pumping station. This is a compact, heavy-duty vacuum system with one or two pumps, which is particularly easy to maintain.
Stationary supply and disposal systems in rail yards
To make wastewater disposal and drinking water refilling as efficient as possible, T-systems are installed on many rail platforms around the world. They are connected to the central supply and disposal system and permit rapid access to the connectors on the vehicles. T-systems also solve the problems of space and safety on sidings. The special design allows safety clearances to be observed and accessways to be kept free.
The particularly compact TUnits from Vogelsang are also equipped with an automatic hose retraction system, making the service staff’s job easier. This hose handling system ensures a high degree of safety in the workplace as there are no longer any hoses lying around where people walk. Work is also assisted by sophisticated options such as integrated automatic deactivation. TUnits exclusively for refilling drinking water round out the range.
The choice of the supply and disposal system always depends on the application location: Is it being installed outdoors or inside a building? In addition to the Vogelsang TUnits, supply and disposal cabinets and reel systems provide other options for efficient and simple wastewater disposal and drinking water filling for passenger trains.
Hygiene requirements must be observed for wastewater disposal and drinking water supply. For instance, the facilities for supply and disposal must always be physically separate. Regulations like the German BGI even govern how drinking water hoses are handled.
For reasons of hygiene, the connection between the vacuum extraction system and the toilet tank connector on the train has to be well-designed to prevent soiling when decoupling. To avoid incorrect use and associated hygiene problems such as contamination, the EasyConnect non-drip suction coupling is therefore available as an optional fitting for Vogelsang disposal systems.
Mobile solutions for location-independent supply and disposal
In places where stationary wastewater disposal systems cannot be installed, mobile alternatives are a good way of setting up economical workflows anyway. The type of disposal vehicle depends on the scope of the work to be performed, as well as the space available. For instance, working and traffic routes constricted by technical equipment may limit the options available, or existing working platforms may limit the vertical clearance.
Choosing an efficient pump technology is therefore crucial, as not every technology is suitable for mobile applications. Rotary lobe pumps from Vogelsang are compact, self-priming, and bidirectional. They offer decisive advantages in these applications in terms of practicality and mobility. Even the simple version mounted on a hand cart permits flexible and hygienic vacuum extraction of wastewater and pumping into the sewage system. The self-propelled disposal vehicles impress with their excellent ratio of transport capacity to size. For electric platform trucks, which are usually battery-operated, Vogelsang relies exclusively on cooperation with respected manufacturers to ensure long-term trouble-free operation.
Special systems for Bioreactor toilet systems
Train toilets equipped with a Bioreactor for cleaning wastewater have to be cleaned at regular intervals to ensure long-term operation. Disposal systems developed specially for these toilet systems should be equipped with shredding technology and a high-pressure flushing pump in addition to the usual pump, in order to remove the biosludge reliably. Also, as Bioreactor toilets are not all built in the same way, there are different standards and requirements for the disposal units. The stationary or mobile fully-automatic Vogelsang solution BioUnit can therefore be planned and built precisely to customer specifications.
Large rail yards have countless technical systems which all play their part in economical and reliable operation. However, they can only do so if they remain ready for use to an equal extent, the devices are perfectly matched, and their time management is optimal. Reliable monitoring is required, both to keep system operating times as high as possible, and also to precisely record rail traffic at station entrances and exits and service and maintenance stations.
Online monitoring of operating messages and problems in systems
Highly-compatible web-based control applications like the VEBSys fault portal allow operating data of all the systems connected to the program to be accessed from anywhere. This portal not only documents the status of Vogelsang devices like the VacUnit vacuum pumping station, the TUnit T-system, and the CleanUnit cleaner cabinet, but can also display data from other systems as well. That makes sure that they are ready for operation, and it can also be used for quality control.
Identifying railcars and determining their location
As railcars in the EU are marked with a specific UIC number, they can be located reliably with appropriate optical camera systems—with the UICScan from Vogelsang this can even be done while the trains are moving. In addition to the vehicle number, date, and time, the columns mounted on the railway platform also record the speed at which the train moves past. The data is transferred either to Vogelsang's VEBSys or another pre-installed online documentation system. No structural changes are required on the vehicles themselves.
From a hygiene standpoint, intercity bus transportation faces the same challenges as passenger trains. For example, professional and hygienic disposal of wastewater or fecal matter tanks is not a given everywhere, not least due to the continued lack of infrastructure, which cannot cope with the increasing intercity bus traffic. In many places, the supply and disposal facilities are still very often stopgap solutions, such as simple drainage grates. The bus drives over the grate and the wastewater pours out through it. Solid matter and paper contained in the water often remains attached to the grate. If the bus driver can't find a supply and disposal facility for the bus toilet at a stop, they have to close the toilet, resulting in unsatisfied passengers.
Forward-looking bus stations, depots, service stations, and rest stops should therefore adjust to the new conditions. They should increasingly opt for vacuum extraction stations and water filling stations which bus drivers, for example, can use to drain the tanks on their buses and refill with drinking water while they are filling the fuel tank. These supply and disposal facilities should be equipped with mobile or stationary systems, depending on the size of the station and the volume of traffic. The RoadPump Plus stations developed specifically by Vogelsang for publicly accessible areas offer a functional double solution for hygienic drinking water filling and wastewater disposal. They not only satisfy hygienic requirements, they also reduce the workload of bus drivers and bus companies via the simple and rapid operation of the systems. The passengers are satisfied and the station operators also benefit: In addition to the extra revenue from the service fee, having more buses at their facility also means more customers in their restaurant or station store.
All kinds of supplies are required for professional cleaning—cleaning agents and devices, hot and cold water, and an environmentally friendly disposal option for graywater. In order to minimize the time and legwork required for vehicle interior cleaning, cleaning agents and the associated installations have to be provided to users at easily accessible, strategically located places.
This is exactly why Vogelsang developed its cleaner cabinets. The CleanUnits, made mainly of high-grade weather resistant stainless steel, are especially robust and durable. In addition to their standard features, such as automatic dosing of cleaning agents, the cleaner cabinets can also be fitted with special options as required, such as eye showers and first aid kits.
Anyone traveling on lakes and oceans with sailboats and motorboats knows and values the beauty of nature. This aquatic leisure activity is increasingly popular, creating demand for hygienic and simple wastewater disposal systems. This is not just because of the increasingly strict requirements for harbors with berths for yachts and boats when it comes to disposing of fecal matter and wastewater; the skippers’ environmental awareness is also on the rise. Instead of simply emptying wastewater tanks into the water, disposal stations that are professional yet can also be operated by anybody are an important criterion for demanding boat owners when choosing a harbor.
Depending on the location, harbor size, and number of berths, there are several questions for harbor operators: What does the capacity of a disposal station need to be? Is a stationary pump sufficient, or do I need a mobile option? And who is going to pay for this service?
Customer-oriented high-performance models like the PierPump by Vogelsang are easy to operate and, on request, also allow bilge water or black water to be pumped directly into the sewage system. The integrated rotary lobe pump means that the PierPump is not susceptible to foreign matter, so that the vacuum extraction process does not come to halt if the wastewater contains foreign matter. Wastewater tanks are vacuum extracted in a very short time, and the voyage can continue.