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Pintsch axle counting systems are the industry standard for switch protection. Whether one needs to protect an entire switch group in a hump yard, a switch or two in a classification yard, or a main-line switch, Pintsch has the solution you need. Our switch protection and control products are used extensively by major class one railroads due to their superior performance over lesser technologies, such as loop detectors or maintenance-intensive (and expensive) track circuits

The fundamental switch protection process is simple in concept. Take a single switch for example:


In this case, one creates a protected zone around a switch using an axle counting circuit. For example, in the case of a single switch, double wheel sensors are installed ahead of the points and beyond the normal and reverse sides of the switch. When one or more axles are present in this protected zone, switch control is locked. When the axle count restores to zero, the switch is released for control

The above process can be extrapolated to more than one switch or crossovers as well. Using the exclusive Pintsch MC6 modular, processor-based switch protection device, one can control and network switches. The MC6 is so compact in design, it can be installed in some switch cabinets or in a small enclosure mounted immediately adjacent to the switch


The MC6 is an ideal solution for classification and hump yard applications in which switch protection is to be distributed. For main line applications, Pintsch North America also provides our standard axle counting systems as described elsewhere. These systems, combined with our applications engineering and design services, are ideal for protecting mainline switches in critical applications.

MC6 Photo

An MC6 system installed in a switch cabinet

In this example, we see the layout of an entire switch group in a hump yard:

Switch Group

A centralized switch protection system is integrated with the yard controls. The Pintsch axle counting system is configured for switch protection and control as well as speed measurement at the double wheel sensors to better manage the distance-to-couple (DTC) process.

The Preferred Solution

Pintsch North America offers the preferred solution for switch protection and control. Our products are deployed in major yards throughout North America. They are used in dark territory to protect and monitor sidings. We have replaced numerous competitive products and technologies with which railroad operators have become disenchanted. Ultimately, our switch protection products are less expensive than other technologies because they work, and they work reliably.

Please contact Pintsch North America today. We will work with you to assess your requirements, design a solution, and custom manufacture a switch protection arrangement that exceeds your expectations.