Tim is on the right track

Tim Appelhagen, Rail Logistics Control Centre


When Tim Appelhagen was a child, he often visited his grandfather at work. “My grandfather didn’t work in an office or a factory but as a train driver for the East German State Railway (Deutschen Reichsbahn). Sometimes I was even allowed to ride along in his locomotive, which is certainly an exciting experience for any child!” It’s therefore hardly a surprise that one of Tim’s career aspirations was to become a train driver. His other ambition was also well connected to the world of transport as he could picture himself becoming a travel agent.

At aged 16, when he had to choose which career path to take, family tradition triumphed! Three years later he was a qualified railway worker in operational service, specialising in engine driving and transport. He worked with both passenger and freight transport for eight years before realising that even dream jobs have their drawbacks. “Being a train driver is not an occupation but a vocation.” Irregularly rotating shifts, working both day and night and often on public holidays led to Tim to look for a new challenge with “regular working hours.” He went on to work as a dispatcher in the port of Hamburg where even then he often shunted wagons for VTG subsidiary Transpetrol. When the opportunity to start working here in the control centre team came along, he didn’t have to think twice.


Tim has been with the company since 2011. He now works as a train operator and is a planner for Transpetrol’s RETRACK train system. “The trains mainly shuttle between the Netherlands, Germany and Hungary and in some cases even to Romania and Bulgaria. I look at the orders from various customers a week in advance and plan everything relating to the transport. I order routes, the so-called train paths of DB-NETZ, and plan the trains in regard to their loads and under consideration of the permissible total weight, train length and the performance of the locomotive used. The next step is to create a staffing plan for the assigned train drivers and the time schedule for the task at hand. Shunting planning at intermediate stations and arranging train loading and unloading times also form integral parts of my responsibilities.”


Tim has all of the necessary authorisations and licenses which qualify him to step in at short notice in the absence of a locomotive driver. His job in the VTG group has enabled him to fulfil his childhood dreams under a single umbrella- he has in fact become a kind of travel agent, even if it refers to freight and not people, and he also feels perfectly at home when working as an engine driver.