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How did Austria change over 4,000 clocks at stations and stops to daylight saving time?

How did Austria change over 4,000 clocks at stations and stops to daylight saving time?
photo: ÖBB press materials/ÖBB
01 / 04 / 2022

On the night of March 26 to 27, the new summertime began. The synchronization of over 4,000 clocks, as well as computers and servers, was done automatically.

According to the ÖBB, there are two types of clocks on the stations and platforms, lead and follow ones. Lead clocks, located in the technological rooms of the railroads, synchronously control the follow clocks. Thus, the changeover to summer or winter time is fully automatic. It is done either by a GPS satellite or an NTP server or via a DCF77 time signal transmitter.

Most clocks have been changed in Lower and Upper Austria, Styria, and Vienna.

Daylight Saving Time was made to save energy. Three and a half years after the proposal to close the issue of time change in Europe, the negotiation process continues, and the clocks are re-set twice a year by one hour.

Interestingly, Daylight Saving Time was first introduced in Germany during World War I, then in Great Britain. The United States, although imitating Europe, backtracked at the end of the war because the change displeased many citizens, especially agrarians.

Daylight saving time was reintroduced for the same reasons during World War II in the United States, only this time it was set for the whole year. This earned it the nickname "wartime," as opposed to "peacetime," which was reverted to with the onset of winter.

Eventually, the oil crisis of October 1973 was the catalyst for European countries, one after the other, to introduce an annual change of time, which was implemented two times a year.

The European Union first introduced daylight saving time rules in 1980 with a directive that coordinated national practices that existed at the time. The current directive, which came into force in 2001, introduced daylight saving time and wintertime on the last Sunday of March and October, respectively.