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My wife the other day showed me this channel on You Tube that often live streams train locations (can't recall the name of the channel). Anyway, they also had these videos from Russia, and one of them had something interesting. At this one rail crossing, when the crossing barrier is activated, arm comes down, lights flash, sound, it also had these metal plates in the road that rose up at a 45 degree angle, blocking cars from going through (picture kind of like the road surface on a draw bridge in the open position, in much smaller scale).

Does anyone know if that has ever been used here? I can't recall ever seeing it up here, just wondered if anyone else knows of places they use something similar in the US.

Last edited by bigkid
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There was a photo in Trains Magazine in the 1940s, of a crossing on the Boston & Maine, with a barrier such as you describe.  However, I do not believe that there were many such installations.  Barriers like that would be a nightmare for maintenance.  

Electric crossing gates have proven to be very effective in giving a warning.  They are counterbalanced so that it requires electric current to hold the gate in the "up" position.  The current comes from batteries charged by commercial electric power.  If the Commercial power fails, the batteries will still operate the gates and flashers for quite a while.  If the batteries finally go dead, the gates lower themselves by gravity.

Well, there is also an obsolete prototype for the Lionel crossing gate that was counterbalanced so that it required energy to be lowered and defaulted to "up".

Manually operated gates (surely now extinct except on railway museum tracks) were lowered by a crank mechanism, or, more commonly, by air pressure.  The crossing tender would manually pump up air pressure, which, through a buried network of pipes, pressurized the mechanism at the base of each gate and lowered the arm.  Sometimes, if the crossing was occupied for a long time (or if there was an air leak), one or more of the gates would attempt to raise itself and more pumping would be required.  The gates were counterbalanced so that the counterbalance would be just heavy enough to raise the gates once air pressure was removed.  They usually bounced two or three times when they came to fully upright position, which then was often less than straight up, due to pole lines carrying utilities beside streets in towns.

Crossing Watchmen were often employees with good service records who had sustained an illness or injury which rendered them unfit to continue in service in their former craft (usually, Brakeman, Switchman, or one of the shop crafts) and thus given what was considered "light duty."  I have heard of ice accumulation in severe winter storms becoming sufficient to lower pneumatic gates, and Watchmen would have to hammer the ice off of them to reposition them upright.

Last edited by Number 90

What came to my mind regarding the raised angled roadbed at the crossings is all the law suites from people who tried to circumvent the flashing lights and gate. And they would most likely win the cases even though they tried to run through the crossing and were launched over the tracks like a ramp used by Evil Knievel.

@Dan Kenny posted:

What came to my mind regarding the raised angled roadbed at the crossings is all the law suites from people who tried to circumvent the flashing lights and gate. And they would most likely win the cases even though they tried to run through the crossing and were launched over the tracks like a ramp used by Evil Knievel.

The ramps face away from the tracks, so when raised there is edge of the steel plate facing the drivers who try to go across the crossing.

Stuart

Last edited by Stuart

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