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Locking Gates on Rail Crossings

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  • Member since
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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Locking Gates on Rail Crossings
Posted by FRRYKid on Monday, October 16, 2017 1:22 PM

Got another one for my forum friends: Is/was there a prototype for a gate or something similar to secure a leg of a crossing where two railroads are involved to prevent a train being t-boned? I have a crossing on my layout where the straight leg is a switchback for a logging spur for one railroad and the curved leg is on a leg of a turnaround wye for a tourist line and freight railroad (the turnaround is for the end of the line). It wouldn't be heavy use on the logging spur but still I'm sure a prototype would have some sort of protection. At the very least, I would think that there should be a structure of some sort for control at the crossing. I have some building pieces that I am bashing into a guard structure. (Of course, I don't remember what I got that package for in the first place.)

As usual, any help that the forums can provide would be most welcomed.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, October 16, 2017 1:53 PM

Often, on little used lines there was simply a pipe-like affair that would pivot to block the restricted track similar to what is shown in this Mike Danneman photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikedanneman/26646439845/in/album-72157681441607206/

Sometimes a reflective plate and/or lamp would be attached. In other places a manually controlled signal may be used, similar to a semaphore. 

As shown here:

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/26057

 

Scroll down to see photos of a B&O style here:

http://www.railfanguides.us/in/northvernon/index.htm

 

  

 

The rule book and timetable would provide instructions as to the approach and waiting period before the gate could be swung and locked, sometimes requiring a call to a dispatcher.

Of course, on more heavily trafficked routes, full interlocking would be the rule. The cost of manning and maintaining the crossing would usually be borne by the second railroad to arrive.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by tstage on Monday, October 16, 2017 2:50 PM

I think either one of those that Ed linked to would be very cool to model.  Of the two, the tilting target signal would draw the most attention - especially if it were a working signal.

You could also use a simple ball signal:

I scratch-built one but there is a kit available for the one in Whitefield, NH.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:38 AM

FRRYKid
Is/was there a prototype for a gate or something similar to secure a leg of a crossing where two railroads are involved to prevent a train being t-boned?

Yes.  They were generally known as smash-boards and came in various types and designs.  Some looked like tennis rackets or paddles on an axis that could be raised or lowered to "block" the track.  Others were indeed gates that could be swung to protect one road then the other.  Of course none of them was intended, or strong enough, to actually prevent a train from going through them -- they were called smash boards for a reason!   But they were physical restraints across the tracks that went beyond just a light, or semaphore, or ball, on a signal mast.  

The August 1983 MR had an excellent article on Smashboards.  July 1960 MR has a great article on a famous example of smashboards, that being at Plymouth WI.  The swinging gate type I can recall seeing at Canton IL where the CB&Q/BN crossed over the TP&W.  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by cx500 on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:39 AM

I have also seen a case where a split rail derail was located about 30 feet past the home signal protecting a diamond crossing (and several hundred feet before fouling the other railway).  That is the only type that gives actual physical protection.  Pipe gates and such will not do much to stop a train that has ignored a stop signal.

John

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Posted by DSchmitt on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:51 AM

cx500

I have also seen a case where a split rail derail was located about 30 feet past the home signal protecting a diamond crossing (and several hundred feet before fouling the other railway).  That is the only type that gives actual physical protection.  Pipe gates and such will not do much to stop a train that has ignored a stop signal.

John

 

But they will show which train crew screwed up.

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 7:07 PM

The very least (for protection of the crossing) would be nothing more than stop signs.  Not unusual where train count is low on both routes.

Jeff

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Posted by FRRYKid on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 11:28 PM

Thought I would show what I have come up with. It is not quite complete but one gets the idea:

Basic frame is 1/8" tubing with 1/16" rod in the middle to support the stop poles and the gate via holes drilled into the layout board. The gate actually swings on the rod. The locations have been checked for track clearance. Theory is that the gate is powered from the shanty. (The log cars are the main reason that I built the crossing as the track is the tail of a switchback to a logging track.)

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
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Posted by DSchmitt on Thursday, October 26, 2017 1:37 AM

It has been reported that at one time Kansas had this law regarding level crossings

"When two trains approach each other at a crossing, both shall come to a full stop and neither shall start up again until the other has gone."

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Sunday, October 29, 2017 8:20 PM

DSchmitt

"When two trains approach each other at a crossing, both shall come to a full stop and neither shall start up again until the other has gone."

 

I suspect neither train crew or dispatcher would be very happy with that one!LaughSmile, Wink & Grin

Modeling the combined lines of the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Northern Pacific after a fictional Depression Era merger forming the SouthWestern Pacific and NorthWestern Pacific Railroads. SP, WP, and NP operations remain independent but also operate alongside NWP and SWP equipment.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 03, 2017 11:55 AM

In Bossier City, Louisiana there was a crossing between the SSW line down to Shreveport and, I believe, a continuation of KCS as a branch north of the westbound turn to cross the river.  As late as the mid-1990s this was protected by a very large swing panel gate of lightweight construction comparable to that used for chain-link fencing; this was swung across from one hinge post in a ‘corner’ and then locked across the line being “blocked”.  I do not remember what kind of reflectorized signage this has, and did not know if it was physically interlocked with the signal system.  As I recall, it was left in whatever position the ‘last crew through‘ had used and there was no inherent ‘priority’ for SSW trains to find the gate lined for them.

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