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Road crossing in mid-late 70's

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PED
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Road crossing in mid-late 70's
Posted by PED on Saturday, March 09, 2019 12:37 PM

I want to eventually add some RR crossing to my N scale layout that is set in the mid-late 70's in Oklahoma. However, I am not sure I can recall what the typical structures were for RR crossings in that era.

I am trying to decide what type of structure would be appropriate for the following situations. All would be in a city settings.

- Back street or secondary road. I think I can get by with old fashon wooden crossbars on a post. No lights.

- Active city street but not a main throughfaire.  I think I can use a metal crossbar style sign to include flashing lights but no gate.

- Busy highway or city street with lots of traffic. Full blown crossing gate to include lights.

Does this sound about right? Trying to keep everything as low tech and simple as I can to keep cost down. Several crossings I need to deal with are low to medium volume traffic but most traffic would be industrial style traffic. My preference would be to minimize the use of a gate style crossing due to added cost.

My main snag is that I do not recall how widespread the crossing gate style was in the mid-late 70's.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, March 09, 2019 2:39 PM

Actually gate crossings don’t cost much if you go with an Arduino and servos.  A $6 Arduino UNO and a pair of $1.50 servos from China will take care of one crossing and just the cost of the servos for the rest.
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by NHTX on Monday, March 11, 2019 3:12 AM

     The information you didn't provide is the amount of train traffic over these crossings.  A once a day switcher could stop and protect with simple crossbucks, or crew activated flashers.  Low speed train movements could be protected by flashers.  As speed and rail traffic increases, so does the need for more positive protection , thus, gates and flashers.

PED
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Posted by PED on Monday, March 11, 2019 8:51 AM

All the level crossing I am concerned about are mainline type. I have a number of sidings and yard area which I planed to use plain crossbucks on. My main is is tryting to remember how prevelant a crossing gate was back in 70's. Seems like crossing gates are very common today but I don't think they were that prevelant back in 70's. Seems like crossbucks and flashing lights were very common.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, March 11, 2019 9:29 AM

I lived in a small town in the 60s and 70s and the SP mainline had crossing gates on all crossings probably from the early 50s.  There was a gate crossing 10 miles south of town on a paved road side to dirt road side with very low traffic.
 
They were installed when I moved there in 1960 and didn't look new then.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by NHTX on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:53 AM

     PED,

    I was assigned to Tinker AFB just east of OKC on I-40, in 1974.  Santa Fe, Frisco, Rock Island, and Katy served OKC at that time and I don't remember ANY crossing that had gates.  There were crossings of four lane streets that had gantry type flashers,  but no gates.  Most low traffic crossings, especially those in industrial areas had simple crossbucks, without flashers and most were stop-and-protect.  The financial health of the railroads is also a factor.  Santa Fe and Frisco would be more likely to employ flashers, with Katy and, Rock Island using simple crossbucks.  Also, the highest allowed speed on any railroad in the OKC area was 40 MPH on the ATSF which was grade separated through downtown OKC.  Most train speeds were in the 25 MPH range on the SLSF, RI, and MKT.  I hope this helps.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:43 AM

All the railroad is required to provide are crossbucks on public crossings.  Anything above that is primaily paid for by the city or state and maintained by the railroad.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

PED
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Posted by PED on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:50 AM

NHTX - I worked at Tinker for over 30 years but your memory is better than mine :)

I seemed to recall some crossing gates but not a lot. I wish I could track down an official set of rules for late 70's and see what the legal requirements were during that time frame.

I will probably go with crossbucks (some with and some without lights). I don't have any roads wide enough to need a gantry.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by Eric White on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:05 PM
PED
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Posted by PED on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:06 PM

Eric,

That MUTCD history link is great. The 1978 version had a ton of info that is useful for me in both RR crossing as well as road marking in general. The one suprising thing I saw was that the manual described what signs should look like but did not provide any real guidance on when to use one style sign vs another. Apparently the decision to use or not use a gate was done elsewhere rather than have hard rules. However, I have what I need to move forward now.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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  • From: Burnsville, MN
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Posted by MNExplorer on Saturday, March 16, 2019 9:03 PM

I grew up in St. Bernice, IN in  the 1960s and early 1970s. There were two grade crossings in town, one had cross bucks and the other one had a wig wag. This was on the Terre Haute Division of The Milwaukee Road, former Chicago, Terre Haute, and Southeastern.

Brad Spear

Burnsville, MN

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