Crossing inequality

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Crossing inequality
Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, January 10, 2020 2:22 PM

 

     A BNSF mainline runs through the bedroom community in whichI work. Track speed is about 40 mph on trains running through, an average of maybe 6 times a day.  Where it intersects that track, the main drag through town has crossbucks and lights. This crossing probably sees 4-5,000 cars a day as it’s a main thoroughfare accessing the school, post office, city office, etc.

     A thousand feet away is the other crossing in town. It has crossbucks, lights and flashing arms that come down to block the street. This crossing might see 2-300 cars a day.

Why would the lesser used crossing have the higher test safety equipment?

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, January 10, 2020 3:16 PM

How long has each crossing been equipped with warning devices?

I would not be surprised to find that the less used crossing got them more recently, and therefore has newer, better equipment.

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Friday, January 10, 2020 4:16 PM

Could also be because the lesser used crossing has had more fatal or at least more expensive (maybe PR expensive rather than $'s) accidents and was thus upgraded to have higher safety equipment.

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, January 10, 2020 4:39 PM

Might also be a case of who is paying for it...

The lesser used crossing may be for a town/village/city road and the municipality was willing to pay.

The busier might be a state road that the state doesn't want to lay out the cash for (until something forces their hand).

You'll have to tell us who "owns" the two crossings.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, January 10, 2020 4:49 PM

'Squeaky' crossings get the protection they 'squeak' for.

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Posted by mudchicken on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:14 PM

Your state's PUC/RRC probably made a decision more recently on the lesser used crossing. In your state it's the South Dakota Dept. of Transportation/ Office of Air Rail & Transit. Each public crossing has an application/decision document attached to the installation of protection or changes to the size or geometry of the crossing. That Application & Decision becomes a fixed contract - no additions, removal or changes w/o  a new hearing, application and decision. (otherwise somebody is in breach of agreement and in serious deep doo-doo).... what you are looking at is an application of the "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" addage. Nothing will happen on the main drag untill there is a new petition/application to upgrade or change what's there.

Take a gander at Title 49; Chapter 294 and Chapter 307 of your state statute follies (SL's). Then look at Chapter 31-27 of your state's codified laws. 

(Most states are similar in this regard.)

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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:31 PM

I think the dude's answer is most likely the explanation.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Friday, January 10, 2020 8:28 PM

Is there a school or something in the vicinity of the crossing with gates?  In the city where I grew up, the street nearest the high school was the only one with gates from the late 1950s into the 1970s.

Here in Lombard, the crossing with a school next to it is the only one in town with four gates to protect the two lanes (all others have one gate per lane).  That could be because of a high-profile grade-crossing accident that took place there, but I'm sure the presence of the adjacent school had some influence.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Saturday, January 11, 2020 11:36 AM

Are the sight distances - how far a vehicle driver can see an approaching train - the same or different at these 2 crossings?

Any hills or humps that would affect how long it takes a vehicle to cross?

These shouldn't really matter - if the lights or gates are operating, don't start crossing - but in the real world . . . 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, January 13, 2020 10:05 PM

      I did a little more studying of the crossings. The main drag is a county road through town that's probably more than a century old. The sightlines are not so good on acount of a grain elevator and a century old, big brick building. The crossing with the gates has houses nearby built in the 50's, 60's & 70's. That one has good sight lines. 

      Long and short of it, I suppose, is that a rural county that doesn't like to spend money and a small bedroom community that doesn't seem to have any money had some differing priorities when paying for crossing protection. 

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Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:19 AM

Murphy Siding
Long and short of it, I suppose, is that a rural county that doesn't like to spend money and a small bedroom community that doesn't seem to have any money had some differing priorities when paying for crossing protection. 

I've seen old photos showing human crossing guards at some grade crossings. Were such people typically employed by the railroad or by the local government?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:30 AM

I do know that the old CA&E had some crossings manned by employees no longer fit for previous job,  whether by age or injury.  I don't know who paid them. 

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:35 AM

railroad employees (switch tenders and crossing tenders)

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:41 AM

Murphy Siding

      I did a little more studying of the crossings. The main drag is a county road through town that's probably more than a century old. The sightlines are not so good on acount of a grain elevator and a century old, big brick building. The crossing with the gates has houses nearby built in the 50's, 60's & 70's. That one has good sight lines. 

      Long and short of it, I suppose, is that a rural county that doesn't like to spend money and a small bedroom community that doesn't seem to have any money had some differing priorities when paying for crossing protection. 

 

rural county or town has zero choice in the matter - It pays what the ombudsman determines (acting as an administrative law judge, in this case SD-DOT Rail section) the local entity has to contribute. (Failure to pay = bye-bye crossing and a court order)... Town portion is usually pretty small with most of the $$$ being federal section 103 funds distributed to the states for this purpose.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 2:20 PM

mudchicken
 
Murphy Siding

      I did a little more studying of the crossings. The main drag is a county road through town that's probably more than a century old. The sightlines are not so good on acount of a grain elevator and a century old, big brick building. The crossing with the gates has houses nearby built in the 50's, 60's & 70's. That one has good sight lines. 

      Long and short of it, I suppose, is that a rural county that doesn't like to spend money and a small bedroom community that doesn't seem to have any money had some differing priorities when paying for crossing protection. 

 

 

 

rural county or town has zero choice in the matter - It pays what the ombudsman determines (acting as an administrative law judge, in this case SD-DOT Rail section) the local entity has to contribute. (Failure to pay = bye-bye crossing and a court order)... Town portion is usually pretty small with most of the $$$ being federal section 103 funds distributed to the states for this purpose.

 

 

Wouldn't the same federal section 103 funds be available to counties?

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 3:51 PM

Murphy Siding
Wouldn't the same federal section 103 funds be available to counties?

I'm guessing it gets filtered through the state...

I think I found the spot you're talking about - nice classic car on Railroad Street on Google Street view.  

That said, I can't explain the difference, aside from the theories already put forward.

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 4:59 PM

Murphy: Section 130 funds are administered by the state. It's not free money for the local bubbas. It is a finite amount and the PUC/RRC/DOT administers the yearly amount based on priority. (and is there ever a waiting list for those funds)

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/xings/fhwasa16075/ch6.cfm

You also might want to look at the SD-DOT Railroad groups "Applications and Decisions" about those two crossings. Like most states, those ought to be available somewhere, probably online if they are more recent installations.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:09 PM

tree68

 

 
Murphy Siding
Wouldn't the same federal section 103 funds be available to counties?

 

I'm guessing it gets filtered through the state...

I think I found the spot you're talking about - nice classic car on Railroad Street on Google Street view.  

That said, I can't explain the difference, aside from the theories already put forward.

 

Laugh First thing I saw when I started looking on Street View was the white Ford Econoline van. Classic car?...Um, OK.  Hmm

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 10:04 PM

Murphy Siding
First thing I saw when I started looking on Street View was the white Ford Econoline van. Classic car?...Um, OK.  

1950-ish sedan, white.  Only badge is "Custom", and I'm not that good with cars of that era.

Unless I was in the wrong town...

 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:16 AM

tree68
 
Murphy Siding
First thing I saw when I started looking on Street View was the white Ford Econoline van. Classic car?...Um, OK.  

 

1950-ish sedan, white.  Only badge is "Custom", and I'm not that good with cars of that era.

Unless I was in the wrong town...

 

 

No, you're in the right spot. I "drove" up the street and found it. Smile

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 8:53 AM

Next to the man in the white T-Shirt?

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:44 AM

rdamon

Next to the man in the white T-Shirt?

 

Yep. Just for fun, any guess on the car? It looks like an oversized toy.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 12:15 PM

Looks like a late 1940's chevorlet  - 1949 Maybe

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