Recent Topics      
YMR logo

You are here:  Your Model Railway Club > Getting You Started. > The Lineside. > Level Crossing & Road Traffic Control To bottom of page
                 

 Moderated by: Spurno
Start New Topic Reply Printer Friendly

Level Crossing & Road Traffic Control - The Lineside. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
AuthorPost
 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 02:08 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 1st post
Dave C
Full Member


Joined: Sun Oct 26th, 2014
Location: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Posts: 272
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

This is more of an enquiry relating to how road traffic was controlled on the approach to a level crossing.

These days we are all familiar with the twin flashing red lights and the amber warning light on a flat board together with the wailing siren. But what warnings were around back in the late 50's and early 60's?

I seem to recall on a busy level crossing on the Southern Railway somewhere on the Brighton to Worthing line in the mid 50's that the signalman simply wound his "wheel" in the signal box to close the gates - initially quite slowly to effectively force the traffic to stop. But I don't recall any form of traffic control, other than the gates closing - no traffic lights or warning lights of any description - but I could be wrong and never noticed such items of street/railway furniture.

I've tried to find some details of any such road traffic controls on railway level crossings at around this time period without luck; just a dim and distant fading memory of many (many) years gone by.

I've built a level crossing based around BR(E) on/around 1960 and feel there ought to be some form of road traffic control involved - whether it be the more normal road traffic lights (similar to those seen on road junctions today) or the more normal twin red/amber lights seen on rail crossings these days - or maybe simply a signalman winding his crossing "wheel" to force traffic to stop.

Can anyone advise on this subject please. Thanks in anticipation.

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 03:05 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 2nd post
Longchap
Full Member


Joined: Wed Mar 25th, 2015
Location:  Saumur, France
Posts: 2205
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Hi Dave,
 
An interesting post. I rather fancy that in those past more restrained days when the British public seemed perfectly capable of thinking for themselves, that the road traffic control at level crossings principally took the form of signage, placed a suitable distance from the gates.
 
A quick delve into the workshop, produced these two examples.



The first is the older type from the 20s or 30s, when this minimal approach seemed sufficient, while the second is from the 50s, both would have had the familiar red ‘warning’ triangle at the top of the black and white stripey post, plus lamps and a big red circle on the gates themselves. I have a slim volume somewhere with possibly more details, such as the two types of steam loco profile used.

 

Hope this helps and you should be able to find relevant photos on t’internet to manipulate for modelling purposes.

 

Best,

Bill



____________________
At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 04:29 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 3rd post
Dave C
Full Member


Joined: Sun Oct 26th, 2014
Location: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Posts: 272
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Thank you for that Bill.

I remember seeing the latter of those two photos.

I've been looking round t'interweb for a few days now and could find nothing much that satisfied my curiosity regarding traffic signals on the approach to level crossings. Not even for the specific station hinted to in my original post (Shoreham-by-Sea) - a few photos of the crossing itself (some complete with EMUs on approach) but none showed much of the approaching roads. Nearly all photos appear to show the newer barrier types.

A few moments ago, I happened across one interesting web page - thetransportlibrary.co.uk and here I have found a number of interesting photos of level crossings without, it would appear, any form of road traffic control, even dating well into the 60's, even into the 70's when gates were still in regular use, probably not on mainline tracks though, and all without traffic control. I've even hunted for level crossings locally around here - one did give a good indication that no traffic signalling was in place, but the photo didn't give a year it was taken. Having said that, one car on the photo had an old "R" reg plate and that dates it back to 1976/77. The line isn't exactly mainline but is (currently) a relatively busy line heading towards the east coast.

So I think I've answered my own question - shame I didn't find this web page earlier. But it might give others a pointer of where to take a look. Looks like I can simply leave my level crossing 'as is' and hope the road traffic takes the hint and stops when required. But back in those days, life moved at a much slower pace than we're used to these days.

If anyone else might wish to add any further information or comments, the please do join in.

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 04:33 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 4th post
John Dew
Full Member


Joined: Tue Dec 1st, 2009
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
Posts: 4589
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

The Liverpool-Southport electric line was/is a busy commmtor line with trains in each direction at least every 20 minutes. (Ex L&Y, LNWR, LMS.)
Most stations had level xings controlled by the station signal box. The procedure for closing was exactly as you describe for the SR

In addition, between the stations, there were a number of un manned gated  xings used by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. I remember the procedure to this day….get out of the car, open the near gates, look both ways, walk to the other side, open the gates there, walk back, drive over, stop on the other side, walk back and close both sets of gates.
Interesting procedure in the not infrequent fogs. In addition to the road signs Bill described these unmanned xings had signs encouraging motorists not to stop on the xing!

I seem to remember both types of xing operating, as described, in the early seventies. 



____________________
John
Granby III
Lenz DCC,RR&Co Gold V9 B3 Windows 10
Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 09:26 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 5th post
Gwiwer
The Mermaid Inspector


Joined: Sat Oct 25th, 2014
Location: Upon A Hill Of Strawberries, United Kingdom
Posts: 1192
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Dave C wrote: a busy level crossing on the Southern Railway somewhere on the Brighton to Worthing line

Which one?

I am more than familiar with that line and its level crossings.  Portslade, Shoreham (Hammy Lane and at the station), Lancing, Worthing Central and West Worthing meet the brief.  All would have seen equal rail traffic with the exception that the first two locations (three crossings) had one more train per hour each way prior to the closure of the Shoreham - Christ's Hospital line. 

All had adjacent signal boxes and all gates were closed and opened by the signalman (correct terminology at that time) in the 'box.  

There were the required warning signs on the approaches as per Bill's post.  That was all you got.  There were no flashing lights, sirens or bells.  The signalman operated the gate-release lever in his frame which unlocked and lowered the locking plates holding the gates open and he then initiated movement of the wheel whilst watching for road traffic.  If there was no traffic the gates were wound closed but if traffic were using the crossing the gates would be moved a few inches as a warning.  They would then be closed as soon as the traffic cleared and any approaching vehicles or pedestrians had obediently stopped - as they did in those days - allowing the gates to be closed safely over the road.  The gates depressed the locking plates in the road which sprang back up to prevent the gates rebounding back.  The locking lever was then reversed in the frame which released the interlocking and allowed the train to be signalled through.  The interlocking did not permit the locking lever to be moved again until the signals were replaced to stop.  

South Farm Road at Worthing Central was the first to have its gates replaced by barriers and at the same time warning lights (twin reds, no yellows then) and bells were installed.  Lancing followed and then Hammy Lane which allowed for the signalbox there to be abolished and all control transferred to Shoreham.  

West Worthing was a complex installation as the crossing sits adjacent to a busy crossroads where most traffic turns left or right across the railway.  But it too gained barriers and in this case they were interlocked with the road traffic lights installed a few years previously in order to prevent the possibility of those offering green to road traffic which then drove onto the crossing having failed to see the railway lights flashing red.  Portslade too has its barriers interlocked with road traffic lights for the same reason.  Lancing is the only crossing now under direct signaller supervision as that box has been retained to oversee all crossings along the coast.  As such it is under full manual control with the signaller operating the relevant buttons to activate it.  Until it all goes to Three Bridges ROC in a couple of year's time.  



____________________
Rick
Layouts here and here
Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Mon Aug 16th, 2021 10:29 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 6th post
Dave C
Full Member


Joined: Sun Oct 26th, 2014
Location: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Posts: 272
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Thanks Gwiwer, brilliant write-up of the operation of these crossings along that Brighton/Worthing line. So, many thanks for that.

As a youngster (very much a young youngster) I visited my grandparents on many an occasion who lived "very" close to the line at Shoreham, probably a couple of hundred yards down the road from the station itself towards Lancing and just before the turn off to Horsham - this is back mid 50's - at a time when the Horsham line was still running, not just to Horsham, but also to the cement works just along the river. So that was extra rail traffic between Shoreham and towards Brighton over and above that which went from Shoreham to Lancing (I recall a visit to their works one year) and to Worthing and beyond.

But we've digressed from the original question about traffic approaches to the level crossing there. Very interesting though about how the signalman operated the gates and was essentially as I recalled - slow start to move the gates to get the traffic to stop and then wind them right across and 'bang' against the stop plates. I was never aware of the tinkering (operational stuff) in the signal box by way of interlocking, and signalling, etc. This sort of knowledge only comes with time and a greater knowledge of such procedures, which at the age of around 5, I couldn't have cared less about! I just watched the trains!

Again, many thanks for the over-view.

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Wed Aug 18th, 2021 02:40 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 7th post
Petermac
Admin


Joined: Sat Oct 13th, 2007
Location: Nr Bergerac, France
Posts: 18729
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

It's worth remembering that there was infinitely less road traffic in those days Dave and what there was of it tended to be driven by people with a modicum of common sense in that they realised the gates were closing to allow a train to go through.  If you chose to do battle with said train, you were likely to come out the loser.......

I remember both signalman controlled crossings and gated driver operated farm crossings.  

As a 12 and 13 year old, I often helped on the neighbouring farm, especially during hay time, harvest and potato picking.  His farm was split by the old York to Hull line so we had to cross the line on a driver operated crossing from most of his fields to the farmstead.  Being double track and often hauling a heavy load with a tractor about as far removed from todays giants as the Arctic is from the Antarctic, it was often a heart stopping operation.  

Look carefully in both directions for steam train smoke (no chance of hearing the newly introduced DMUs above the rattle of the tractor engine so hope and pray !), open gates at both sides of the track,  rush back to the tractor and make absolutely sure you didn't stall the thing or get on of those kangaroo starts often associated with a heavy load,  drive over the tracks slowly in order to avoid any risk of a rocking motion on a high load of hay or straw bales (the crossing was fairly oblique) the, once over, breath a sigh of relief and remember to close both gates ready for the next time !  The line closed in 1965 well before any introduction of automatic barriers.



____________________
'Petermac
Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Thu Aug 19th, 2021 08:06 am
PMQuoteReply
link to this 8th post
col.stephens
Full Member
 

Joined: Tue Feb 7th, 2012
Location: Kent, United Kingdom
Posts: 2570
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Don't forget that not all level crossings were wheel operated from the signal box.  In some instances the signalman had to walk to the gates to close them by hand.  I think that the sight of the signalman approaching the gates would be sufficient warning to vehicle drivers that the way ahead was about to be barred, giving them sufficient time to slow or stop their vehicles as necessary.


Regarding traffic lights on road approaches to level crossings.  Logic says that if you had traffic lights, and assuming drivers obeyed them, then gates would not be required.  You will instinctively say "That's all very well, but we know that many drivers won't obey them".  My reply would then be "So why haven't we got gates at every set of crossroads which are controlled by traffic lights?"  In any event, Peter is right in that, in those days gone by, everybody knew that if you picked a fight with a heavy steam loco, as a driver you were going to lose.

Terry

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Fri Aug 20th, 2021 08:53 am
PMQuoteReply
link to this 9th post
Dave C
Full Member


Joined: Sun Oct 26th, 2014
Location: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Posts: 272
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

Many thanks guys for the reminiscences regarding older gated level crossings and their operation, etc. It's good to hear the stories and I couldn't agree more that you don't argue with a locomotive, be it steam or diesel, on a level crossing.

I'm grateful to you guys for the comments and it is good to know that I was correct with the meagre facts that I can recall about Shoreham level crossing (and others of the time) that there was no need for any road traffic control other than the slow initial closing of the gates by the signalman turning his wheel indicating a train was imminent and that the traffic ought to stop. Also, agreed, that traffic was much lighter in those days and it tended to move a lot slower as well - we all seemed to take our time a lot more back in those times, not like the rush, rush, rush of today; and also we had a lot more patience as well.

So I think I can put my question firmly to rest at this point, however.....

This exercise has also been interesting in my further learning of the timeline for the phasing out of the gated level crossings (other than, maybe, those still in use for farm crossings, etc.) and the initial installation of the automatic half barriers - both without and later with signal interlocking - and later to the full width barrier crossings. An interesting article that gives some background on that timeline can be found on the page at: https://www.railwaymagazine.co.uk/14730/from-the-archive-tragedy-on-the-west-coast-main-line-ignorance-from-arrogance-in-24-seconds/ - a few paragraphs part way down the page, which does mostly cover the major accident at Hixon crossing in 1968. Also a look at: https://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?t=52186 gives some further background on the subject.
Some pedestrian crossings have also come under fire, particularly, I recall recently, one just outside Cleethorpes station which is controlled by signals on the gates for the public to use and act upon; and what a fuss this closure (supposedly on safety grounds) has been caused by members of the public who have used it for years for getting over the single track line to the beach - this line isn't a particularly busy line by any stretch of the imagination with an average of 4 trains an hour.

In response to your comment Terry "So why haven't we got gates at every set of crossroads which are controlled by traffic lights?". There are times I ask the very same question when you see drivers blatantly running the red light, mostly getting away with it, some get fined by the cameras, some just don't make it at all. I make no further comment!

Cheers guys. Oh, and any gals that are on here.


Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Fri Aug 20th, 2021 01:47 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 10th post
col.stephens
Full Member
 

Joined: Tue Feb 7th, 2012
Location: Kent, United Kingdom
Posts: 2570
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

On the subject of foot crossings, Railtrack (or whatever they call themselves these days) are trying to close all foot crossings across the rail network.  Ostensibly on safety grounds but actually to save the cost of maintenance. They thought they would test the water in East Anglia and, if successful, would roll out the closures nationwide.  Thankfully the Ramblers' Association have taken up the fight to prevent closures which would make a complete nonsense of the extensive footpath network in England and Wales.  Imagine following a footpath across fields and coming to the railway fence with no way of accessing the same path on the other side of the railway. Ludicrous!  In effect they would be closing footpaths by the back door as there would be no point in walking any path severed by the railway as you would have to backtrack the way you had just come.  Thankfully, Railtrack have lost the initial test cases in East Anglia.  It could prove very costly for them to fight every closure across the country.
My personal view is that, as the footpaths were there first before the railways carved up the land, Railtrack should be forced to provide either a footbridge of underpass at every foot crossing which they wish to close.  That should concentrate their minds a bit.

Power to the People!

Terry

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Fri Aug 20th, 2021 09:51 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 11th post
Petermac
Admin


Joined: Sat Oct 13th, 2007
Location: Nr Bergerac, France
Posts: 18729
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

I absolutely agree Terry.

Ramblers have a very mixed reception in the countryside - fortunately, most are perfectly decent, reasonable human beings.  However, there are some who think they own the place.  Not only are they rude if confronted but they often leave gates open so livestock can escape, damage stone walls by clambering over them, complain bitterly and demand "threatening" livestock be removed from fields with footpaths in them and tramp through growing crops.  They are certainly not "proper ramblers", just bolshie people out for trouble.

Having said all that, it would be a massive mistake to close the footpath network, or even a part of it.  As you say, it/they were there long before railways and once gone, they'd never come back.  Somehow, we just have to educate, or control,  the minority who always try to spoil things for everyone else.



____________________
'Petermac
Back To Top PMQuoteReply

 Posted: Wed Aug 25th, 2021 07:30 pm
PMQuoteReply
link to this 12th post
Dave C
Full Member


Joined: Sun Oct 26th, 2014
Location: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Posts: 272
Status: 
Offline

My photos:
view photos in Gallery
view photos as slides

As a walker-cum-rambler myself (not a member of The Ramblers Assn but a member of another local walking group), I/we are very aware of the Countryside Code and take exceptional care to ensure someone at the back of the walking group is in charge of ensuring that we close the gates after us and we're always careful around livestock, cows in particular as they can be twitchy/protective at times, particularly around calving time. Usually we're in groups of around 40 or so covering ground such as the Yorkshire or Derbyshire Dales and up and across the moors. Yet, on our travels around, we regularly see the "other side" of the rambling community - gates left open, rubbish left strewn about and dogs running loose. There are times I despair of their thoughtlessness.

It would be a huge shame if footpaths got closed for whatever reason; and I don't believe that "safety" is a valid reason these days - as Terry said, more of a cost cutting exercise in reducing maintenance costs of the paths and/or crossings, be they over road, rail or river. So come on Railtrack, stop trying to close valid and safe footpath crossings over your tracks. I'd be devastated if I could not get out into the fresh air and walk the local paths and byways, and always being careful around the sheep or cows that regularly graze the local fields through which I trudge -  and always careful over the nearby 4-track crossing on a relatively fast running line.

Back onto the model railway topic (kind of...), So whenever I create a piece of scenery on the layout, I always try to add a footpath or two across the fields and with a few walkers as well (no dogs). It's part of being British I guess, getting out and about on Shanks's Pony ("walking" for the uninformed!). And, as usual, it's the minority who spoil it for the majority. It's time they woke up and started behaving like responsible adults.

Back To Top PMQuoteReply

This is topic ID = 16844     Current time is 04:50 am  
You are here:  Your Model Railway Club > Getting You Started. > The Lineside. > Level Crossing & Road Traffic Control
You can type a quick reply to this topic here. Click in the box below to begin.

Or to reply to an individual post, or to include images, attachments and formatted text,
click the Quote or Reply buttons on each post above.

To start a new topic in this forum, click the Start New Topic button below.
To start a new topic in a different forum, click the Forum Jump drop-down list below.
Start New Topic

Back to top of page

           
15 Most Recent Topic

Problems with this web site? Please contact the Webmaster.

All material submitted to this web site is the responsibility of the respective contributor. By submitting material to this web site you acknowledge that you accept full responsibility for the material submitted.
Unless stated otherwise, all the material displayed on this web site, including all text, photographs, drawings and other images, is copyright and the property of the respective contributor. Registered members are welcome to use it for their own personal non-commercial modelmaking purposes. It must not be reproduced or re-published elsewhere in any form, or used commercially, without first obtaining the owner's express permission.
The owner of this web site may edit, modify or remove any content at any time without giving notice or reason.    © 2008

                 

Recent Topics Back to top of page

Powered by UltraBB 1.15 Copyright © 2007-2011 by Jim Hale and Data 1 Systems. Page design copyright © 2008-2013 Martin Wynne. Photo gallery copyright © 2009 David Williams.