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Old 12-25-2014, 10:19 PM   #11
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I get the honors to stop a EVERY RR crossing with my school bus. I even stop at the RR crossing that has trees growing between the rails. So by habit I slow down every crossing with my own TV.
I just told this story to a nephew at a Christmas gathering last night. When I was riding the school bus in rural Ohio in the 60ís we had no railroad crossing lights. I remember Mr. Vincent (science teacher and bus driver) pulling up to the rr tracks on a very foggy morning. He sent a high school boy (Joe Sherman) out ahead of the bus. Joe would put his ear to the tracks and if he heard nothing would wave the bus through. I bet that doesnít happen anymore!

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Old 12-25-2014, 10:59 PM   #12
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My rant is people stopping on the tracks during a red light. The tracks in our town are very active, both with fairly speedy passenger trains and the long slow box trains. To give you an idea, we can see 2 or 3 trains in an hour sometimes. Now these not so bright individuals go and sit on these active tracks. People get hit. In the last three years, I'm aware of multiple accidents including some teenagers who got trapped between the crossing gates when they came down. They are now closing a major intersection because it has been deemed unsafe due to the number of accidents. It is not unsafe unless you are the one who stops on the tracks. Ok end of rant.
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:01 PM   #13
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Once in a while, the signals get stuck.

There's one on my way to work that usually gets stuck a couple times a year. There's an 800 number on the relay house building next to the crossing, so I'll call them and let them know it's stuck (it's a voicemail, not a real person). But if there's no train in 3-4 minutes, and I can see both ways, I'll go through.

But you MUST be VERY, VERY CAREFUL.

The other alternative is to turn around and go a different way.
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:10 PM   #14
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Yes, they work on a shunt... They can also be controlled by the dispatcher in certain conditions. It is truly foolhardy to pass through an active railroad crossing. I'm a railroader, too, but I'm a communications guy and used to do a lot of work track-side. I've seen a lot of foolish behavior by drivers. I have a few friends that are locomotive engineers like Choo-choo-man... and they have some hairy stories. Worse yet, I've had to be part of a few investigation teams of track-side fatalities. If you knew what a locomotive can do to the human body, you'd probably stop and look whether the lights are flashing or not.

Please take these crossings seriously...
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:19 PM   #15
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If you knew what a locomotive can do to the human body, you'd probably stop and look whether the lights are flashing or not.

Please take these crossings seriously...
X2 on this. I used to work with someone who decided to commit suicide by train. She laid down on the tracks and the poor engineer saw her but there was no way he could have stopped the train. There wasn't much left of her to make a positive ID...just one of her tattoos...
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:49 AM   #16
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So who calls the problem in?

Never thought about it before,but are those tracks bonded together and that's how the signal gets sent to the lights?
Public, police.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:53 AM   #17
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If it's anything like model railroading, there's a section of rail electrically isolated, with wiring attached to it, that when the loco and following consist cross it, the electrical current flows through the train's axles from one side to the other and activates the signal. But IDK if that's how real RRs work today, I believe most signals are radio activated from the train's loco and deactivated by the ETD on the final car...? Chooch???

And yes, trying to beat the train is always a losing proposition...
Never heard of that technology. Crossings and signals all work on track circuits. Some crossings have speed predictors, which basically send a signal down the rail, and measure how fast it comes back. It uses the doppler effect to determine speed and when to activate the crossing.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:54 AM   #18
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My rant is people stopping on the tracks during a red light. The tracks in our town are very active, both with fairly speedy passenger trains and the long slow box trains. To give you an idea, we can see 2 or 3 trains in an hour sometimes. Now these not so bright individuals go and sit on these active tracks. People get hit. In the last three years, I'm aware of multiple accidents including some teenagers who got trapped between the crossing gates when they came down. They are now closing a major intersection because it has been deemed unsafe due to the number of accidents. It is not unsafe unless you are the one who stops on the tracks. Ok end of rant.
That would be my next rant. I have a few places in mind when you say that.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:15 PM   #19
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Here is a question. How many people would pull up to a red light, look both ways, see that the traffic is a distance away, but figures they can make it, and then zips through the red light? I bet you, very few people would do this. Why the flipflop would people do that same with a train crossing. Isn't a red light a red light? One of these days, I am going to crunch a vehicle like a tin can, because the close calls are getting closer and closer. I am just hoping that no kids are inside. END OF RANT!
I can relate... I just retired as a Locomotive Engineer and felt the same way. I believe it's mostly ignorance that some feel as long as they THINK they can make it across.... it's ok to go... Those flashing red lights have the same meaning as a red traffic light where I come from.

I've been at the controls in a couple of fatal mishaps and will say it's the most awful helpless feelings I've ever experienced. It's true things do go into slow motion with that helpless feeling when you know what the outcome is going to be!
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:30 PM   #20
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Just asking you RR guys,but isn't there some sort of signal sending system to a RR office if the lights are flashing with no train coming?
Here in Canada and I'm sure it's exactly the same in the US...

No signal is sent... when a defect arises with a crossing they go into a fail safe mode and stay activated. They then rely on the public or police to call it in.

Like Choo says... we then get a restriction where in our case we must stop and manually protect the crossing until its occupied by the locomotive.
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