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Level Crossing Interlocking


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  • RMweb Gold

Hi all,

 

Can anyone please advise me on the interlocking arrangements that would be appropriate around my newly installed level crossing?

 

It's BR(S) circa 1960, single track, mechanical signalling, traditional gated crossing, minor country road.

 

The section is (imagined to be) a little over a mile and a half long between stations and the crossing is roughly in the middle, operated by a crossing keeper.

Would the signals at either end be interlocked (presumably electrically) such that the gates would have to be shut before the starter could be pulled off, or would the keeper operate the gates independently of any interlocking once the train is in section?

 

 

Alan

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A third possibility is that the crossing would be kept closed across the road, the keeper would have a repeater of the bells and probably the block instruments and only open the crossing for a road vehicle if no train was approaching. Judging by the accident reports there were a lot like this in earlier years (or maybe they were just particularly prone to accidents).

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Llandevenny crossing, at the back of Llanwern steelworks in one such crossing, where the gates are normally closed against the road:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=llanwern&hl=en&ll=51.580019,-2.874098&spn=0.0013,0.004128&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=10.081243,33.815918&hnear=Llanwern,+Newport,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.580019,-2.874098&panoid=EviKsCm0ClBR20-KSPnbFA&cbp=12,121.21,,1,3.86

 

In this case there's a duck-under for cars, but anything higher has to wait for the gates to be opened.

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  • RMweb Gold

The only signals protecting the crossing would be those immediately at it (if there were any at all). Signals operated by signalboxes controlling the section would not be interlocked with the crossing and in fact it would be totally ignored for normal block working purposes by the Signalmen at either end of the section.

 

As already suggested I expect it would probably normally be kept closed to road traffic (as was the case at, e.g. Tisbury on the Southern's West of England main line).

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  • RMweb Gold

The only signals protecting the crossing would be those immediately at it (if there were any at all). Signals operated by signalboxes controlling the section would not be interlocked with the crossing and in fact it would be totally ignored for normal block working purposes by the Signalmen at either end of the section.

Yes it's purely the crossing keepers responsibility to make sure it's safe and there's enough time to open the gates using the repeater insruments and bells most of the time. They will use the telephone to the boxes if a train is overdue or they can't be sure whether it's passed, toilet breaks or nearby noise such as roadworks etc.

 

 

it would probably normally be kept closed to road traffic (as was the case at, e.g. Tisbury on the Southern's West of England main line).

and still is at Stoke between Wareham and Wool on the Weymouth line.

 

Some crossings had signals controlled by the crossing keeper, such as Sherborne and Feniton on the West of England (until they were resignalled earlier this year) but they tended to be for busier main roads or roads accessing a village or town where leaving the gates closed against road traffic would mean constant queues.

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  • RMweb Gold

Yes it's purely the crossing keepers responsibility to make sure it's safe and there's enough time to open the gates using the repeater insruments and bells most of the time.

And from time to time they have been known to get it wrong, with trains finding the gates on the front buffers, although generally this causes delay and a bit of damage, rather than derailment or disaster. ISTR an LBSCR tale from 1859 (?) where a loco had its fire lit at Petworth with the regulator open, and once steam pressure rose, off she trundled, arriving further up the line with several sets of gates on her buffer-beam!
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  • RMweb Gold

And from time to time they have been known to get it wrong, with trains finding the gates on the front buffers,

Yes and there's a story from a crossing I know, where the road runs parallel for two miles, of the keeper going for fish and chips, (unofficially), and then an extra train was sent down. He'd left the gates open to the road . . .

He was overtaken by the train as he returned and despite his best efforts to race it, and the driver braking as he came round the corner, arrived to see the shattered remains of the gates! Lesson is NEVER leave the gates unattended closed against the trains ;)

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  • RMweb Gold

Thank you for those insights, Gentlemen.

 

So I can leave the signal interlocking as is and just arrange for the gates to open when a road vehicle is detected at the crossing and no train is on line on the approach side of the crossing.

As a bonus, if it all goes pear shaped and the gates end up on the buffer beam it's still prototypical - result!

 

Alan

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