ExCon90 wrote: ↑Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:45 pm
Speaking of peace of mind for train crews, a widespread practice in Europe is to provide, in approach to a crossing, a trackside indicator that the crossing gates are working as intended (in Germany, a normally dark lunar white over a solid yellow, or often a reflectorized yellow disc; if the lunar white doesn't start flashing by the time the train passes a marker, the gates aren't working, and presumably the train is to approach the crossing prepared to stop). CTA has had this like forever on the L, and the River LINE (Camden-Trenton) has something similar. Doing this on mainline railroads in the US would be a major expense, and thus probably won't happen.
Connecticut has installed a few quiet zone crossings in Wallingford and Meriden near the center of town and in business districts. Each has quad gates and at least some of them have concrete medians. Speakers mounted on each side of the tracks play a very computerized recording of the long-long-short-long whistle sequence from when the gates activate to when the train is through the crossing, which is annoying when you're waiting for a long freight train. Not quite sure why this is, as it's not like a train sounds its real horn until it's through.
Several hundred feet before the crossings (I believe it's only that much because the trains are always going relatively slowly anyway), there are square LED signs mounted on poles trackside that flash a red 'X' if the quiet zones are working. As far as I know, they are operational at all hours and aren't activated by signals or blocks.
ExCon90 wrote: ↑Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:27 pm
Really, the only safe thing to do if the gates are down with no train in sight is to call the 800 number on the little blue plate (usually mounted on one of the masts at the crossing). I had occasion to do this once; the call was answered almost immediately, and the procedure was that the person answering the call notifies the dispatcher controlling that territory even before notifying the M/W department. The dispatcher immediately issues a stop-and-protect order requiring all trains to approach the crossing prepared to stop and then flag across. The local police department is also notified to put someone on duty at the crossing. Anybody who can't wait that long should indeed find another crossing unless there's a local policeman there signaling that it's OK to cross. (Of course the people who need to see this probably won't ...)
Thank you! A lot of people don't know this exists.