You are here:

Model Railroads/Level / Railroad Crossing Automated Systems.


Level Crossing System 1
Level Crossing System  
Level Crossing System 2
Level Crossing System  
QUESTION: Dear Charles

Do you feel Automated Level / Railroad Crossings (i.e. Without Manual Intervention) of opening /closing gates have an edge over manual railroad systems in terms of prevention of pedestrian accidents,collisions of vehicles with trains i.e. safety measures ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Mr. Akerkar,

The short answer is yes......But let me amplify my answer a bit.  First a caveat,  This is way above my paygrade as they say in the military.

With the level of technology available to the construction industry and the wireless methods for use of remote operation intervention, in the U.S. or other developed nations it is possible to install automated signals and operate them at a far lessor cost compared to a manually operated gate.  In addition the number of them to be installed  would be much higher because of the efficient operation versus a live worker operating them.  This assumes that the reliability of the gates and software to operate them is proven and reliable also.

Also I have witnessed many times of drivers pulling around the gates and going through which is a violation of law here in the U.S. but still happens.  Probably if the gates were longer in order to cover the entire road, not just the individual lanes, this would lessen the possibility of an idiot driver going around.

I must say that my answer above is based more on my accounting and economics background rather than my familiarity of the rail industry.  I hope my answer is helpful in some way.  You have very interesting questions.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Charles

Thank you.

Do you feel if "Level Crossing Ringtones" i.e. Warning audible alarm bells are generated before 10-15 minutes to a Smartphone / Cell Phone Automobile / Vehicle driver can help him / her to slow down the vehicle before reaching the Level / Railway Crossing". ?.

The Level Crossing Ringing tones will ring the alarm bells audible sound as "Level Crossing Ahead at this Specific Geographical Location".  i.e. Smartphone / Cellphone Application / program design for this functionality.

Can the above Smartphone Application / program be designed and developed ?.

Application Database of all Level / Railroad Crossings (Latitude, Longitude) ,XML document could be useful in this context.


Key Point :  "Ringtones should be generated before 10-15 minutes i.e. some distance in km/miles before the level crossing whether pedestrian walking on the road, driver driving a two wheeler, three wheeler , four wheeler vehicle on the road to the Smartphone / Cellphone User" .

This is required before for slowing down the vehicle or walking slowly anticipating danger of a train crossing the level crossing well in advance.
i.e. 10-15 minutes before.

Level Crossings Geographical Systems data in terms of location i.e. latitude, longitude, city, state will be already available with the US Railways. This data can be forwarded to the Smartphone application developers cos viz Google, Microsoft, Sun, Apple etc for designing the Smartphone GPS Application dedicated to Level Crossing Warnings.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Mr. Akerkar,

Thanks for your question and hello again.

I do not have the level of detail about level crossings and automated systems as you probably do.  

I am not a smart phone user, my cell phone can make calls and take calls and I am not too adept at that either...          But...

I do mean to sound flippant but my own position on this automatic notification with consumer communication devices is that no amount of technology can take the place or substitute for intelligence.  By taking this slant, (your Question subject matter), we seem to be making it easy for people to not take responsibility for their actions or inactions and then blame someone else for their troubles or injuries at the crossing.

Again, my apologies for an inadequate answer but thanks for allowing me to speak freely.

Have a good day.

With kindest regards,


Model Railroads

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Charles Campbell


Questions about Icken Trains ( Fred Icken). Also about electrical workings and problems with electro mechanical pinball machines. Charles


Collected pinball machines for 30 + years and do all work myself. Own a collection of Icken trains. Also many Lionel and American Flyer utems.

I subscribe to Clasic Toy Trains and am a charter subscriber.

Electical/electronics training, U.S. NAVY. BBA 1970 University of Oklahoma.

Past/Present Clients
I do not sell any trains only collect so I do no have train clents. I have in the past sold many old electro-mechanical pinball machines and there have been many customers who have alled me back years later to get one fixed. This is an art that you don't find much any more and the commercial shops charge too much to get a machine fixed. I just try to keep them fixed so that they don't disapear ore are discarded.

©2016 All rights reserved.