Grade Crossings - What do you do?

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santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
When I run trains on my layout, I may have occasion to stop and park a train (overnight or otherwise), instead of proceeding to one of the staging yards. There might be several reasons for doing this, none relevant here. I always park on passing sidings rather than foul the main, and I always split the train at grade crossings if I happen to be blocking one.
Do others also split at grade crossings when ending a session? Or am I just being an obsessive perfectionist?
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
When I run trains on my layout, I may have occasion to stop and park a train (overnight or otherwise), instead of proceeding to one of the staging yards. There might be several reasons for doing this, none relevant here. I always park on passing sidings rather than foul the main, and I always split the train at grade crossings if I happen to be blocking one.
Do others also split at grade crossings when ending a session? Or am I just being an obsessive perfectionist?
No , unless there's a city/county or state ordinance against it. The MOP used to be real good holding up traffic for hours , Their attitude was we were here first we didn't decide to put a road there , we were just minding our own busisness and a road showed up, If you don't like it build an underpass. I think the judges agreed with them , because there sure are a lot of rail underpasses.

Personally I think your giving in to easily to the trucking lobby.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
Willie obviously imagines and treats his MRR as being real. So he practices RR procedure when tying down a train for long hours by not fouling the main and by not blocking grade crossings...When I had a layout I did that too,..instead of leaving trains where they are and just shutting the power...
But it's a hobby..There are no rules, only laws of physics and electronics..(< if that's not redundant).... M
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I'm a watcher, not an operator. I do double main, folded loop, around the room style layouts with me pivoting in a central operating 'pit' to keep an eye on the churning valve gear and rods. So, as you would probably guess, I just bring them to a halt, ensure the throttle says '00' for any locomotives receiving signal on the rails, and then throw the rocker switch on the power bar. I walk away and find everything where I left it a few days later.

I try to remember to blow the crossings, bridges, and tunnels, and I blow movement and stopping signals to the 'ground crew' when the train is about to move or when it comes to a stop. I also have a lot of inertia and momentum programmed into CVs 3 and 4 respectively, another nod to realism.

Once I have finished my switching yard, I will probably try to go about classification of consists methodically to add another element of realism, something I haven't done in nearly 14 years in the hobby. I'm not there yet, but I'm thinkin' about it.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
When I run trains on my layout, I may have occasion to stop and park a train (overnight or otherwise), instead of proceeding to one of the staging yards. There might be several reasons for doing this, none relevant here. I always park on passing sidings rather than foul the main, and I always split the train at grade crossings if I happen to be blocking one.
Do others also split at grade crossings when ending a session? Or am I just being an obsessive perfectionist?
This is what we do at the club. We have to leave the main clear in case members want to run trains between operating sessions. We also split for grade crossings. It's your railroad!
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
BNSF doesn't always clear grade crossings, but it depends on the road.
The BNSF may do this, but in general the G.G.&W. Division of the C.B.&Q. (HO) does not! I have three grade crossings on my layout. Two are close together with station platforms spanning both on the main line. Trains only stop there briefly, to board and discharge passengers, so it doesn't pay to split the train. The third crossing is on the West side of the layout, with 4 tracks, including one main that is for through traffic, a secondary main which I do use as a storage for a passenger train, currently with President Truman's Whislestop Special, and two tracks for yard work, which are normally clear unless switching is in progress. The crossing is a four-lane, with, currently, flashing crossbucks. The signals are controlled by Azatrax IR cross-track IR detectors that span all four tracks. There are four sets of detectors, two about 18 inches from the crossing, with two in between set up in such a way that when the train that is split is there, the IR beams are not interrupted, so the signals stay OFF. If any train interrupts the beams, the signals activate. There is another system with crossing gates that I MAY install, depending on the reliability and versatility which depends on the IR beam bouncing off passing cars. This would require sensors in close proximity to each track. They are also far more expensive, so we'll see...
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
BNSF doesn't always clear grade crossings, but it depends on the road.

From what I remember , prior to about 1970 , the MOP rarely split a train and there were instances of people not being able to get home . There were also issues with emergency vehicles not being able to get across town .

They finally put regulations( the state had to get involved) that they had to split the train every 1/4 mile ? So the MOP's solution was to not run locals with lengths greater than 1/4 mile , and they would park the locomotive just short of the 4 lane highway, far enough away to not trigger the crossing signals ( The station /offices were on the other side of the highway) . The locomotive was always parked as near the offices as they could get it. They were afraid that if they parked it too far a way , some jackass would take it for a joy ride.

If they ever did split the train , they would have to leave 1/8 to 1/4 mile gap otherwise the signals trip and block the road anyway.

The only way you could be sure of getting home was if there was a MOP employee that lived in the subdivision.

So......I leave the crossings open as needed so employees can get home , park the locomotive at the station . If someone needs to get somewhere , we still have passenger service , they're welcome to park their car at the station and for a nominal fee we'll take em where ever they want to go , or as close as we can and they can take a cab or rent a car from there.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
The real question is, do you drop your conductor off at the crossing then pull ahead or do you make him walk back? 😜
I drop him/her off and they have to walk back to the engine. Although most of my grade crossings have a nearby bar or speakeasy! Mandatory testing didn't come about until after my era!;)
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
I worked for the MOP and there was no rule to split trains every 1/4 mile (pretty pointless if roads are spaced at odd increments) and there was no requirement to run locals less than 1/4 mile.

The gap you have to leave depends on which state you live in, typically its about 200-400 ft on either side or off the circuits unless there is a time out on the crossing circuit.
 
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GeeTee

Well-Known Member
I worked for the MOP and there was no rule to split trains every 1/4 mile (pretty pointless if roads are spaced at odd increments) and there was no requirement to run locals less than 1/4 mile.

The gap you have to leave depends on which state you live in, typically its about 200-400 ft on either side or off the circuits unless there is a time out on the crossing circuit.
It wasn't pointless for the ambulance driver that need to get to the other side and not knowing which way to turn left or right to get around the train. They needed to know they could get across a 1/4 mile east if the highway was blocked, otherwise they had go 5-6 miles up the road and crossover and then double back , later on they would be able to get a chopper and fly them out.

There was also an ordinance that required them to clear the clear the 4 lane with in 15 min , it was at the intersection between a North South main and an East West main with a yard on the west side of town .there were highways on either side of the E -W main , When they couldn't get into the yard from the east a mile long freight would shut the entire town down . So they reached an agreement not to block the town for a 1/4 mile , stopping the locomotive short of the crossing highway meant that you could run parallel to the E-W a 1/4 mile to the next cross over and get to the other side. It was a real issue for emergency vehicles and school buses .

I dont know if the agreement was formal or informal and whether it applied to both mains or not , The N-S wasn't as critical because it passed to the west of the town

Prior to about '75 there was enough traffic that they switch both ends of the yard and if the cut of cars was sufficiently long it would drag back into town . By the 80's it was less of an issue the yard was primarily switched off the west end , the offices were gone along with most of the motive powet, the state moved the main highway west and built a 4 lane viaduct directly over the MOP yard.

400 ft either side is 800 ft gap ...1/8 of a mile, or 660 ft 1/4 mile 1320 ft 800 is in between.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
Until sometime in the past decade or so the cities of Littleton and Englewood, Colorado had this problem. As was pointed out, this could be a real problem for emergency vehicles. Solution? A very expensive one, and I'm not sure who paid, the city, the railroads (BNSF & UP), bury the tracks below grade level, and at several other crossings, elevate the tracks. When light rail came in paralleling the "Joint Line" they built the tracks along side the main. I used to have an underpass for vehicles on my previous layout, but just couldn't incorporate it on my present one. Crossing signals will have to do.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
Oops....I have a string of WC box cars permanently blocking the crossing!!!

Greg

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The box cars are from Fox Valley and have different road numbers. Soon they will get a coat of DullKote and the trucks weathered. The box cars once were painted for the SOO Line. The driver of that truck will be out of fuel in no time.-Greg
 
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santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
MOP is the MoPac (Missouri Pacific).
I split my trains at the crossings but it looks like I need to cut them into 1/4 mile sections. I model the MoPac in the late '60s-early '70s.
Thanks. I had certainly heard them called MoPac, and seen the reporting marks MP, just never MOP. Used to railfan their trains through Denton Tx in the 70's on trackage that they shared with MKT, if I recall correctly...though that was a while back.
 




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