Grade Crossing Plans


I should be building the topography under the soon-to-be Riverside Station scene’s Commuter Station, instead I’m still obsessing over the scenery where that scene meets the River Crossing scene, and specifically the exact design of the grade crossing I’m going to build there, someday. Building the actual station for the JNS Forum Contest seems to get further away every day.

It all started when I was doing electrical work, wiring up the bus wires under the table, and realized that where I was about to run them was also where I would eventually need to run the actuator wires from some Tortoise slow-motion switch machines to the gates of the grade crossing. This caused me to do a bit of planning to figure out just what needed to be run directly (as opposed to electrical wires, which can use one of the pre-positioned cutouts in the table-top) and exactly where. And to be sure I was right, I spent some time looking for detail photos of grade crossings and their equipment, and thinking about exactly what I wanted my grade crossing to look like.

All this planning is important, as it’s going to get crowded underneath, with two Tortoise (Circuitron 800-6000) machines connected to four Remote Signal Actuators (two Circuitron 800-8100 plus two 800-8101), a flasher circuit, the digital sound chip, and a DS64 and some relays to control them all. Fortunately the electronics can mount a bit off to the side, away from all the wiring that runs between the River Crossing and Riverside tables.

Over on the JNS Forum, Grant (gmat) had thoughtfully posted a bunch of photos of Tōkyō crossings, which I examined closely. But I also collected a few from Flickr that were cc-licensed to illustrate the specific details I was planning to use. These latter are on a page in the Scenery section for Grade Crossings.

Having done all that thinking, I decided I’d better write the details down before I forgot them and had to go through it all again. The specifics, including a few diagrams of the crossing and the likely implementation are on a Grade Crossing page of their own. That page will be updated in the future when I get around to actually building something. The diagrams have also been added to the Diagrams photo album.

A typical grade crossing
Location: Kodaira, Tōkyō; Source: Flickr
Photographer: abuckingham

The basic idea is that I’ll have a two lane road (one each way) with four gates, two blocking ingress to the crossing, and two others that lower slightly later blocking egress. There will be four crossbuck posts equipped with both alternating red flashers and, if I can make it work, a directional arrow box (see photo below). And, someday, a digital recorder chip to give the distinctive warning bell sound.

flickr-crossing-seibu-kodaira - Version 2
Arrows indicating oncoming train direction

All of this will be controlled by a DS64 stationary DCC decoder, ultimately controlled by scripts running in JMRI on the same computer I’m going to use to control the signaling system (and essentially the same kind of script that will control those signals). I’ve previously described my plans for that on a page of its own.

Maybe this weekend I can finally glue down the last bit of foam on the River Crossing scene, and start some serious work on the foam of the Riverside Station scene. I’ve said that before, but I think I’ve finally finished off my distractions.

Or maybe I’ll start planning the station and platforms of the Riverside Station itself for the contest, that’s more than a bit overdue. Procrastination; it’s a lifestyle.

No other website changes this week, although I corrected some glitches on the Roster and Construction photo album pages that had inserted long blank pages below the last photo on each page (some days iWeb just gets weird; a new version is supposedly due in August, and I’m dreading the switchover and all the new bugs it will undoubtedly bring, but maybe they’ll fix some of the current version’s shortcomings).