Motherwell Level Crossing

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Railsigns

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The Level Crossing in Motherwell seems to be controlled by traffic lights rather than the normal 2 reds and a yellow signal.

Yes; that's Logans Road CCTV level crossing.

Is this common and does it happen anywhere else?

Definitely not common but it does occur elsewhere. See also Jumble Lane L.C. in Barnsley, for example.
 

edwin_m

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Do emergency services have to be specially briefed that this set of lights is an "always stop", as if it had standard crossing lights? Otherwise there is a risk that an emergency vehicle could go through the lights at hit the barriers as they start to descend.

Moving the Google view to the approach from the other side of Logan's Road shows a very odd positioning of the traffic lights, and no stop line.

David Lane in Nottingham is similarly close to a traffic light junction but does have standard crossing lights.

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.984...03&h=100&yaw=354.53021&pitch=0!7i13312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.984...4!1sgDPMMhv8SoTGmlE-q72ryg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

When a tram crosses, the barriers stay up and traffic is stopped only by the traffic lights.
 

lincolnshire

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Goole used to be like that only traffic lights on the road junctions but was converted a good few years ago to the usual red flashing lights that are they only thing that the emergency services must not cross when flashing. It often happens in Goole crossing down and blue flashing lights waiting to cross,
Goole has more flashing red lights that must be not crossed than most places for its size, another level crossing and bridges across the docks and river.
 

AndyNLondon

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Moving the Google view to the approach from the other side of Logan's Road shows a very odd positioning of the traffic lights, and no stop line.

The two sets of lights do look a bit odd, but it looks like there's a normal stop line. (In any case, at lights without a stop line, you should not pass the light itself while it's red - i.e. behave as if the missing stop line is in line with the light.)
 

theironroad

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Hi folks,

The Level Crossing in Motherwell seems to be controlled by traffic lights rather than the normal 2 reds and a yellow signal.

Is this common and does it happen anywhere else?

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.7...PevE3TxEunjq1ycAnw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

Unless I'm missing something, I don't think those traffic lights are linked into operation of the crossing, it appears to be a road junction with a railway running through it. I'm happy to be corrected though. It would be conceivable to pass the traffic lights before going red and then see the barriers lower and have to stop in the zone between the crossing and the red traffic light.

I'm surprised though that there are no normal level crossing lights as well.

On reflection, I guess the traffic lights must be be operated by the signal box covering the CCTV otherwise there would seem to be no prior warning to the barriers lowering.
 

edwin_m

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The two sets of lights do look a bit odd, but it looks like there's a normal stop line. (In any case, at lights without a stop line, you should not pass the light itself while it's red - i.e. behave as if the missing stop line is in line with the light.)

Yes the stop line is indeed there - I must have been looking at the next view towards the crossing, where it is nearly hidden by a car. But it's a long way from the barriers, with the obvious question of what happens if someone stops between the lights and the barriers just as the signaller is about to lower them. There don't appear to be CCTV cameras covering this area, or the junction area on the other side, so the signaller can't know what's about to pass onto the crossing and presumably has to rely on activating the normal traffic lights and hoping nobody is trapped in the middle of a junction.

As an aside, the secondary traffic signal on the exit from a junction never has a stop line but you're not supposed to stop at it.
 

najaB

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Unless I'm missing something, I don't think those traffic lights are linked into operation of the crossing... ...I'm surprised though that there are no normal level crossing lights as well.
Penny in the air...
On reflection, I guess the traffic lights must be be operated by the signal box covering the CCTV otherwise there would seem to be no prior warning to the barriers lowering.
There is, indeed, a link between the lights and the signalling system. My guess is that it would be considered too confusing to have traditional wig-wags so close to a set of traffic lights.

I suppose you could do something like this (Wexford, Ireland), but I don't know if it would work given the road layout.
 

mbreckers

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Yes the stop line is indeed there - I must have been looking at the next view towards the crossing, where it is nearly hidden by a car. But it's a long way from the barriers, with the obvious question of what happens if someone stops between the lights and the barriers just as the signaller is about to lower them. There don't appear to be CCTV cameras covering this area, or the junction area on the other side, so the signaller can't know what's about to pass onto the crossing and presumably has to rely on activating the normal traffic lights and hoping nobody is trapped in the middle of a junction.

As an aside, the secondary traffic signal on the exit from a junction never has a stop line but you're not supposed to stop at it.

There's CCTV on the crossing itself: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.7...4!1sN6QNmG9WeMXcJ_aucqEudw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

But none at the lights themselves as far as I can see
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I suppose you could do something like this (Wexford, Ireland), but I don't know if it would work given the road layout.

I don't know if your aware of Motherwell taxi drivers, but they would try and race the Pendolino given the chance
 

edwin_m

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My guess is that it would be considered too confusing to have traditional wig-wags so close to a set of traffic lights.

I've posted further up a site that does exactly that. So it's either at the discretion of the designers or the standards have changed somewhere along the line. David Lane is circa 2004, I would guess this one dates from the Motherwell re-signalling at least 30 years before that.
 

Railsigns

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I would guess this one dates from the Motherwell re-signalling at least 30 years before that.

Logans Road L.C. (which is spelt without an apostrophe, incidentally) was commissioned as a CCTV crossing on 10 June 1984. Prior to that, there was a gate box there. Lifting barriers replaced the gates on 28 April 1974.
 

najaB

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I've posted further up a site that does exactly that. So it's either at the discretion of the designers or the standards have changed somewhere along the line. David Lane is circa 2004, I would guess this one dates from the Motherwell re-signalling at least 30 years before that.
That's a bit different though in that the tram and heavy rail crossings likely operate independently of each other.
 

Tomnick

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That's a bit different though in that the tram and heavy rail crossings likely operate independently of each other.
The two are very much interlinked, the tram crossing being protected by the same (road) traffic signals as the road junction on the opposite side of the railway. I don't know the full details, but the signalman appears to have some sort of override for the road traffic signals, and conversely I understand that the barriers will be held down after the passage of a train if a tram has been signalled across the junction.

Sleaford East is another (simpler!) example where the road traffic signals are interlinked with the crossing operation, and I understand that there is (or was) some sort of special arrangement at Lincoln (High Street) too even though the road traffic signals for the adjacent junction don't overlap the level crossing there.
 

najaB

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The two are very much interlinked...
I see. I think it would have been better to say 'operable independently of each other'.

Does the heavy-rail crossing always trigger the traffic lights?
 

Tomnick

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I see. I think it would have been better to say 'operable independently of each other'.

Does the heavy-rail crossing always trigger the traffic lights?
I don't know for sure, but I'd guess so - otherwise there's a risk of road vehicles stopping at the rail barriers and blocking the tram lines. At best, it'd waste capacity along the road which runs parallel to the railway, as traffic on there might as well have a green light for the whole time that the barriers are down!

There are certainly extra controls in the box - something to override the road traffic signals, and possibly something to acknowledge the tram system holding the barriers down, though again I'm not sure of the full details.
 
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edwin_m

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I don't know for sure, but I'd guess so - otherwise there's a risk of road vehicles stopping at the rail barriers and blocking the tram lines. At best, it'd waste capacity along the road which runs parallel to the railway, as traffic on there might as well have a green light for the whole time that the barriers are down!

If the traffic signals to the east allowed road traffic to proceed towards the level crossing when the barriers were down then you'd just end up with that traffic standing across the junction and blocking the other road (strictly speaking it should wait at the stop line until it has a clear exit, but a huge proportion of drivers ignore that). I suspect the same "call" is made on the road traffic signals whether it is a tram needing priority or the signaller wanting to lower the barriers for a train.
 

Tomnick

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If the traffic signals to the east allowed road traffic to proceed towards the level crossing when the barriers were down then you'd just end up with that traffic standing across the junction and blocking the other road (strictly speaking it should wait at the stop line until it has a clear exit, but a huge proportion of drivers ignore that). I suspect the same "call" is made on the road traffic signals whether it is a tram needing priority or the signaller wanting to lower the barriers for a train.
Yup, that makes sense too. There's certainly an additional button on the crossing controls in the box - whether that's some sort of "hurry" button to make that call on the road signals, I don't know, but it'd make sense.
 

moggie

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Logans Road level crossing is indeed linked in with the road traffic signals. The area was resignalled around 1999 from memory (remaining on Motherwell PSB). Traffic along the Bellshill Road is directed into filter lanes in both directions to cross the level crossing. The filter arrow traffic signals (left and right) are linked with the level crossing controls preventing them from displaying once the crossing is called to close. The 'straight on' lane is unaffected. Similarly the traffic lights coming from Logans Road control entrance onto the road junction as well as entry to the level crossing and are linked in with the rail signalling system. Use of wig-wags could not convey the same level of info required by the road user.
 

mbreckers

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Logans Road level crossing is indeed linked in with the road traffic signals. The area was resignalled around 1999 from memory (remaining on Motherwell PSB). Traffic along the Bellshill Road is directed into filter lanes in both directions to cross the level crossing. The filter arrow traffic signals (left and right) are linked with the level crossing controls preventing them from displaying once the crossing is called to close. The 'straight on' lane is unaffected. Similarly the traffic lights coming from Logans Road control entrance onto the road junction as well as entry to the level crossing and are linked in with the rail signalling system. Use of wig-wags could not convey the same level of info required by the road user.

But that still doesnt explain how pedestrians know the barriers are about to come down, I've never heard an alarm when I've went past it with the barriers down, and we wouldnt be able to see the traffic signals
 

Railsigns

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But that still doesnt explain how pedestrians know the barriers are about to come down, I've never heard an alarm when I've went past it with the barriers down, and we wouldnt be able to see the traffic signals

At MCB crossings, the yodalarms stop sounding once the barriers have fully lowered (unlike AHBCs and AOCLs, etc., where they keep sounding until the train has passed).
 
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mbreckers

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At MCB crossings, the yodalarms stop sounding once the barriers have fully lowered (unlike AHBCs and AOCLs, etc., where they keep sounding until the train has passed).

That would explain it, never passed it as they were lowering. Still, not ideal for those hearing-impaired, no visual warning
 

MarkyT

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That would explain it, never passed it as they were lowering. Still, not ideal for those hearing-impaired, no visual warning

Additional Pedestrian red/green man signals similar to those at road pedestrian crossings can be provided at rail crossings where they help. They would seem to be very suitable for Motherwell in the absence of the conventional wig-wags (red/yellow flashing lights).

A recent case of interlinked crossing controls with road traffic lights is at Wokingham where the local roads around the level crossing have been remodelled. Here conventional wig wags remain in addition to the interlinked traffic lights. There is usually a 'hurry' button for the signaller in these installations, which causes the road traffic light controller to cycle as quickly as possible to the state that closes the lanes across the crossing. That can be closed quickly and road traffic lights remain at red until the crossing opens to road traffic once again. Other flows through the road junction parallel to the rails can continue unabated without any queues forming at the barriers blocking the junction, a big problem with the previous road layout in Wokingham.

There are many level crossings like Motherwell in the USA with a road parallel to the tracks and a T junction or crossroads adjacent. Many of those road junctions are signalled and road vehicles routinely pull up to the junction stop line forming a queue across the railway. The crossings work like AHBs so there's only a fairly short warning of approaching rail traffic and usually no chance of trains being able to stop short of an obstruction. Last year's incident in North Carolina with a truck carrying an exceptional transformer load illustrated the problem very well. If the traffic lights were integrated with the crossing controls and the stop line for both located clear of the rails (as at Motherwell) that type of incident might be avoided:
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=113135
 

najaB

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There are many level crossings like Motherwell in the USA with a road parallel to the tracks and a T junction or crossroads adjacent. Many of those road junctions are signalled and road vehicles routinely pull up to the junction stop line forming a queue across the railway. The crossings work like AHBs so there's only a fairly short warning of approaching rail traffic and usually no chance of trains being able to stop short of an obstruction.
I seem to remember a school bus getting hit that way with many injuries (I think at least one fatality).

Edit: Found it, seven fatalities.
 
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MarkyT

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I seem to remember a school bus getting hit that way with many injuries (I think at least one fatality).

Edit: Found it, seven fatalities.

Thanks. Very interesting reading and a very tragic event. It seems the interconnecting controls consist primarily of prioritising the traffic lights to clear the crossing once a train strikes in and the crossing warning sequence starts. This simple and effective measure was defeated by the unilateral provision of an additional pedestrian sequence by the highway authority which ate up most of warning time before the road traffic got moving. There had been no dialogue between the highway and railway authorities when the changes to the road signals were made, leaving an inherently unsafe installation.

In the UK we would never have a similar AHB type crossing in such a dangerous location. A specific requirement for the type here is the absence of road junctions nearby, which helps to ensure there's no blocking back of road traffic over the crossing. This effectively rules out AHBs in urban areas.

Our ABCL type crossings looks very similar to an AHB from a road user perspective however, and these CAN be found sometimes in more urban settings but only on local railways where there's no high speed non-stopping operations to be affected by the necessary speed limits. Rather like tramway level crossings, these are locally monitored by the train driver, so the approach speed must be restricted from the sighting point sufficiently to ensure the train can pull up clear if the crossing is seen to be obstructed.

AHBs, like the USA automatic barrier crossings, are not monitored visually by anybody at all prior to a train crossing, except perhaps by a helpless train driver with no chance of stopping just before striking a road vehicle. The principle of operation relies on road vehicles obeying the relatively short warning light sequence and quickly clearing the tracks after crossing.
 

tsr

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At MCB crossings, the yodalarms stop sounding once the barriers have fully lowered (unlike AHBCs and AOCLs, etc., where they keep sounding until the train has passed).

That's not always the case. For example, local to my area, the Buckland AHBC alarms stop sounding when the barriers have fully lowered. I will agree the alarms continue on some, most especially in areas with higher traffic or pedestrian flows. In addition, I can think of foot crossings over the railway with alarms which sound whenever the lights are red.
 
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