Crossing Signals on the Prototype

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#1
On a prototype railroad, how many crossing signs (whether they're just crossbucks or crossbucks with flashing signals) would there likely be for a single road that crosses three successive sets of tracks? One on approach to the inner track plus one on approach to the outer track (for a total of two), a pair for each set of tracks (total of six, which sounds like overkill) or some other combination?

On my small (7' x 5') HO layout (c. 1947-1955), one road crosses three tracks. The two inner tracks lead to a freight depot, and the outer is the mainline track. With such close proximity to each other (8" from the innermost rail to the outermost rail), I'm thinking that one crossbuck for the inner tracks and one for the outer tracks on opposing sides will suffice without cluttering up the area.

And for such a setup (with relatively light automobile traffic going to and from the depot and a nearby grain mill and farmhouse), would simple crossbucks or crossbucks with flashing signals be more realistic?

Thanks for your input!
 
Last edited:

dave1905

Active Member
#3
Generally if the tracks are close enough that you can't stop a car in the clear between the tracks, they are considered "one" crossing and all will be connected to the active devices or use the same crossbucks. If they are far enough apart that cars can be safely stopped between the tracks, then they might have separate signs and active devices.
 
#4
Dave,

Thanks for the explanation.

Since only 8" on my layout (58 feet on the prototype) separate the outermost rail from the innermost rail spanning all three sets of tracks, I guess one car could safely wait between any two sets of tracks. But the layout being so small, it might look cramped. And because of that, I'm beginning to think that a pair of crossbucks - one before the inner rail, the other before the outer rail - would look and function best.
 
#6
It sounds like you would want one set for each direction. The prototype would also have a sign on the post that says "3 Tracks" like this
Yep, that's what I have in mind. Thanks for the photos.

I've also read that, over time, the crossbucks themselves have been placed at angles to each other of: 30, 60 and 90 degrees, the last being in contemporary times. For my era - 1947-1955 - which would be more realistic: 30 or 60 degrees?
 

twforeman

Active Member
#7
I've also read that, over time, the crossbucks themselves have been placed at angles to each other of: 30, 60 and 90 degrees, the last being in contemporary times. For my era - 1947-1955 - which would be more realistic: 30 or 60 degrees?
It also depends on the railroad. Are you modeling a prototype?
 
#10
The Great Northern Railway Historical Society has a series of reference sheets on GN Standard Signs.

The first one is here: https://www.gnrhs.org/store/product-info-mbr.php?pid114.html and I believe it covers crossing signs.

I have a copy at home if you just want to know what the cross bucks look like. I can look it up later for you.

If you are not a GNRHS member, you should be. LOTS of GN documentation.
Thanks for the reference. Would you please send me that copy of the GN crossbucks you mentioned?
 

twforeman

Active Member
#11
Here is sign No. 108-A which is the standard crossing sign.



You will note that it says "Distance separating tracks before an additional crossing sign is required shall be assumed as 100 FT unless local conditions require otherwise." So that answers your question about how many signs you need.

This is sign No. 132 which is to be used where sign No. 108-A "will not provide sufficent(sic) clearance for roadway and pedestrians."



These drawings are both from 1954, so right in the correct time period. Also note that the angle on sign 108-A is 50 degrees, not 60. Unless you are in CA, in which case it's 90 degrees.

Also note that in the 1950s the signs were made out of .156" thick sheet aluminium and mounted on steel posts, not wood.
 

twforeman

Active Member
#12
Dug a little more. If you want to use older signs and assume yours have not been upgraded yet, here is sign No. 59 from 1928.



And sign No. 65 from 1926.



These are wooden signs. Note that the "Stop" sign is painted "Federal Yellow", not red, with black letters.
 



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