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Author Topic: Idea for a new feature | Realistic Level Crossings  (Read 259 times)

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Offline BuildTheBuilder

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Idea for a new feature | Realistic Level Crossings
« on: March 31, 2020, 03:55:02 PM »
Seeing as signals require signal boxes, it seems weird to me that level crossings in Simutrans Extended are able to operate on their own. Here's my ideas on how level crossings should be made more realistic.
This may be too much though, so I'd like some feedback whether people would like this feature, or wouldn't like it.

The first ever level crossing type, available since the dawn of the railway, consists of wooden gates manned either by the signalman in a nearby signal box, or a crossing keeper in a nearby cottage. However, the crossing also has a mode, officially known as TMO (Trainman Operated), where a signalman or keeper is not required. Instead, trains that wish to cross said road must stop and the train staff must open the gates and proceed, then stop and close the gates. The TMO method is best suited for low-used lines.
The second level crossing type, also available from the same time, consists of gates that open away from the railway, preventing trains from crashing into it if a road user forgets to close the gates. The crossing type is known as a User Worked Crossing (UWC). Road users must stop, ensure there are no trains approaching, open the gates, cross, close the gates, and then go about their destination. This type of crossing is best suited for quiet roads, as with high traffic everybody has to stop, open the gates, cross, then close them, and the process repeats for each vehicle.
The third level crossing type, and perhaps the most basic one, is an open crossing (OC), and consists of St Andrew's crosses on each side of the crossing. Road users will proceed without stopping if they don't see any trains approaching. It is available from the same time as with the first 2 types. Train speed is restricted to 10 mph over such crossings.

From 1954, lifting barriers were allowed to be used instead of traditional wooden gates. This is the fourth crossing type, known as Manually Controlled Barriers (MCB).
They were a development of gated crossings used from the 19th century. They also required either a crossing keeper's cottage, or a signal box nearby. Barriers were faster than traditional gates, albeit more expensive. Initially, the crossings were only provided with barriers, but later installations from 1960s featured road traffic signals, consisting of two horizontal red lights that flash alternately as an instruction to stop. The crossings required a signal box or a keeper's cottage close to them, as the keeper or signalman needed to be able to see the crossing clearly, in order to make sure nothing is stuck on it. Later installations from 1960s however allowed the crossing to be as far as up to 400 metres away from the box or cottage, and required road traffic signals.
From 1971, crossings were not necessarily required to be at least 400 metres away from the box. CCTV could be installed, allowing the crossing to be controlled from a box or centre many miles away.
MCBs also had a TMO mode, which required the driver or guard to do the same things that have been already said above.

From 1961, the first automatic level crossing is available, which is the fifth type, known as Automatic Half Barriers (AHB). They consist of 2 barriers in each direction, closing only 1 lane of the road, allowing users on the crossing to leave if it activates while they are crossing. They also were provided with road traffic signals, and telephones, linked to the nearest signal box, which had a small display showing the status of the crossing for the signalman to see.
Maximum train speed over such crossings is 100 mph.

From 1963, the second automatic crossing is available, which is the sixth type. It is known as Automatic Open Crossing, Locally Monitored (AOCL). They only consist of road traffic signals, and white lights for the train driver to see. The white light is to confirm the correct operation of the crossing. If the crossing has operated properly, it'll display a flashing white aspect to the driver. If the crossing has not triggered, or if it is malfunctioning, it won't display anything, and the driver has to stop his train and investigate. Because the driver has to look out for a white light, train speed over such crossings is restricted to 55 mph.

From 1978 to 1988, the third automatic crossing is available, being the seventh type. It is known as an Automatic Open Crossing, Remotely Monitored (AOCR). It is the same as an AOCL, but is essentially an AHB without barriers, and is equipped with telephones, rather than white lights, because it is monitored by the signalman in the same way as an AHB is. Such crossings are quite cheap to install. Train speed over such crossings is 75 mph maximum.
 
On 26th of July 1986, a collision occurred on an AOCR at Lockington on the Hull to Scarborough line, killing nine people. This led to a review of automatic open level crossings (AOCLs and AOCRs) being undertaken by Professor P.F. Stott. The Stott report concluded that no more AOCRs should be installed and that those already in existence should be converted to AOCLs or AHBs.
A new crossing type is available, being the eighth, from 1988. It's known as an Automatic Barrier Crossing, Locally Monitored (ABCL). It replaced the AOCR, which proved to be dangerous. This crossing consists of 2 half barriers installed in the same fashion as at an AHB, but white lights are provided alongside telephones. The signalman, however, does not have an indication of the crossing's status. As with AOCLs, maximum train speed may be no more than 55 mph.

From 2010, and also being the ninth type, an alternative to CCTV surveillance at MCBs is the MCB-OD(Controlled Barriers with Obstacle Detection) is available. The crossing is equipped with a radar or lidar and reflectors, rather than CCTV. Signals can be set to clear only when the crossing is proven clear by the aforementioned devices. With this, the crossing operates fully automatically without the need of any signal box controlling or supervising it.