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Oswestry Update

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by ilvaporista, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    These are both fast and busy roads, and I wouldn't enjoy cycling on either of them.
    If anyone attempted to lower the barriers a long queue would rapidly build up which would take a long time to clear. For the A5 this could easily reach through the roundabout which is behind the camera in the picture.
     
  2. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Active Member

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    Even outside of rush hour this is an extremely busy road & it wouldn't take long for southbound traffic to back up to the roundabout & beyond.
    It would also need traffic calming measures on its approaches.

    Bob.
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Active Member

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    I wouldn't care to cycle along any part of the A5 in Shropshire given the amount of traffic and the number of idiots that use that road. Fortunately, for those of a nervous disposition and time on their hands there are alternative routes that are more cycle friendly - including on this section.

    But you are correct - the crossing is on an angle that is not good news for cyclists. Perhaps as part of the rebuilding scheme a cycle friendly path could be provided?

    Steve B
     
  4. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    I found this video of the A5 level crossing on Youtube, obviously a busy road, but no cyclists.



    Clearly someone took the trouble to video and upload this.

    As far as I can tell from the internet the A5/A483 Oswestry bypass was opened in 1987, and the railway continued in operation serving the Llynclys quarry near Llanyblodwel until it closed in 1988 or 1989.
    I doubt whether the trains were very frequent, and the road was probably less busy then too.
     
  5. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Not the most positive of news:

    image.jpeg
     
  6. whitlow

    whitlow New Member

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    I used to live by Blodwel Quarry about that time; there was only a couple of trains a week.
    The way I look at it the level crossing in the video on the Gobowen side is generally in a dip of the road and not far from the extremely busy Gobowen Road roundabout which is a five way junction and when it comes to dualling the road it would to my mind would require a flyover type junction; in this case flying the road over the railway at the same time wouldn't be such a problem.
    However at the other side of Oswestry on the A483 the lie of the land is billiard table flat but there is less likelihood of that road being dualled.
    The Dean Forest Railway has a level crossing on the extremely busy A48 Lydney bypass and there doesn't seem to be any particular problems with that.
     
  7. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    From Todays 'Wrexham Leader';
    OSW bypass0004.jpg
     
  8. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    After a long silence there will be an announcement that the future needs of the road will be looked at. After a further long silence it will be announced that projected figures suggest that dualling will be needed at some time in the future. Things will then change.........there will be a long silence. Don't hold your breath, get on with the railway.
     
  9. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    Part of the problem with level crossings is that the gates are closed long before they need to be. On the Aire Valley route it seems to be several minutes, long before a train actually passes. This results in heavy traffic backing up to the roundabouts and causing the Aire Valley trunk road to be blocked. It's even worse when two trains pass in opposite directions within a few minutes.

    On a recent visit to the USA I spent some time watching fast freights passing through Flagstaff, Arizona. The trains could be seen approaching long before the barriers went down, and I would guess it was less than a minute between the barrier going down and the train passing. The down side is that the trains are much longer and take a minute or two to pass.

    Obviously safety is important, but it seems to me that in the UK the safety margin is overkill.
     
  10. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    I think that you're referring to fully-protected crossings under absolute block / track circuit block where the barriers have to be lowered before a train can be admitted to the block. With automatic crossings (as we have round here owing to the parsimony of the old North Stafford who only built bridges where topography made a level crossing impossible) the delay is no more than 30 seconds. When and if these are replaced with the new automatic obstacle-detection type of control I think it may be a bit longer but not several minutes. Perhaps one of our signalling experts could enlighten us.
     
  11. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Active Member

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    AHB crossing from when the lights start flashing to when the barriers raise is circa 45 seconds.
    Replace them with an MCB-OD or CCTV and you are looking at a minimum 2mins+ and could be up to 5mins and more at times
     
  12. weltrol

    weltrol Active Member

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    IIRC, the stone trains stopped, pressed plunger to operate crossing and proceeded on white light, much the same as the NR Porthmadog station l/c, which usually is cleared in about two minutes..
     
  13. Tim Light

    Tim Light Active Member

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    I watched a stopping train at Bentley a couple of years ago. The barriers went down well before the train came into sight. When it did, it ambled into the station, stopped for passengers to get on and off, and then crossed the level crossing. I didn't time it but it must have been 5 minutes. There was no reason to lower the barriers until the train was ready to leave the station. But I guess the signalling system doesn't know that this is a local stopping train, and applies the same treatment as it would for a non-stop express.
     
  14. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    Sometimes it depends on where the clearing point for the platform starter. The assumption is that an overrun is possible therefore the crossing must operate to protect road traffic. if the potential overrun would foul the road
     
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  15. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Active Member

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    Trains don't amble into stations........ My money is on the driver keeping the train under control, so that he stops in the platform at the correct location and everyone does not end up in the front coach (ie a perfect stop).
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I'm sure that if you could design a level crossing system that both minimised road closure time and was foolproof and safe for all circumstances you could have a healthy retirement on the proceeds of your patent.
     
  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Not too many non-stop expresses through Bentley :)
     
  18. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    Trains used to be able to come to a stop at stations just before crossings with the barriers open. Following incidents including the one at Milford where the signal was over run in fog and crushed a Ford Escort the practice was stopped. The driver of the Escort who sadly lost her life was the mother of a school colleague and we had to go cross country running past there with debris still alongside the track. Not a pleasant memory.
     
  19. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    Indeed he was.

    Please remember there are TWO types of level crossings - those that are interlocked with railway signals, and those which are not - neither of which have anything to do with whether barriers are provided.

    In the UK Automatic crossings are not interlocked with railway signals and must only have a half barrier configuration (known as a AHB) so as to allow persons to speedily exit the railway should the crossing be activated by a train. However because only having half barriers means it is very tempting for road users to weave through the resultant gaps, the rules state that 85% of trains must pass over the crossing within 45 seconds of the sequence having been triggered. If necessary then stopping / non stopping controls may be provided to ensure compliance with the 45 second rule. Automatic barriers are also only considered suitable with low pedestrian flows and while in the past their short closure time was seen as an advantage where road traffic was highish, the inability of motorists to actually use them correctly has seen the position reversed in this respect.

    Current official guidance does not permit the introduction of new automatic crossing installations on the national network (though like for like renewal is still permitted) - ALL freshly modernised crossings must now be of the 'interlocked' type as outlined below, or of the 'locally monitored by traincrew' type which imposes significant limits on train speeds and operations

    A 'interlocked' crossing is know as a Manually Controlled Crossing (MCB) with a suitable suffix to demote the method of control. At a MCB barriers must totally close off the railway when lowered and the railway signals protecting the crossing cannot be changed proceed until the crossing is proved to be clear of people / vehicles. What people very often fail to remember about this method of operation is trains take time to stop and accelerate - thus if a driver encounters a yellow / double yellow aspect they will begin to brake. Thus to keep trains moving and keep crossing closure times as low as possible the crossing sequence must be completed when the train is at least 4 / 3 signals away from the crossing (depending on whether 4 / 3 or 2 aspect signalling is in use). If the signaller routinely has trouble closing the crossing due to misuse by motorists (ignoring the red lights or blocking back over the crossing) or if the signaller has a high workload due to other operations then more time must be factored in as well. If the level crossing is at a station the train is due to call at then it may be that the crossing can be shut later - but given the length of time this takes and the typical short dwell times, this will still result in the crossing being closed before the train actually enters the station (which obviously has the side effect of protecting road users in the event of a SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger).

    The types of control available for an MCB are:-

    (1) Obstacle detection* :- The preferred method for all modernised crossings, partly because it is a automated** process allowing the signaller to concentrate on other duties, but mainly because it cannot suffer from the 'looked but did not see' syndrome - which is far more common than you might care to think. To date there have been no failures of the OD system that have put persons in danger - when it fails then the signals stay at red and the appropriate cautioning procedures must be used. There have been incidences of barriers lowering onto cars*** (where motorists have ignored the red road lights or entered the crossing when the exit was not clear) and occasional incidences of less mobile persons not being able to clear the crossing before the barriers lower - but in all cases the OD system has correctly identified their presence and protected them from trains by holding the signals at red.

    * Note the OD system has been designed with input with the likes of the NSPCC and WILL detect an average 6 year old child lying unconscious flat on their back at the very lowest point in the crossing surface - it is also fail safe (will hold signals at red) and has an in built calibration procedure that must be proved correct every time it is activated.

    ** Note the word I have used is quite specific - all the OD does is replace the signallers eyes as the signaller still needs to set a route over the level crossing to prime the system - no route set and nothing happens to the crossing regardless if where the train is. As such an OD crossing is not an automatic one - despite appearances to the contrary.

    *** Note the OD system is designed to people from contact with trains - not the property of idiots who cannot obey road traffic laws.

    (2) CCTV:- This can be used when (1) is unsuitable due to the road alignment requiring and excessive number of sensors or local features mean that there is a significant issue with 'blocking back' (where an external feature to the railway causes road traffic to queue back over the crossing) and things like vehicle sensors embedded in the road or yellow box markings are not sufficient. In this system either the crossing can auto lower and the signaller merely confirm the crossing is clear or the signaller can run the lowering sequence themselves. The big downside of this system is the picture can be adversely affected by sunlight / fog / etc, plus signallers can and do fall pray to the 'looked but did not see' syndrome.

    (3) Direct observation by the signaller:- No more to be installed. This is typically used where a gated crossing has been modernised in the past but the adjacent signal box still retains its mechanical lever frame. The crossing sequence is controlled by the signaller from a small console and with direct observation through the window. This is not installed any more as these days the remaining gated crossings disappear as part of a more general resignalling that will see control being centralised using panels or workstations in power signal boxes or ROCs. It should also be noted that if a box is retained and fitted with a panel, then standards dictate that monitoring of the crossing must be done by CCTV - even if it is physically just outside the window, with all controls integrated into the signalling panel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  20. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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