Bells

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Best bell operation?

Continuously when signals are active (from start up until gates finish rising)
10
26%
From start up until the gates start rising
21
54%
Only when the gates are in motion (up & down)
2
5%
Only when the gates are moving down
5
13%
Other (please specify)
1
3%
 
Total votes : 39

Bells

Postby AndrewFields » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:47 am

In general, how do you like bells to be wired on gated signals?

Personally, I like them to ring continually until the gates begin to rise.
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Re: Bells

Postby Smjh1979 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:35 am

My top two choices are from activation until the gates begin to rise, because that's what SP did along the LA Harbor area, and that's what I grew up with, and having the bells quit when the gates fully lower.

I'm slowly and I mean SLOWLY am warming up to the idea of the bells shutting off when the gates fully lower. I'll probably choose this option more once I get bells of my own to hear them whenever I want to.

I agree with Elton about being stupid for the bells ringing again when the gates rise, for the same reason as Elton gave. However, all railroads are not being very smart...

As you'll eventually see (likely in the May 15 update, and likely not April 30 due to the FRA site being down) the new Phoenix Valley Metro Light Rail has the bells ringing from startup to when the gates lower, and sounding again when the gates begin to rise. Remember that this line didn't start running until just before Christmas 2008, so they had LOTS of time to change this.

If I were running those crossings, I'd make the bells go from startup to when the gates begin to rise for pedestrian and private crossings (you'll see why I choose this once you see the pictures), and the bells silence for other areas where pedestrians aren't around as often.

There are some nice things out there that I'll post as a preview once I have a chance to finish these crossings. You'll want to see these, lots of unexpected surprises.
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Re: Bells

Postby AndrewFields » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:17 am

I'm with you guys...never liked the idea of having them ring while the gates rise. Just never makes me comfortable.
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Re: Bells

Postby illinoistrains » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:18 am

i used to think having them ring all through the time on was the way to go. Elton has had some very good arugements to say why they should only ring when going down.

I have become comfortable with bells ringing only when the gates go down and those kind of installs are fine with me now.

Also, dont they have a procedure for bells to quit ringing at gateless crossings.
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Re: Bells

Postby cabman701 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:52 am

I am with Elton on this one... although stupid me I clicked the wrong button!!! :Curse1:

I accidently voted for both up and down, when I really wanted to go with them ringing just when the gates are lowering. Can someone change or erase my vote so I can vote again?

The only argument I would have with them ringing longer than that would be for pedestrians at least until the train arrives. Especially if the crossing was in a quiet zone.
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Re: Bells

Postby Smjh1979 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:54 am

Re-voting is now enabled for this poll.
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Re: Bells

Postby cabman701 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:56 am

Smjh1979 wrote:Re-voting is now enabled for this poll.


Thank you sir! :Smile:

My vote is now corrected.
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Re: Bells

Postby Josh » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:21 pm

My initial impulse was to vote for continuously-ringing bells, simply because almost all of the signals I grew up around operated that way. However, Elton makes some very valid points that having bells ring only during gate lowering is the best choice. I think the most important reasons for this are saving wear-and-tear on the bells themselves, and the reduction in noise pollution. Nobody can argue that the operational life of a bell that operates for 10 seconds or so while a gate lowers is going to be a lot longer than one that operates during the duration of a train crossing (especially a crossing with a lot of really-long freight trains). And obviously noise pollution is a big issue, or else there wouldn't have been the proliferation of quiet zones in the last few years.

However, there are 2 situations where a continuously-ringing bell may have a safety advantage:

1) Some crossings seem to have a longer-than-necessary lead activation time on the signals. For example, when I photographed the MacArthur Blvd. TRE crossing in Irving, the signals activated at least 60 seconds before the train arrived. At a crossing with no dedicated pedestrian signals, if the bells quit ringing and all is quiet for over a minute, it seems possible that a pedestrian who was not looking at the crossing / not paying attention / drunk / etc. just might not notice the silent lights or downed gates, especially if the sidewalk crosses 10-15 feet or so from the main roadway as is sometimes the case. And if it was a quiet zone, there would not necessarily be any audible warning from the train unless the engineer sights the errant pedestrian.

2) At an industrial switching area, where a train may be intermittantly stopped or moving very slowly, it seems like a continuously ringing bell would reinforce the fact for pedestrians that there is still danger present the entire time the signals are active.

Anyway it doesn't matter how many signals, bells, lights, etc. there are - there is always the possibility of someone being stupid and ignoring them. Nobody can protect everyone or anyone from making bad decisions. So my vote is to just have the bells ring while the gates are lowering. The main reason I didn't like the bells shutting off after the gates lowered (on DART crossings, etc.) was because I always thought it was so stupid that they started ringing again when the gates raised! Eliminate that, and I think it would be fine.
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Re: Bells

Postby weatherdan882002 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:08 pm

Elton does have good arguements about the bells ringing only when the gates go down, and I do agree w/ those arguements, but I still have to say that I like it when the bells ring when the gates rise, just because a crossing near me (Viall Ave. 1) does just that and I just always found it to be neat. Probably because I've just always liked bells.

All the other crossing in the area though, do only have the bells ring when the gates lower, and as per Elton's example, A LOT of them are near (or next to) houses, though even sometimes that plan can backfire as Viall Ave 1 used to malfunction a lot, and one of those times the gates stayed in the up position, but the bell was ringing and the lights were flashing (as if the gates were about to go down, but never did). That bell was ringing FOREVER, and it was pretty annoying.
Last edited by weatherdan882002 on Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bells

Postby weatherdan882002 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:48 pm

Well, what i was trying to aim at is that you wire the bell so that it shuts off when the gates are fully lowered, so if it's the usual malfunction, where they activate for no reason, the bell won't keep ringing, but in this case, the gates were stuck in the "up" position so there was nothing you could do to stop the bell from ringing.
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