Bells at crossings.

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Firefox89

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Has a question about railroad crossings, and couldn't think of a better place to ask although it is somewhat off the wall. I've noticed near me that the railroads ( Northfolk and CSX) don't have bells at the crossings when the gates go up and down anymore.... and was wondering why they took them down?
 

W8RMH

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From the US DOT FHA Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook:

A crossing bell is an audible warning device used to supplement other active traffic control devices. A bell is most effective as a warning to pedestrians and bicyclists.
When used, the bell is usually mounted on top of one of the signal support masts. The bell is usually activated whenever the flashing light signals are operating. Bell circuitry may be designed so that the bell stops ringing when the lead end of the train reaches the crossing. When gates are used, the bell may be silenced when the gate arms descend to within 10 degrees of the horizontal position. Silencing the bell when the train reaches the crossing or when the gates are down may be desired to accommodate residents of suburban areas.


I believe the use of bells was a supplemental warning and not used at all crossings.
 

reconrider8

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Does it still ring/ding? I know CSX here is slowly moving away from the "bells" and going towards solid state's. From what I can understand its just a speaker that plays a bell sound
 

slapshot0017

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I'm guessing what you heard was in fact an e-bell, it is just a speaker like you guessed. They are also doing this on the locomotives. Mechanical bells are going by the wayside to technology where all they have to worry about now is getting electricity to the bell and not having to rig an air line like on the locomotives or a mechanism that works along with the gates at a crossing. Some places the FRA has created quite zones for NIMBYS and even the horn sequence is played over a speaker at the crossing... Its horrible, but thats what america wants... Yet we still have people trying to beat the gates and getting creamed by a train... Railroading in this country is just sad compared to what it used to be...
 

RRR

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In the Southeast, in general, the bell(s) are wired up through the "X" (crossing) relay, with a contact in the gate mechanism it goes through, so the bell rings when the crossing is activated, and rings until the gates are in the lowered position, then the contact is open, and the bell should not ring, and does not ring when the gate is rising (unsafe)

E- bells (Electronic) are so much preferred by signal maintainers, a 3-4 pound bell is so much easier to replace and deal with than a 25-30 pound mechanical bell.
 

Firefox89

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Does it still ring/ding? I know CSX here is slowly moving away from the "bells" and going towards solid state's. From what I can understand its just a speaker that plays a bell sound
No, it is still a mechanical bell. Its one of the only crossings around that actually still has an audible warning.
 

RRR

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Electronic bells are classified as compliant "Audible warning"
 

Firefox89

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Electronic bells are classified as compliant "Audible warning"
Yes, and from what I have seen around my area... there are only a few crossings in my area with audible warning. I have yet to see a electronic bell though. And I live in a high traffic area for trains being the mainline from Buffalo to Chicago.
 

DPD1

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Most of these changes can be blamed on the ever increasing... 'It's all about me'... mentality in the public. Society has had train horns, bells, and crossing bells for decades... or way longer if you want to include whistles. Somehow people manged to survive all that time without dying or anything. But nowadays, if people have to hear a train horn a few times a day, they demand something be changed. The fact that the track was there when they moved in and has existed for over 100 years in many cases, doesn't seem to factor into it.
 

ic_geeps

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Electronic bell

As stated earlier, probably a lot easier to maintain, but I did like the sound of the mechanical bells (gongs) - but as new construction is being built around here - these new e-bells are being installed and focused directly at the street/crossing area. You get too far to the side of this, you can no longer hear it...
 

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