Automated Level Crossing Prototype

One of my background tasks for the last year or two has been building an Automated Level Crossing to go by the halt. There are various designs around, but many are very complicated and often too deep to fit under the baseboard.

This shows the gates on the current prototype – it operation, they all move so that they close either the tracks or the road:

Underneath, it’s a bit more complicated:
Each gate is mechanically connected to a servo using a pair of gear wheels. The servos have small motors that are driven by the electronics in the middle.

The end position of each gate can be independently set using the small push buttons on the electronics board. The speed of movement can also be programmed.

Originally, this used standard servo arms to connect the servos to the gates, but these didn’t move the gates to the exact position reliably.

I spent a while looking for better solutions, then looked at various designs of gear wheels on the internet, found something the right size and then printed them on the 3D printer:

They are a bit rough, but serve the purpose and seem to work well.

Now I’ve got the mechanics right, I need to find some better level crossing gates before adding it to the layout.


Main Station – Forecourt Improvements

The Main Station Forecourt had been a problem ever since the narrow gauge track was laid in front of it. This is how it originally looked:

Unfortunately, the curves on this track proved to be too tight, so it had to be relaid, which then disrupted the paving…

Finally, I’ve reworked this area, and am reasonably pleased with the results:

Goods Yard Progress

The goods yard has always been in a rather ‘half-finished’ state whilst I decided how to finish the surface. The walls between it and the main track were also only ‘temporary’:
I was recently given some long offcuts of 2mm MDF, and glued two strips together to make the basis of a long, curvable wall:Having sorted the walls out, I decided to use some of the left over track ballast for the goods yard surface. This was then sprayed to tone the colour down.
With a bit of greenery, it now looks a lot better than before: