Model train crossing signals

Hall of fame member, Rob, has been in touch. He’s made a video on model train crossing signals.

There’s also a wonderful cab ride at 12 minutes in to it – stunning stuff.

Before that though, he shows how the sensors detect the trains, and how he’s hidden them too.

It’s clever, but simple stuff, if that makes sense.

What’s more anyone cans see it looks fun, and for me that’s the main reason why this hobby appeals to so many.

If you’re not enjoying yourself what’s the point.

Some like to run trains. Some like scenery. Some like scratching their heads over wiring diagrams:

“Hi Al, this video is about a system that signals a station for bi-directional traffic on the line.

It was purpose designed. The instructions are clear. I installed this system on my freight line which operates as a single line. It is a great system and fun to operate.

There is nothing on the market that I know of that does what this does. I highly recommend it.

The operator can participate in dispatching trains or set it for single direction automatic operation and let it run on a small loop layout.


model train crossing signals

model train crossing signals sensor

model train crossing signals sensor

model train LED lights

model train crossing signals wiring diagram

A big thanks to Rob for sharing his model train crossing signals.

You can see from the cab ride how much time and care Rob has put in to his layout – I absolutely loved it.

It’s also another great example of how layouts with a theme always end up well.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you stop dreraming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Remember, it’s the start that stops most people.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

13 Responses to Model train crossing signals

  1. Tony Banks says:

    Absolutely amazing. Signals working certainly sets this pike apart. I have just returned to the hobby after 30 years, although I had continued to collect trains over that period. I find the technology has advanced beyond my ability, but I’m learning. Great “ride” thru the layout. Inspiration to get moving on my 20′ x 16 DCC HO layout and an additional 2’x 16′ DCC N scale. Keep up the great work.

  2. george zaky says:

    Much thanks for a superb treatise on signals. I cant get enough of your spectacular layout.
    Cute and colorful scheme.
    Big Al
    Good move. Consider some type of membership for those that are subscribing to the cause. Keep it simple and little if no overhead.
    Yay! The future is rosy.
    George from NY

  3. Sid Pratt says:

    Well explained, thanks.

  4. Hi Al
    Great to see a model of a U.K. railway. Even more pleasing is to see a more realistic scene without the overcrowding so often seen. My father was a station master, originally on the Southern Railway, later to become the Southern division of British Railways, so I grew up in this environment and can confirm the accuracy and realism. I am particularly enamoured with the Southern Pacific although I couldn’t make out whether it was a Merchant Navy or a West Country/Battle of Britain class. These I’ve always regarded as ‘holiday engines’ as we only rode behind them on holidays being whisked away to the West Country coast from Waterloo. In those days they still carried the ‘Air Smoothed’ casing. We lived on the line between Redhill and Ashford so were more used to seeing the U15, S15 and later, the brutal looking Q1s. Later we moved to a larger station near Eastbourne, on the Sussex coast. The main lines were electrified but we did have a non electrified branch, to Tunbridge Wells, which was steam operated by the ubiquitous 4MTs up until 1968 when all steam finally left BR tracks. A sad but inevitable day. I now live in Hereford, deep in ex GWR territory so my allegiances have been somewhat modified. I model in P4 but also is 5inch gauge, I don’t have a website of my own so, instead I’ve provided the website address for our Model Engineering club. Regards, Martin.

  5. Erick says:

    I going to make mine something like that. Looks nice.

  6. Jim AZ says:

    Nice, Rob. Appreciate the tutorial for those signals and the video. And nice touch with the bird sounds.

    Ralph’s layout has a lot going on there. You must have a lot of space. And I noticed you have some buildings from back in the day. I too have some of those on my layout as well.

    Thanks to both of you for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  7. Mike says:

    Excellent explanation of how the signal system works as well as the wiring. Does he plan on using a Signal System on the entire layout? I would like to know, where he obtained the model RR video camera that was mounted in his locomotive? Did that camera use bluetooth, wi-fi or rail pick up and signal transmission? Really liked the Video,, the background music didn’t over come the sound effects of the train. For those of us in the United States, Want to Wish You and Your Families a Very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving… And Similar Good Wishes for my friends in Great Britain. ~ Mike in New Hampshire, USA.

  8. Dan Hulitt says:

    Rob, another well-done video and explanation. Always nice to see and hear your trains run. Ralph, well done young man, a lot to enjoy on that layout.

    We just finished watching The Crown (Netflix) and as we watched the Queen’s train head north I told my wife, “that is a Deltic” engine. I would not have known that cept for this site and of course Dangerous Dave

    MN Dan

  9. Martin Vanderhoek says:

    Hi Al
    Once again 2 great posts from the troops. Always fascinated by Rob’s layout and his expertise. Just wondering if the trains operated automatically stopping at the station or manually controlled? Further to this would anyone know of a electronic device that will auto stop and start trains at stations so that they can operate automatically on a loop whilst I am busy manually operating others elsewhere on the layout? I expect to be a sole operator.
    Thanks Martin

  10. Ralph Isaacs says:

    Love the signals, I would love to have a wiring diagram on how you did the signals. Thanks

  11. Rod Mackay says:

    Dan, I’m sure that wasn’t a Deltic, which never had those nose-end corridor doors or disc indicators, I think it was a class 37 or 40, both still English Electric products though so good recognition there mate.
    Rob, you were doing so well, then just at the end we approach the final station on a green aspect with an AWS ‘clear’ indication (the bell in the cab) then we go round the corner and straight onto a red aspect at the platform end, which also triggers the AWS clear bell instead of the warning horn! Three wrong-side failures in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
    You are alright having a shorter braking distance to the home signal by the level crossing, incidentally, because the distance would be reduced by the speed limit round the sharp curve, also if it’s still on an up grade there it makes stopping easier.

  12. Harry Kane says:

    Rob, I really like your signaling, especially since you’re using Azatrax circuits. I purchased their hex detector over a year ago at a train show and have not yet implemented it, but you’ve inspired me. You may remember my layout is N scale and you had some nice comments on my “test layout” when I posted it here over a year ago. I’m the retired aerospace engineer and although I’ve added a lot of details and scenery, my test layout is still as is. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to grow the layout or just continue tinkering, but videos like this are what makes the tinkering fun. Thanks
    Harry Kane

  13. Harry Kane says:

    Rob, I almost forgot, what type of camera gear are you using for the POV video? I realize in N scale it may not be usable for me, but I’ve been fooling with tiny camera using Arduino and Raspberry Pi control and am hoping to develop a point of view system suitable for N.

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