Batteries still in use in case of power outage?

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Robert Gift

former OL presenter
For grade crossing signals, do they still use glass-cased 2-volt wet cells in half-buried cement vaults?

Haven't noticed any vaults recently. (Nothat I have been looking.)
Or are there new-type batteries in the signal cabinet?

Thank you.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
An acquaintence says the railroads no longer use battery back up.

I cannot believe that. As reliable as our power companies are, there can still be outages.

China grade crossing signals have a third blue lamp which indicates that power is on.
(o)=(o)
...(o)
 

roee

Active Member
Batteries are required by the FRA in all crossings. And no, they don't use glass jar batteries anymore, at least not Class 1's. They use either Sealed Lead Acid or NiCad batteries. Typically there are 2 or more banks of batteries for a crossing, one for the predictor and one for the gates and lights. Sometimes more if there are a lot of gates or lights.

And most crossings have Power On indicator lights (at least on the BNSF and UP) that show the power is on, and now the new crossings also have strobe lights to indicate the power is off. Old timers would have freaked about wasting power to say the power is off, but the strobes use so little power, and batteries are so much better these days.
 

Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Batteries are required by the FRA in all crossings. And no, they don't use glass jar batteries anymore, at least not Class 1's. They use either Sealed Lead Acid or NiCad batteries. Typically there are 2 or more banks of batteries for a crossing, one for the predictor and one for the gates and lights. Sometimes more if there are a lot of gates or lights.

And most crossings have Power On indicator lights (at least on the BNSF and UP) that show the power is on, and now the new crossings also have strobe lights to indicate the power is off. Old timers would have freaked about wasting power to say the power is off, but the strobes use so little power, and batteries are so much better these days.
Thank you.
That is what I would expect.
Did not know abouthe strobes. Always flashing when power off? Or just start flashing when a train is in the area?
LEDs would use even less power than strobes.

Batteries in the relay cabinet?
Thank you.
 

wigwagfan

Passenger
An acquaintence says the railroads no longer use battery back up.

I cannot believe that. As reliable as our power companies are, there can still be outages.
I work for an electric utility and can attest to receiving a phone call from a local signal maintainer asking where our outage was following a major storm, so that he could swap out batteries at crossing signals to keep the signals operating where our outages were.

Same railroad has also caused at least one widespread power outage due to a derailment in the middle of a town. (However that happened on my day off.)
 

Rader Sidetrack

New Member
The Norfolk Southern road crossings (in this area of east Tennessee, at least) have a very bright LED mounted on the outside of the control shed. The LED has constant illumination when everything is operating normally. When the commercial power is out, but the equipment is still operating, the LED blinks. And if the LED is out, the crossing system is dead. This "maintainer call light" is affected by power/battery status, but also any other problems that the system can detect with its own monitoring. NS train crews are expected to report via radio any crossings that are not displaying a "steady on" LED.
 




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