I will begin by saying that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with the Green Cross Code, doing your Kerb Drill or even the Tufty Club. Although as an aside as a toddler some of my earliest encounters with the public highway would have been a short distance away from a very famous zebra crossing in Abbey Road.
Near the village of Castle Caereinion the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway crosses the B4385 road . The railway opened in 1903 and for most of that time a red flag is all that has protected the train, its crew, passengers and cargo from the road traffic has been a man with a red flag. That will come to an end next week when the railway opens for the 2015 tourist season and a new Automatic Half Barrier Level Crossing Locally Monitored officially comes into service.
This weekend train crew have been gaining experience in how the crossing operates. In particular the train drivers have to have a least one trip in each direction over the crossing under supervision.
For trains approaching Castle Caereinion from Llanfair there is little for the driver to do other than to be driving the train at the correct speed. It is detected automatically and once the light sequence has commenced and a barriers have lowered a flashing white light indicates to the train crew that it is safe to cross the road.
Once the last vehicle is clear of the crossing the barriers are raised and the highway re-opened to road traffic. In the event of a failure to detect the exit of a train from the crossing the equipment will time out and the barriers open after three minutes.
Train travelling towards Llanfair stop at Castle Caereinion Station and so cannot trigger the operation of the crossing automatically. Once the Guard has given the Right Away signal the Fireman or Second Man operates a button located in a small cabinet on the platform. This initiates the crossing sequence and when the crossing is ready a Crossing Indicator flashes to show that it safe to cross.
And provided everything works correctly then the whole process is very simple perhaps prompting the refrain from that old song by Peggy Lee
Is that all there is, is that all there is ?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.