Scratch-built Railroad Crossing Signal

At first glance you would think this is the real thing, but [Kevin] built this railroad crossing signal from parts you can find at the home store. We keep seeing traffic lights used as web-connected signaling devices. This would be right at home for that type of setup, but [Kevin] built it with railroad enthusiasts in mind.

He used Google SketchUp to design the frame for the signal, then purchased all of the PVC parts to match those specifications. Some grey spray paint goes a long way to making it look like steel tubing. But this is much easier to work with and he should have no trouble internalizing the wiring later on. The lights themselves are tail lights for a trailer with a decorative trim piece added. He designed his own driver board to switch the lights and ring the doorbell which give the signal some sound. His first version used a 555 timer, this one upgrades to microcontroller. We like what he’s doing in the video after the break, but think the bell speed needs to be doubled for it to mimick the real thing just about perfectly.

7 thoughts on “Scratch-built Railroad Crossing Signal

  1. When I was like 8 the liquor store down the road gave me an Old Milwaukee Beer floor display railroad crossing sign. The thing was 8′ tall and had full on blinking lights. It looked perfect except it said ‘Old Milwaukee’ instead of ‘Railroad Corssing’.

    I put it at the end of my driveway once and a passing cop yelled at me because he thought it was a real one. Being a kid was awesome.

  2. My Dad collects antique toy trains, and when I saw this, I sent the link straight to him. What a great project, and very nicely executed. The bell used makes it sound like a toy train accessory from the 50’s, which is great!

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.