Grade crossing accidents are serious business, and even in my brief railroad operations career, I was involved in an accident at a grade crossing. I was fortunate enough to be in the lofty confines of the cab of a Seaboard GP-40, which was leading a train of three other Geeps and a train of 80 or so cars, when we collided with a truck loaded with live chickens.
After the initial meeting at the grade crossing, our train rolled and generally crunched up this truck for perhaps 1/2 mile before we came to a grinding stop. My immediate view from the locomotive’s cab was that of poultry pandemonium, with thousands of alarmed hens running about the countryside. More than a few met their doom that day, and not all necessarily as result of the collision. Many of the survivors were spirited away in the trunks of automobiles, collected by passersby who were interested in inexpensive dining that evening. It is humorous in retrospect, but that truck could have easily been loaded with gasoline and I would have likely been incinerated.
So, every grade crossing closure is cause for celebration in the railroad’s legal department, and the operating department, too. But, railroads continue to have crossings at grade with highways, and the grade crossing gates are a continuing part of the railroad landscape. And, the Märklin gate has all of the necessary features. The 8992 crossing gate consists of two identical sections that represent a railroad crossing.
Each crossing gate has internal light bulbs and a solenoid which operates the gate itself. When power is applied to the gate, the lights come on and the solenoid pulls the gate to the down position. When the electricity is turned off, the lights go out and a spring pulls the gate back upward. The solenoids in the 8992 crossing gate are designed to operate for longer periods than the solenoids in the relays and turnouts.
It can literally be operated with a 72740 Control Box, but at some point, your finger is going to get tired. There is an easier way to have the train operate the gates when it approaches. Central to this process are Circuit Tracks; there are three of them, one for the 8520 radius, one for the 8530 radius and one for straight track.