Barnby Moor & Sutton signalbox pictured on the right at Sutton level crossing on the 18th of May 1967.
Barnby Moor & Sutton Station was situated to the left of the signalbox towards Ranskill and opened on the 4th of September 1849, it was renamed just 'Sutton' in 1850 and was closed in 1949.
The signalbox was also renamed 'Sutton' after the station was closed. It opened in 1872 and closed on the 18th of October 1975, when control was transferred to Ranskill signalbox and the crossing was converted to CCTV. It remains today although boarded up and empty.
The crossing keepers/station masters house is also still present today as a private dwelling.
A similar view in January 2010.
The controls for Sutton and Botany Bay crossings in Ranskill signalbox, worked via CCTV cameras. The red lights lit on the down main signify a train is approaching Sutton crossing at 125mph.
The barriers are lowered by the following sequence: the picture button must be pressed first, this turns the picture on the screen for that crossing, this does two things; it lets him lower the barriers (it basically forces him to watch the crossing, as the lower button will not work unless it is pressed first), it also stops the image of the crossing being burnt into the screen. Like with all old style tube monitors, if the picture was one all the time it would burn an image of the crossing onto to the screen giving a phantom image which over time would actually look like the crossing even when the monitor was off. However with more screens now using LCD technology this doesn't happen.
Next the signaller will look at the screen and if the crossing is clear, he will press the lower button, at Ranskill, this is the button next to the 'down LED'. This starts the sequence (at the crossing), the amber road light will light, followed by the flashing red lights, then the commencement of the entrance barriers. These are the drivers facing barriers, this is to ensure if a car was to drive onto the crossing at this point it would still have an exit route through the other two barriers still in the air.
Once the two entrance barriers are lowered, the exit barriers can then lower, from the first push of the lower button, all this is done automatically by the system.
If the signaller wants to stop the sequence at any point, he can press the red emergency stop button.
When all barriers are lowered, he then press's the 'crossing clear' button (only if the crossing is clear of cars or pedestrians that inadvertently become trapped).
The crossing clear button being pressed will then allow Doncaster PSB (in the case of Ranskill) to clear the protecting signals to proceed, but only if all four barriers are proved 'down' this is done by each barrier having its own microswitch telling the interlocking they are all down, if any barrier cannot prove this, then the protecting signals cannot be cleared.
The crossing sequence must be activated at least four signal lengths away, so the driver of the train has a clear run, this would roughly be around 1-3 miles away. This however depends on the site and signalling arrangements. A clear run basically means he will see green signals (if the line is clear ahead of course), if the barriers are not down or are down but are not proved (i.e; failure), the train driver will see the signals in this order; GREEN, DOUBLE YELLOW, SINGLE YELLOW & then RED at the crossing. For those who are unsure on railway signal aspects; the yellows are caution aspects and are basically count down signals warning the driver they are eventually coming to a red aspect (which means 'danger' ahead), allowing the driver to slow down and stop at the red aspect.
The red aspect incidentally is always the light which is at the bottom, this is so it is at the drivers eye-level and is the most visible. Next upwards is signal yellow, then green and finally top yellow, obviously the top and bottom yellows would be lit for a double yellow indication.
For more signalling basics and information for beginners, please visit Railsigns.co.uk by clicking HERE, this is a brilliant website and covers all aspects of signalling from old to modern.
After the train has passed the barriers will automatically raise, as long as there are no other trains approaching, on the other line. There is also a facility to raise them manually for engineering/signalling work.
At all CCTV controlled crossings the equipment is duplicated (ie: two cameras). Also at most signalboxes, there are two screens for each crossing, this is subject to space needed.
At other signalboxes, the sequence and operating procedure may differ considerably, this is due to the technology being available at the time of installation, the road layout (each site has to follow strict Department of Transport requirements), and also specific signalbox requirements (ie: mechanical boxes).
At the crossing itself, the signalling is extremely complicated and failsafe, this is to ensure both the trains and the public are protected. If a train was to pass a protecting signal at red, the barriers will commence the sequence automatically. If a bulb on the road light was to fail, the operator would be informed. If a car was unable to stop and hit a lowered barrier, it would sound an alarm in the signalbox and would put signals to red.
There are numerous design features to account for all eventualities, but of course not the ones that are caused by failure to obey the warnings that are there to protect users.
At automatic barriers, known as AHB's and have one barrier at one side of the road, are lowered automatically by the train just 27 seconds before the train passes.
Because the signaller has no control over these barriers (he only has indication lights in the signalbox stating what they are doing), it is up to the general public to take great care at these crossings. As a driver you should always wait when the red lights show and NEVER zig-zag round the barriers.
Certain specific criteria has to be met for AHB's to be installed, for instance; a main busy road with large amounts of pedestrians will not meet the criteria to have a them installed, also linespeeds of 100mph or above will not have AHB's.
New detection technology is currently being trialled which is basically lasers that 'see' the crossing area in between the barriers on the trackside to see if the crossing is clear. This will either prevent a train proceeding towards the crossing or stop the train should a vehicle be detected on the track.
With Level crossing accidents rising, Network Rail is looking at educating more drivers on the dangers, as nearly all accidents are caused by failure to obey the lights or barriers, or failure to ask for permission to use a crossing at remote locations.
A video shot at Hibaldstow in Lincolnshire by the BBC Top Gear program on behalf on Network Rail shows the horrific impact of a train hitting a car on a crossing travelling at around 70mph.
You can see this video by clicking HERE which will direct you to 'You tube'.