The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 7 (December 1, 1930)
Petone Crossing — New Flashing Lights
New Flashing Lights
A group of powerful flashing light signals was brought into operation at the Petone level crossing on the main Hutt road, Wellington, on Thursday, 6th November. These new flashing light signals will replace the existing “wig-wag” light and bell signals, and it is considered that they will add greatly to the safety of vehicles negotiating the crossing.
Development of Safety Devices.
The Railway Department has set aside a certain amount of land from the area formerly occupied by the old Railway Workshops. The effect of this has been to improve the view of the line at the crossing. In addition to this, it is believed that the new automatic flashing light warning signals, of improved design and placed in a better locality, will produce at the crossing conditions so favourable in regard to warning that there will be no real danger to any road user who exercises a reasonable standard of care when using the crossing.
On the Wellington side of the crossing the flashing lights are three, placed in a triangular form above the six-foot standard. The upper light will flash in unison with one of the lower lights. All the lights from this warning signal show along the road towards Wellington. The lower pair shine directly on the road, while the upper light is directed at a slightly different angle from the lower pair, and is so pointed that it will indicate in the direction of road vehicles when they are swinging at the bend to take the crossing.
On the four lamp standard on the other side of the crossing the upper pair of lamps shine northwards towards Lower Hutt. The lower pair point along the sea-front road. The lamps in each pair of these are 2ft. 6in. apart.
As each of these red lights shines alternately for about one second and is synchronised with its mate in such a way that one light of each pair is always showing, there will be a very definite and clearly distinguishable red light showing along every road approach to the crossing whenever the crossing is obstructed or is about to be obstructed by a train. All the lights are effectively hooded to ensure and enhance visibility by day as well as by night, and they are at the height which puts them in the direct line of vision of approaching road vehicles.
Best Type of Warning Signal.
This type of crossing warning signal is considered by the Railway Department to be the best yet devised. At the Mangere crossing on the main road south from Auckland a signal of this type was installed recently, and it is understood that the Auckland Automobile Association and other road users are well satisfied about its efficiency for the purpose.
The crossings at the Square in Palmerston North are now similarly equipped, as are several in the South Island.
The decision to so equip the Petone crossing is the final action taken in the protracted negotiations regarding the question of the present necessity for a ramp at the Petone level crossing.
It is claimed that the installation of the new type of crossing signal will reduce the risk at the crossing to a minimum, and that the residuum of risk, applying only to those who do not exercise a reasonable page 43 standard of care when using the crossing, will be so slight that the provision of a ramp at the present time will be obviated, and an expenditure of public funds which the ramp would require, amounting to upwards of £50,000, be avoided.
The Railway Department itself takes no chances in working this crossing with its road vehicles, all buses being required to stop for fifteen seconds before passing over it, in order that the drivers may satisfy themselves that the line is clear.
Germany's Interesting Mountain Railway.
Italy, Switzerland and South Germany abound in mountain railways of one type or another, varying from the ordinary adhesion line to quaint cable systems that carry heavy passenger cars slung high above ground level to the very summit of the rugged Alps. One of the world's most interesting mountain railways has this year been opened in South Germany. This is the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway, connecting the holiday resort of Garmisch-Parten-kirchen with the summit of the Zugspitze Mountain. Operated on the rack and pinion principle, this novel railway enables the tourist to reach in comfort and ease the summit of Germany's highest mountain peak, carrying the traveller to a height of some 8,600 feet in about 108 minutes. Enormous engineering difficulties have been overcome in the construction of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway, which at one point has a rising gradient of one in four. Four double-axled electric friction locomotives, and eight electric rack locomotives are employed for train haulage. The rack locomotives are equipped with four distinct sets of brakes, and all the machines secure power from an overhead conductor.