This proposal consists of a tag on railway crossing nodes to denote that train-horn (whistle) operation at said crossing is different from national law/standard (US quiet zones/Canadian whistle bans, wayside horn operations, or places on a rail network where trains need to use their horns despite such not normally being required). See Proposed features/Level crossing train horn usage - OpenStreetMap Wiki for the details, and please discuss this proposal on its Wiki Talk page.
Please, cross post this announcement on the tagging mailing list on my behalf by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The sound from the horn turns an uncontrolled crossing into a controlled one. It is kind of traffic-signals. I’d like to read a short sentence on this in the proposal. So people can get an idea, how this relates to ongoing debates on the subject of crossings/intersections. Or would that push too much into politics?
I’ve always treated the debates around highway=crossing (pedestrian crossings of highways) as separate from the situation with railway=level_crossing as the two are treated very differently outside the OSM context. (Pedestrians may have rights with regards to cars, but road users never have rights with regards to trains.) You’ll also notice that there is no equivalent refinement to the “type” of a railway=level_crossing or railway=crossing, unlike a highway=crossing. (iD offers a type/markings field for railway=crossing nodes at the moment, but it probably shouldn’t be used for anything since the presence or absence of marking or signalization isn’t as meaningful in this context as it is when you’re crossing a highway feature.)
This looks well-researched. crossing:horn=optional and crossing:horn=wayside make sense to me as an American. It seems like this tagging scheme is sufficient for railway networks elsewhere in the world, though I’d like to hear from more railway mappers outside of North America.
Rail is all about signals, optional signals are very hard to imagine in the domain. In my local area, most crossings were converted to over/underpass. Problem solved. Not up to what is on topic here, I’d say, where the signal comes from, and if it is optional or not, are two pairs of shoes.
I’m guessing that that might be a German idiom that has failed to leap across the language barrier In English we might say “that’s another kettle of fish” but that idiom might fail to leap back the other way…
Getting back on topic, although the wiki page does explain that this is referring to a train horn, not a car horn, the tag on its own does not, and people may be confused as a result.
It’d be interesting to know if the audible warnings that occur at e.g. UK level crossings are supposed to count as “crossing:horn=wayside” as well.
A wayside horn device is activated by the strike-in (activation) of the crossing it’s associated with (in particular, it’s triggered off the XR/predictor main output just like the flashers and gates are), so there isn’t a way to have “optional” wayside horns – it’s either going because the crossing’s going, or the device is disabled/OOS/nonfunctional and the crew has to blow for the crossing themselves. (Most wayside horn installations give a flashing X signal to the train crew to indicate that the device is operational when triggered.)
Are you referring to states which don’t require blowing the horn (whistling) for private crossings? That said, it’s not uncommon for North American railroads require it for many private crossings in any case even if not required by state laws – this is to maintain procedural uniformity across the operating territory.
That’s a good question, given that they’re more of a siren sound than a horn sound. Are they universally/widely present? (I found a video of Wybourne AOCL in Kent that demonstrated the siren in action, but I don’t know if that’s a peculiarity of certain crossing types there or something broadly present across UK crossings at large the way the bell is present on just about all active crossings in the US.)
Not sure if the siren is universal in the UK or not, there is a crossing in my town which has a siren but due to the location of the crossing it has a volume of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
The siren sounds when the amber lights start and stop when the barriers have lowered.
I see the siren as more a thing for pedestrians rather than cars, if you are on the crossing it gives a warning as the lights cannot be seen so a pedestrian can turn back or hurry up. Or if a few metres from the crossing start sprinting.
I’d always assumed (in England with raising barriers) it was mostly to make it clear to pedestrians that a barrier was about to hit them on the head if they didn’t get out of the way! I don’t believe tthat there are sirens here where there are gates, for example.
Here (Austria) there are some railway crossings in cities that are equipped with audible bell signals (mostly) for pedestrians and cyclists (in addition to the light signals). I definitely wouldn’t describe those as as a train “horn”.