Technical Reports

Standby Power for Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Warning Systems

  • 09
  • Aug
  • 2016
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
KEYWORDS: Standby power generators, Auxiliary electric power units, Storage batteries, Solar cells, Thermoelectric generators, Intersections, Warning systems, Railroads, Standby power generation, Control equipment, Railroad grade crossings
ABSTRACT: The requirements for standby power at railroad-highway grade crossings, as established by the states, the Association of American Railroads, and the individual railroads, are described. Standard means of satisfying these requirements, using 115 vac primary power and storage batteries for standby, are compared with a number of new techniques, now passing from experimental to operational use, that incorporate solar cells or thermoelectric generators. In addition, other even more innovative techniques are examined. The conclusion of this survey is that for most railroad grade crossing applications, the existing standard techniques (reliance on ac primary power and standby storage batteries) will continue to be the preferred choice. In a number of circumstances in which the provision of ac primary power is very expensive, the combination of solar cells or thermoelectric generators as the primary source, with storage batteries as standby, will be optimal.
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