Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Level crossing ha-ha

Safer than barriers
  (+21, -3)(+21, -3)
(+21, -3)
  [vote for,

There seems to be an ongoing problem with humans driving through level crossings despite warnings of an approaching train.

The answer is the Level Crossing Ha-Ha <link>.

The level crossing has no barriers, only standard traffic lights.

On each side of the crossing is a deep ditch four metres wide and two metres deep with a strong concrete wall on the line side. Normally, it is bridged by a strong plate supported by large hydraulically-driven cams. When a train is due, the lights change from green to amber, and then to red. A few seconds later, the cams rotate and the plate hinges down into the ditch, forming a ramp ending in a two metre high concrete wall.

Any vehicle descending the ramp will be stopped.

When the train has passed, the cams return the plate to the level position, allowing any wreckage to be quickly and easily removed.

8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

Ha-Ha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha-ha
The garden version [8th of 7, Mar 01 2010]

Car-flinging trebuchet http://www.youtube....92lNny0LAekaBbUURWZ
"This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds" - thankyou Channel 4. [pocmloc, Mar 06 2010]

Darwin Appliances Darwin_20Appliances
Prior Art [8th of 7, Mar 08 2010]


       I am bunning this only because it partially rehabilitates the ha-ha, a landscaping feature which has begun to fall into disuse now that some houses are being shoehorned into sub- acre plots.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2010

       // sub- acre plots //   

       Provided they are not required to grow their own food, one-room cottages for gamekeepers, gardeners, coachmen, grooms and other such menial servants can be built at an efficient density, shirley ?   

       Then again, in such circumstances a ha-ha might be of some value in stopping serfs trying to escape.
8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

       It can be done, but what message does it send to the neighbours?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2010

       What are neighbours ?
8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

       They're the people one can see from one's belltower through the telescope.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2010

       Oh, them.
8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

       It does amaze me that anyone can get hit by a train on a crossing. Apart from the bells and barriers and flashy lights, there is also the not inconsiderable sound of a train coming towards you. And what do you have to do in order to save your own life? Move 2m to your left or right.
wagster, Mar 01 2010

       // It does amaze me //   

       It shouldn't - many of them are Americans...
8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

       How fast does one have to be going to clear the ditch?
pocmloc, Mar 01 2010

       One can't.   

       There is no lip or ramp to impart upward momentum. Thus, the moment the vehicle's front wheels pass over the edge, the vehicle will start to descend due to gravity.   

       The width of the ditch is calculated to ensure that the vehicle will strike the far wall above the level of the wheel radius, and stop immediately as a result.
8th of 7, Mar 01 2010

       [wags] Mag-lev trains don't make a lot of noise
Dub, Mar 01 2010

       Dammit, the whole point of a ha-ha is that you can't see it coming. (Checks idea's author. Oh, wait, NOW I understand. [+])   

       [Dub] Do mag-lev trains have level crossings?
mouseposture, Mar 02 2010

       //It shouldn't - many of them are Americans...//   

       I'm not too computer savvy, 8th. Tell me; is there an emoticon for the finger?   

       [+], reluctantly. (Given a long enough time line, these people will die out, taking their faulty genetic material with them)
MikeD, Mar 02 2010

       Oh dear - a Halfbakery idea for which there isn't a sound, costed business case.
hippo, Mar 02 2010

       //What would they give to the poor, downtrodden Haitians who are currently getting all our money?//   

       They can have all the old level crossings.
Wrongfellow, Mar 02 2010

       In order that level crossings with ha-has can easily be differentiated, when approaching them, from those without, these level crossings should have large rustic follies constructed next to them.
hippo, Mar 02 2010

       Or a large cut-out figure of Nelson Muntz....
wagster, Mar 02 2010

       //is there an emoticon for the finger? //   

MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2010

       // I'm not too computer savvy, 8th. //   

       You're American, right ? Figures ...   

       (It's called "irony", [MikeD]. It's an English thing, you wouldn't understand... ]
8th of 7, Mar 02 2010

       This seems like quite a sensible idea. I'm shocked. -
DrBob, Mar 02 2010

       //them are Americans// - they get to use the traditional "yee-ha!" level crossing endorsed by the good old boys of Hazard County.
zen_tom, Mar 02 2010

       [duckdodgers]//The survivability factor...// Accidents due to ha-has would outnumber the train-collisions they prevented, so the amount of injury and damage would increase. I don't think the idea's inventor really sees that as a problem, though.
mouseposture, Mar 02 2010

       We don't, because // these people will die out //   

       // the amount of injury and damage would increase //   

       Show us the numbers.   

       More road vehicles may be damaged; more drivers and passengers may be injured or killed. But there will be no train-car interactions. Trains CANNOT stop in a short distance.   

       Once the systems are installed, the costs to the rail operators will be reduced to maintainance of the equipment. The costs of accidents will be born by the driver, their insurers, or their relatives and estate. At worst, the car will be wrecked; at best, the idiot driver will die.
8th of 7, Mar 02 2010

       Is the name indicative of the response made when observing someone running into one?   

       //It's an English thing, you wouldn't understand//   

       You aint kidding. Like "A Clockwork Orange", I had to read this idea about three times just to figure it out. From what I gather: Level Crossing = Railroad Crossing, Line = Track and Metre = Meter.
MikeD, Mar 02 2010

       //"A Clockwork Orange" //   

       The slang is ... challenging. You think Anthony Burgess is obscure and eclectic ? Try James Joyce ...   

       // I had to read this idea about three times //   

       Oooh, you must be one of the smart ones ... the ones that can read ....   

       "You say Potato, we say Tomato ..."
8th of 7, Mar 02 2010

       Americans, eh? Sometimes it's almost like they're another country.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2010

       Will there be viewing galleries?
pocmloc, Mar 02 2010

       Yes, and pay-per-view webcams.
8th of 7, Mar 02 2010

       Ah, yes, I missed the reference in the idea to //large hydraulically-driven cams//
pocmloc, Mar 02 2010

       [8/7] Ah, I see you understood "injury and damage" in the legal sense. Do you really think the costs of accidents would be born by the driver, etc.? Well, considering that the railways can afford to hire more legal talent than the drivers, perhaps you're right. Let us know how it all works out.
mouseposture, Mar 03 2010

       The Ha-Ha is in the roadway, not on railway land...   

       If a driver drives their vehicle into a stationary object, generally, they are responsible. A simple legislative change would transfer all liablity for Ha-Ha incidents to the vehicle driver.
8th of 7, Mar 03 2010

       //Metre = Meter//
No, no, no. "Meter" = "measuring instrument"

//That had me in stiches//
Enough said
coprocephalous, Mar 03 2010

       The problem would to make the system fail-safe so no-one gets stuck trying to leave the railway line when the train is coming.   

       I'm not sure about the liability side. A UK local council, where I lived, once had a pop-up bollard that destroyed the cars of several very stupid people and they still managed to get compensation plus the addition of an increasing number of warning signs.
Aristotle, Mar 03 2010

       I would like to bun the idea but feel badly that the annos turned into American bashing. Although I was born in the US, I have no affliations with much of the *ideas* of Americans that other people have. There are a lot of stupid people all over the world, it's too bad that a lot of them just come to the US to live...
xandram, Mar 03 2010

       Ah, well, England only invented America so the Canadians would have someone to look down on and the Mexicans someone to look up to ...   

       Don't worry, we are an equal opportunity oppressor. Is there some other nation or racial group that you'd rather we attacked ?
8th of 7, Mar 03 2010

       Not worth it, too stupid and insular to be worth the effort of belittling them.
pocmloc, Mar 03 2010

       I take people as individuals. I love every halfbaker here because they are halfbakers! We are a unique collection of skewed-thinkers. That's enough for me. Apart from the annos. I like this idea, as yes, myself I do not believe how someone can get hit by a train whether they are American or any other nationality.
xandram, Mar 03 2010

       //American bashing//   

       I don't feel bashed. Ribbed, but not bashed.   

       I mean, after all <smugly> we did kick your ass in the revolution. <smugly/>
MikeD, Mar 03 2010


       Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II.   

       Only country ever to successfully invade the continental U.S.A. and burn the White House.   

       // we did kick your ass in the revolution //   

       Only because you cheated. You were supposed to dress up in nice red uniforms and walk slowly and steadily towards the enemy guns. Hiding in the shrubbery and shooting people from the side is dashed unsporting, don't yer know. It's the sort of thing the french would do ...
8th of 7, Mar 03 2010

       that's twice actually, though I think both times could better be termed "armed bar-hopping"
FlyingToaster, Mar 03 2010

       How could such a simple piece of architecture go so wrong ... ?   

       They should have dug a Ha-Ha instead.
8th of 7, Mar 03 2010

       //irony [...] it's an English thing//   

       Three and a half centuries, and they haven't figured out why we haven't changed the name of the language we chose to - er, "violate"...
lurch, Mar 03 2010

       It's very puzzling. And another thing - what do you do with all the "i"s you extract of "Aluminium" ? Are you storing them up somewhere for some sinister reason ? Is it some Scrabble thing, or are you going to start dumping huge quantities of "i"s on the world market, depressing and affecting Third World economies ?   

       The "Depleted" Aluminium (or "Aluminum") is simply disposed of commercially; this much is obvious. But are you trying to manufacture "Enriched" Aluminium ?   

       Or is it the secret, essential ingredient of high-tech consumer gadgets like the iPod, iMac, iPhone and iTouch ?   

       Does your Mom know about this ?
8th of 7, Mar 04 2010

       //What do you do with all the i's <...> iPod...//
<marked-for-conspiracy-theory> good one [8/7] !!!
FlyingToaster, Mar 04 2010

       [8/7] OK, s/hire more legal talent/bribe more politicians/   

       And it was the *British* who cheated in the American War of Independence: they had *professionals* on their team. Not cricket.
mouseposture, Mar 04 2010

       What happens if my car stalls while I'm crossing (while the bridges are up), and then a train approaches?   

       Of course, *I* wouldn't be foolish enough to wait for a tow truck *inside* my car, if it were sitting on a railroad track, but I'm sure there are other people who would :)   

       I would suggest there be two bridges on each side of the ha-ha... the two for vehicles approaching the railroad track that would be raised/lowered as you describe, the two for vehicles departing the track would be fixed in place.
goldbb, Mar 04 2010

       [goldbb], that would be like the half-barriers on rural crossings (designed so a car doesn't get trapped between the full barriers). Of course no motorist would ever be tempted to slalom at speed between them, would they? No, that would be just too stupid. It does make good CCTV viewing though - perhaps another reason to reconsider...
pocmloc, Mar 04 2010

       I imagine one major difference is the time for an American train to trundle past. In the UK, some of the trains are so short that the tail end goes past before the front end.
Ling, Mar 04 2010

       //You were supposed to dress up in nice red uniforms and walk slowly and steadily towards the enemy guns.//   

       Thank god tactics have changed. Being on "the front line" would be much more harrowing than it is now.   

       //or are you going to start dumping huge quantities of "i"s on the world market//   

       I'll tell you what we are doing with the i's if you tell me what you guys are doing with all the h's.
MikeD, Mar 04 2010

       They go into "HP" sauce.   

       Now you have to guess where the "P" comes from. (Hint: The sauce has a slightly bitter, organic odour).
8th of 7, Mar 04 2010

       Is that "familiar" in the Biblical sense ?
8th of 7, Mar 05 2010

       That's a relief. Supermarkets would be one paraphilia too far ...
8th of 7, Mar 05 2010

       //Good eyeware is essential in supermarkets.// Mine doesn't even carry cheap sunglasses. I'll have to talk to the manager about adding an optometry department.
mouseposture, Mar 05 2010

       //It shouldn't - many of them are Americans...//   

       That's because they are used to looking left before crossing... This dangerous situation could be prevented if everyone would just drive their trains on the right side instead of the left.
Whistlebritches, Mar 05 2010

       The simple solutions are always the best ...
8th of 7, Mar 05 2010

       Or build a roundabout.
Ling, Mar 06 2010

       Loving the idea of a railway-crossing trebuchet. I can't help but think it'd have a rather negative effect on the integrity of the vehicle being transported, though. And possibly the vehicle's operator.   

       Bunned. But reluctantly: I really don't mind if people stupid enough to get hit by trains die.
Mrlemonjelly, Mar 06 2010

       Neither do we. The objective is to prevent damage to the train.
8th of 7, Mar 06 2010

       ////"A Clockwork Orange" //   

       The slang is ... challenging. //   

       That's because it's actually bastardized Russian.
pertinax, Mar 07 2010

       //We are a unique collection of skewed-thinkers. That's enough for me.//   

       ^^^ What [xandram] said ^^^, but watch out for [8th] when he's actually holding the skewer.
pertinax, Mar 07 2010

       [8th of 7]//The objective is to prevent damage to the train.// Then your proposal is inefficient. You'd have to have two ha-has at every level crossing all the time. Most level crossings, most of the time, have no train in them. Better to provide the locomotive with armor and some sort of artillery.   

       If, on the other hand, the idea is "like eugenics, but with violence," then it makes perfect sense.
mouseposture, Mar 07 2010

       "Eugenics with violence" ... like it. You should post that, [mp] (but see <link>).
8th of 7, Mar 08 2010

       If eugenics by violence worked, then the world would be entirely full of pacifists, due to the steady depletion of war-loving people, through their deaths in wars over the centuries.
goldbb, Mar 08 2010

       What a magnificent non-sequitur, [goldbb].
8th of 7, Mar 08 2010

       //if eugenics by violence worked, then the world would be entirely full of pacifists// Or the world would be entirely full of smart people. Perhaps we simply haven't waited long enough.
mouseposture, Mar 09 2010

       //or full of smart people//   

       ...keep in mind that the last human remaining alive will have, by definition, an IQ of 100.
lurch, Mar 09 2010

       // Accidents due to ha-has would outnumber the train-collisions they prevented //   

       Anyone approaching a level crossing where the lights are already flashing at such a speed as to damage their car in the ha-ha was heading for an accident anyway.   

       Overall, I think the same effect could be had with less excavation by installing a simple pop-up or side-sliding concrete wall.
BunsenHoneydew, Mar 19 2010


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