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Train TV

Cheap camera + cheap RF transmitter = safer trains
  (+10)(+10)
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Controlled railroad crossings are powered already, so could be retrofit to add a simple webcam-style camera and RF transmitter. Trains could have a RF recievers and a screen. The screen would show the closest crossing, and the conductor can switch to view any crossing within range.

A solar-powered version could also be used for uncontrolled crossings. A GPS can be used by the installer to have the camera transmit the camera's exact location to the train as well.

A wavelength would have to be legislated for use by these devices only, but the cost to implement this should be quite low.

Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004

Rail Crossing Obstacle Detector http://www.halfbake...tacle_20Detector_2e
Inspired by [blammo] [Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004]

US Frequency Chart (pdf) http://www.ntia.doc...smhome/allochrt.pdf
I'm thinking perhaps 40MHz would be a good band for this. [Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004]

[link]






       Since I was about to post this myself you get an automatic croissant from me.
st3f, Nov 09 2004
  

       I think you need the time-shifted version, which has future predicting capabilities. This is more to see if the track is clear after the arms come down.   

       Actually, this solutions would be better than nothing in your situation. If something enters the tracks once it's too late to stop, knowing it's there will at least allow the train to slow down.
Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004
  

       Like a cow catcher?
Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004
  

       [long] Oh, so you're talking about a side-to-side motion? I think the sideward force you'd need to clear something as heavy as a car or truck would send your engine off the other side of the track.
Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004
  

       So now it clamps itself to the tracks? Sure hope the train doesn't hit it.
Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004
  

       I said today that I could not believe that the most watched society in the world did not have cameras at level crossings. +1
po, Nov 09 2004
  

       Post it as an idea. I don't think it will work, but perhaps I don't understand it.
Worldgineer, Nov 09 2004
  

       So the monitoring, and decision to take action is left to the Conductor? How terrifying! +
Shz, Nov 09 2004
  

       In the wake of Saturday's train crash (which I presume occasioned this post) a CCTV network was suggested to cover all UK railway crossings. The transport minister objected to this saying that it would cost about £1,000,000 per crossing for all 8,000 crossings. WHAAAAT? £1,000,000? That's about $2,000,000US to you lot. That's £80bn on CCTV cameras! RF might be a cheap solution, but even to hardwire them all in I don't see how it could possibly cost that much. I'm tempted to tender for the job myself. I'll offer to do it for £8bn, do a fantastic job for about £4bn (you can have £1bn for your RF idea), and hey presto! I'm £4bn up!
wagster, Nov 09 2004
  

       <aside> [wagster] do you have a link for that comment... I would like to use it for another project. </aside>
reap, Nov 10 2004
  
      
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