I have started a project to create railroad crossing poi's.I know its a big task but after hearing some people getting killed at these crossings, i though it would be a good ideas to have these poi's with alerts like you would have your speed traps and redlight camera alerts.But i wanted to know if these poi's exist?I tried looking for a list of crossings online for research but haven't found any.
A project of all railroad crossings would be very large. Now, if you limited it to just crossings that had no signal lights (quite a few around here), that would be very helpful and a smaller project.
here is a few here
That is a different use of the term railroad crossing.
The OP is referring the RR crossing of a railroad and a street. Not a railroad and a railroad.
Yea,a project like this IS pretty large,thing is,trying to find crossings without signal lights is kinda difficult..unless someone sent them in.But i'll try to cover as much ground as quickly as i can.
Let me check with a great friend of mine; just retired from the Railroad. Let me see if he can get me a spreadsheet of all crossings. That way we don't have to look each one up separately and hope we got it correct. They have to have these coordinates for traffic/train collision statistics.
Cool, that is something I'll look forward to!
It is probably going to be a big file with over 200k different locations.
I left a message with the Vice President of the Association of American Railroads AAR. I explained my point about safety, especially for the crossings that aren't marked with lights or a crossbar. I hope to hear from her this week.
No word from the Vice President of AAR. I spoke to a friend of mine the other day about this issue (he retired from one of the major railroad companies). He said "good luck getting that info" It appears that since 9/11, information like that is too detailed for the public
I didn't realize that railroad crossings were a national secret. I cross one every day on my way to work. Maybe the construction crew working on the road near there are cleverly disguised Federal agents.
Perhaps. To see for sure. Stop and try to take a photograph of said crossing and see if you are quickly approached, tackled, and whisked away for questioning.
I have been trying to build a list of railroad locations in the OK, AR, MO and KS areas. Major crossings included, but not just crossings. Mileposts and sidings.
Actually an inventory of grade crossings is maintained by the DOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety. From the Safety Office website, you should be able to search on the term "crossing inventory" to get to the acutal data base. The main page will let you generate a "report" of the all crossings by state. Requesting a "detailed" report will give a list with the assigned inventory number for each crossing. Near the top of the screen there should be a button titled "crossing" which will take you to a page for generating a "report" for each numbered site. Both the detailed report or the map option will give the latitude and longitude of the crossing number entered.
There are thousands and this would be time comsuming, but the info is available.
I am thinking that it might be possible to get a hard copy listing grade crossings and location directly from the Office of safety, (for no cost)especially if the purpose of the request was explained.
Do you know about this URL for railroad data?
Yep. That it the site I was refering to.
Here is the link to the "BY STATE" or "ALL" data bases
You will an .EXE file which when opened will convert it to a .DBF file.
You the will be able to open that in most DataBase programs. I opened (the one for New Mexico) it in MS-Access. There were 1690 entries in it.
I think your project is going to be toooooooo big. New Mexico doesn't have that much railroad within the state and has 1690 entries. Even if all the other 48 contagious states only had the same amount it would total........81120 entries.
PS. You can open the DBF file with EXCEL also.
That is quite a database. I guess you can find anything on the Internet. This sounds like a good project but I'm not sure how much it will improve safety. There will always be idiots that cross in front of a train. I looked at one state and see the lat/long each as one long number with no decimal. Has anyone figured out how to automatically format this number as decimal degrees or deg/min/sec?
Yes with Excel you can separate the word into 2 words using the MID function and then Concatenate it back together with the decimal in the proper place.
I have to agree with H.H.
Add in California's 16,000, 8500 in North Dakota, etc. etc. and the list goes on.... I'd be surprised if there were less that 150,000 crossings.
There is also another perspective....
Assume a large number of people work on the file, post it and it is downloaded.
Having got used to hearing a Bing at every crossing ... someone drives into a train at a crossing that was overlooked. (People will tend to be less vigilant if they look to the file for a warning.)
It is one thing to miss or improperly label the entrance to a park or Wal Mart .... quite another thing when it happens with something like a RR crossing.
I think the original idea was admirable but unworkable... at least at a national level
A prostrate exam!!!
I have been sitting here considering which elements "a prostrate exam" might include. It sounds like a ritual conducted by a sequestered religious order. Are you sure you intended to write that word with more than one R?
I'll let you know how it goes. Will you come bail me out? I did find this site, http://www.railpictures.net/, and there are plenty of pictures of trains at crossings there.
Well, the AAR would not respond to my request for all railroad crossings. The guy I spoke to locally said it was because of 9/11 and the sensitivity of information, even though railroad crossings are not a secret. Sorry, I wish I could have gotten a spreadsheet of all crossings for the group
What a major undertaking...
I think that would be insane. I looked up NY and we have 18,000 crossings. The detailed report of three crossings was about six pages.
Now, let's talk about the location of historic Rail Road equipment, other than in museums. I could add a few for you.
It would be an AWESOME undertaking - I just counted (using Google Earth) the railroad crossings of a CSX line which goes through Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach Fl . There were 42 +/- 1 or 2 Railroad crossings in that short stretch of maybe 12-15 miles.
To get all the coordinates correctly would take a mind boggling amount of time.
I only did the coordinates of about 1650 Rest Areas for the combined file (and I had quite close coordinates beforehand) and I wouldn't bore you with the amount of hours it took.
I may be a gloom & doomer but I also wonder about any liability that could placed if somehow a crossing in the file didn't alert and something happened !
Probably my suspicious mind but ........... !
Well the answer is to start small.
I sent an e-mail to the Illinois Commerce Commission and got a nice reply. They happily e-mailed me a spread sheet of all 8000+ Illinois Public Rail crossings with lat/longs in xx.xxxxxx format. I'm compiling my 1st POI file as we speak.
I agree that 90% of rail crossings are unneeded. And, as mentioned, would lead to the "crying wolf" effect of simply ignoring them.
However, many rural rail crossings are marked simply with 2 signs. One for advanced "warning" and one for the actual crossing. Take a city boy out of the city and let them drive in the country and they're in for a surprise if they're not careful.
The best solution to a effective National POI file would be a listing of all PASSIVELY marked rail crossings. The gates (and even the lights and bell) are going to be sufficient for most people. Unfortunately, my .csv file I got from the ICC included ALL "public" crossings, but it's a start.
Adding a POI at PASSIVE gates only may be just enough to get someone's otherwise diverted attention. Here's some stats in my home state.
Well, I managed to format a .csv file and uploaded it to the POI files. You can find it under transportation and it's titled: Illinois Public Rail Crossings
Let me know what you think.
I took the first 2279 crossings from the 79xx crossing file(CSV) and converted them to GPX so I could load them into MapSource and see just how accurate they were. I see that the majority don't even line up closely with any RR Tracks crossing any roads. Some show up in the middle of blocks far from RR Tracks.
I down loaded the RR Crossing DB from the National list for New Mexico and found the same problem. The DB coordinates for the crossings is totaly off in most cases. I looked at one for Raton NM where it was listed for 4th St crossing the tracks, but inputing their coordinates put it miles away and not even near any tracks.
I and not real sure about the coordinates values listed in the DB as being something we can convert to use with the GPS. I know they look valid but for some reason the don't correlate very well with most crossings.
I could see where this would be a great tool for School bus drivers. As we have to stop at all crossings. It is hard when there is very little pre marking and you come up on them. I could see where this could be a HUGE project. Because there are a lot of places where tracks and roads intersect, that are not crossings because of Bridges..But I would love an Ohio list.
I think this is a great idea, even if it just the passive railway crossings.
Too bad we don't have a method to write little programs on the GPS (kind of like PDA applications) that can use the map data itself to warn users of upcoming railway crossings. It would eliminate the need of a huge POI file.
I found this tidbit of information at:
when checking to see if I can get a list of Canadian railway crossings ....
"There are approximately 55,000 public, private and pedestrian highway/railway crossings in Canada."
Which file did you use and where did you get it?
The .xls file I got from the Illinois Commerce commission, seems pretty spot-on. While I certainly can't check every waypoint, the random few I've checked in Google earth look pretty darn close (within 20-50 yards)
I just uploaded the csv file I created with 2000' set as the alert distance and it worked fine today for a crossing in the distant rural chicago burbs.
I imagine it's probably a state by state undertaking.
You could do the same as I did with Illinois.
seemed to be the area of Ohio government that covers rail crossings. I googled "Ohio railroad crossings"
Just find an e-mail address and start asking for a spreadsheet. I may have got lucky with a nice properly formatted Lat/Lon xx.xxx/xx.xxx format but it's worth a shot.
When I took you rr crossings csv file and inputed it into MapSource I forgot one thing, MapSource only shows Main Line tracks and not spurs etc.
So I probably made a toooooo quick of a judgments on your data.
But in the mean time I got the database from the Federal Railroad Administration and it shows 24,960 xings for Illinois but of those only 19570 actually have coordinates.
I have submitted this csv file to PoiFactory this morning as ILLINOIS RR XINGS. along with Ohio and New Mexico.
I am in the process of working on Kentucky but find that the PAL (Paducah and Louisville RR) coordinates are miles off. So I will have to eliminate those.
After i make the CSV file I convert it to GPX then load it into Mapsource and view the xings. After I view them in MapSource I then view them in Google Earth. They seem to be very close.
The only problem is the time it takes to load 19,000 or so waypoints into MapSource and then the time it takes to upload those waypoints into Google Earth for viewing.
Illinois has 19670 RRXings
Ohio has 14610 RRXings
NewMexico has 1571 RRXings
I'm glad I found your POI for the Ohio railroad crossings, as I have been looking at doing the same thing. The Public Utilties Commission of Ohio (PUCO) in conjunction with the Ohio Rail Development Commission has an excellent online database of railroad crossings in Ohio.
The database is searchable on a number of fields, including gated (yes/no), at-grade, public?, open/closed, etc.
Searching on non-gated, at-grade, public, & open came up with 3025 crossings.
I have been in contact with the Angels On Track organization which works to promote safety at railroad crossings. They are interested in the GPS alert project. I had asked them to see if the database owners would create a csv file based on the above criteria.
Assuming I get the csv file, I think I will still pursue the project as that would narrow the POI file down to non-gated crossings and probably the most at risk.
The database is searchable on a number of fields, including gated (yes/no), at-grade, public?, open/closed, etc.
Searching on non-gated, at-grade, public, & open came up with 3025 crossings.
The DataBase I am using is from the Federal Railroad Administration.
For Ohio it has 18,885(Row) xings listed and there is 153(Columns)of data for each xing.
Indiana had 24,960 records.
I load the database file into MS-Access and then copy all data into Excel. There I run a macro which deletes unwanted columns the sorts by location then I compare locations to tag all duplicates and then resort to put all duplicate records and records without locations at the bottom. Then I have to manipulate the locations because there is no decimal point in the data. This is done by separating the number into 2 parts and then concatenate the 2 parts back with the decimal in the proper place. After this is done, I then concatenate city-streets info to make up the names of the individual xings, then lastly concatenate the city/county/state names for the comment field. This is all done with 1 macro and the macro takes about 1 minute to run. When it is done I do have to delete all the 0 location and Duplicate records which are at the end of the file.
This all takes about 8 to 10 minutes to make the file. It is set up to handle 25,000 records. If I run across larger database files I can modify the Macros easily. This time includes the time it takes to get the database from the Federal Railroad Admin. convert the data to put into MS-Access and copying the data to Excel for data manipulation.
Works great and save me a lot of time.
It looks like the database also has a gated field so a subset could be extracted.
Did you find a definition of some of the obscure fields in the Federal database? I was looking to see if they have a "position" field that would show whether the road crosses the railroad at-grade, or if the RR is below or above the road.
I looked around the Federal Website but could not find a glossary to define the fields. Some are some what easy to figure out but some just have numbers in them and you have to be able to define what each number represents. Like on field says it has a crossing of type: 1, 2 3. But just what type 1 2 or 3 is I can't find out.
I JUST FOUND THE BREAKDOWN FOR THE FILE STRUCTURES
TYPEXING=3 public AND POSXING=1 At-Grade AND
GATES=0 no gate
would extract the ones I'm looking for.
I ran the query:
AND POSXING=1 At-Grade
AND GATES=0 no gate
AND LONGITUD<0 eliminate obvious error
AND LATITUDE>0 eliminate obvious error
AND REASON <3 not closed
and came up with 3887 entries compared with the PUCO datebase of 3025 for the same criteria.
I'd like to find why they differ so much (duplicates?).
AJ500 and others interested in RRXings,
I updated the Illinois poi file with new data,
See if this doesn't meet your needs for crossing info.
If it does I will change the other uploaded RRXing file to match the Illinois file.
Please read the following it describes the POI info:
The data used here is from the Federal Railroad Administration database. Formatted from 24,960 rows and 152 columns.
Here is the New format for the RRXings POIs.
In the name field(3rd field) Ciyy_Hiway_Stree name if known in the Poi name example:
RRXing-LE ROY _ MUN1150 _ PINE ST
In the comment field(4th Column)included is the City County, Public/Private/Pedrestrian, Grade/RROver/RRUnder, AtLeast1SignSignal/NOSignSignal/Unknown
I did not include whether it had a gate or not. There were very few that actually said if there was a gate or not. I included whether the xing has a sign or signal and whether it was a public road or private road.
If I start to include the type of signs(XBuck, Stop, etc) or signals(Flashing, bell, gates, etc) the file will get out of hand.
I think knowing if there is a SIGN or SIGNAL is sufficient.
Here are some examples of the comment field:
LE ROY, MCLEAN- Public - Grade - AtLeast1SignSig
LE ROY, MCLEAN- Public - Grade - NoSignSig
LAWRENCEVILLE, LAWRENCE- Public - RRUnder - NoSignSign
LAWRENCEVILLE, LAWRENCE- Public - RROver - NoSignSign
ZEIGLER, FRANKLIN- Private - Grade - AtLeast1SignSig
ZEIGLER, FRANKLIN- Private - Grade - NoSignSig
YORKVILLE, KENDALL- Pedestrian - RROver - NoSignSign
YORKVILLE, KENDALL- Private - Grade - Unknown
WORTH, COOK- Pedestrian - RROver - NoSignSign
WINFIELD, DU PAGE- Pedestrian - Grade - AtLeast1SignSig
YORKVILLE, KENDALL- Public - Grade - Unknown
PS. It only takes about 6 to 8 minutes to get the raw data from the Fed site and compile it into the finished POI file.
Nice work on the railroad crossings. If you do one for Minnesota, I will download it and possibly make it so I get an alert when I am approaching a crossing. I like the suggestion about the application for school buses. Even though I don't drive a school bus, I think being alerted to railroad crossings is a good thing.
The Minnesota Xings are done and uploaded to Poi Factory,
They should show up tomorrow morn
The following RR Xing files were updated to include more crossing info.
They were modified 8/8/2008
The following were compiled and uploaded today and will probably be available at the POI Factory tomorrow SAT Aug 9
The comments box for each POI details the info included in the name and comment fields of each crossing. Including examples as to how it will look.
The following states have been added to the RR Xings POI.
They should be available at Poi Factory ether Sat or Sun Aug 9th or 10th.
Great work. It took me about 2 hours to figure out how to make my simple spreadsheet. I'm glad there are more capable people out there!
oculd you make one combined file for all of the crossings?!PLEASE
As long as we are comparing Data.....
I plugged your POI into my Garmin and discovered why there is such a disparity between your 24,xxx+ crossings and my 8,xxx crossings.
It appears the Federal Railroad Administration doesn't keep track of closed lines. We have a bike path by us - the Great Western Trail and your POI info still shows all the crossings for that "rail road".
Additionally, there seems to be a number of "crossings" in the middle of nowhere - perhaps on some private rail-service-road, but the crossings don't cross any road in the Garmin map.
This is just what I saw as I was scrolling around with my pointer finger mind you....
The data I have is only the PUBLIC road crossings in Illinois. That is why the numbers are about 1/3 of yours.
My data includes all RR Xings, PUBLIC,PRIVATE and Pedestrian, Also they include any Xings that cross Overhead or below,(You on an overpass or train on a trestle above you. That is what is denoted by RROver.
You will have to view the POIs in Google Earth(Where it is clear when zooming close) to see a lot of the Xings that are spurs. As you well notice only the main lines of tracks show up in MapSource.
And yes I know that some are not where they should be but I can only go by the data that is supplied.
That is why I have not done Ky yet. I live near Cecilia Ky. The rail line that runs through here is the Paducah & Louisville. Almost all the crossing are off by antwhere 5 to 15 miles. Being I can find the coordinates for most of these (except the private ones on a farm, etc) I am trying to correct as many as I can. The rest of the state looks pretty good, with the crossing showing up on "Tracks".
Included in the above rail line is a few from E-town that are nested with the wrong ones from the Paducah & Louisville line.
In my data I show whether the xing has a "Sign or Signal, No Sign or Signal or Unknown" whether it is at "Grade,Over Grade or Under Grade". Also if it is "Private, Public or Pedestrian"
Signs or signals include XBuck, Stop, Bells, Flashing Lights, Gates etc.
Being I am using Excel there is a limit of 65,536 lines max. This is not enough room.
With only the 19 states I have done so far the total of finished xings is 116,947. This is out of the starting total of 169,724 listed in the databases for all 19 states.
If I do all 48 contiguous + DC there will be well over 300,000 xings in a "ALL" file. This would have to be broken up into many smaller files to be able to input it into Excel for editing. This would cause a large headache to contend with,
"NOT WORTH IT".
You on the other hand could combine all the state files into 1 file for your own use if you would so desire to.
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