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Electronic train warning signs coming soon

Electronic signs will alert Langley drivers about oncoming trains so they can avoid level crossings and divert to new overpasses. The signs are part of a $2.5 million program to reduce traffic delays along the rail line that connects to the Deltaport terminal.  - Submitted photo
Electronic signs will alert Langley drivers about oncoming trains so they can avoid level crossings and divert to new overpasses. The signs are part of a $2.5 million program to reduce traffic delays along the rail line that connects to the Deltaport terminal.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Drivers will need some time to get used to new electronic train crossing signs, Langley Township council was told Monday.

“It will take a number of months for people to figure it out,” said Robin Johnston, project manager of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program.

Johnston said there are plans to conduct a public education program next year before the $100,000 motorist advisory signs begin operating.

As well, an earlier sign design was altered after tests showed some drivers found the layout confusing, he said.

Johnston showed council what the revised signs will look like during his afternoon presentation.

When a train approaches a level crossing, the blue and white “Railway Crossing Status” signs will flash a red “train” warning below a white intersection description and above a lit-up yellow graphic of a train engine.

“If you’re heading down 200 Street, it will tell you if there’s a train or if it’s going to be clear,” Johnston said.

“It’s quite high-tech stuff.”

Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

Robin Johnston is overseeing the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program.

He said the new electronic displays will help commuters avoid delays by giving motorists more advance warning about oncoming trains at level crossings.

The signs will go up at four locations in the Township — at 200 Street between 66 and 70 Avenues, Glover Road and Mufford Crescent, 56 Avenue and 211 Street and Fraser Highway and 210 Street (three signs are planned for Langley City as well).

Installation is expected to be completed by March 31, 2014, but the signs won’t switch on until new overpasses are ready.

In addition to placing public education ads in local media, TransLink, at the urging of Township council, is planning a public information meeting on the new signs.

The displays are part of the $2.5 million Rail Crossing Information System (RCIS) that uses advanced motion detectors to predict when a train is going to pass through an at-grade rail crossing.

RCIS is funded by the $307 million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project, which aims to reduce congestion and the potential for vehicle collisions by building overpasses and directing commuters away from level crossings.

The money comes from a mix of local, regional, provincial, and federal governments (including the Township and City of Langley) as well as private industry.

The rail line currently carries up to 18 trains a day, ranging from 6,000 to 9,500 feet in length.

That is expected to become up to 38 trains daily by 2021 with some trains as long as 12,000 feet.

The corridor has about 66 rail crossings, including 12 overpasses, 38 public level crossings, and 16 private level crossings.

About 388,000 vehicles cross the tracks every day, a number expected to rise to 560,000 by 2021.

In Langley, three separate overpass projects are underway — the combo project involving overpasses of Langley Bypass, 54 Avenue and 192 Street; the Glover Road/Mufford Crescent project and an overpass at 232 Street,. north of Highway 1.

In Surrey, in addition to the combo project, an overpass is being built at 152 Street and Colebrook Road.

 

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