Railroad Crossings are a common sight around much of the world. And they can be protected in many different ways. From a simple warning sign to a complex array of lights, gates and bells, keeping the public and their vehicles out of the way of a train is a matter of grave importance.
Crossings are an great modeling project as well and can be incorporated easily into just about any scene. Add the animation of flashing lights as the train approaches and they become even more interesting.
Fortunately, there are many products already on the market to make a project like this easy enough for even a beginner to implement. The signals, circuits and detection for this HO scale project are made by NJ International. This company makes amazingly accurate signals (both for crossings and other railroad signals) and many accessories in several scales. You do not have to use only parts from one manufacturer however. For example, the NJ International flashing circuit and detection could be used to operate signals from a different company or in a different scale.
No two installations are ever exactly the same, but the steps shown here will work for most. In fact, some crossings will be even easier.