A Wind Powered Train Crossing Concept

Australia is a vast country crisscrossed by roads traversed by trucks and trains carrying goods from coast to coast, and to far-flung communities in the Outback. Designer Thomas Hurd of Melbourne has created a novel solution to the expensive problem of deploying safety systems in remote regions Down Under with his wind-powered Rail Level Crossing Re-Design, which he envisions as a self-sustaining and “more visually present” level crossing barrier and warning system.

This system consists of two vertical axis wind turbines mounted on poles which supply power to an internal regenerative motor. This motor operates a “scissor-split” boom barrier equipped with pulsating LED strips that light up after dark. When a train is approaching, the boom barrier swings shut to prevent collisions.

Rail Level Crossing

image via Thomas Hurd

Operating entirely off the grid, this system utilizes the energy of wind as it sweeps across the vast, wide-open spaces of Australia for power. It’s also more efficient and more visually arresting than a traditional rail-road crossing, thanks to the LEDs.

This seems like a great idea for any remote area where roads intersect with railways, and wind power is an option. (In regions where wind is less reliable, the same design could run just as easily on solar.)

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.