Make a Railroad Crossing Signal with Lights, Sound, and Action

My son likes rail road crossings so for his third birthday, I decided to build one. I made it from scratch with supplies from a crafts store and some electronics. There is a small speaker in the bell at the top, a pair of jumbo LEDs for lights and a servo motor to move the bar.

The parts were all quite cheap, except for the sound chip which I selected for convenience since I was running short on time. In the next version (if I ever get around to it), I’ll replace the sound chip and I’ll design a printed circuit board. I may also lower the base so it can work with actual train sets. We use the ramped tracks from his wooden train set to go over the back of the base or he just plays with the signal on its own.

For his actual birthday anti anxiety party, we rented a caboose and took a ride with friends through Niles Canyon and I baked and iced a RRXing cake. The crossing signal topped off the busy day and he loved it, but planning the party, making the cake and icing from scratch, and building the railroad signal was an insane amount of work to do in my spare time.

I don’t think I’ll post a formal set of instructions, but here are some details…

railroad crossing signal electronics
Testing the electronics
railroad crossing signal parts
Wood parts: box, discs, balsa, dowel
railroad crossing bell
Speaker inside hollowed out wooden disc
railroad crossing lights
Jumbo straw, jumbo LEDs and black paint
railroad crossing signal lights and bell
Mounting the lights and bell
Final assembly the night before the party
Final assembly the night before the party

Oh, and here’s the tasty part…

railroad crossing signal cake
The letters are chocolate cookies :)

2 Responses to Make a Railroad Crossing Signal with Lights, Sound, and Action

  1. My 2 1/2 year old is also fascinated with crossing. Your crossing would be great for him as well, and I’d love to build it for him. Would it be possible to see your parts list, circuit design and a how-to on how you put it together?

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