Grade Crossing Protection


The Pintsch Tiefenbach Grade Crossing System was developed with the aim of providing organizations/bodies involved in the railway sector such as, railway administrations, Shortline and Mainline railroads with a reliable, safe technology for securing grade crossings in a fully automated manner.

By deliberately using tried and tested components from the Pintsch Tiefenbach range of axle counting railway technology products, many operational and technical advantages have been secured for the user which make the use of this technology attractive even in areas with simple operational setups, on single-track or multi-track regional lines, mainline railways or on tram and city railway systems offering local public transport.

 Basic Functions of Pintsch Tiefenbach Grade Crossing Technology:       

  • Train-operated,  direction-dependent strike-in via double wheel sensor (DSS)
  • Blocking off the road area to traffic using roadside signals and electronic audible warning devices, optionally in combination with half-length or full-length  barriers and with an interface to traffic lights  also possible.  
  • Uniform warning time can be provided when multiple wheel sensors are installed within the approach circuit.  
  • Interlocking station signals or block signals or high-availability switching in combination with remote monitoring also available.  
  • Manual activation also possible via key operated switch at front panel.
  • Event recorder with event log and a RS232 interface for a notebook, remote access also possible with additional equipment.


 Standard Strike-in/Strike-out Track Layout     


Uniform Warning Time Track Layout

(multiple sensors (3 - 7) inside the approach)



  • Axle counting system: Meets standard North American fail-safe safety standards.

  • Entire system: Meets standard North American fail-safe safety standards.

  • System Integrity Level:  Equivalent to SIL 3 (in accordance with IEC 65A Sec 123).



  • The control system is modularly structured. This ensures  a lower-cost basic setup for single-track sections as well as the ability to easily expand the system for as many tracks, light signals and barrier systems as are required.
  • Track axle counting systems continue to function independently of ballast parameters, the state of the superstructure, axle shunting, rusty rail or weather conditions.
  • The sensor technology (double wheel sensor) is maintenance free and unaffected by all known sources of interference (e.g. traction reverse currents, rail braking, high voltage catenary lines, RF transmissons, etc.)
  • The control system is designed for installation in exterior control boxes (without climate control!).
  • The axle counting technique for clearing notification ensures high availability since push-pull shunting, vehicle stop or change of direction will not lead to operational hindrances.

Wayside Signal Applications

Axle counting systems are ideal for a variety of wayside signal and train control applications. Examples of common applications include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  • Overlay circuits for applications where traditional track circuits are already in place.
  • Interlocking systems
  • Positive train control functions, such as “red light overrun” detection.
  • Switch protection functions.
  • Interlocking and approach signaling at lift and swing bridges.
  • Trap circuits at steel-deck bridges.
In fact, an entire train control network can be built around axle counting technology! This advanced method provides a variety of advantages not available to track-circuit methods, such as:
  • Insulated joints are eliminated.
  • Shunts, diodes, and bonds are eliminated.
  • Shunting sensitivity issues are eliminated.
  • Rusty rail does not affect performance.
  • Problems with passenger equipment detection failures are eliminated.
A Pintsch axel counting system being installed in New York State. This system provides service for both grade crossing protection and wayside signal function on a transit agency. Axle counting provides a preferred solution for embedded track, particularly during winter conditions when snow melting chemicals penetrate track and structure.



A transit agency in Canada required the design and construction of an interlocking plant in a tunnel.Within the narrow confines and limited dynamic envelope of the tunnel location, a double track main line split into two double track subdivisions. The use of track circuits proved problematic, so Pintsch North America provided the necessary solution. The flexibility of an axle counting system and the fact that it eliminates the requirement for insulated joints, shunts and similar track components proved the advantage. After three years of operation, our engineering department received a call from the customer requesting information. Because the axle counting system had worked flawlessly for several years, the signalman responsible for its maintenance couldn’t recall how it worked and required a repeat training class. As one transit employee commented “it works so well, we sort of forget about it.”


A class one railroad in the United States installed Pintsch axle counting systems on both swing bridges and steel deck bridges in locations where track circuits proved extremely unreliable. The axle counting systems provided a “virtual track circuit,” which eliminated shunting problems while simplifying the configuration of the signal system.

Wayside signaling:

Pintsch axle counting technology has been deployed on several high-profile transit systems in North America. Included in these networks one will find interlocking systems, cross-overs, and red-light-overrun detection circuits operating on the axle-counting principle. Pintsch can design customized systems and applications to solve any wayside signaling problem.


A railroad in Michigan required the installation of a highway grade crossing system close to the limits of an interlocking system. This new installation would have required that the approach circuit penetrate the track circuits associated with the interlocker. Pintsch axle counting allowed for the installation of an approach circuit atop the existing track circuit without interference. Absolutely no changes to the interlocker were required.The examples are too numerous to mention in their entirety. Contact Pintsch North America with your requirements and we will develop the needed solution for you!


Pintsch axle counting systems in service in New York City. These systems offer the reliability and accuracy to properly respond to the high volume of train movements typical of a busy rail transit system!


This innocuous looking relay house on a class one railroad holds a solution to limited wayside train control functions on dark territory. A Pintsch axle counting system providing the necessary train detection functions for switch control and protection at a siding.