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O Scale Railroad Crossing Signs

Updated: Apr 16

Tichy # 2063.

I placed an order with Tichy Train Group for some items and on a whim added the "Crossing Sign, 8pcs O Scale." # 2063 - $6.00 pk.

  • When I got them in my first reaction was .. "Huh. Looks like a Lionel scenic item." ... so white with black lettering ...

  • then my second reaction was ... "Well .. actually .. they seem really nice ... other than the shiny white plastic and black lettering.

  • .. then after looking at photos of the real world Crossing Signs ... and then looked at the Tichy signs and ... oh .. if I weather them right the will look stunning (I think).

8pcs ... but 4 of them .. have the printing offset. That means I can only use 50% of what I paid for.

Here's some measurements.

Left to right ... full size, O scale decimal inches and O scale fractional.

What kind of pole is that sign on?

I looked through lots of photos of railroad crossing signs. The poles they attached to varied over the years. Wooden of course early on as well as cast iron. Later on aluminum or composites .. my era is ~c.1920's so I just ignore all of that.

What I see is that post supporting the sign is 3-1/4" wide and 3-7/8" deep. A nominal 4"x4" actually measures 3-1/2"x3-1/2". That is close enough for me .. during my time period small sawmills abounded .. I suspect that the dimensions varied widely. Wood .. not cast iron. In most cases the wooden pole would have been painted.

When brand new the sign would have been bright white with black lettering much like the model. What changes is weathering.


Note that the crossing signs on the poles have the crossed boards attached to the back and front of the posts. This makes sense for wooden poles. The Tichy signs are attached to the front of the post .. I suspect to visually hide the thickness. Since there is evidently a prototype for everything I have no doubt there were wooden signs with the boards on one side.

My presumption is that the Tichy signs represent wooden boards .. a true replication of the metal versions would need to be made from etched brass to look right. I included one metal version .. the others appear to be wood. The biggest takeaway from this for me is that I should be able to kick the Tichy signs up several notches with paint and weathering.

Size and mounting requirements for crossbuck signs

The CrossBuck Sign follow requirements follow MUTCD R15-1. The sign consists of two horizontal rectangular white signs placed at a 90-degree angle to form an "x," denoting a crossbuck. Each piece is be 9" wide, and the length 48". "RAILROAD" must be printed in black letterson the piece running from northwest to southeast, and "CROSSING" on the piece running from southwest to northeast. The letters are 7"high. The center of the X is at least 9 feet from the ground.

That last bit - height of the sign - was what I was looking for. With O scale/1:48 that center of the X would be 2-1/4"

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