This depends on your setting. Rural locations are likely to have manual gates with a signal box whilst more urban settings will have electronic gates done automatically from a central location. Make sure you know what you want to model before you start.
Accurate road crossings
Roads will cross the railway at almost right angles most of the time. Make sure yours crosses at a believable angle, cars can turn and stop much more easily than trains can! This will also reduce your workload.
Don’t forget the central tarmac
Something that’s easy to forget if you aren’t careful, especially when they aren’t moving on your layout. Where a road crosses a railway, there will be tarmac in-between the rails for the cars wheels. A thin strip of balsa wood is sufficient.
As with everything the small details are the key. Warning lights and red warning circles are a must on old style gates, whilst modern electric gates will not only have the barriers but also the lights at the side.
Get the Gear
The pair of crossing gates from Peco are a great start for anyone wishing to model an old style level crossing, a few alterations are all that’s required to give a peeling paint effect on the wood. Available at www.hattons.co.uk for £4.25