Rail crossings in the Treasure Valley have become much brighter,
thanks to a little help from ITD. The Idaho Northern &
Pacific Railroad, which stretches from Boise to Nampa/Caldwell
and north to Horseshoe Bend, is the first complete system
in the United States to install LED (light emitting diode)
lights at all of its crossings.
Theyre much safer in the fact that theyre
brighter and far more visible, even when youre staring
in the sunlight you can see them much clearer than the old
bulb and lens, said Jonathan Lenhart, Utility Railroad
LED is commonly found in most bright digital displays. Idaho
N&P was bestowed the honor of being the nations
only all-LED system through an Idaho Transportation Board
decision to purchase the lights for the entire system.
ITD rail highway safety specialist) Lee Wilson took the request
to the board, passed it through and gave it to the entire
system, said Idaho N&P Track Manager Robert Adams.
Lee was always looking for new technology that would
improve railroad safety.
Like Wilson, Adams is an active member of Operation Life
Saver, a national organization founded in Idaho in 1972 that
promotes railroad safety, something to which LED lights significantly
LED lights have a larger spectrum so theyre visible
in a larger area; also with the incandescent bulbs if the
bulb goes out you loose your light. With LEDs, you could loose
50 percent of the bulbs and still have the same brightness
of an incandescent bulb, said Adams.
Another advantage of LEDs is that they use half the power
of incandescent bulbs. This means that in the case of a power
outage they can last up to a week on battery backup power;
in contrast, the incandescent bulb would typically survive
for about 24 hours.
Because of these superior safety issues, ITD has mandated
that all funded railroad crossings be equipped with LED lights.
Our long range goal is to be the first state to have
every single railroad light be LED, Lenhart said.
Photo caption: All of the Idaho Northern & Pacific
Railroad's crossings in the Treasure Valley, including this
one at Milwaukee and Franklin, have new, brighter LED lights
to warn motorists.