I created a Twitter Bot to automatically post a forecast of whether the level crossing barriers at Warblington Station are up or down. It’s primarily for my own sanity when driving home from work, but it’s there for everyone to use. Might be helpful for people in Denvilles, Havant, Warblington and Emsworth.
It is updated every five minutes, so if you are an avid Twitter user I would recommend creating a list and adding the crossing to the list rather than following directly as it will swamp your timeline with tweets. If you don’t mind this, follow away!
A few points:
- I can’t get any data on passing freight or engineering trains, so can’t do anything if you get stuck because of those.
- The actual train times through the crossing are subject to quite a bit of variability, particularly under times of disruption. Different signallers seem to show different levels of willingness to raise the barriers between trains due at similar times and I have a suspicion that workload in the signal box can also lead to the barriers being down longer than needed at times. I can’t account for all of these factors all of the time, so please view this as indicative rather than definitive!
This is very much a work in progress, the following things are on my to do list. If you have any other suggestions please tweet the crossing!:
- Implement the ability to tweet the bot and get an immediate, updated barrier status sent DM-ed to you.
- Gather some more crossing data/times through automated means to improve the barrier estimates.
- Generate automatic statistics to be able to let people know of specific times / conditions in which to avoid the crossing.
- Implement a computer vision system to detect when the barriers are actually open and closed to be able to tweak the short term forecast.