What is a Railway Level Crossing

Railway level crossings are the location where a road and railway line intersect at grade (at the same level) allowing road users (including pedestrians and cyclists) to travel over the railway tracks.

There are various types of railway level crossings:

  • Road: where a railway line and road intersect permitting road users to travel through the area in a motor vehicle.
  • Pedestrian: designed for road users on foot, cyclists, disabled persons and road users not travelling in motor vehicles to traverse a level crossing. Some railway level crossings have two pedestrian crossing areas.
  • Public: unrestricted railway level crossings open to all road users (the general public) for everyday use.
  • Private: provided for limited use (usually under a licence agreement with the rail authority) by a land holder when their property adjoins both sides of the rail corridor or is accessed from a public road adjacent to the rail corridor, e.g. farm crossings.
  • Occupational: allow maintenance crews to access railway facilities. For use by accredited railway professionals only.

Railway level crossings have passive or active controls to guide road users.

  • Passive: have static warning signs (stop or give way) that are visible on approach. This signage is unchanging with no mechanical aspects or light devices.
  • Active: in addition to passive railway level crossing signage, these are controlled by automatic warning systems. Including flashing lights, automatic gates (booms, boom gates), audible devices (bells, gongs), advanced warning signs or other warning devices are activated by approaching trains.

In addition, many railway level crossings have extra approach warning signs and road markings such as rumble strips.

More information on rail terminology.