Level Crossings Introduction

At a level crossing, the road crosses railway lines. Approach and cross with care.

  • drive onto the crossing unless the road is clear on the other side
  • drive over it 'nose to tail'
  • stop on or just after the crossing
  • park close to the crossing.

Most crossings have full or half barriers.

Open crossings have no gates or barriers.

Either type may be controlled by a steady amber light followed by twin flashing red lights which warn of an approaching train.

An audible alarm to warn pedestrians will also sound once the lights show. You must obey the lights' signals.

  • move onto the crossing after the lights show
  • stop on the crossing if the amber light or audible alarm starts to operate - keep going if you're already on the crossing.
  • zigzag round half barriers.

If the train goes by and the red lights continue to flash, or the audible alarm changes tone, you must wait because another train is approaching.

Level Crossings

Level Crossings Railway Telephones

You must use the railway telephone (where provided) to contact the signal operator to obtain permission to cross if you're

  • driving a large or slow-moving vehicle, or one with limited ground clearance
  • herding animals

Remember to telephone the signal operator again once you're clear of the crossing.

Level Crossings

Crossings without signals

At crossings with no lights, stop when the gates or barriers begin to close.

User-operated crossings with signals

Some crossings with gates or barriers have 'Stop' signs and small red and green lights. Do not cross when the red light is on because a train is approaching. Cross only when the green is on.

Open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing. Check the green light is still on and cross promptly. Close the gates or barriers when you're clear of the crossing.

User-operated crossings without signals

Some crossings have gates but no attendant or signals. At these crossings

  • stop
  • look both ways
  • listen and make sure that no train is approaching.

If there's a railway telephone contact the signal operator to make sure it's safe to cross.

Open the gates on both sides of the crossing and check again that no train is coming before crossing promptly.

Once you've cleared the crossing

  • close both gates
  • inform the signal operator, if there's a telephone.

Always give way to trains - they can't stop easily!

Level Crossings

Open Crossings

As an open crossing with no gates, barriers, attendant or traffic signals, there will be a 'Give Way' sign.

Look both ways, listen and make sure there's no train coming before you cross.

Level Crossings

Accidents or Breakdowns

If your vehicle breaks down, or you're involved in an accident on the crossing

  • get everyone out of the vehicle and clear of the crossing
  • if there's a railway telephone, use it immediately to inform the signal operator: follow any instructions you're given
  • if there's time before a train arrives, move the vehicle clear of the crossing. You may be able to do this by putting it in first gear and then using the starter motor. Beware of the engine starting suddenly
  • if the alarm sounds, or the amber light comes on get clear of the crossing at once - the train will not be able to stop.
Level Crossings

Tram Crossings (LRT's)

Look for traffic signs which show where trams cross the road.

Treat them the some as normal railway crossings.


Modern trams are very silent. Take extra care and look both ways before crossing.

Level Crossings