Knowing what railway signs and warning devices mean—and how to act when you see them—is key to staying safe around railway crossings and tracks.
Get to know the following signs, devices and signals—they could save your life!
This sign indicates a railway crossing ahead. Slow down, look, listen and be ready to stop.
The “crossbuck” indicates a railway crossing and may be accompanied by flashing lights, bells, and/or gates. All vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians must stop when trains are approaching and wait for them to pass.
Indicates more than one set of tracks at a crossing. When used, this sign is placed just below the crossbuck at a crossing, and it tells you the number of tracks to expect at that location.
This sign tells you to keep off railway property—it is dangerous and illegal to trespass.
This sign warns drivers and pedestrians that there could be a second train coming at a crossing. Always look both ways to ensure that all trains have passed and all tracks are clear before crossing.
Passive railway crossings are generally found in areas with little traffic. This type of crossing has no gates, lights or bells to warn you about approaching trains—so be ready to stop. Continue over the tracks only if you have looked and listened for trains and are certain none are approaching, from either direction, on any track.
Active railway crossings are equipped with flashing lights and bells to warn you about approaching trains. Stay behind the stop line, or no closer than 5 metres from the nearest rail, and wait for the train(s) to pass. Do not cross until the lights stop flashing and the bell stops ringing, and you are certain that no other trains are coming, from either direction, on any track.
This type of active crossing is equipped with gates, flashing lights and bells to warn you about approaching trains. When warning signals are activated, stop behind the stop line and gates, and wait for trains to pass. Wait until all signals have ceased and the gates are fully raised—and check that no other trains are coming—before proceeding. Never go around or under lowered gates!
This line reminds rail passengers to stay away from the platform’s edge and a safe distance from any moving train or rail equipment. Remember that not all trains slow down or stop at every station, so stand well behind the platform safety line until you’re ready to board.
A large “X” and/or STOP lines painted on the pavement let you know that a railway crossing is up ahead. Remember to look and listen for trains before crossing.
Locomotive engineers will sound their engine’s whistle as a warning when approaching most railway crossings. If you hear the whistle, it means the train is close. Stay well back and away from danger, and wait for all trains to pass.
Trains will usually sound their engine bell when approaching a crossing or a station. If you hear the bell, stay well back and away from danger, and wait for all trains to pass.