Railway Crossing Safety

All railway crossings on public roads in Ontario are marked with large red and white “X” signs. Watch for these signs and be prepared to stop. You also may see yellow advance warning signs, which indicate the number of sets of tracks at the crossing. Pavement markings of a large “X” may also be seen at approaches to railway crossings.

Railway Crossing Safety Tips

  • As you come to a crossing, slow down, listen and look both ways before crossing the tracks.
  • If a train is coming, stop at least five metres from the nearest rail or gate. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed.
  • Never race a train to the crossing. Do not cross the track until you are sure the train or trains have passed. If there are signals, wait until they stop flashing and, if the crossing has a barrier, wait until it rises before you cross. Never drive around, under or through a railway gate while it is down or is being lowered or raised.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Avoid shifting gears on a railway crossing. If you get trapped on a crossing, immediately get out of the vehicle and move quickly from the track and vehicle to a safe location. Contact the police.

It can take up to two kilometres for a train to stop.

Crossing the Tracks

As you come to a crossing, slow down, listen and look both ways before crossing the tracks. Motorists can misjudge the speed of a train, thinking it is travelling more slowly than it actually is. Never race a train to the crossing. If a train is coming, stop at least five metres from the nearest rail. After a train has passed, proceed only after you have checked in both directions for the approach of a second train. On private roads, crossings may not be marked, or may be marked by non-standard signs. Be alert.

Signalized Railway Crossings

In addition to the railway crossing signs, some crossings have flashing signal lights and/or gates or barriers to keep motorists from crossing the tracks when a train is coming. The same rule applies at these crossings – stop at least five metres from the nearest rail. Do not cross until the signals stop flashing and, if the crossing has a barrier, wait until it completely rises before you cross.

Pedestrians and Cyclists

Pedestrians, cyclists and users of other wheeled mobility devices must obey railway crossing laws just as motorists must. The only place you may cross is at an authorized and properly marked railway crossing. Look both ways when approaching the track(s). Never try to beat an approaching train. Stop at least five metres from the nearest rail. Never go around, under or through a railway gate while it is down or is being lowered or raised. Wait for the train(s) to pass. Look both ways to be sure the way is clear before crossing. If you’re a pedestrian, avoid stepping onto the rail while crossing, as it can be slippery. When cycling, always cross the tracks at right angles to the rails.