Types of level crossings

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An overview of the different types of level crossing in Great Britain.

Level crossings vary depending on whether they are on public or private roads and if they’re used by vehicles, horses or pedestrians.

The protection at level crossings depend on where they are, how busy the crossing is and the type of rail traffic.

To allow a consistent approach to controls and signs there is a range of ‘standard’ level crossings. This is vital for helping people to use crossings safely.

Protected crossings

These are usually public road crossings with traffic lights, and either barriers or gates that close when a train is coming. They sometimes have audible alarms to alert pedestrians.

Unprotected crossings

These are footpaths and bridleways, where it’s up to the user to check for approaching trains before crossing the railway. There are signs to help people use the crossing safely and sometimes there is a telephone, which should be used to call the signaller who will say whether it is safe to cross.

Sometimes crossings don’t allow a clear view of approaching trains. Here trains must sound their horns, or there will be a horn at the crossing itself. These crossings often have ‘stop’ lights to warn if a train is coming.