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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Level crossing safety

A level crossing is any crossing of a railway at grade, providing for both vehicular traffic and other road users, including pedestrians.

There are more than 2,800 level crossings in Queensland. Of these more than 1,400 level crossings are on public roads, with the remainder on private roads. Level crossing collisions between trains and vehicles are a major safety risk.

Individual rail and road agencies are responsible for managing and funding level crossing safety on their rail networks.

All level crossings have some form of protection across Queensland such as:

  • warning signs such as stop and give way signs
  • flashing lights and/or warning bells
  • boom gates
  • pedestrian crossing gates.

You must not enter a level crossing if:

  • warning lights are operating, or warning bells are ringing
  • a gate, boom or barrier at the crossing is closed or is opening or closing
  • a train or tram is on, or entering the crossing
  • an approaching train or tram can be seen, or is sounding a warning, and there would be a danger of a collision if the driver entered the crossing
  • the driver cannot drive through the crossing because it, or the road beyond, is blocked.

Next time you're at a level crossing:

  • be aware of your surroundings, look and observe all safety signs, boom gates and lights
  • avoid distractions like your mobile phone and headphones
  • only enter the crossing when the gate has opened, and the lights (if installed) have stopped flashing
  • do not queue through the crossing and move off the crossing as soon as you can do so safely
  • remember trains are travelling on a track and cannot swerve or move out of the way of objects
  • remember it can take up to 2km for a loaded freight train to stop in an emergency.

Queensland Level Crossing Safety Strategy

The Queensland Government is committed to zero harm at level crossings across Queensland. The Queensland Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2012-2021 has been refreshed with the 2019 Update: On Track to Zero Harm, given recent changes in the rail environment.

The strategy targets a wide range of initiatives, including:

  • promoting safe behaviour at rail level crossing
  • exploring new technology
  • improving rail level crossing infrastructure
  • undertaking research and development.

Queensland Level Crossing Safety Group

The Queensland Level Crossing Safety Group (QLCSG) is represented by key rail and road stakeholders to provide leadership and direction to achieve the objectives of the strategy.

The QLCSG is reviewing and updating the current Queensland Level Crossing Strategy.

National Railway Level Crossing Strategy

The National Railway Level Crossing Strategy 2017-2020 supports national coordination and practice on level crossing safety across jurisdictions.

The strategy details the key focus area, actions, outcomes and measurement tools that will guide the work of the National Level Crossing Safety Committee.

Note: a review and update of the current national strategy is underway.

National Railway Level Crossing Committee

The committee is an inter-organisational and inter-jurisdictional forum that supports members to continuously improve safety and leverage organisational resources to minimise duplication of efforts at level crossings. 

The committee includes representatives from Australasian jurisdictions, government, rail industry, rail industry associations, regulators, and the Australia New Zealand Police Advisory Agency.

The committee's role is to provide national coordination on level crossing issues, and guidance to member organisations to achieve a reduction in the likelihood of crashes and near hits at rail crossings.

Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM)

The Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) is an assessment tool used to:

  • prioritise level crossing safety improvement works
  • identify the most effective treatment at the site.

Assessment outcomes are used to identify priority level crossings for safety upgrades.

ALCAM looks at many factors at the crossing, including:

  • road geometry
  • road and rail traffic volume and speed
  • visibility
  • existing protection measures at crossing.

ALCAM is the Australian and New Zealand standard for assessing level crossings and is overseen by a national committee of representatives from various jurisdictions to ensure its consistency of development and application. Queensland is represented on the committee by Queensland Rail. Find out more about ALCAM.

Last updated 06 June 2022