Level crossing safety
Level crossings allow road users including pedestrians to safely cross railway tracks.
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.
Individual rail and road agencies are responsible for managing and funding level crossing safety on their rail networks.
Level crossings generally have protection including:
- static warning signs such as stop and give way signs which are typically found in rural and regional areas. They require the road user to carefully check for trains in both directions to ensure the tracks are clear before crossing
- active warning devices such as boom gates or pedestrian gates and/or flashing lights which are typically found in urban areas. They require the road user to stop and wait for the lights to stop flashing and the gates to open before crossing.
You must follow the Queensland road rules around level crossings to avoid incidents and save lives.
Next time you're at a level crossing keep in mind the following safety tips.
If you are a motorist:
- be aware of your surroundings and obey all signs, boom gates and lights
- slow down to a speed which allows you to stop quickly
- always keep tracks clear – only cross the level crossing if there is enough clearance on the other side of the crossing
- never assume it is safe to cross when the lights are flashing as there may be another train approaching from the other direction
- never race a train – trains in the distance are often closer and travelling faster than they appear
- remember it can take up to 2km for a loaded freight train to stop in an emergency.
If you are a pedestrian:
- obey all warning signs
- use pedestrian walkways and only enter the crossing when the pedestrian gate is open
- avoid distractions like your mobile phone and headphones
- dismount your bicycle or other wheeled device such as scooter or skateboard before crossing, as wheels can get stuck or slip on the train tracks
- if using mobility aid with wheels, always cross at right angles.
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 was followed by the 2019 Update: On Track to Zero Harm.
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.
If you are unable to print this report, you can email email@example.com for a copy.
Note: a review and update of the Queensland strategy is underway.
Queensland Level Crossing Safety Group
The Queensland Level Crossing Safety Group is represented by key rail and road stakeholders to provide leadership and direction to achieve the objectives of the strategy.
National Level Crossing Safety Strategy
The National Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2023-2032 (National Strategy) represents a commitment to reducing the incidence of fatalities and injuries across Australia’s level crossings. The National Strategy guides the work of the National Level Crossing Safety Committee currently chaired by the Department of Transport and Main Road’s Director-General.
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
- 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 02 February 2024