Types of level crossings

This page explains what types of level crossing can be found in Great Britain.

Level crossings come in many forms depending on whether they are on a public or private road, or used by vehicles, horses or pedestrians.

Appropriate protection at level crossings depends on location, for example proximity to road junctions, how much it is used and the type of railway traffic.

Safety is boosted if, as far as possible, crossings look similar. To help achieve this, several 'standard' level crossing types have been developed.

Types of level crossings in Great Britain include:

  • Gated crossings operated by railway staff – these are guarded by gates, on both sides of the railway, which complete the fencing of the railway when closed across the road or the railway.
  • Barrier crossings operated by railway staff – these are protected by road traffic light signals and lifting barriers on both sides of the railway. An audible warning to pedestrians is also provided.
  • Barrier crossings with obstacle detection - this type of crossing is protected by road traffic light signals and lifting barriers on each side of the railway. Pedestrians also hear an audible warning.
  • Automatic half barrier crossings (AHBC) – protected by road traffic light signals and a lifting barrier on both sides of the railway. Audible warning to pedestrians is also provided.
  • Automatic barrier crossings, locally monitored (ABCL) – Similar in appearance to an automatic half barrier crossing. It is protected by road traffic light signals and a single lifting barrier on both sides of the railway.
  • Automatic open crossings, locally monitored (AOCL) – this type of crossing has no barriers but is protected by road traffic light signals and an audible warning for pedestrians.
  • Open crossings – these do not have barriers or road traffic light signals. Only road traffic signs are provided. Road users must give way to trains at the crossing.
  • User worked crossings (UWCs) for vehicles – this type of crossing is normally protected by gates, or lifting barriers on both sides of the railway. The gates which are usually closed and hung so that they open away from the railway, are operated by the users.
  • Footpath and bridleway crossings – this type of crossing is found where the railway crosses a footpath or bridleway.
  • Foot crossings at stations – these are used between platforms at stations and are often the only route between platforms or the only practical route for people who cannot use steps.