Types of level crossings

This page gives an overview of the types of level crossing 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.

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

A number of 'standard' level crossing types have been developed because a consistent approach to level crossing controls and signs is an important factor in helping people to use crossings safely.

Level crossings fall into two groups as follows:

Protected crossings

These are generally public road crossings and most  of them  have road traffic lights and either barriers or gates which close across the road when trains are approaching. They can also have audible alarms to warn pedestrians of approaching trains.

Unprotected crossings

These are footpath, bridleway and user worked crossings where the onus is on the crossing user to check for an approaching train before they cross the railway. There are signs at the crossing which tell the user how to use the crossing safely. At some crossings a telephone is provided and the user is expected to call the signaller who will advise on whether it is safe to cross.

At crossings where there is insufficient sighting of approaching trains to allow the user to cross safely, trains are required to sound their horns, or a horn is sounded at the crossing, to alert the user to their proximity. Increasingly these crossings have miniature 'stop' lights which warn that a train is approaching.

Publications

Level Crossings: A guide for managers, designers and operators