Types of level crossings

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

Level crossings are in many forms depending on whether they are on a public or private road, or for vehicle, horse or pedestrian use.

The protection arrangements which are appropriate at level crossings will vary, depending upon the crossing location, for example proximity to road junctions, the level of use and the type of railway traffic.

An important factor in assuring the safety of level crossings is providing, so far as circumstances permit, a consistent appearance for road and rail users of any crossing. To help achieve this, several 'standard' level crossing types have been developed over the years.

Types of level crossings in Great Britain include:

  • Gated crossings operated by railway staff - this type of crossing is protected 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 - this type of crossing is 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. An audible warning to pedestrians is also provided.
  • Automatic half barrier crossings (AHBC) - this type of crossing is 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) - this type of crossing appears, to the road user, to be similar 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 - this type of crossing does 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, normally closed across the road and hung so as to 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 - this type of crossing is found between platforms at stations and may be the only route between platforms or the only practicable route for people who cannot use steps.
Last updated - 10 April 2014