Railway crossing facts and tips

  • There are about 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings along more than 40,000 kilometres of federally regulated railway tracks in Canada.
  • Look for the crossbuck symbol that indicates a roadway-railway crossing. Some more heavily travelled roadway-railway crossings have lights and bells and/or gates.
  • Listen for warning bells and whistles. Turn off, or turn down, distracting fans, heaters, radios and music until the crossing is safely cleared. Opening the window helps you hear better.
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Never race a train to the crossing — even in a tie, you lose.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks. Proceed through a roadway-railway crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember that the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle stalls on the tracks at a crossing, immediately get everyone out and far away from the tracks. Move in the direction that the train is approaching from to avoid being hit by debris.
  • When at a multiple-track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • Railway tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property. Walking or playing on them is illegal, and trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
  • Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railway tracks, rights of way or through tunnels.
  • Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or railway crossings. Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railway equipment at any time. A slip of the foot could cost you a limb or your life.
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