Level crossing safety

27 Dec 2021
Just wait text over an image of a girl with headphones accidentally walking on the train tracks

Railway level crossings can be dangerous for both pedestrians and road vehicles.

Many near miss incidents occur at pedestrian and vehicle railway crossings, especially on busy Adelaide Metro train lines such as the Seaford line.

All road level crossings on the metropolitan passenger network have active warning signals with flashing lights and boom gates.

Not all pedestrian crossings have active warning systems, and pedestrians are required to check the track is clear in both directions of travel before crossing safely.

Rail safety is everyone’s responsibility.

The most common dangerous behaviour that results in a near-miss includes:

  • crossing before the bells/signals and boom gates have stopped
  • using a mobile phone
  • not looking both ways for trains
  • not using a pedestrian crossing
  • going through a crossing without noticing.

This can result from impatience, inattention, complacency and distractions such as headphones and mobile phones.

Regional level crossing incidents are more likely to involve vehicles than pedestrians, with the most frequent near-miss incidents reported along the Adelaide-Port Augusta line, the Adelaide-Melbourne and Mt Barker-Victor Harbor lines.

All vehicle operators need to stay alert and obey static signs at infrequently used and unfamiliar rail lines in rural areas.

Top tips to stay rail safe

Check out these top tips to help you stay safe when you’re about to cross train or tram tracks, plus other level crossing safety information.

Dangerous pedestrian behaviour

While most people conduct themselves safely at railway crossings, dangerous behaviour includes:

  • pedestrians running through a level crossing after a train in one direction, not seeing a train from the other direction
  • pushing prams or distracted by children in a pedestrian crossing
  • running in front of a train
  • using umbrellas, headphones, mobile phones and other obstructions or distraction
  • people in conversation
  • forcing open an active pedestrian barrier
  • getting off a train then walking behind it and not seeing a train coming from other direction.

If you can’t hear the train, you might not see the train.

Always stop and look both ways. Just wait.

Unsafe student behaviour

Hazardous behaviour by students can be playful, however equally as dangerous and has been reported as follows:

  • People following someone they presume has looked for trains before crossing
  • Ignoring signals and running in front of trains
  • Playful pushing of companions  on platforms towards an oncoming train
  • Jumping off a platform to retrieve a dropped school bag
  • Not standing behind the white line, causing safety issues for trains arriving and departing stations
  • Jumping onto the side of a train while it is stopped at a station.

Don’t race the train.

It can’t stop quickly. You can.

Always stop and look both ways. Just wait.

Road vehicles

Drivers of road vehicles pose a risk at level crossings, even where active visual and audio alerts are in place. Dangerous actions include vehicles:

  • Queuing across tracks with no escape path if a train approaches
  • Rushing through/under boom gates as they lower or once they are down.

Don’t chance it.

Stay behind the white line until it’s safe to cross.

Just wait.