Signs & Devices

There are five main signs that you will see around rail property that you need to be aware of.

Scan the images and descriptions below until you become familiar with their meaning. Recognizing and properly interpreting these indicators could save your life!


Advanced Warning

Advanced warning

Indicates a crossing ahead. This sign also tells you to slow down, look and listen because you may have to stop, and it shows which way the tracks cross the road.

Railway Crossing

Railway crossing

Also known as a “crossbuck” this indicates that you are at a crossing. Cars and people must stop if a train is coming and let it go by. The crossbuck may or may not be accompanied by flashing lights, bells, and/or gates. Regardless of which devices are present, everything and everyone must stop for the train.

2 Trains

2 trains

Indicates there may be a second train coming on the same or another track. Always look both ways to ensure all trains have passed and all tracks are clear before crossing.



Indicates more than one set of tracks at a crossing. When used, this sign is placed just below the crossbuck at a crossing, and it tells you the number of tracks to expect at that location.

No Trespassing

No trespassing

Indicates no trespassing is allowed and there is danger present. You should only cross the tracks at a marked crossing, and never trespass on railway property. It tells you to stay off, stay away, and stay alive!




Indicates you are at a railway crossing. Generally found in areas of little traffic. Has no lights or bells to warn you of approaching trains so you must be extra vigilant. Continue over the crossing only if you have looked and listened for a train and determined none approaches and it is safe.

Active Device

Active (with flashing lights and bell)

As with the passive device (above), indicates you are at a railway crossing. However this device is usually found in busy towns or cities, and has flashing lights and a bell that signals a train is coming. Stay well back and do not cross while the bell is ringing and the lights are flashing.

Active Device 2

Active (with flashing lights, bell, and gates)

As with the two devices above, this device indicates you are at a railway crossing. A train is approaching if the bell is ringing, the lights are flashing and the gate is down. Never go around or under the gate. Cross only when the signals have ceased and you have looked and listened to ensure there are no other trains approaching.


Platform Safety Line

Platform safety line

This safety line reminds people to stand back and away from the danger of any moving train or rail equipment. If you don’t, you could be badly hurt or even die.

Pavement Markings

Pavement markings

Sometimes, on paved roads, there is a large “X” and/or STOP lines painted on the pavement to remind you that you are coming to a railway crossing. Remember to “Look and Listen” for a train before crossing.

Engine Whistle

Engine whistle

A train will sound the engine whistle at most railway crossings as a safety warning. They start to whistle before the crossing and continue until the train is on the crossing. If you hear the whistle, it means the train is close. Stay well back and away from danger.

Engine Bell

Engine bell

A train will normally sound its engine bell when it is near people. In most cases, when coming to a crossing or station platform. If you hear an engine bell, it means a train is real close. Stand well back and away from danger.