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Staying Safe

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Being rail safe means being careful around railroad tracks. Trains are cool and fun, but you have to be careful when you are around them.


  • Cross railroad tracks only at safe designated areas.
  • Look both ways before crossing!
  • Trains may not always sound their horns in quiet zones.
  • Don't walk on the tracks. It's dangerous, against the law.
  • Never play near or around railroad tracks.
  • Learn and follow railroad warning signs.
  • Don't go around or under when crossing arms are down.

Know the Signs and Signals


Signs and warning devices are all along roads that cross railroad tracks to warn or guide traffic and to provide safety messages. 

Before the Crossing:

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Advance Warning Sign

These signs warn you that railroad tracks are ahead. Watch out! 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.

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Quiet Zone

Trains do not blow their horns in these areas, but the engineer can still sound the horn in emergency situations. You may not hear a train coming and because of this, you need to be extra careful at these crossings and look both ways!

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Advance Warning Signs for Side Streets

These signs warn that train tracks will appear immediately after making either a right or left turn and remind drivers to be prepared if a train is coming. 

On the Road:

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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.

Signs at the Crossing: 

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Railway Crossing Sign (Crossbuck Sign)

Also known as a crossbuck. It means that if a train is coming, cars and people must STOP and let the train go by. The crossbuck may or may not be have flashing lights, bells, and/or gates. Whether or not lights or gates are attached with it, everything and everyone must stop for the train.

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Multi-Track

These signs tell you that there are more than one set of tracks at a crossing. this sign can be found just below the crossbuck at a crossing, and it tells you the number of tracks to expect at that location.

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Stop Sign 

Just like stop signs anywhere else on the road, a stop sign at a railroad crossing means, "STOP!" A car can go after it has stopped, and it is safe to proceed.

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Yield Sign 

All yield signs mean the same thing: wait for other cars, pedestrians, or, in this case, trains to pass before going. Always wait until it is safe to cross.

Devices at the Crossing:

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Flashing Red Light Signals

You must STOP when these signals start to flash. Only when the lights stop flashing is when you can safely cross.

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Flashing Red Lights and Gates

If you see a lowering gate with flashing red lights, it means that a train is coming. Do not try to beat a train by going around gates that are lowering or ones that are already down.

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Cantilever Flashing Lights

These warn that trains are coming. When there are roads with many lanes, these signals make sure that drivers on all lanes can clearly see the warnings.

Signs Along Railroad Property:

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No Trespassing Sign

These signs warn you to stay off of the tracks and away from the area and that 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!

end faq

Why You Need to Be Careful Around Trains 


  • Trains cannot stop quickly.
  • Trains cannot swerve out of the way for people or things on the tracks.
  • Trains can weigh up to 6,000 tons! If a train were to hit a car, it would be like a car running over a soda can.
  • A train may extend three feet or more beyond the tracks.
  • Trains can come at any time.
  • Trains move in either direction at any time.
  • Trains may be very quiet and may not give any warning.