Level crossings



Level crossing safety is important for our customers, our employees and the communities in which we operate. 

Incidents involving pedestrians or vehicles carry a high risk of serious injury or death. Trains do not have the ability to swerve and move out of the way of objects and it can take a loaded freight train up to 2km to stop in an emergency. To prevent incidents from occuring, Queensland Rail invests heavily in education and engineering upgrades and innovation.  

There are over 1,400 public level crossings in Queensland. All have some form of protection including:

  • boom gates 
  • pedestrian crossing gates 
  • warning signs 
  • flashing lights or signage. 

We are committed to doing everything possible to save lives, but pedestrians and motorists need to be mindful of the signs and signals that are there to keep them safe.

Safety at level crossings 

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid distractions like your mobile phone and remove headphones. 
  • Observe all safety signs, boom gates and lights. 
  • Only enter the crossing when the lights have stopped flashing, or the gate has opened. Never assume that it is safe to cross when the lights are still flashing. Even if a train has passed, there may be another train coming in the other direction. 
  • Do not queue through the crossing. 
  • Do not ride bicycles, skateboards, skates or roller-blades across any pedestrian crossing. 
  • When crossing with a wheeled device such as a mobility aid, always cross at right angles to avoid getting your wheels stuck in the gaps.

Key focus areas for managing level crossing risk

Education - educating crossing users on how to use level crossings safely and correctly, and highlighting the dangers of misuse. Find out more.

Enforcement - taking appropriate action to assist police in identifying those who deliberately endanger others through their actions at level crossings with a view to securing their prosecution.

Engineering - requirement that all public level crossings are assessed using the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) process and enhance level crossing safety through means such as closure or additional safety features.

Safety Interface Agreements - develop appropriate processes that jointly manage the risks at level crossings with other crossing stakeholders, for example the Department of Transport and Main Roads and local authorities.

Operational excellence - ensuring that Queensland Rail is reviewing train operations to reduce the wait time for road users at level crossings that are closed for excessive amounts of time.

Data analysis - capture and analyse all incidents occurring at level crossings, including human factors performance and reviews.

Innovation - lead and participate in continued research in this area through both internal channels and external sources such as the ACRI (Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation).

Key safety initiatives

  • The ‘Heavy metal stops for no one’ campaign launched in 2018, warning customers of the dangers of disobeying level crossing signs and signals.
  • Trial low-cost innovation of two hotspot level crossings in South East Queensland. Using paint markings on the existing infrastructure, the innovation aims to safely guide pedestrians across the level crossing by clearly indicating where it is safe to walk.
  • Design of a new safety lock on pedestrian gates trialled at Wynnum Central to prevent pedestrians from pushing through the unlocked emergency gates.
  • Level crossing CCTV cameras installed at Bald Hills, Murarrie, Coopers Plains, Geebung, Coorparoo and Salisbury, as well as at regional level crossings including Cooran, Bowen, Brandon and two locations in Cairns.
  • Trial of new wireless communication and radar train detection technology which could reduce the cost of providing improved level crossing safety.
  • Assessing and planning future crossing upgrades to flashing lights and boom gates as funding becomes available.
  • Partnering with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to further enhance the introduction of safety camera technology and automatic infringement issuing.
  • Collaboration with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and other local authorities to complete Safety Interface Agreements.