Avoid Harm, Stop Before the Boom Arm

There are over 1,200 level crossings in Queensland, and all have some form of protection including warning signs and signals. Boom arms are one of these safety measures, providing a physical barrier between motorists and the rail corridor. Once a train has passed, boom arms prevent motorists from crossing too early as there may be a train approaching from the opposite direction.

When the lights are flashing, it is important to stop clear of the crossing. Too often, motorists are ignoring the warning signs and proceeding through a crossing when the boom arms are lowering or raising. The result is often damage to safety infrastructure, a near miss or a collision with an oncoming train.

Boom arms are in place to keep you safe, not to make you late.

Safety tips

  • Approach with caution and be prepared to stop at all level crossings. Level crossing protection is in place for a reason, and if you ignore the warnings and cause damage to safety infrastructure, you are endangering your own life and that of other road users, train operators, and train passengers.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the road rules around level crossing signage.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Both passenger and freight trains run on the Queensland Rail network, some of which can move at speeds of up to 160 kilometres an hour, and they can't swerve to avoid someone. A train can take up to two kilometres to stop.
  • Never drive around lowered boom arms — it's illegal and dangerous. Whether it's carelessness or impatience, all motorists should be aware that stopping at a level crossing may take a few minutes, but not stopping could cost a lot more.
  • Make sure your exit is clear — proceed through a level crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Never queue through a level crossing.


  • When the red lights are flashing, motorists must stop clear of the crossing.
  • Motorists must not drive through the crossing until the lights have stopped flashing, as there may be more than one train.


  • Motorists need to stop at the painted stop bar on the road when the lights start flashing.
  • Motorists must not drive onto the crossing until the boom arms are fully raised and the lights have stopped flashing.


  • The cross hatching indicates the area to be kept clear (no stopping).


  • This indicates how many tracks cross over the road at the level crossing.
  • More than one track means trains can come from opposite directions.

Request a presentation

Contact our Customer and Community Engagement Coordinator to schedule a free level crossing safety presentation. Our Community Engagement Coordinators are available to speak in kindergarten’s, school classrooms, community service groups, to driver education students and company safety programs.

The campaign

The Avoid Harm, Stop Before the Boom Arm campaign aims to raise awareness amongst Queensland motorists of the risks and consequences of disobeying level crossing warning signs and signals.

Level crossing boom arm strikes caused by motorists are not only extremely dangerous because a form of safety protection becomes inactive at a level crossing, but they are also costly to repair, and cause significant road and rail delays.

In 2020 on average, more than nine motorists a month risk their lives by running the gauntlet and colliding with level crossing boom arms on the Queensland Rail network. In total, there were 114 boom arm strikes in Queensland – a 24 per cent increase from 2019 (92).

Queensland Rail is committed to level crossing safety through investment in education, engineering upgrades and working closely with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) to assist with enforcement. Keeping level crossing safety at the forefront of the communities' mind is essential to avoid incidents and save lives.

The campaign launched on 13 May 2021 and will coincide with National Road Safety Week, reminding motorists of the importance of driving safely around level crossings. By ignoring the warnings, motorists can not only cause damage to safety infrastructure, they are endangering their life and that of other road users, train operators, and train passengers.

CCTV cameras capture drivers taking unnecessary risks at level crossings.

Boom strikes in South East Queensland during 2020.

Boom strikes in regional Queensland during 2020.

Learn more about level crossing safety.