Rail environment

Crossing protection

All public level crossings must have some form of protection.

Active Protection

Active protection is where a road or pedestrian level crossing has barrier arms (either half or full), flashing lights or bells - or a combination of these devices.

Pedestrian gates which automatically close when a train is approaching, are an example of 'active protection'.

Around 21 percent of all public road level crossings have barriers and automatic alarms, and about 32 percent are protected by flashing lights and bells. 

The remaining 47 percent are protected by passive signs.

Passive Protection

Passive protection means the level crossing is protected by 'Stop' signs or 'Give Way' signs. 

The onus is on people to obey these warning signs and always look for trains and check the tracks are clear of trains before crossing.

There are over a thousand level crossings in New Zealand with passive protection.

Grade Separation

Some crossings in New Zealand, particularly in the larger cities, are grade separated.  This means that engineering has physically separated the crossing from interaction with the motorist or pedestrian.

Grade separating a crossing can cost millions of dollars, and is generally the responsibility of the local road controlling authority in that area.

Several crossings in Auckland have been grade separated as part of the DART Project - Developing Auckland's Rail Transport.  The New Lynn trench in Auckland is an example of successful grade separation where undergrounding the rail corridor removed several level crossings in the area.

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