Railway crossings

Railway crossing sign All railway crossings on public roads in Ontario are clearly marked with signs. Roads may also be marked with a large "X" on the pavement near railway crossings. When you see any of these signs, be ready to stop.

Rules and tips for drivers

As you come to any railway crossing:

  • slow down
  • listen and look both ways before crossing the tracks
  • make sure you can clear the tracks on the other side safely
  • be ready to stop behind school buses - they must stop at all railway crossings
  • be ready to stop behind buses - they may be required to stop at railway crossings without barriers or lights

Tip: On private roads, crossings may not be marked or may be marked with different types of signs. Be alert. Cross only at authorized and properly marked railway crossings.

Remember: Trains can come at any time. It takes up to two kilometres for a train to stop even under full emergency braking.

If a train is coming

  • never race a train to the crossing
  • stop at least five metres from the nearest rail or gate
  • don't cross the track until you're sure the train or trains have passed
  • make sure there is no second train after the first

It is illegal and dangerous to drive around, under or through a railway barrier/gate while it is down or is being lowered or raised.

If there are signals

  • wait until they stop flashing before you start driving
  • if the crossing has a barrier, wait until it rises before you cross
  • never drive around, under or through a railway gate while it is down or in motion
  • never stop on the tracks

Don't get trapped

  • before you drive across tracks, make sure you can clear them completely
  • if traffic is heavy, make sure you have enough space for your vehicle on the other side of the tracks
  • avoid shifting gears on a railway crossing - your vehicle could stall and put yourself or others in danger

If you get stuck on a crossing

  • get out of the vehicle immediately
  • move quickly away from the train track to a safe location - you need to be at least 30 metres away to avoid being struck by flying debris if a train hits the vehicle
  • contact the police - they will help you remove the vehicle from the tracks


If you fail to stop at a railway crossing, you will be fined a total of $110 and receive 3 demerit points.

The set fine is $150 in community safety zones.


Most buses are required to stop at railway crossings that don't have gates, barriers or lights. School buses must stop at ALL railway crossings.

Commercial drivers

  • know the railway crossings on your route
  • avoid crossings where low-slung units can get stuck on raised crossings
  • know the length of your vehicle and load overhang and make sure there is enough space to safely cross the tracks

Pedestrians and cyclists

  • obey the same railway crossing laws as drivers
  • cross only at authorized and properly marked railway crossings
  • if you're walking, avoid stepping onto the rail while crossing, as it is slippery
  • when cycling, always cross the tracks at right angles to the rails

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