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The Types of Level Crossing Sign

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Level Crossing Train Tram Barrier

1,600 roads cross railway and tram lines in the UK. Each of these crossings has special road signs.


The Department for Transport (DfT) does not class level crossing signs in its general warning category. Instead, it puts level crossing signs in a separate category known as schedule three. Schedule three is where the signs appear in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.

Triangular Warning Signs

There are five triangular warning signs for level crossings. They have red borders and black symbols on white backgrounds.

The first three signs are as follows:

  • A symbol of a fence with five vertical posts warns of a level crossing ahead that has a gate or barrier
  • A symbol of a steam train indicates a level crossing that does not have a gate or barrier
  • A symbol of a tram warns of a tramline that crosses the road ahead.

Railway and tramline crossings may have a further warning sign. This takes the form of a zigzag symbol that represents electricity. The sign warns of overhead electricity cables. There is often a supplementary sign beneath this that gives the safe height for vehicles that use the level crossing.

The final warning sign is that of an articulated vehicle balanced on a hump in the road. This sign warns drivers that the level crossing has a raised obstruction such as a railway line. This may cause vehicles to grind to a halt.


Many level crossings have warning lights. These flash when a train is approaching.

A rectangular, black-bordered sign advises motorists that these lights are ahead. The sign has a picture of two red and one yellow light on a black background. Beneath this, on a white background and in black lettering, are the words “STOP when lights show”.

This sign may have additional wording beneath it. The wording is black on a white background and reads “Another train coming if lights continue to show”.

One of the red lights at the crossing may also contain wording within it. This will either say “ANOTHER TRAIN COMING” or “ANOTHER TRAM COMING”.

No Lights or Barriers

If a level crossing does not have warning lights or a barrier, there are other signs. The signs have black borders and white backgrounds.

A railway level crossing without a barrier or lights has a sign with a symbol of a steam train. A tramway crossing without a barrier or lights has a symbol of a tram.

Location of Open Crossing

A white pointed cross with a red border indicates the position of an open railway or tramway level crossing. The cross often has a supplementary black-bordered sign that says “KEEP CROSSING CLEAR”.

Countdown markers

A level crossing may have countdown markers on the roadside. These show that a level crossing is ahead. The markers are oblong and white. Red stripes run across them. The first marker has three stripes, the second two and the final marker has one stripe.

Signs With Blue Backgrounds

Some level crossings have road signs with blue backgrounds, white borders and white lettering. These inform drivers of heavy, long, low or slow vehicles to phone before passing over the level crossing.

Such signs may also have details of the maximum weight, length and chassis height a crossing can handle.

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