Crossing Safety

Information about train and tram crossing safety.

Railway pedestrian crossings pose one of the biggest potential dangers - Jpg image.

How often do you cross over train or tram tracks? If you think about it, the answer might surprise you. There are 696 railway level crossings on public roads within South Australia and approximately 360 pedestrian crossings on Adelaide’s Metropolitan Passenger Rail Network.

Many crossings are equipped with active controls such as flashing lights and boom gates but some will only have passive signs such as stop signs/give way signs.

Regardless of the level of safety warning devices, all train and tram lines and crossings must be approached with care at all times.

The Department for Infrastructure and Transport, and Adelaide Metro, is committed to combating irresponsible and dangerous behaviours around level crossings and pedestrian mazes that lead to injuries and fatalities.

Motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists are urged to observe the yellow/white line markings on the road, and on footpaths and platforms, road signage, boom gates, and warning bells and lights, and take responsibility for their actions wherever a road meets a railway line.

Be aware that trains and trams: 

  • travel in both directions
  • can be on any respective line, at any time
  • are deceptively fast and quiet
  • cannot swerve to avoid you
  • can take a long distance to stop - they cannot stop suddenly.

For safety reasons bikes, rollerblades, skates or skateboards must be walked or carried on station platforms, on the ramps leading up to platforms, through pedestrian mazes, and while crossing rail lines, and overpasses or underpasses.

Level Crossings

It is illegal to enter a level crossing while the lights are flashing or when warning bells sound. Red light cameras operate at a number of Adelaide level crossings.

When crossing train or tram tracks, always:

  • Wait until the lights and bells stop and the boom gates (if fitted) go up. If the boom gates stay down and the bells keep ringing it means that there is another train coming, usually from the opposite direction.
  • Wait until you can see that the tracks are clear IN BOTH DIRECTIONS before crossing.
  • Wheelchairs, prams and strollers should always cross the rails at right angles to the track so that the wheels don’t get trapped.

Never queue over a level crossing. Not for any reason. Drivers should ensure that there is a full vehicle length between their vehicle and the one in front of them before they drive across a level crossing.

For more information about being safe around level crossings visit MyLicence level crossing safety driving tips.


Motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists are urged to take responsibility for their actions wherever a road meets a rail line.


Trains move quickly but quietly. Trains have a maximum travel speed of 110 km/h.

A train travelling at 90 km/h on a dry track needs about 420 metres to stop. This distance is over twice the length of a football oval. The driver will probably not see someone close to the track and, if they could, it would be too late to stop the train and avoid impact.

It is very difficult to judge how fast trains and trams are travelling. Most people are used to judging safe crossing distances for road vehicles travelling around 60 km/h.

Always make sure that BOTH rail lines are clear for a long distance before crossing at a level crossing or pedestrian maze.


From their driving seat, train drivers cannot see clearly to the left or to the right of the tracks. They also cannot see people or objects that are on the tracks directly in front of the train.

Even if the train driver can see you, he or she cannot immediately stop the train.


As with train lines, you must also take responsibility when around trams.


The maximum travel speed for trams is 80 km/h. An average tram travelling 50km/h needs around 70 metres to come to a stop. That’s approximately two tram lengths. If the tram needs to come to a stop quickly it still needs its full length to stop safely. That’s not enough time to stop if you are in its path.

When travelling around trams please remember:

  • Trams travel in both directions and are deceptively fast and quiet.
  • Trams cannot swerve to avoid you.
  • Trams cannot stop suddenly.
  • Do not overtake a tram.
  • Do not drive into the path of an approaching tram.

Safety tips

Safety starts with you. Remember these tips when driving, cycling or walking around trams:

  • You must give space to trams - keep left of the tram when driving.
  • An average tram travelling 50km/h needs around 70 metres to come to a stop.
  • Do not U-turn in a tram lane if there is a ‘no U-turn’ sign.
  • Refrain from travelling in a tram lane unless you are avoiding an obstacle or you need to undertake a turning movement.
  • If you are in the path of an approaching tram you must move safely out of the way as soon as you can.
  • Do not park or idle your vehicle across tram tracks.
  • When walking, don’t cross the road in front of a tram. Wait until the tram has stopped at a tram stop.
  • When getting off a tram you must cross the road from the nearest footpath or platform.
  • Never walk out behind a tram to cross the tracks as you may not see trams coming in the opposite direction.
  • When you see white lights on a train or tram it’s coming towards you. When you see red lights, it’s travelling away from you … just the same as a motor vehicle.

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