Q&A - Stop Signs at Rail Crossings

Q&A ImageWho’s responsibility is to place a stop sign at a rail crossing? Does one stop at the stop sign or before? Who’s responsibility is it that the track is visible from a distance of 5 or more metres? How is visibility of the track determined?

Comments

I'm going to guess at these.

Honest, I haven't looked any of this up.

Who’s responsibility is to place a stop sign at a rail crossing?

My guess is - nobody. I doubt if there is any law requiring Stop Signs to be erected; it's just a sensible thing to do, at any relatively busy crossing that doesn't have lights/barriers.

Does one stop at the stop sign or before?

 One doesn't have to stop at a position that is related to the placement of the Stop Sign. One does have to stop more than 5 meters from, but no more than 15 meters from, the nearest rail. I'm pretty certain that's the law in BC.

Who’s responsibility is it that the track is visible from a distance of 5 or more metres?

OK, I'll bite. how can the track not be visible from a distance of 5 meters? It's a railroad track, for heaven's sake! They're not hard to spot.

How is visibility of the track determined?

By whether or not it can be seen, surely?

Methinks there is a story behind these questions, perhaps a coming together of somebody's vehicle and somebody's train? Would be interesting to know the facts behind the questions.

Answer

CompetentDrivingBC got us off to a good start. Here's what I have to add:

Railway crossings are administered both by the federal and the provincial governments. The BC Safety Authority also has guidelines published.

The 5 and 15 meters distance comes from the Motor Vehicle Act:

Railway crossings

185 (1) When a driver is approaching a railway crossing at a time when

(a) a clearly visible electrical or mechanical signal device gives warning of the approach of a railway train,

(b) a crossing gate is lowered or a flagger is giving a signal of the approach or passage of a railway train, or

(c) a railway train is approaching and is within approximately 500 m of a crossing or by reason of its speed or nearness to the crossing is an immediate hazard and emits an audible signal or is visible,

the driver must stop the vehicle within 15 m but not less than 5 m from the nearest rail of the railway, and must not cause or permit the vehicle to proceed until he or she can do so safely.

(2) A person must not drive a vehicle through, around or under a crossing gate or barrier at a railway crossing while the gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.

(3) If a stop sign is erected at a railway crossing, a driver approaching the railway crossing

(a) must stop his or her vehicle

(i) no closer than 5 m, and

(ii) no farther than 15 m from the nearest rail of the railway, and

(b) must not proceed until he or she can do so safely.

(4) Except at a railway spur line or an industrial track in a business or residence district, the driver of

(a) a bus carrying passengers for compensation,

(b) a school bus carrying a child,

(c) a vehicle carrying explosive substances or any poisonous or flammable substance as cargo, or

(d) a vehicle used to carry flammable liquids or gas, whether or not it is then empty, approaching a railway crossing that is not protected by gates or railway crossing signal lights, unless otherwise directed by a flagger, must

(e) stop his or her vehicle

(i) no closer than 5 m, and

(ii) no farther than 15 m from the nearest rail of the railway,

(f) remaining stopped, must listen and look in both directions along the railway for an approaching train, and for signals indicating the approach of a train, and

(g) must not proceed until he or she can do so safely.

(5) When a driver has stopped in accordance with this section, the driver must

(a) cross the railway tracks in a gear that he or she will not need to change while crossing the tracks,

(b) not shift gears while so crossing, and

(c) not stop with a part of the vehicle on or over the tracks.

(6) Despite this Act, the driver of a vehicle approaching the track of a railway must proceed with caution to avoid a collision between the vehicle and an approaching train.

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