Evaluating safety measures and behaviours at level crossings along maintained but non-operational rail corridors

There are a number of non-operational rail corridors in various Australasian jurisdictions. The rail infrastructure along these corridors are maintained to differing levels of operational preparedness, dependent upon future rail operations and plans. These rail corridors are predominantly located in regional areas and are predominantly passively protected. Currently, Rail Infrastructure Managers (RIMs) and road managers are reluctant to remove or cover-up any level crossing protection signage.

Regular users of such crossings may develop a careless attitude to the controls displayed and not take appropriate caution. Such careless attitudes and behaviours may then extend to other level crossings on rail corridors in use, or when a crossing becomes operational after being disused, potentially resulting in a collision with a train. Therefore, the credibility of level crossing traffic control devices may be reduced, not only for the disused level crossing but for other level crossings as well.

This research undertook a review of practices, guidelines and known issues around disused and underutilised level crossings. The research team conducted targeted interviews of key stakeholders identified with the project steering committee in order to better understand Australasian specificities and to potentially recommend future harmonised strategies for better level crossing management along non-operational rail corridors.


In total, consultations with 15 individuals from key organisations related to policy, procedures and safety of disused lines such as rail operations, track operations, regulators, standards, and road agencies were performed, examining various aspects with disused and seasonal lines. The key findings included aspects of communication, a multitude of concerns with different aspects associated with disused lines, and procedural opportunities. Issues related to safety was a common theme throughout the consultations.

Funding / Grants

  • Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (2019 - 2020)