Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Rail crossing warning signs and devices

Rail Crossing
Look for rail crossing warning signs and devices

Advance warning signs

  • The advance warning sign is a round, yellow sign bearing the lettering RXR.
  • The "X" is very large, covering the full diameter of the sign. It is usually the first warning you will see that you are approaching a railroad crossing.
  • Slow down, look and listen for an approaching train. Look ahead to pinpoint the location of the crossing. At this point you still have plenty of time to stop if a train is coming.

Pavement markings

  • As you approach the crossing you may see a large RXR painted on the pavement.
  • As with the advance warning sign, the "X" will be very large in comparison to the two R's. Behind this warning will be a stop line painted closer to the tracks.
  • Stay behind this line to be safe from a train when it passes.

Crossbuck signs

  • So called "crossbuck" signs have the words "RAILROAD" and "CROSSING" in black and white assembled in a large "X" configuration.
  • If there is more than one set of tracks this sign will also tell how many tracks there are on a separate sign below the crossbuck.
  • As you approach, look and listen for an approaching train. The crossbuck sign means the same as a yield sign, which means that if a train is approaching you must yield and let the train pass. A recently enacted state law will require that a YIELD sign be placed below the crossbuck sign at crossings that do not have stop signs or red flashing light signals. This is being done to further emphasize that a crossbuck sign means that you must yield to trains.

Red flashing lights and gates

  • Many crossbuck signs have red lights and bells attached. Some even have gates which cross the traffic lane.
  • If the lights begin to flash or the bells begin to ring, STOP! A train is coming.
  • You must yield to the train and remain stopped until the lights have stopped flashing and the gates have lifted.
  • If there are multiple tracks, make sure the train you see isn't hiding another one you don't see.
  • Sometimes when the lights don't stop flashing or the gate doesn't go up immediately after the passage of a train, it means there's another train approaching. In this case, impatience to get back on the road could be deadly.

Questions about the content of this page:
Lisa Stern, lisa.stern@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: October 29, 2014

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