A level crossing is an intersection where a railway line crosses a road, path, or (in rare situations) airport runway, at the same level, as opposed to the railway line crossing over or under using an overpass or tunnel. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion. Other names include railway level crossing, railway crossing (chiefly international), grade crossing or railroad crossing (chiefly American), road through railroad, criss-cross, train crossing, and RXR (abbreviated).
There are more than 100,000 level crossings in Europe and more than 200,000 in North America.
There are currently 909 level crossings on the Irish Rail network, a number which has reduced from over 2,000 since the turn of the century. These are a combination of automated CCTV crossings, manned crossing and unmanned user operated accommodation crossings, including on farmlands.
In June of last year Irish Rail announced that they had seen a surge in incidents at level crossings across the State and urged the public to be vigilant when crossing railways, particularly in Dublin.
There had been 54 incidents at level crossing in the first six months of 2022, up from 31 for the same period in 2021. Irish Rail said that some of these incidents had been “particularly worrying” and have been shared on social media.
The majority of incidents at level crossings in 2022 were in Dublin. These included incidents at crossings on Lansdowne Road, Serpentine Ave, Sandymount Ave, Sutton, Bray, Merrion Gates and Baldoyle Road. In Cork, the Banteer level crossing also had incidents.