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Trails crossing active railroad lines

 

One of the most difficult trail facilities to accomplish is a crossing of an active rail line. There are, however, many examples of trails crossing railroads at grade in both urban and rural situations. The physical ingredients are signs warning trail users, safety messages, and a surface to allow bike and pedestrian movement while accommodating the rails and flangeways. There are several types of crossing surfaces; see http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/xings/xing_surfaces.cfm. Warning signals and even crossing gates to stop trail users when trains are approaching are also in use. Crossing at right angles to the tracks avoids the hazard of bike tires getting caught in the flangeway grooves. The one real danger is where there are two busy tracks to cross. As soon as a train on their side passes, trail users are ready to cross and may not look to see that another train may be approaching on the far track, obscured from view by the first train.

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