Railroad Crossings

Placeholder Alaska Other Regulations

Railroad crossbuck and warning sign. Be prepared to stop for trains.


Never get trapped on a crossing. When traffic is heavy, wait on the approach to a crossing until you are sure you can clear the crossing. Watch out for the second train. When the last car of a train passes the crossing do not start up until you are sure no train is coming on another track, especially from the other direction.

Never drive around gates. If the gates are down, stay in place and do not cross the tracks until the gates are raised. It is against the law to go around crossing gates. Never race a train. Racing a train to the crossing is foolhardy. You may never have another chance if you lose.

Never shift gears on the crossing. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, shift down and do not change gears while crossing the tracks. Watch for vehicles that must stop at crossings. Be prepared to stop when you are following buses or trucks which are required to stop at railroad crossings. Do not pass them when prohibited by law. If legal to pass, make sure there are no unsafe conditions and that you have a clear view of the tracks.

Always stop when a train is close to a crossing. Be prepared to stop if a train is within 1500 feet of the crossing. You must stop even if the crossing is unmarked. Do not take a chance. Trains cannot stop easily, nor within a short distance.



If your vehicle is physically on the train tracks at a grade crossing and the lights begin to flash, you may only have 20 seconds to escape before the train makes it to your location. Twenty seconds is the minimal amount of time that it takes a train to reach the grade crossing once the warning lights activate.

If this happens to you, remember the word “GO,” as in GET OUT of your vehicle!

Once outside, run in a 45-degree angle away from the tracks in the direction that the train is coming, then immediately dial 911.

If you are stuck on the tracks, and there are NO WARNING LIGHTS, or the warning lights HAVE NOT ACTIVATED YET, GET OUT of your vehicle and immediately dial 911 and the ENS (Emergency Notification System) number located on the railroad crossing posts or the metal control box near the tracks. Provide the location, crossing number (if posted) and the road or highway that intersects the tracks. Be sure to specify that a vehicle is on the tracks! 

Emergency Notification System (ENS)

The typically blue colored Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign is at every highway-rail grade crossing, and provides the public with a 24/7/365 telephone number to call to report problems or emergencies at these railroad locations. The sign is either located on the black and white cross buck or near the actual crossing. The toll-free ENS number is answered by railroad dispatchers who are the first line of defense to attempt to stop all train traffic at the crossing during an emergency. Directly below the dispatch number on the ENS sign is a Department of Transportation number that identifies the exact location of the crossing in question. By following the information on the sign, the public can report unsafe conditions such as: (1) malfunctions of warning signals, crossing gates and other safety devices at the crossings; (2) disabled cars, trucks or other vehicles blocking the railroad tracks at the crossings; (3) the presence of trespassers on the tracks or along the right of way at the crossing; and (4) any other information relating to an unsafe condition at the crossing.

  • Every Grade Crossing has an emergency dispatch Number for contacting the railroad to report problems with the Crossing, tracks or train travel.
  • The ENS number is typically located on a blue sign on the railroad cross buck sign or near the grade crossing.
  • The sign also contains a DOT number that identifies the grade crossing’s physical location so emergency crews or railroad personnel can respond.

Railroad Emergency Notification numbers:


Alaska Railroad – 1-800-478-2334 or 1-907-265-2334

Amtrak –  1-800-331-0008

BNSF Railway – 1-800-832-5452

CSX– 1-800-232-0144

Canadian National – 1-800-465-9239

Canadian Pacific – 1-800-716-9132

Kansas City Southern – 1-800-892-6295

Norfolk Southern – 1-800-453-2530

Union Pacific – 1-888-877-7267


Amtrak is a registered service mark of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Information compiled from Amtrak.