The City of Newton has numerous highway-rail grade crossings. Highway-rail grade crossings or "railroad crossings" are anywhere a highway or roadway crosses railroad track(s) at the same level. In an effort to educate the public about the potential dangers of these crossings, the Newton Police Department works in coordination with Kansas Operation LIfesaver to promote railroad crossing safety and awareness.
The Operation Lifesaver logos, slogans and safety tips used on this page are registered trademarks of Kansas Operation Lifesaver Inc. and/or Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and are used with permission.
Operation Lifesaver Safety Tips - Look, Listen, Live!
- Freight trains do not travel on a predictable schedule; schedules for passenger trains can change. Always expect a train at every highway-rail intersection.
- Do not get trapped on a highway-rail crossing. Never drive onto a railroad crossing until you are sure you can clear the tracks on the other side without stopping.
- If the gates are down, the road is closed and a train might be approaching. Stop and wait until the gates go all of the way up and the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
- When you are at a multiple-track crossing and the last car of the closest train passes by, stay alert. Before crossing, look and listen carefully for another train on another track, coming from either direction.
- If your vehicle stalls at the highway-rail intersection, get everyone out and far away from the tracks immediately. Then call 911 to report the emergency situation and to stop any trains on that track.
- Racing a train to a highway-rail intersection is a fool's game. If you lose, you may never have a second chance. Even if it's a tie, you lose!
Types of Railroad Warning Signs and Signals
Advance Warning Signs -- The Advance Warning sign is usually the first sign you see when approaching a highway-rail grade crossing. It is located a sufficient distance ahead to allow a driver to stop before reaching the crossing. The Advance Warning sign advises you to slow down, look both ways and listen for the train, and be prepared to stop if a train is approaching.
Pavement Markings -- Pavement Markings, consisting of an R X R followed by a Stop Line closer to the tracks, may be painted on the pavement approaching the crossing. Stay behind the Stop Line while waiting for a train to pass.
Crossbuck Signs -- Crossbucks are white reflectorized X-shaped signs with "RAILROAD CROSSING" in black lettering, located alongside the roadway at all highway-rail grade intersections or railroad tracks. They are to be treated as a yield sign (they signify the same thing). You are legally required to yield the right of way to trains. Slow down, look and listen for the train, and stop if a train approaches. When the road crosses over more than one set of tracks, a sign below the Crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.
Flashing-Light Signal - Flashing-Light Signals, with or without an audible bell, display towards oncoming traffic and the two red lights are mounted in a horizantal line flashing alternately. Red flashing lights indicate a train is approaching and you are legally required to stop until the red lights stop flashing. The lights may be placed on a pole next to the roadway or placed both on a pole and an overhead support structure.
Automatic Gates -- The automatic gate consist of drive mechanisms (to raise and lower the gate) and a fully retroreflectorized red- and white-striped gate arm with lights. When the gate is down, the gate arm shall extend across the approaching lanes of traffic. The automatic gates are used in conjunction with flashing-light signals. It is illegal to go around the gates while they are activated, including while they are raising and lowering.
In the City of Newton, the fine for not stopping at an activated railroad crossing signal while driving is $195 plus additional court costs.
Trespassing on Railroad Property
It is illegal to walk, drive, place items or otherwise be on railroad property or the railroad right of way. This includes railroad track and surrounding areas, railroad trains/cars and railroad buildings. Trespassing on railroad property is a Class A misdemeanor and you can be arrested.
Kansas Law (K.S.A. 21-5809) states:
(a) Trespassing on railroad property is:
(1) Entering or remaining on railroad, without consent of the owner or the owner's agent, knowing that it is railroad property; or
(2) recklessly causing in any manner the derailment of a train, railroad car or rail-mounted work equipment
(b) Trespassing on railroad property is a:
(1) Class A nonperson misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (b)(2):
(2) severity level 8, nonperson felony if such trespassing results in a demonstrable monetary loss, damage or destruction of railroad property valued at more than $1,500.
(c) Subsection (a) shall not be construed to interfere with the lawful use of a public or private crossing.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting a representative or member of a labor organization which represents or is seeking to represent the employees of the railroad, from conducting such business as provided under the railway labor act (45 U.S.C. 151, et seq.) and other federal labor laws.
(e) As used in this section "railroad property" includes, but is not limited to, any train, locomotive, railroad car, caboose, rail-mounted work equipment, rolling stock, work equipment, safety device, switch, electronic signal, microwave communication equipment, connection, railroad track, rail, bridge, trestle, right-of-way or other property that is owned, leased, operated or possessed by a railroad company.
For more information about railroad safety, see the Kansas Operation Lifesaver website or the national Operation Lifesaver website. The railroads that serve Newton (BNSF, Amtrak and K&O railroads) also have railroad safety information on their websites that emphasize their company's safety policies and objectives.