Orange County Transportation Authority

Rail Safety and You

See tracks. Think train.

About every three hours, a person or vehicle is struck by a train, according to Operation Lifesaver. Don’t tempt fate on railroad tracks. When you see tracks, think train!

Trains are part of Orange County Life

With 34 cities and a population of more than 3 million, Orange County is the third largest county in California. Every day, trains contribute to our mobility and economic growth. This rail safety information will help you coexist with them whether you are on foot or in a vehicle.

To keep Orange County rail safe, OCTA enhanced 52 railroad crossings with upgraded and updated equipment and signage while helping silence train horns for local communities. OCTA continues to launch programs like OC Bridges to separate freight train from vehicular traffic. 

Rail Safety Tips

Stay off the tracks.
Tracks are for trains. They are private property. Walking, biking, jogging or playing on or near the train tracks is considered trespassing and is illegal. Last year, 773 people were killed or injured in the U.S. from walking, bicycling or playing on the railroad tracks.

Stay focused to stay alive.
Always expect a train. Trains are quieter than ever and travel faster than you think. Deaths and injuries from crossing crashes and pedestrian-train incidents are on the rise. Why? Texting, headphones and other distractions. Pedestrians should always stop, look and listen for a train before crossing the tracks at designated pedestrian crossings.

Never try to beat a train.
Only cross tracks if you are sure your vehicle can clear the tracks without stopping. Remember that trains can take up to a half-mile to come to a complete stop.

Pay attention to signs.
Warning signs save lives. Approach all crossings with care, and do not ignore any warning signs or gates. If your children cross tracks on the way to school, make sure they can read, understand and follow the signs.

Be Rail Safe Tips
Cyclist Rail Safety Tips
Pedestrian Rail Safety Tips


Crossbuck Advance Warning and Crossbuck Signs 
These signs warn you that railroad tracks are ahead. Watch out!
stopsign Stop Sign 
Just like stop signs anywhere else on the road, a stop sign at a railroad crossing means, "STOP!" A car can go after it has stopped, and it is safe to proceed.
yield sign Yield Sign 
All yield signs mean the same thing: wait for other cars, pedestrians, or, in this case, trains to pass before going. Always wait until it is safe to cross.

Rail Safety Programs

To keep Orange County rail safe, OCTA partnered with eight cities to enhance 52 railroad crossings. The $90 million program upgraded track developments and signal coordination, installed new barriers and warning signs and allowed cities to establish quiet zones for local communities. Funded by Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales transportation tax, the countywide improvements feature safety enhancements for pedestrians and motorists and include a robust rail safety awareness campaign. OCTA also continues to launch programs like OC Bridges to separate freight train from vehicular traffic.

Keep kids rail safe

Share these tips with your kids. Remind them that today’s trains aren’t like those in movies. There’s no clickety-clack or whistle. Trains move quickly and quietly and can’t stop quickly or swerve. Respect trains, stay alert, and when you see tracks, think train!

Other Information

Railroad Crossing Safety Enhancment Program Fact Sheet
Rail Safety Brochure

More information, please visit Operation Lifesaver