Level crossings may be manned or unmanned. One or more gatemen are posted at manned level crossings to regulate the traffic. In an unmanned level crossing, there is no gateman and road users cross the railway line at their own risk after taking the necessary precautions.
The typical layout of a square level crossing is shown in Fig. 23.1. The sketch depicts the locations of guard rails, gates, gate lodge, fencing, and railway boundary on a metalled road.
Level crossings can be classified into different categories depending upon the class of the road, visibility conditions, volume of road traffic, and the number of trains passing over the level crossing. The classification of level crossings is as follows.
These are the busiest level crossings in terms of road traffic. Most of the busy level crossings on the national highway are special class level crossings. Normally the gates are open to road traffic but whenever a train passes by, the gates are closed to road traffic. The gates of the level crossings are interlocked with signals. They are manned round the clock by three gatemen working 8-hour shifts.
These level crossings are also busy in terms of road traffic. All level crossings on important roads are mostly A class level crossings. In this case also, the gates are normally open to road traffic. All other provisions are the same as for special class level crossings except that these level crossings are provided with only two gatemen
who work in 12-hour shifts, as these crossings are not as busy as special class level crossings.
Fig. 23.1 A typical layout of a level crossing
These level crossings are relatively less busy. Normal B class level crossings can be found on metalled roads. The gates are normally closed to road traffic, but can be kept open to road traffic provided that the gates are interlocked with signals. They are provided with two gatemen working 12-hour shifts.
These level crossings are mostly provided on unmetalled roads. Some of these level crossings are unmanned because of low volume of road traffic.
These level crossing are provided for cattle; they are normally used by cattle or pedestrians.
Indian Railways presently has about 42,000 level crossings, including about 20,000 unmanned level crossings and 3500 cattle crossings.