Motorist Tips for New Rail Crossing on Rt. 601 and Grandview Ave.

Posted on May 22, 2014

Motorists on Blawenburg Belle Mead Road (CR 601) should have noticed a difference at the railroad crossing near Grandview Ave. In addition to the flashing lights and the gates which have long marked the crossing, there are now an eight-inch high center curbs separating the north- and southbound lanes of 601 along with an additional set of gates on each side, creating a full-width barrier whenever a train approaches. This change will enhance safety and result in a “Quiet Zone” designation that will reduce train-horn noise.

“If drivers would just treat a railroad crossing as they would any other intersection where cross traffic does not stop there would rarely be any problems,’ said New Jersey Operation Lifesaver Deputy Coordinator, and former Montgomery Township  resident, Michael Allen. “The curbs and additional gates will prevent drivers from trying to pass vehicles that are already stopped for a train and from going around the gates.

“We were pleased to work with CSX, Montgomery Twp. Somerset County, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the Federal Railroad Administration and to help facilitate these improvements”, Allen said.

Drivers should not be concerned that they might get trapped by the second gate. The timing of the gates allows a car that is already crossing the track to finish crossing before the gate comes down. “If the gates start coming down while you are crossing the track, Keep Going,” Allen added. “At any crossing, don’t ever stop on the tracks. Don’t even start to cross if you don’t have room to cross all the way.”

Under New Jersey law drivers must stop for a crossing if the lights are flashing, the gates have begun to come down, or the train is sounding its horn. Going around the gates is a violation. If the crossing only has a sign and no lights then it is the same as a ‘Yield’ sign. Certain vehicles, such as school buses and trucks carrying placarded commodities are required to stop at all crossings, regardless of whether or not the lights are flashing.

  • A freight train can take more than a mile to stop, the same as 18 football fields!
  • Stop at least 15 feet from the rails. A train is at least three feet wider than tracks on both sides.
  • Railroad tracks are private property, and walking or riding on them is trespassing. Trespassers risk being arrested, fined, seriously injured, or killed.

Operation Lifesaver’s (OLI) mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway – rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. For Further Information:

Michael Allen New Jersey Operation Lifesaver 609-929 6421

Todd Hirt New Jersey Dept of Transportation 609-530-4944

Operation Lifesaver www.oli.org