Skip to main content

Rail Safety Programs

Rail Safety

The Oregon Department of Transportation Commerce and Compliance Division oversees Oregon rail operations to ensure the structural safety of railroad cars, equipment, track, crossings, signals and to maintain a safe environment for railroad employees. We also monitor the safety compliance of light rail, streetcar and trolley service providers.

See our latest video on rail crossing safety and help us spread the word: your life is worth the wait! Don't get impatient. Stand back at the crossing and wait until the gates, lights or bells are deactivated and you receive the green light or walk signal.

Feel free to download and print these crossing safety posters and tips:

 

Acting as an agent for the Federal Railroad Administration, or FRA, we inspect track, railroad equipment and cars, hazardous materials and operating practices.  

Learn more about the five rail safety disciplines and the work of our inspectors at the FRA Safety website.
 
Questions? Email Chris Kuenzi, Rail Compliance Inspector, or call 503-383-6611.
We have authority over Oregon's public highway-railroad grade crossings (where a railroad and a roadway cross at the same level).  Just like intersecting roads have stop signs or traffic signals, grade crossings have control devices such as warning signs, crossbucks, pavement markings, gates and flashing lights.

Grade Crossing Safety Regulations
See our Railroad-Highway Crossing Rules Summary for OAR Chapter 741, Division 100-200 and ORS Chapters 267 and 824. The full rule text is available on our Rail Safety and Compliance Rules web page. 
Learn more about the process to request a new crossing, modify an existing crossing or close a crossing.
 
Questions? Email Prescott Mann, Rail Crossing Unit Lead or call 503-871-7830.
We oversee safety and security of transit agencies operating rail-fixed guideway systems, such as light rail, streetcars and trolleys.

These systems are regulated through the Federal Transit Administration's State Safety Oversight Program under 49 CFR 673 and 49 CFR 674. Learn more at the State Safety Oversight Program website.

Questions? Contact John Cyrus, Rail Transit Specialist or call 503-930-6240.
We work to ensure a safe work environment for railroad employees performing track-side duties. Our Employee Safety Compliance Specialists:
  • Perform on-site inspections of all railroads and rail facilities in Oregon.
  • Regulate minimum clearance and walkway standards along railroad tracks.
  • Required signage, water quality standards and first aid kits on locomotives and cabooses.
See our ODOT Railroad Employee Safety Book for a summary of Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 741, Divisions 300 through 335. For full rule text, see Rail Safety and Compliance Rules.
 
Clearance and Walkway Resources
Clearance Variance Application (form 2459)
Walkway Variance Application (form 2703)
 
Contact our Employee Safety Specialists
Robyn Pfahler, South of Salem — 503-551-0488
Jim Covert, North of Salem — 503-475-7840
​​On December 1, 2016, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) received a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), specifying that the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Section 11401, requires the FRA to issue Regulations requiring States to develop a State Grade Crossing Action Plan. The letter was ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division's (RPTD) notification of the requirement to develop a State Grade Crossing Action Plan.

A partnership effort between the RPTD and the Transportation Development Division, Planning Unit, has been initiated to help develop the State Grade Crossing Action Plan. The State Grade Crossing Action Plan is intended to identify how Oregon is to assess rail crossing incident locations, identify, prioritize and develop strategies to address rail crossing safety issues and provide a framework to identify locations for improvements.
Questions? Karla Tackett, Interim Rail Safety Section Manager or call 541-645-0085.

 

Contact Us

Oregon Department of Transportation
Commerce and Compliance Division
Rail Safety Section
3930 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem OR 97302-1166

Karla Tackett, Interim Rail Safety Section Manager
541-645-0085

Hours of Operation (Pacific Time)
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Monday through Friday

Resources

Rail Safety and Compliance Rules
Rail Forms and Publications
State Rail System Maps

Whistle Noise and Crossing Blockages

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how

×