Office of Rail Safety and Inspection

Rail in Tennessee

Rick Beals
Rail Inspection Manager
Phone: 615.253.1054

The Office of Rail Safety and Inspection works in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to  perform inspections in the following areas:

  • Railroad Track
  • Handling of Hazardous Materials
  • Railroad Signals & Train Control
  • Railroad Operating Practices

The goal of the Rail Safety and Inspection Office is to reduce and eliminate dangerous/hazardous conditions for railroad employees and the general public. In addition to overseeing freight and commuter rail, TDOT is also responsible for Rail Fixed Guideway Systems (RFGS). Commonly referred to as Rail Transit Agencies (RTA), RFGS include any heavy, light or rapid transit system, inclined plane, trolley, or automated guideway, for the movement of passengers that is not regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

TDOT inspectors are certified by the FRA and are authorized to issue notices of violations to railroads when necessary. The Department’s railroad inspectors are also charged with enforcing Tennessee state laws pertaining to railroads. According to state law, railroads are responsible for maintaining at-grade rail-highway crossings in good condition. Tennessee law requires railroads to maintain the crossing surfaces where roads and rails intersect at-grade. 



Please be safe around railroad tracks!

Never go around lowered gates or flashing lights. It is illegal, and they are there for your safety. Lowered gates mean a train is just a few seconds away.

Walking along railroad tracks or taking photographs on railroad tracks is trespassing.

Never try to beat a train at a crossing!

Report dangerous conditions to TDOT, Multimodal Transportation Resources Division, Office of Rail Safety & Inspection at (615) 253-1054.


Helpful Links

Federal Railroad Administration
Tennessee Operation Lifesaver