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Office of Rail Safety and Inspection

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.  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, and overseeing freight and commuter rail. TDOT operations transit has been assigned to be the overseer for Rail Fixed Guideway Systems (RFGS). For the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), 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).

Please be safe around railroad tracks! Not all railroad crossings are equipped with active warning devices such as flashing lights and gates.

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

Railroad crossing sign

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, Freight and Logistics Division, Office of Rail Safety & Inspection at (615) 253-1054.

Helpful Links

Federal Railroad Administration
Tennessee Operation Lifesaver