STATE: Transportation officials urge safety around railroads

Published 10:57 am Thursday, August 18, 2022

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The N.C. Department of Transportation is reminding people to stay off railroad tracks after multiple incidents involving a train and either a vehicle or pedestrian. Already this year there have been 51 incidents with vehicles and pedestrians on railroad tracks in North Carolina; 10 people have died.

“That’s why we’re always reminding people to be very careful around railroad tracks,” said Jason Orthner, director for NCDOT’s Rail Division. “Railroads are only meant for trains. Drivers should obey traffic laws and never stop on the tracks. Also, people should never walk, jog or take pictures on railroad tracks. Doing so is extremely dangerous.”

Staff in NCDOT’s Rail Division also urge people to follow these tips:

  • If there is an emergency at a railroad crossing, call the number on the blue sign at the crossing. This is the fastest way to alert the railroad.
  • Pedestrians should always cross the railroad at safe legal crossings such as bridges, underpasses, and railroad crossings with signage.

NCDOT’s Rail Division is working with communities and planning organizations to reduce the number of at-grade railroad crossings by building more bridges and underpasses. These projects are eligible for funding under the state’s 10-year transportation plan because they have been shown to improve safety and reduce highway and rail congestion.

The division’s BeRailSafe program provides important rail safety information to the public, schools, law enforcement and first responders. Visit for more information.