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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Railroad Safety

ORS inspectors work in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to enforce federal railroad safety regulations by conducting routine compliance inspections. The partnership between the FRA and the ORS focuses on regulatory oversight activities to promote safety in railroad operations with the goal of reducing rail-related accidents, incidents, and casualties. Annually, the ORS inspects approximately 2,600 miles of track and accompanying railroad operations.  

The ORS shares the responsibility for railroad safety oversight with the FRA in two areas:  

1) Track and

2) Operating Practices (OP)  

The FRA Track Division promotes the understanding of and compliance with the federal Track Safety standards and provides technical expertise regarding track safety standards, roadway worker standards, and roadway maintenance machine standards. The OP Division promotes the understanding of and compliance with federal Operating Practices standards and provides technical expertise regarding railroad carrier operating rules, employee qualification guidelines, and carrier training and testing programs; railroad occupational safety and health standards; the Hours of Service Act; and accident and personal injury reporting requirements. 

Rail Safety Tips & Facts:

  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine.
  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights, or a gate.
  • A train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take approximately one mile, or the length of about 18 football fields, to stop.
  • Do not walk, bike, or jog on railroad tracks.  It’s trespassing and against the law!
  • Obey all warning signs and signals. Trains can come from either direction on the same track at any time and can be very quiet.
  • Use of headsets, earbuds, or cell phones around tracks can prevent a person from hearing an approaching train.
  • Remember to always stop at railroad crossings and never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. In addition, there are substantial fines for attempting to go around the crossing arms.
  • Report an emergency. A toll-free number is posted on every grade crossing for the public to contact a railroad to report problems.
  • Report suspicious items, persons, or activity immediately to the rail police department, local police department, or by calling 911.

Railroad Industry Information
Hazardous Material Advisory (PDF)
2017 Annual Railroad Transportation Activities Report (PDF)
Regulated Carriers
Class 1 (PDF)
Short Line (PDF)