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North Dakota State Public Service Commission

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600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 408
Bismarck, ND 58505-0480

701.328.2400 - Phone
877.245.6685 - Toll-Free
800.366.6888 - TTY
701.328.2410 - Fax

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Railroad Safety Program

In recent years the railroads operating in North Dakota have made significant investments in their infrastructure including building additional tracks, cross tie renewal, rail renewal, new switches and purchasing new locomotives and rail cars in order to keep up with the additional volume of crude oil coming from the Bakken. The Public Service Commission (Commission) in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) works with the railroads to promote a strong safety culture and ensure a reliable rail system continues to operate in North Dakota that is safe for communities and efficient for the agriculture, energy, manufacturing and other key industries that depend on it.


Mission Statement & Goals

The Commission's Railroad Safety Program serves the public, railroad employees and railroad customers by implementing inspection and compliance programs that reduce the potential for injuries, death and property damage in and along railroads throughout North Dakota. The program's goal is to reduce the number of accidents, derailments and other equipment failures experienced within the state of North Dakota. The intent is to directly reduce fatalities and injuries in addition to economic losses and environmental impacts. This is achieved through the following strategies:



The Commission's Railroad Safety Pilot Program has operated for two bienniums with great success. The four-year pilot program was established by the North Dakota 64th Legislative Assembly and subsequently extended for an additional biennium by the North Dakota 66th Legislative Assembly.

The Rail Safety Program works in cooperation with the FRA under the United States Department of Transportation. The program employs 2.6 full-time employees in two of the six FRA inspection disciplines:

The other four FRA inspection disciplines include:

The Commission's inspectors are state employees who are trained and certified by the FRA to inspect and enforce federal law and are authorized to inspect all equipment and track utilized by Class 1 and short line railroads operating within North Dakota.



The Railroad Safety Program is not funded with general fund dollars, but with an existing diesel fuel tax the railroads pay, a portion of which is dedicated for rail related safety improvements.



State railroad safety inspectors have jurisdiction within their respective disciplines throughout North Dakota. They conduct inspections on all 3,000+ miles of track, Class 1 and short line locomotives and rolling stock. These inspections are conducted on a notice and no notice basis. Inspectors work with railroad personnel to establish working relationships and gain cooperation. Railroads have been very receptive to state inspectors and understand the goal is to increase and maintain rail safety not only for the general public, but also for railroad employees.

Click here to review Rail Safety Presentations and News Releases


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