Office of Rail Safety and Inspection

Taylor Ackerman

Taylor Ackerman
Rail Inspection Manager

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

  • Railroad Track
  • 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 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 State Safety Oversight (SSO) program has been assigned to be the overseer for Rail Fixed Guideway Systems (RFGS).  The States SSO program is required by the Federal Trans Administration (FTA) and applies to rail transit agencies (RTAs) not regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in the State of Tennessee (Memphis Vintage Trolleys & Chattanooga Incline Railroad).


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

Helpful Links

Federal Railroad Administration

Tennessee Operation Lifesaver

TDOT Newsroom News (