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Railroad Safety and Operations

CPUC is the State agency charged with ensuring the safety of freight railroads, inter-city and commuter railroads, and highway-railroad crossings in the State of California.  CPUC performs these railroad safety responsibilities through the Railroad Operations and Safety Branch (ROSB) of the Safety & Enforcement Division. 


ROSB’s mission is to ensure that California communities and railroad employees are protected from unsafe practices on freight and passenger railroads by enforcing rail safety rules, regulations, and inspection efforts; and by carrying out proactive assessments of potential risks before they create dangerous conditions.  ROSB personnel investigate rail accidents and safety related complaints, and recommend safety improvements to the Commission, railroads, and the federal government as appropriate.


ROSB currently has 36 certified Inspector positions. Inspections are divided into five railroad disciplines: 


Operating Practices – oversight of main, branch and yard train operations, including hours of service, carrier operating rules, employee qualification guidelines, and carrier training and testing programs to determine compliance with railroad occupational safety and health standards, accident and personal injury reporting requirements, and other requirements


Track – oversight of track construction, maintenance and inspection activities


Signal & Train Control – oversight of signal system construction, maintenance and inspection activities


Motive Power & Equipment – oversight of locomotives, freight and passenger rail cars, air brakes, and other safety appliances maintenance and inspection activities


Hazardous Materials – oversight of the rail movements of hazardous materials, such as petroleum and chemical products; and inspection of hazardous materials shippers





Last Modified: 3/5/2015

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