Railroad Operations and Safety
The Railroad Operations and Safety Branch (ROSB) is responsible for ensuring that California communities and railroad employees are protected from unsafe practices on freight and passenger railroads by enforcing state and federal rail safety rules, regulations, and inspection efforts; and by carrying out proactive assessments of potential risks before they create dangerous conditions. ROSB rail safety inspectors investigate rail accidents and safety related complaints, and recommend safety improvements to the Commission, railroads, and the federal government as appropriate.
Current Safety Priorities
ROSB is focusing on several important aspects of railroad safety this year through new and ongoing programs in addition to its routine inspections.
- Oil by Rail Safety
Recognizing the increase in oil transport by rail, the CPUC developed a Crude Oil Reconnaissance Team to proactively monitor crude oil projects before they come online by identifying and seeking remediation on all regulated and non-regulated potential, perceived, and existing risks; and by providing independent safety oversight and guidance to the railroads, crude oil facilities, and their respective contractors to mitigate identified risks and non-compliant issues.
- Railroad Bridge Evaluation Program
This is the first state-run railroad bridge safety program. Currently paralleling federal practices while coordinating with FRA bridge personnel, the state program is also being designed to use risk assessment methods to assess bridge safety and address any identified safety issues.
- Positive Train Control (PTC)
ROSB continues to monitor the railroad's implementation of PTC to ensure timely and proper installation.
- California High-Speed Rail (HSR)
The CPUC is one of the entities responsible for safety oversight in the planning, development, construction, and operation of the California High-Speed Rail project. California’s high speed rail will use new technologies that are unique to high-speed rail and to the California rail safety program.
- Promoting Public Rail Safety through Operation Lifesaver
During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, CPUC rail safety staff made 144 Operation Lifesaver presentations, reaching a total of 10,000 people.
Other ROSB Resources
- Annual Reports
ROSB issues an annual report to the California Legislature regarding the status of railroad investigations, incidents, and other important issues concerning railroad safety.
- About ROSB Inspectors
Read about the railroad inspectors' disciplines and how they keep the public safe.
- Railroad Laws and Regulations
CPUC has legal regulatory authority over rail safety within California. ROSB is responsible for enforcing both state and federal laws, regulations, Commission General Orders, and directives relating to the transportation of persons and commodities by rail.
- Local Safety Hazard Sites
Download the maps of the state's 18 Local Safety Hazard Sites - railroad lines in California found have statistically significant higher derailment rates than other locations. (PDF - 7MB)
- Derailments (2016-2020)
Download the list of derailments in California 2016-2020
- Contact Us
Let us know if you see an unsafe situation with trains or tracks. Only for non-emergency railroad safety concerns.