Railroad Safety

Burlington is home several train crossing locations. Therefore, the Burlington Police Department wants to help keep everyone safe when it comes to trains. Remember that the trains cannot stop, but you can. So heed all signage and crossing arms. If the bar is down, wait around. It takes a train traveling 55 mph more than a mile, the length of 18 football fields, to stop. It is illegal to drive around lowered crossing arms. The NC Railroad Company provides these safety tips for railroads:
  • "You cannot accurately judge the distance and speed of an oncoming train. Never try to 'beat' a train."
  • "A train can appear at any time. Freight trains do not travel at fixed times."
  • "Only cross tracks at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings."
  • "All train tracks are private property - trespassing is illegal and highly dangerous."
  • Do not walk, run, cycle, or operate ATVs on railroad tracks, bridges or property, or through tunnels."
  • "Never drive around lowered gates - it's illegal and deadly."
  • "If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, get out and clear away from the crossing."
  • "Quieter technology makes it less likely that you might hear the approach of a train."
  • "Stay alert around railroad tracks. Do not text, use headphones, or have other distractions."
  • "A train can extend 10 feet or more beyond the steel rail; always stay at least 100 feet" away.
  • Always assume railroad tracks are in use, even if there are weeds or the track looks unused."
If you suspect any part of the railroad crossing system may be malfunctioning, including lights and crossing arms, please contact the Burlington Police Department using the non-emergency number (336) 229-3500. If your vehicles stalls on the track, first get out and clear the tracks, then contact the BPD.

Railway Safety Week:

Railway Safety Occurs annually during the final week of September. During this week, the BPD participates in "Operation Clear Track" along with the Amtrak Police Department and Operation Lifesaver as well as 600 other law enforcement agencies nationwide. The goal is to raise awareness and enforce state railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws. This rail safety detail, carried out in 48 states, is the single largest rail safety law enforcement initiative in the U.S. Federal statistics show that every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train.

During "Operation Clear Track", BPD personnel are stationed at targeted railroad grade crossing locations to issue citations or warnings to violators. Officials disseminate railroad safety cards to motorists and pedestrians. The goal of Railroad Safety Week is to reduce pedestrian and driver injuries and fatalities around railroad tracks through increased public awareness and enforcement.

Contact Us:


(336) 229-3500


(800) 872-7245
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