How to report a blocked railroad crossing

Few things are more frustrating than being stuck at a blocked railroad crossing. The train stops moving, traffic backs up and you have no choice but to wait for the train to clear the tracks or try to find an alternate route. This is not just inconvenient – it may also be illegal. West Virginia Code states that except in the case of a continuously moving train or in an emergency, it is illegal for a railroad company to block a public street, road or highway for more than 10 minutes. Blocked crossings have become a major problem in recent years.

The Public Service Commission’s Railroad Safety Inspectors investigate blocked crossings on the nearly 8,000 public highway-rail crossings in the state. Until two years ago, it was difficult to find out when and where the blockages were happening. That’s when we developed an online portal that the public can use to report trains that are illegally blocking a road. By reporting these incidents to the PSC, our inspectors can investigate the cause of the blockages and report the findings to the Federal Railroad Administration.

You can find the portal on our website at Scroll down to the Transportation subhead and click on Railroad Crossing Complaint. From there, follow the prompts and enter the information requested. While you are waiting for the tracks to clear, write down the date, the time, how long the crossing was blocked, the street and city of the crossing and if possible, the numbers on the side of the locomotive or some of the cars. You will also need the AAR-DOT number on the blocked crossing. Each public railroad crossing should have a bright blue emergency notification sign somewhere near the crossing, generally on the signal or crossbuck post. That sign will include the name and phone number of the railroad company and a unique identification AAR-DOT number, which is a six digit number followed by a letter, such as “123456 A.”

We appreciate your help as we continue to resolve this ongoing problem.


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