Resources for reporting blocked railroad crossings

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

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Do you know how to report a blocked railroad crossing or voice your concern about the length of a train?

Many Suffolk residents have expressed frustration about traffic issues caused by trains blocking a railroad crossing. When there’s a traffic issue or a backup, citizens often turn to local law enforcement for resolution of the issue. When it comes to railroads, however, the enforcement of laws and guidelines rests with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

While it is illegal for trains in Virginia to block an intersection (at a dead stop) for more than 5 minutes for non-emergency reasons, trains often do experience longer stops to accommodate switching operations and crew changes.

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The first step that citizens can take to report a blocked crossing is to contact the railroad (at all grade crossings there should be a blue ENS sign which includes a toll-free number to call).  Another way to address a blocked railroad crossing is to report the blockage on the Federal Railroad Administration’s Blocked Crossing Incident Reporter at This site allows users to report the blockage, the amount of time a crossing remained blocked, and the impact it had on the community. You can also fill out a complaint on the SCC website, or by calling 804-371-9980.

Reporting blocked railroad crossings is an important part of resolving this ongoing issue. Regulatory agencies rely on accurate accounts of these incidents in order to make changes and implement long-term solutions.

Citizens that would like to file a complaint regarding the length of trains are reminded that these issues are regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration. The city of Suffolk has no control, as the FRA does not give localities the ability to regulate the length of time a moving train can block a roadway crossing. The city of Suffolk is located in Region 2 of the FRA, and that phone number is 800-724-5992 should citizens wish to call to make a complaint.

People are encouraged to notify the appropriate agencies when there’s a blocked crossing in Suffolk, or if they have a concern about the length of a train.