Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Railroad crossing improvements

Locomotive horns | Statutory references

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation works with freight and passenger railroads and other businesses on initiatives that preserve rail service, improve the efficiency of rail operations, and enhance economic development.

A separate state agency, the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads (OCR), enforces regulations related to railway safety and investigates the safety of highway/rail crossings. In partnership with private rail firms, local governments and citizens, OCR oversees a variety of highway/rail crossing issues including:

  • Replacement or enhancement of passive and active warning devices at highway/rail crossings;
  • Repair of rough highway/rail crossing surfaces;
  • Installation of highway/rail crossings at new locations;
  • Alteration of existing highway/rail crossings; and
  • Closing or consolidating existing highway/rail crossings.


Office of the Commissioner of Railroads
Jeff Plale, Commissioner
610 North Whitney Way, Suite 110
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-0276

Locomotive horns

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a final rule regarding the sounding of locomotive horns at crossings.

Statutory references

  • Chapter 86: Miscellaneous highway provisions including highway/railroad grade crossings (86.11, 86.12, 86.13, 86.135).
  • Chapter 189: Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, powers and duties.
  • Chapter 190: Railroads, organization and management including powers of railroads and railroad consolidation; sale or lease of property.
  • Chapter 191: Railroads, construction, including railroad extensions.
  • Chapter 192: Railroads, regulations and liabilities including railroad train crews, and trespassing on railroads.
  • Chapter 195: Railroad regulation, including protecting grade crossings, advance warning signs, rail crossing warning devices (195.28), and new and altered rail crossings (195.29).

Questions about the content of this page:
Doug Wood, doug.wood@wisconsin.gov
Last modified: February 26, 2015

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