Ask a Trooper: What should I do if an emergency happens at a railroad crossing?

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Question: What am I supposed to do if I am at a railroad crossing and need to report an emergency?

Troy Christianson

Answer: Call 911 and provide the needed information. Every highway-rail crossing has an Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign that provides a 24/7/365 telephone number to report problems or emergencies at the railroad location. The blue colored ENS sign is located on the railroad crossing posts or the metal control box near the tracks. The ENS is for emergencies that would require stopping train traffic due to an obstruction or any other problem at the crossing. By providing the DOT number on the sign, the dispatchers know exactly where the grade crossing is and can notify trains moving in that direction to either come to a stop or be placed on a speed restriction.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

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If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.