The Missouri Department of Transportation unveiled an independent report with recommendations to address passive rail crossings in Missouri, specifically on the three rail lines that carry passenger rail. Following the June 27, 2022, tragic Amtrak crash near Mendon, Mo., that took the lives of four people, Missouri has responded with the new FY2024 budget signed by Gov. Mike Parson providing an historic $50 million General Revenue investment. The data-driven report outlines the plan to work with the railroads and the communities who own the local roads at the 47 remaining passive public rail crossings in Missouri.
“Railroads in Missouri serve as a vital component sustaining and growing the economy in Missouri, but there are more than 1,400 locations in Missouri where roads cross these tracks without warning lights and gates,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “This new historic level of General Revenue approved by the Governor and General Assembly provides an opportunity to focus on the highest priority needs on the three railroad lines that carry passenger rail.”
The three passenger rail routes operated by Amtrak through Missouri are the Southwest Chief on BNSF line and Missouri River Runner and Texas Eagle on the UP lines. The study recommends various improvements to enhance safety, reduce exposure and eliminate grade crossing conflict points. Recommendations vary for each location, in terms of complexity and cost, ranging from advanced warning enhancements, crossing realignment, approach grade improvements, flashing lights and gates upgrades, closures, new roadway connections, and ADA sidewalk enhancements.
“These changes are critical to address safety along these passenger rail lines in Missouri,” said Director McKenna. “We look forward to working with the railroads and the communities who own these local roads to work through and finalize plans and agreements to make these safety improvements.”
In addition to the focus on the 47 passenger rail crossings, funding will be available to local communities to apply for additional advanced signage on roads as drivers approach a railroad crossing. These crossings could already have lights and gates, but additional advance warnings signs can further alert drivers to the situation ahead.
The next MoDOT study will focus on four railroad corridors across the state that carry freight only. MoDOT will also be working with railroads on a potential grants to address passive crossings on these other lines through Missouri.
Full details and the crossing-specific recommendations, advance signing program and other future studies are available online at
The announcement was attended by National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy and Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose, who pledged their support to work with Missouri on these important safety enhancements.