Private railroad companies receive directive from Federal Railroad Administration on bridge safety

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MILWAUKEE — Private railroad companies have received a directive from the feds: Be transparent about the safety of their railroads. It’s the latest update on safety concerns at railroad bridges following a series of reports from FOX6’s Brad Hicks.

S. 1st Street bridge - Fifth Ward

S. 1st Street bridge – Fifth Ward

In February, FOX6 showed you a railroad bridge on S. 1st Street in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward that is corroded and in bad shape. Canadian Pacific refused to release records on that bridge that would show how often the bridge is inspected.

FOX6’s investigations caught the attention of Senator Tammy Baldwin, who asked the Federal Railroad Administration to intervene.

Now, a letter issued by the Federal Railroad Administration urges private railroads to update lawmakers and the public, saying railroad companies should: “Provide timely information to assure the community that the bridges in their communities are safe and structurally sound.”

The Federal Railroad Administration says there are 100,000 privately-built and owned railroad bridges in the United States.

As for that bridge on S. 1st Street, a Canadian Pacific spokesman tells FOX6 News the railroad company will make improvements to the railroad bridge later this fall.

S. 1st Street Bridge

S. 1st Street Bridge

The Federal Railroad Administration has ordered Canadian Pacific to turn over inspection reports for the S. 1st Street bridge.

The FRA tells FOX6 News it will take a few weeks to compare the reports from Canadian Pacific with what the FRA specialist who was out there saw.

As part of FOX6’s earlier Freedom of Information Act request for those records from the federal government — we’ll be receiving those reports on the bridge — and we’ll be sure to share them with you.

S. 1st Street railroad bridge

S. 1st Street railroad bridge