A robotic vehicle (10) is shown with conventional train flanged wheels (11) riding upon common railroad tracks (12). The body (13) of the vehicle encloses a conventional diesel electric power unit (14) with speed characteristics comparable to the train it precedes. The power unit (14) is controlled by a computer program, but has remote control override provisions in the software as directed by the engineer in the locomotive cab following the robotic vehicle (RV). The RV (10) has a television camera (15) viewing the track ahead and a transmitter (16) for sending the video signal to the locomotive cab's TV monitor (17)/video cassette recorder (18). The range and power of the electromagnetic wave exchange directly between the RV and cab will be low power broadcasts and signal frequencies as assigned by the FCC. The RV has safety sensors as described in the detailed description which display warnings in the locomotive cab for the engineer to apply the train's brakes in time, thus preventing an accident, since the distance between the train and the RV is approximately 1 to 2 miles.