Crossing Treatment Procedures
State Laws and Regulations
- 222. Applicability; general provisions of grade crossing elimination
- This article shall apply to all highway-railroad grade crossing eliminations the construction work for which is commenced on or after March first, nineteen hundred seventy-one, except that any such projects authorized pursuant to the provisions of the highway law may be constructed in accordance therewith. Construction commenced on highway-railroad grade crossing elimination projects before March first, nineteen hundred seventy-one pursuant to orders of the public service commission shall be completed in accordance with this article.
- The commissioner shall report not later than December first in each year to the governor, the chairman of the finance committee of the senate and the chairman of the ways and means committee of the assembly, the projects which have been completed during the preceding twelve months, those under construction, those ordered but upon which construction work has not been started, the amount expended on the completed and partially completed work, an estimate of the cost of work not completed and an estimate of the cost of eliminations ordered respecting which no expenditures have been made.
- The governing body of any municipality in which a highway-railroad grade crossing is located or any railroad company for any railroad operated by it which has railroad tracks that are crossed at grade by a highway may petition the commissioner to institute grade crossing elimination procedures pursuant to this article. The commissioner shall hold public hearings on any elimination requested by such petition which in his judgment warrants examination. Upon his own motion, the commissioner may investigate any other highway-railroad grade crossing which he determines should be considered for elimination. The commissioner, upon such notice as he shall deem reasonable to the municipality in which the highway-railroad grade crossing is located, the railroad company whose railroad tracks are crossed at grade by the highway and any other party deemed by the commissioner to be interested in the elimination procedure, shall hold public hearings to consider any such elimination. The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations concerning the procedure to be followed at such hearings and the matters to be considered at such hearings.
- After the conclusion of such hearings, the commissioner shall, by order, determine whether it is in the public interest to require the elimination of such highway-railroad grade crossing. Any elimination order shall also determine the manner in which such elimination shall be made including a determination as to the alteration to be made in such crossing, its approaches, the method of crossing, the character of the structure and approaches, the type and extent of pavement, the location of the crossing, the closing and discontinuance of a crossing and the diversion of traffic from an existing crossing to an existing or a new highway, road, street or crossing, or the opening of an additional crossing and also including, if so determined by the commissioner, a change in the location of the railroad when necessary to effect the elimination of such crossing. Whenever the commissioner shall have, by order, determined that it is in the public interest to require the elimination of two or more grade crossings, and if it appears that the cost would not substantially exceed the cost of the eliminations at the present locations, and if the public interest is better served and the number of such eliminations could be reduced by relocating the railroad, the commissioner after a hearing may order such relocation. Such hearing shall be held upon such notice as the commissioner shall deem reasonable, but not less than ten days, to the railroad company involved. Notice shall also be given to the municipalities and persons deemed by the commissioner to be interested in the elimination procedure. The commissioner shall serve a certified copy of all orders on the comptroller, the railroad, the municipalities affected thereby and all other parties to the proceeding.
- In connection with a grade crossing elimination project, the commissioner shall determine the work on the railroad tracks or other railroad facilities which is to be performed by railroad company forces, shall direct the railroad company to perform such work and shall direct the railroad company to prepare plans and estimates of cost for such work and submit such plans and estimates to the commissioner for approval.
- After the commissioner shall have issued an elimination order in connection with a grade crossing elimination project, the department of transportation, except for the work on the railroad tracks or other railroad facilities to be performed by railroad company forces, shall cause to be prepared the plans, specifications and estimates of cost of such elimination project. Such plans shall specifically show that part of the work of the elimination which when completed shall be maintained by the railroad company and that part which shall be maintained by the state or the municipality in which the work of the elimination is located, as provided in the highway law where a state highway is involved and in the railroad law where a highway other than a state highway is involved, and such plans shall also show that part of the work of the elimination which shall be otherwise maintained.
- If a state department, agency or commission, public authority or municipality in which the work of the elimination is located, desires to make or cause to have made changes or additions which in the opinion of the commissioner are other than necessary for the elimination, and desires such changes and/or additions to be done in connection with the work of the elimination, the commissioner shall hold a hearing to determine if such changes and/or additions shall be included in the plans and specifications. However, in any case where the interested parties shall have agreed in writing to such changes and/or additions no hearing shall be required unless the commissioner shall so direct. The commissioner in an order containing findings shall specify which such changes and/or additions are approved and shall be included in the plans and specifications for the elimination project. Such order shall also state an estimated cost of such desired changes and/or additions other than necessary for the elimination, and the portions thereof chargeable, respectively, to the state department, agency or commission, public authority or municipality in which the work of the elimination is located.
Prior to the award of any contract containing changes and/or additions other than necessary for the elimination, the state department, agency or commission desiring such changes and/or additions shall certify to the commissioner that the funds necessary for the payment of the cost of such desired changes and/or additions other than necessary for the elimination, have been made available for that purpose. In the case of a public authority or municipality, such public authority or municipality shall deposit the necessary funds with the comptroller, who shall receive and accept the same for the purposes hereof, subject to the draft or requisition of the commissioner. When the elimination project has been completed and the cost thereof shall have been paid by the state, the commissioner shall render to such public authority or the governing body of such municipality an itemized statement showing in full (a) the amount of money that has been deposited by such public authority or municipality with the comptroller as hereinbefore provided, and (b) all disbursements which have been made hereunder. Any surplus money shall be paid to such public authority or municipality on the warrant of the comptroller on vouchers therefor approved by the commissioner. In the event, upon the completion of the elimination project, it is determined by the commissioner that the amount of the cost to be borne by such public authority or municipality is in excess of the amount deposited by such public authority or municipality with the comptroller, then, in such event, such public authority or municipality shall within ninety days of the receipt of the notice from the commissioner of the amount of the deficiency required to fully compensate the state for the public authority’s or municipality’s cost for such desired changes and/or additions other than necessary for the elimination, pay such amount to the comptroller.
- If a municipality desires to have the elimination accomplished in a manner or by a method which is different and more costly than that ordered by the commissioner, such municipality may petition the commissioner to consider such different manner or method. The commissioner may consider such petition if he deems the filing thereof to be timely and, after a public hearing for such purpose, determines that the different manner or method is feasible and will serve the public interest as well as that originally proposed and ordered by him. The commissioner shall cause to be prepared an estimate of cost for the elimination project utilizing the different manner or method, as well as an estimate of cost for the elimination project as originally proposed. The municipality shall be advised of the estimated additional costs and expenses to be borne by such municipality to provide for such different manner or method of construction. The commissioner may amend the elimination order so as to include the different manner or method of construction provided the governing body of such municipality shall by resolution assume the responsibility for the additional costs and expenses to provide such different manner or method of construction. After the elimination order has been amended, the commissioner shall cause to be prepared the plans, specifications and estimates of cost of such elimination project. When such municipality approves such plans, specifications and estimates of cost, it shall by resolution appropriate the funds necessary to provide for the portion of the costs and expenses of the project to be borne by such municipality. Such funds shall, prior to the advertisement for bids for the elimination project, be deposited by such municipality with the comptroller, who is authorized to receive and accept the same for the purposes hereof, subject to the draft or requisition of the commissioner, and a certified copy of such resolution shall be filed with the comptroller and with the commissioner. The moneys so required shall be raised by tax or pursuant to the local finance law or in accordance with any local charter or law, as the case may be. Upon the completion of the elimination project the commissioner shall transmit to the governing body of such municipality an itemized statement showing in full (a) the amount of money that has been deposited by such municipality with the comptroller as hereinbefore provided, and (b) all disbursements which have been made hereunder. Any surplus money shall be paid to such municipality on the warrant of the comptroller on vouchers therefor approved by the commissioner. In the event, upon the completion of the elimination project, it is determined by the commissioner that the amount of the cost to be borne by such municipality is in excess of the amount deposited by such municipality with the comptroller, then, in such event, such municipality shall within ninety days of the receipt of the notice from the commissioner of the amount of the deficiency required to fully compensate the state for the municipality’s cost for such different manner or method of construction, pay such amount to the comptroller. Two or more municipalities may share the cost for such different manner or method of construction in such proportions as they shall mutually agree. Whenever such a different manner or method of construction is utilized in a grade crossing elimination project, the determination of the net benefit to the railroad company shall be based on the estimate of cost for the elimination project as originally proposed.
- A railroad company may request railroad improvements not an essential part of the elimination and such improvements may be included in the elimination order provided the commissioner determines that such improvements do not adversely affect the project and the comptroller approves the inclusion of such improvements in the project. Such approval may contain such conditions, in respect to repayment, as the comptroller may deem necessary in the interest of the state. If the commissioner determines that such improvements will affect the municipality in which the work of the elimination is located or the property owners adjacent to such project, he may hold a public hearing to consider such improvements prior to issuance of the elimination order.
- Any elimination order made by the commissioner shall specify incidental improvements, if any, rendered necessary or desirable because of such elimination and which reasonably can be included in the engineering plans therefor.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 222
- 51. Repair of highways at railroad crossings
Whenever a highway crosses a railroad track at grade and such grade crossing is out of repair, if it is the judgment of the commissioner of transportation, the board of supervisors of a county, the board of aldermen of a city, the board of trustees of a village or the town superintendent of highways of a town that the same should be repaired, the commissioner of transportation, the board of supervisors of a county, the board of aldermen of a city, the board of trustees of a village or the town superintendent of a town may repair and maintain the same and charge the expense thereof to the railroad company over whose railroad such crossing is repaired and maintained, if after fifteen days’ notice in writing such railroad company neglects or refuses to repair the same.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 51
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
- 53-c. Obstructing farm and highway crossings
Any officer or employee of a railroad corporation who shall intentionally obstruct, and any owner, officer or employee of a railroad corporation who shall intentionally cause to be obstructed any farm or highway crossing with any locomotive, train or car for a longer period than five consecutive minutes is guilty of a violation which shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than fifteen days or by both such fine and imprisonment. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section or any local ordinance to the contrary, no owner, officer or employee of a railroad corporation who obstructs, or causes to be obstructed, any farm or highway crossing shall be subject to any civil, criminal or other penalty where such person has no control over the situation causing the obstruction or where the locomotive, train or car cannot be moved without endangering the safety of the passengers, the public or freight.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 53-c
State Laws and Regulations
- 53-a. Warning signs
Every municipality or political subdivision, or in case of state highways the department of transportation, which is charged with the duty of maintaining a highway at places where such highway crosses a railroad at grade, shall install and maintain an approach warning sign in each such highway on each side of each railroad grade crossing. In case of the failure or refusal of any such municipality or political subdivision or railroad company to install or furnish such signs as herein provided the commissioner of transportation shall take proceedings to compel obedience to the provisions of this section by the municipality or political subdivision or by the railroad company. The supreme court at a special term upon a special proceeding brought by the commissioner of transportation shall have the power in all cases to compel compliance with the provisions of this section subject to appeal to the appellate division of the supreme court and the court of appeals in the same manner and with like effect as is provided in case of appeals from a judgment of the supreme court.
Where physical conditions at any grade crossing are such that the commissioner of transportation deems it impracticable to place such approach warning signs, such commissioner of transportation may by order release the municipality or other political subdivision or the department of transportation from the obligation of installing and maintaining such signs and may by order direct other suitable warning signs to be furnished by the railroad company and installed and maintained by the municipality. The erection and maintenance of any sign or signs other than said approach warning signs may be prohibited by any such municipality, political subdivision or department of transportation in any highway between any such approach warning sign and any such crossing, or in any location where the warning sign may be obscured from view by the presence of such other sign or signs.
The design, location, and manner of installation of such signs shall conform to the manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic-control devices adopted by the department of transportation.
It shall be the duty of the driver of any vehicle using such street or highway and crossing to reduce speed to a safe limit upon passing such sign and to proceed cautiously and carefully with the vehicle under complete control.
The commissioner of transportation may require the railroad company or municipality or political subdivision which is charged with the duty of maintaining the highway wherever practicable to maintain its property at or near such grade crossing free of obstruction to vision.
Provided, however, any approach warning sign, maintained pursuant to this section, installed prior to the time this act takes effect may continue as and shall be deemed a lawful approach warning sign for the purposes of applying the provisions of this section.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 53-a
- 71-a. Reflective whistle signs
- It shall be the duty of every class one railroad operating in the state of New York to install a retro-reflective whistle sign at the approach to each rail highway grade crossing. Such whistle sign shall be sheeted with a retro-reflective material as specified by the commissioner of transportation.
- Defacing, damaging or unauthorized removal of a reflective whistle sign is prohibited and each separate violation of the provisions of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 71-a
Warning Devices- Train Borne
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
- 53-b. Ringing bells and blowing whistles at crossings
A person acting as engineer, driving a locomotive on any railway in this state, who fails to ring the bell, or sound the whistle, upon such locomotive, or cause the same to be rung or sounded, at least eighty rods from any place where such railway crosses a traveled road or street on the same level, except in cities, or to continue the ringing of such bell or sounding such whistle at intervals, until such locomotive and the train to which the locomotive is attached shall have completely crossed such road or street is guilty of a misdemeanor.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 53-b
Warning Devices- Active
State Laws and Regulations
No applicable statute related to this topic.
State Laws and Regulations
- 97. Intercity rail passenger service
- As used in this section, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the term:
- “Intercity rail passenger service” shall mean any intercity rail passenger transportation operation where rail passenger trains operate on a regular scheduled basis.
- “Intercity rail passenger service corridor” shall mean a continuous railroad route which contains one or more segments of railroad track or tracks where intercity rail passenger service is in operation by the national rail passenger corporation.
- “Public rail crossing” shall mean a crossing where a highway, roadway or similar facility, which is owned by a government, either federal, state or local, a public authority or a public agency, crosses a railroad track or tracks, is open to the public and has been designated as such by order of the commissioner, or recognized as having been a public at-grade crossing prior to eighteen hundred ninety-seven.
- “Private rail crossing” shall mean a crossing which traverses a railroad track or tracks and may be used by the owner of the right-of-way, the owner’s invitees and others, including the public, but has not been declared or recognized as a public rail crossing by the commissioner.
- “Railroad” shall mean a private or public railroad operating in the state of New York carrying either freight or passengers or freight and passengers including, but not limited to, those operated by the metropolitan transportation authority and its subsidiaries, including the Long Island Rail Road or operated by any other public authority or local government.
- No new private rail crossings shall be established in an intercity rail passenger service corridor until an application has been made to and approved by the commissioner. Whenever an application is made, the commissioner shall conduct a hearing to determine if a private rail crossing is justified or if an existing public or private crossing could be used to avoid the creation of a new crossing. If the commissioner determines that a crossing is justified and is in the best interest of the people of the state of New York, the commissioner shall determine the manner of the crossing, whether it is to be at-grade or grade-separated, the location, the manner of protection and the apportionment of responsibility for the maintenance of any such crossing, including any warning devices.
- In order to insure public safety, the commissioner may, if he or she determines it appropriate, require alterations in an existing private rail crossing, including a farm crossing, which is located in an intercity rail passenger service corridor and is hereby authorized to participate in the cost of such alterations. In the event that an agreement on such alterations cannot be reached between the railroad owning the crossing, property owners who are directly impacted by the crossing and the department, the commissioner shall conduct a hearing on the need for such alterations and whether any other alternatives are available, including the use of an alternate route or the closure of the crossing and shall, where applicable, determine the apportionment of responsibility for the alteration and maintenance of any such crossing, including any warning devices. Public comment shall be sought on any proposed alteration or closure which will impact public access to lands open to the public for recreational use. Comments received from the public shall be considered in any decision to alter or close such a crossing. No crossing which provides direct access to public state recreational lands shall be closed unless the commissioner, in consultation with the state agency with jurisdiction over such lands, finds that there is a reasonable alternate route to such lands that maintains public access to and the public recreational value of such lands.
- The commissioner shall prepare and promulgate standards and specifications for the design and protection of private rail crossings in an intercity rail passenger service corridor and is authorized to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations to accomplish this as shall be deemed necessary.
- The commissioner shall have the power to acquire any real property, easements, rights-of-way or similar rights necessary for the purposes of this article in the same manner as property is acquired for state highway purposes pursuant to the provisions of section thirty of the highway law.
N.Y. R.R. Law § 97
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
No applicable statute related to this topic.