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Railroad Maintenance and Operations Handbook for Local Governments and Rail Carriers


	                  TITLE: Railroad Maintenance and 

                                 Operations Handbook for Local 

                                 Governments and Rail Carriers

	                 AUTHOR: North Central Texas Council of


	                SUBJECT: A summary of railroad 

                                 guidelines for selected 

                                 maintenance and operation 

                                 procedures in the NCTCOG 


	                   DATE: April 27, 1995

	       SOURCE OF COPIES: Research and Information 



		                 P.O. Drawer 5888

		                 Arlington, TX  76005-5888

		                 (817) 640-3300

	        NUMBER OF PAGES: 72

	               ABSTRACT: Local governments and private 

                                 railroad operators have 

                                 recommended that a regionwide 

                                 handbook on railroad 

                                 maintenance and operational

                                 procedures be compiled to 

                                 assist cities and rail carriers

                                 in clarifying separate and 

                                 joint jurisdictional issues. 

                                 This report provides analyses 

                                 of current maintenance and 

                                 railroad operational issues 

                                 with recommendations supported 

                                 by local governments, state 

                                 agencies, the Federal Railroad

                                 Administration, and major rail

                                 carriers. Included are a 

                                 summary of maintenance 

                                 guidelines including crossing 

                                 upgrade procedures and funding; 

                                 jurisdictions of agencies on 

                                 highway and railroad 

                                 rights-of-way; recommendations 

                                 on signals, pavement, drainage,

                                 signs, illumination, pavement 

                                 markings, crossing material 

                                 selection, visual obstructions,

                                 operating speed restrictions, 

                                 and blocked crossings; an 

                                 overview of legal 

                                 considerations in Texas; and 

                                 a listing of emergency and 

                                 nonemergency contact phone 



Mr. Kurt J. Anderson (M/O)

Manager, Public 


Union Pacific 


1416 Dodge Street

Omaha, NE  68179


Ms. Donna Barrett

(formerly Administrative Assistant)

City of Fort Worth

1000 Throckmorton Street

Fort Worth, TX  76102


Mr. Harold Bastin

Dir. of Traffic & Transp.

City of Garland

P.O. Box 469002

Garland, TX  75046-9002


Mr. Bob Burns (M/O)


Union Pacific Railroad

P.O. Box 1584

Austin, TX  78767


Mr. Mike Calhoun, Mgr (O)

Safety and Planning

Railroad Commission of Texas

Capitol Station, 

P.O. Box 12967

Austin, TX  78711


Mr. Larry Cervenka (O)

(formerly Traffic Engineer)

City of Farmers Branch

P.O. Box 819010

Farmers Branch, TX  75381-9010


Mr. Walter Cooper (O)

City Traffic Engineer

City of Fort Worth

1000 Throckmorton Street

Fort Worth, TX  76102


Mr. Ken Daft

Cotton Belt Railroad

P.O. Box 121

Carrollton, TX  75006


Mr. Jim Dickson (O)

Director of Government Affairs

Burlington Northern Railroad

373 Inverness Drive South

Englewood, CO  80112


Mr. Jim Driscoll

Traffic Administrator

City of Irving

P.O. Box 152288

Irving, TX  75015


Mr. John Eck

Government Relations

Southern Pacific Transp. Co.

1005 Congress Avenue, #800B

Austin, TX  78701


Mr. Robert Farnsworth (O)

State Rail Planner

Railroad Commission of Texas

Capitol Station, 

P.O.Box 12967

Austin, TX  78711


Mr. S. Elton Hamill (M)

Supervising Design Engineer

TxDOT, District 2

P.O. Box 6868

Fort Worth, TX  76115


Mr. Robert Hestes (O)

Repr., Operation Lifesaver

Union Pacific Railroad

2826 Olympia

Arlington, TX  76013


Mr. Jon Hoeft

General Counsel

Dallas Area Rapid Transit

601 Pacific Avenue

Dallas, TX  75202


Mr. Deannie Hobbs (O)

Asst. Terminal Superintendent

Southern Pacific Railroad

7600 South Central Expressway

Dallas, TX  75216


Mr. Don Huffman (O)

Manager of Operating Practices

Union Pacific Railroad

P.O. Box 9857

Fort Worth, TX 76107


Mr. Frank Jones (M/O)

Former Regional Director

Federal Railroad Admin.

819 Taylor, Room 11A23

Fort Worth, TX  76012


Mr. Dennis A. Kearns (O)

Legislative Counsel

Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe RR

1005 Congress Street, #800A

Austin, TX  78701


Mr. Richard Larkins

Asst. Dir. of Public Works

City of Grand Prairie

P.O. Box 530011

Grand Prairie, TX 75053-0011


Mr. Ralph Martinez

Traffic Engineer

City of Irving

P.O. Box 152288

Irving, TX  75015


Mr. Mark Mathis

Traffic Engineer

City of Grand Prairie

P.O. Box 530011

Grand Prairie, TX 75053-0011


Mr. Don Millender


Union Pacific Railroad

505 N. Industrial Blvd.

Dallas, TX  75207


Mr. Don Penny, P.E. (M)

Dir. of Traffic & Transp.

City of Carrollton

P.O. Box 110535

Carrollton, TX  75011-0535


Mr. Jim Renshaw (O)

Senior Traffic Engineer

City of Arlington

P.O. Box 231

Arlington, TX 76010


Mr. Ron Royse (O)

Transportation Manager


1501 Jones

Fort Worth, TX  76102


Mr. Michael Schneider

General Solicitor

Union Pacific Railroad

801 Travis, #1600

Houston, TX  77002


(M)	Maintenance Work Group

(O)	Operations Work Group


Mr. David Schultz

Transportation Planner

City of Garland

P.O. Box 46902

Garland, TX  75046-9002


Mr. Thurman Schweitzer

(formerly Transportation Planner)

Fort Worth Transportation Authority

P.O. Box 1477

Fort Worth, TX  76101-1477


Mr. Jim Sparks

Public Works Department

City of Hurst

1505 Precinct Line Road

Hurst, TX  76054


Mr. Johnnie Stotts (O)

Operation Lifesaver

Union Pacific Railroad

Route 1, Box 414

Haslet, TX  76052


Ms. Cissy Sylo (O)

Traffic Engineer

City of Carrollton

P.O. Box 110535

Carrollton, TX  75011-0535


Mr. David Timbrell (M)

Engineering Assistant

City of Garland

P.O. Box 469002

Garland, TX  75046-9002


Mr. Hal Tynan

Transportation Planner

City of Dallas

1500 Marilla, Room 5CS

Dallas, TX  75201


Mr. Noe Villarreal (M)

Traffic Safety Engineer

TxDOT, District 18

P.O. Box 3067

Dallas, TX  75227


Mr. Ernie A. Wilson (O)

Public Works Engineer

Burlington Northern 


6851 N.E. Loop 820, #300

Fort Worth, TX  76180


(M)	Maintenance Work Group

(O) 	Operations Work Group

Project Staff

North Central Texas 

Council of Governments

Wes Beckham, Senior Transportation Engineer

Diane Brostuen, Administrative Secretary

Mitzi Ward, Transportation Planner I

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS


I.  INTRODUCTION		                            I-1

      Regulation Authority Jurisdictions		    I-4

	Environmental Protection Agency 		    I-4

	Federal Railroad Administration 		    I-5

	Federal Highway Administration		            I-5

	Interstate Commerce Commission		            I-5

	National Highway Traffic Safety Administration	    I-6

	Department of Public Safety		            I-6

	Railroad Commission of Texas		            I-6

	Texas Department of Transportation		    I-6

	City Law Enforcement		                    I-6

	Operation Lifesaver		                    I-6

II. MAINTENANCE		                                   II-1

      Texas Priority Index for Railroad-Highway Grade 

      Crossings		                                   II-2

      TxDOT Railroad Grade Crossing Replanking Program	   II-9

      Highway-Rail Crossing Surface Ranking Index	  II-11

      Jurisdiction of Responsible Agencies		  II-16

        Track, Signal, and Crossing Surface Maintenance	  II-16

	Railroad Signal Maintenance and Traffic Signal 

        Preemption		                          II-19

	Pavement Alignment		                  II-20

	Drainage		                          II-20

	Advance Signs and Pavement Markings		  II-21

	Fencing		                                  II-28


	Grade Crossing Materials		          II-28

	Reflectorized Tape and Illumination		  II-32

	Track Inspections		                  II-34

	Visual Obstructions		                  II-35

      Crossing Relocations, Consolidation or Closure   	  II-36

      Temporary Crossing Closures		          II-38

      Bicycle Crossings		                          II-39

      Americans with Disabilities Act		          II-40

      Toll-Free Number in Texas for Reporting Crossing 

      Signal Problems		                          II-40

III. OPERATIONS		                                  III-1

      Speed Restrictions		                  III-1

	Historical Development		                  III-1

	Existing Railroad Operating Speeds		  III-2

	Federal Court Judgments		                  III-3

	Precedence of Federal Railroad Administration 

        Track  Classification		                  III-6

	State Intervention for Local Crossing Hazards	  III-7

	Harmonic Oscillation		                  III-7

	Accident Data		                          III-8

	Recommendations		                          III-8

      Size Restrictions		                         III-11

      Blocked Crossings		                         III-12

      Railroad Noise Relating to Adjacent Land Uses	 III-15

      Motorist Education		                 III-17

	Grade Crossing Safety Facts		         III-17

	Operation Lifesaver		                 III-18

      Legal Responsibilities of Motorists at Grade 

      Crossings		                                 III-19

      Police Enforcement at Activated Warning Device 

      Grade Crossings		                         III-20









  I-1	Map of the North Central Texas Region		    I-2

  I-2	Rail Network in the Transportation Study Area	    I-3

 II-1	Texas Priority Index Funding Procedure 		   II-3 

 II-2	National Average of Crossing Upgrade Costs ($1989) II-5

 II-3	Factors Affecting Grade Crossing Safety            II-8

 II-4	Texas Department of Transportation Grade Crossing 

        Submission Form		                          II-10

  II-5	Grade Crossing Surface Site Characteristics and 

        Weights 		                          II-13

 II-6	Average Daily Traffic (ADT) /Percent Trucks 

        Quotient		                          II-13

 II-7	Grade Crossing Surface Ratings 	                  II-14

 II-8	Grade Crossing Surface Condition Rating Form      II-15

 II-9	Typical Cross Section Thru Timber Crossing	  II-17

 II-10	Elements of Railroad Track Cross Section	  II-18

 II-11	Standard Passive Advance Warning Signs 		  II-23

 II-12	Crossbuck Sign, Flashing Light Signal, and 

        Automatic Gate		                          II-24

 II-13	Comparison of Crossing Material Costs and 

        Service Life		                          II-30

 III-1	Community-Imposed Speed Restrictions in the 

        North Central Texas Region		          III-4

III-2	1988 Current Class of Track and Operating 

        Speed Limits of the Federal Railroad 

        Administration		                          III-5

III-3	Texas Grade Crossing Accidents		          III-9

III-4	Crossing Fatality Rates by Age		         III-10

	              I.  INTRODUCTION

Railroad maintenance and operation procedures vary widely in the 

North Central Texas Region. In response to a request from local

communities and railroad operators, this report was prepared to 

recommend guidelines which are agreeable to several interested 

parties including:  local governments, the Railroad Commission 

of Texas (RCT), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT),

the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and major passenger

 nd freight rail operators within the region.  These 

recommendations are not enforceable by legislative action unless 

expressly stated in the report.  Jurisdictional issues, either 

as separate or joint responsibilities among local, state, or 

federal agencies and affected railroad companies, are presented

with uniform guidelines and recommendations to be considered by

 the 16-county North Central Texas Region as shown in Figure 

I-1.  The specific railroad network within the North Central 

Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Transportation Study Area 

is shown in Figure I-2.

Section II of this report provides a summary and recommendations 

for selected maintenance issues.  Grade crossing upgrades using 

the TxDOT Priority Index (PI) and a survey of funding mechanisms 

are discussed.  The TxDOT Railroad Grade Crossing Replanking 

Program is presented which describes how the state reviews 

crossing projects located on the State Highway System.  The 

Highway-Rail Crossing Surface Ranking Index presents a 

subjective evaluation process for rating crossing conditions.  

Jurisdictions of responsible agencies are considered along with 

maintenance of track, signals, pavement, drainage, signs, 

pavement markings, fencing, selection of grade crossing 

materials, reflectorized tape on signs, crossing illumination, 

track inspections, visual obstructions at crossings, and 

temporary grade crossing closures for maintenance.

Section III provides a summary of existing railroad and highway 

operational issues with recommendations for speed restrictions, 

size restrictions, blocked grade crossings, railroad noise 

related to existing land uses, motorist education, legal 

responsibilities of motorist, and police enforcement as well as 

contact numbers for city officials and rail carriers.

All references regarding cost estimates are expressed in 1989 

dollars using the consumer price index.  "Railroad operators" in 

this report refer to freight, passenger, and heavy rail commuter 

trains.  "Active warning devices" refer to crossings with gates 

or flashers to warn of an approaching train.  "Passive warning 

devices" refer to crossings with a crossbuck warning assembly.

This handbook is being prepared as the second phase of a NCTCOG 

Railroad Coordination Study.  Phase One of this project 

addressed a railroad and roadway grade separation needs 

assessment benefit-cost analysis.  Hazardous material 

transportation in railroad corridors will form the basis of a 

future study.


Nine agencies have jurisdiction over railroad operations and 

maintenance activities.  These agencies' responsibilities 

overlap depending on the context of the situation.  A selective 

list of agencies and their responsibilities of interest to local 

cities and railroad operating officials in the NCTCOG region is 

as follows:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Develops standards and 

procedures for environmental impact statements and assessments; 

develops noise policies for constant and repetitive noise 

sources and their effects on adjacent land uses and identifies 

future goals for 

noise reduction nationwide relative to public health and 

welfare; and developed Railroad Noise Emission Standards for 

rail carriers engaged in interstate commerce with compliance 

responsibility resting with the FRA.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) - Enforces the Code of 

Federal Regulations (CFR); enforces noise standards by testing 

moving, stationary, and switcher trains; specifies track classes 

including a reference to maximum railroad operating speeds; 

investigates complaints by the public regarding crossings; 

investigates selected train/vehicle crossing accidents usually 

where two or more fatalities occur; maintains the 

accident/incident reporting system; and is custodian of the U.S. 

Department of Transportation (DOT) American Association of 

Railroads (AAR) National Rail/Highway Crossing Inventory.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) - Administers federal 

funding for crossing safety improvements (railroad crossing 

upgrades) through the Surface Transportation Program (STP) under 

the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 

(ISTEA) for all systems of roads and highways; publishes signs 

and pavement marking standards in the Manual on Uniform Traffic 

Control Devices (MUTCD); and conducts crossing research in 

coordination with the FRA.

Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) - Generally deals with 

cost-effective and competitive rail transportation issues on an 

interstate level; has jurisdiction over the supply of railroad 

equipment; and requires environmental assessments of increased 

rail traffic of approximately 50 percent or greater or eight 

trains/day derived from mergers and new line construction which 

cause extra rail traffic.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - 

Maintains the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS).

Department of Public Safety (DPS) - Enforces railroad-highway 

crossing safety laws and maintains railroad/highway accident 

data which is forwarded to the Texas Department of 

Transportation (TxDOT) and NHTSA; receives and passes to 

railroads reports of crossing signal problems made by the public 

using a toll-free 1-800 telephone number.

Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) - Assists the FRA with the 

inspection of railroad equipment, operations and track; enforces 

state legislation regarding sight rectangle and clearance on 

bridges; has the authority to close crossings; and investigates 

complaints by the public regarding crossings.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) - Develops an annual 

list of recommended railroad-highway crossings for FHWA crossing 

safety improvement funds, administers the projects, and 

coordinates the on-site joint inspection of crossings for 

potential upgrading which includes a team of rail operators, 

cities, counties, school districts, and law enforcement 

officials to recommend the type of safety improvements.

City Law Enforcement - Enforces traffic and trespass laws; 

completes railroad/accident reports; and issues citations for 

railroad ordinance infractions if warranted.

Operation Lifesaver - Public information and education program 

that promotes crossing and trespasser safety programs to help 

prevent and reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities and improve 

driver performance at public and private highway-rail grade 

crossings.  Operation 

Lifesaver involves the railroads, related federal, state, and 

local governments, business, railroad suppliers, labor, and 

other concerned safety professionals.  Provides contact for 

Operation Lifesaver presentors program to schools, civic 

organizations, etc.

	             II.  MAINTENANCE

The purpose of this chapter is to present the findings and 

recommendations of the Railroad Maintenance Work Group to the 

Railroad Coordination Task Force for consideration as a regional 

maintenance handbook for rail corridors in the Dallas-Fort Worth 

area.  The Railroad Maintenance Work Group was formed in early 

1989 with members from local cities, rail carriers, the Federal 

Railroad Administration (FRA), the Railroad Commission of Texas, 

and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).  Their 

expertise plus current case law and civil statutes were utilized 

to develop this rail corridor maintenance and operations 


The major issues of mutual interest addressed in this section 

are:  the TxDOT Grade Crossing Priority Index (PI) and funding 

for crossing improvements, the TxDOT Railroad Grade Crossing 

Replanking Program, the Florida Highway Rail Crossing Surface 

Ranking Index, and a subsection on the jurisdictions of 

responsible agencies.  The jurisdictions briefly discuss basic 

grade crossing elements which include:  track maintenance, 

signal maintenance and traffic signal preemption, pavement 

alignment, drainage, advance signs and pavement markings, 

fencing, grade crossing materials, reflectorized tape on signs, 

illumination of crossings, track inspections, visual 

obstructions including vegetation control, temporary crossing 

closures, and the existing toll-free number in Texas for 

reporting grade crossing signal problems.

All handbook sections which quote costs are expressed in 1989 

dollars.  If costs were cited from references expressed in 

previous year dollars, the figures were adjusted using the 

consumer price index.


In Texas, federal funds have been available for crossing 

upgrades since the 1930s.  The Federal Highway Administration 

(FHWA) and TxDOT manage the railroad-highway crossing safety 

improvement program under a federal oversight agreement to 

provide federal funds to Texas for highway-rail grade crossing 

safety improvements.  This program, formerly funded under the 

Section 130 Rail-Highway Crossings program, is funded from part 

of the 10 percent of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds 

set aside for safety.  These funds have been apportioned by the 

ratio of the number of public crossings in the state to the 

total number of public crossings in the country as well as the 

state's population, area, and road mileage.  FHWA provides 

90 percent of the funding on all roadway systems for crossing 

improvements, with the state providing a 10 percent 

contribution.  The Texas Transportation Commission annually 

approves funding of the state matching funds for the Rail-

Highway Crossings program.  The local governmentsí contribution 

is to provide any roadway approach or alignment improvements, 

utility or drainage adjustments, and vegetation trimming or 


Federal funds are primarily used to upgrade passively signed 

crossings to active warning signals.  Other eligible safety 

improvements include advance warning signs, removal of visual 

obstructions, grade separation/bridge construction, improve 

roadway approaches, illumination, pavement markings, pavement 

rehabilitation, crossing surface material installation, signal 

preemption, drainage, and crossing closures or consolidations. 

Crossings located on the State Highway System are also 

eligible for other state funds for crossing surface 

improvements. Additional information on the TxDOT Replanking 

Program is provided in the next section.

TxDOT uses a selection process that prioritizes the Federal 

funded crossing safety projects by a priority index.  The Texas 

Priority Index process is outlined in Figure II-1.  Federal 

funds are 

allocated to the top ranked projects until the available funds 

are expended.  The top ranked projects in each TxDOT district 

are then evaluated on site by a team of professionals with 

railroad and highway expertise.  This diagnostic team is 

comprised of rail carriers, TxDOT officials, and local 

government officials.  The diagnostic team considers the local 

conditions and alternatives and is then responsible 

for recommending the type of warning devices and other safety 

enhancements as required.  First consideration is given to the 

necessity of the crossing in relation to adjacement crossings. 

 Local authorities are encouraged to attend these evaluations. 

 Their knowledge is especially helpful in presenting such 

significant factors on local conditions as a site's proximity 

to schools, hospitals, businesses, or residences, traffic 

patterns, type of vehicles using crossings, special conditions, 

etc.  With the number of participants involved, installation 

typically occurs 18 months from initiation of the project.

The crossing safety improvement program does not preclude the 

FHWA, TxDOT, municipalities, and railroads from joining in 

railroad crossing projects outside the "window" of funding 

priorities if they so choose.  Local governments should 

negotiate with the rail carriers to upgrade the crossing 

surface with higher quality, more durable materials such as 

rubber or concrete panels.  Typical average costs for 

improvements are shown in Figure II-2.

TxDOT uses the most current data available to update their 

traffic counts and accident records; this insures that the 

projects receive an accurate priority ranking.  Local 

authorities may forward their most recent average daily traffic 

(ADT) counts to TxDOT District Offices, or request that the 

TxDOT District Office perform a traffic count, to be included 

in the priority index formula.  TxDOT analyzes a five-year 

period of accident statistics when determining accident trends 

at highway-rail grade crossings to quantify the hazard 


With over 13,000 public grade crossings in Texas and funds for 

approximately 200 projects per year, TxDOT developed the 

project selection procedure using a priority index (PI) 

formula. The Texas Grade Crossing Priority Index Program funded 

227 projects in 1994 for $20 million and is estimated to fund 

160 projects in 1995 for $15 million and 250 projects in 1996 

for $25.9 million.  The Texas PI uses a variation of the New 

Hampshire Index to prioritize grade crossings for potential 

upgrading.  The potential for railroad-highway grade crossing 

accidents is primarily a function of the number and speed of 

trains traveling through the crossing, the volume of average 

daily traffic (ADT) utilizing the street facility, the existing 

traffic control device(s) in place, and the past five-year 

train involved accident history.  The TxDOT Priority Index as 

of 1994 is as follows:

Texas Priority Index (PI) = V * T * St * Pf * (.01) * A1.15 

where:	V  = average daily traffic (vehicles/day)

	T  = number of trains per day

	St = speed of trains (mph * 0.1)

	Pf = protection factor of existing warning devices

             .  gates = 0.10

             .  cantilever flashers = 0.15

             .  mast flashers = 0.70

             .  crossbucks, wigwags, or bells = 1.00

        A = number of train/vehicle accidents in previous five 

            years to the 1.15 power 

       (if A=0 or A=1 the default is 1)

An example is provided using the following information where:

	V = 5,000 vehicles per day,

	T = 10 trains per day,

	St = 30 mph * 0.10 = 3.0,

	Pf = 0.70 (existing mast flashers), and

	A = 0 accidents,

the following priority index will result:

PI = V * T * St * Pf * (.01) * A1.15

 = 5,000 * (10) * (3) * (0.70) * (.01) * (1) = 1,050

Given that the Texas PI cut off for project selection was 317 

in 1987, 337 in 1988, and 269 in 1989, this example railroad-

highway grade crossing would have ranked above the past minimum 

priority index thresholds for review and possible upgrade.

Several states employ other variations of the index by adding 

variables to augment the original equation.  Optional safety 

factors added to this original equation by other states 

include: highway speed, crossing width, type of track, local 

population, volume of transit buses, number of school buses, 

number of tracks, crossing surface condition, proximity of 

nearby intersections, functional class of the road, vertical 

alignment, horizontal alignment (crossing angle), volume of 

trucks carrying hazardous material, average number of vehicle 

occupants.  TxDOT uses this factor.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), under a TxDOT 

contract, is working on a project to research, evaluate, and 

recommend revisions to the current Texas Priority Index for 

railroad-highway grade crossings.  The 1994 TTI report is under 

review and evaluation by TxDOT to receive final acceptance.  A 

list of some of the more significant potential factors that 

affect grade crossing safety is shown in Figure II-3.  The 

revised formula may incorporate into the current list of 

factors the addition of sight distance modifications, approach 

factors, reaction factors, vertical alignment, number of school 

buses, transit buses, hazardous materials carriers, and other 

"special" vehicles.


The Railroad Grade Crossing Replanking Program has been 

established between the Texas Department of Transportation and 

the individual railroads to maintain grade crossings located on 

the state maintained highways. This system of review, developed 

through research conducted by the TTI, provides a uniform basis 

for identifying the current crossing conditions of all grade 

crossings on the State Highway System.  Local agencies may find 

this a useful tool to apply to grade crossings under their 

jurisdiction to rank grade crossings for possible surface 

improvements.  This methodology provides an assessment of a 

highway-rail crossings, but requires professional expertise and 

judgment in completing a subjective analysis of the site 


The TxDOT District Railroad Project Coordinators perform a 

visual inspection of all grade crossings located on the State 

Highway System in their districts.  The visual rating of the 

crossing considers the condition of the highway pavement, 

highway traffic volume, train traffic volume, railroad track 

condition and drainage factors.  The railroad project 

coordinator assigns a numerical rating between 0 and 5 for the 

highway, rail, and drainage aspects of the crossing. 

The results of the highway-rail crossing inspections are 

submitted on the Railroad Grade Crossing Submission Forms for 

all candidate crossing projects to the TxDOT Traffic Operations 

Division, Railroad Section for review and prioritization.  

Figure II-4 shows the Railroad Grade Crossing Submission form.

All candidate crossings are prioritized based on an estimated 

cost per vehicle to repair or replace the crossing surface.  

The estimated cost is determined by multiplying the estimated 

or negotiated cost per track foot by the total track feet 

proposed for replanking.  The average negotiated cost per track 

foot for asphalt, concrete panel, and rubber crossing materials 


provided in the Grade Crossing Materials section.  The estimated

cost per vehicle is then derived by dividing the estimated cost 

by the average daily traffic (ADT).  The formula is provided 


	Estimated Cost per Vehicle = (Estimated Cost / 

                                      Average Daily Traffic)

	Estimated Cost = (Negotiated Cost per Track Foot) X 

                          Total Track Feet

Grade crossings with the lowest estimated cost per vehicle are 

given the highest priority ranking.  The Replanking Program 

allocates the funds to the highest ranked crossings until the 

annual, funded apportionment representing approximately $3.5 

million is obligated.  This annual apportionment typically 

funds 140 crossing replanking projects.  Grade crossings on 

roadways that are not maintained by the state are not eligible 

to receive funds through the Replanking Program.


At present, no universally accepted procedure exists for cities 

to objectively evaluate the current condition of their highway-

rail crossing surfaces.  The predominant method used to 

subjectively determine the condition of the crossing surface is 

by physical inspection and by riding over it. 

Crossings that are rough and in need of repair should be called 

to the attention of the railroad company. 

Since responsibility for the grade crossing is shared, both the 

local agencies and the railroads should be involved in the 

evaluation of the crossing surface and approaches.  Site 

evaluations and other information such as safety needs and 

public complaint are important inputs used to assist in the 

decision-making process.

The Federal Highway Administration Railroad-Highway Grade 

Crossing Handbook makes reference to a procedure for ranking 

highway-rail intersections for crossing surface improvement. 

The procedure involves evaluating the crossing surface based on 

actually driving over the crossing and observing other drivers 

and vehicles as they traverse the crossing.  The procedure, 

developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), 

Office of Value Engineering, subjectively determines a 

crossing's rideability and observed condition in deciding 

whether the highway-rail crossing needs to be repaired or 


The FDOT ranking index takes into account six basic elements:  

approaches, vehicle reaction, driver reaction, rail/pad 

condition, ADT, and percent trucks.  The crossing surface index 

depends on professional judgment to subjectively determine the 

relative condition for the approaches, vehicle reaction, driver 

reaction, and rail/pad condition.  These four elements are 

assigned a number of possible points, within a 100 point system, 

relative to their overall importance. 

Figure II-5 shows the characteristics, conditions, points, and 

weights in this index.

The condition of the characteristics weigh the possible points 

based on the severity of the judged condition of the element.  

The weighted points are summed for each crossing characteristic 

to obtain a total adjusted weight (TW) for the surface condition. 

 An example of a crossing evaluated as having severe cracking in 

the approach and leave areas, showing appreciable vehicle 

bouncing, with most drivers slowing and the rails having 

extensive movement with poor pad condition is rated below.

Click HERE>/A> for graphic.

Click HERE>/A> for graphic.

Click HERE>/A> for graphic.

Since the surface condition is directly related to the average 

daily traffic (ADT) and percentage of trucks, a quotient is used 

to further refine the total adjusted weight (TW).  A quotient, as 

shown in Figure II-6, is applied to the total adjusted weight 

(TW).  If the example crossing is in a rural area, where the ADT 

is almost always less than 5,000, but the percent of trucks is 

15 percent or greater, the value, .93 Q, from Figure II-6 would 

be applied to the total adjusted weight (TW).

Click HERE>/A> for graphic.

The crossing rate is then compared with the grade chart shown in 

Figure II-7.  The example crossing, which ranks well below the 

failure rating, would warrant total replacement.  Depending on 

available funding, the responsible railroad maintenance engineer 

along with the TxDOT railroad coordinator must decide whether to 

repair or replace.  Figure II-8 is an adapted version of the 

surface ranking form used by FDOT.  It should be noted that 

category points, assigned weights and ADT/Truck Quotients are 

arbitrary, but they can be used to establish a prioritized list 

of crossings which need repair or replacement.

Click HERE>/A> for graphic.


Track, Signal, and Crossing Surface Maintenance

Within the State of Texas, cities, counties, TxDOT, and railroad 

operators assume both separate and joint maintenance 

responsibilities.  Items such as the track and signals are 

always maintained by the rail operator.  However, state civil 

statutes, site characteristics, and potential FHWA funding for 

crossing upgrades are further considerations in determining 

jointly funded improvements.

In Texas, the concept of railroad crossing maintenance occurs as 

one of the "enumerated powers" of home rule cities, according to 

Vernon's Annotated Texas Civil Statutes, Article 1175, 

Section 16.  It requires that railroads be responsible for 

street improvements "between the rails and tracks of any such 

railway companies and for two feet on each side thereof."  If 

the definition of "track," according to the FHWA publication 

entitled Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook, includes:  

"an assembly of rails, ties, and fastenings over which cars, 

locomotives, and trains are moved," then the railroad company's 

maintenance responsibility extends two feet beyond the ends of 

ties as shown in Figures II-9 and II-10.  However, for practical 

purposes, the Railroad Maintenance Task Group concurs with the 

FHWA suggestion in the Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook, 

"the public agency having responsibility for the maintenance of 

roadway approaches generally terminates its maintenance 

responsibility for the roadway at the crossing surface."  The 

Work Group makes the recommendation that local governments 

maintain pavement up to the crossing material located at the end 

of the ties.  However, according to FHWA, the railroad operator 

shall maintain any vehicular, pedestrian, or bicycle crossings 

between the ends of the ties.  All of these crossings should be 

physically separated for optimal traffic safety reasons.

Therefore, the railroad is responsible for the maintenance of 

the rails, ties, fastenings, ballast, initial upper ballast 

drainage pipe installation, crossbuck sign assembly, railroad 

signals, control boxes, and grade crossing surface materials 

which extend to the ends of the ties.  In most cases, the local 

government will be responsible to reimburse the railroad for the 

cost differential for any crossing surface desired beyond the 

standard timber/asphalt surface.

Railroad Signal Maintenance and Traffic Signal Preemption

Signal maintenance at the crossing is the responsibility of the 

railroad carrier.  However, TxDOT assists the railroad carrier 

by reimbursing the railroad a unit price for signal maintenance 

by the type of signal on state and federal highway systems, but 

not on city streets, county roads, or private crossings.

If a state or local public agency anticipates future signal 

preemption of traffic signals to clear the intersection at a 

grade crossing before a train approaches, the Railroad 

Maintenance Work Group recommends that the city should notify 

the railroad of the intent to use a circuit in the railroad 

signal control box.  Automatic time crossing devices should be 

calibrated to the fastest train using the track.  When train 

speed increases are planned, timing devices should be 

recalibrated to allow motorists adequate time to clear the 

crossing prior to the implementation of the new speeds.

At the time of installation, the critical cycle time to clear 

the intersection of vehicles should be supplied.  However, if 

the critical cycle time exceeds 30 seconds, then a constant 

warning time device in the railroad control box is necessary and 

may be eligible for Rail-Highway Crossings program funding.  As 

an example of cost, an upgrade to a control box in 1988 cost 

TxDOT $2,000, but the conversion of older signal controls on a 

direct current system could cost well over $100,000, especially 

in rural areas.

Pavement Alignment

Large grade changes in rail elevations would be a situation 

where the city may not be totally responsible for street 

approach grade changes.  A schedule of cost sharing between the 

rail carrier and the local government or state agency 

responsible for the roadway is recommended by the Work Group.

The vertical slope of pavement approaching the crossing is 

recommended at a range of between 1 and 2 percent for 30 feet 

beyond the ends of ties, according to the American Railroad 

Engineering Association (AREA).  Pavement sloping away from the 

track will also deter the necessity for installation of french 

drains by the local or state agency to deflect storm water away 

from the ballast to a storm water system or railroad ditch.  

Access to the railroad ditch would be through previous agreement 

with the railroad.  The low vertical pavement slope would also 

assist faster acceleration of vehicles from a stop position 

across the tracks.  It would prevent trucks or trailers with low 

undercarriages from becoming trapped on a severely humped 


Horizontal alignment of the approach lanes is recommended to be 

as direct to the tracks as possible to assist motorists in 

viewing any approaching trains without contending with a 

potential "blind spot" situation.  The width of the crossing 

surface should be sufficient to include all highway travel lanes 

and adjacent shoulders plus two feet, with the continuation of 

all traffic lanes across the tracks.  Crossings that are 

inadequate in width should be called to the attention of the 

railroad company.


Proper preparation of the track structure and good drainage of 

the subgrade are essential to good performance from any type of 

crossing surface.  Excessive moisture in the soil can cause 


settlement, accompanied by penetration of mud into the 

ballast section.  Surface and subsurface drainage should be 

intercepted and discharged away from the crossing.  Ideally, the 

roadway-railroad crossing should occur at a rise in topography 

to ensure drainage away from the ballast to prevent fouling of 

the ballast with "fines" from the subgrade.  Accumulated "fines" 

would cause the ballast and track to "pump" from railroad loads, 

cause track instability, and increase the likelihood of a train 

derailment.  However, if the pavement slopes toward the crossing 

the railroad will install a french drain, and the drain will 

remain its responsibility as being within the confines of the 


Drainage is a maintenance consideration involving varying 

jurisdictions.  Drainage structures and ballast are initially 

installed by railroads on their right-of-way.  Bar ditches (or 

drainage ditches and culverts) are a joint responsibility which 

should have negotiated maintenance and improvements shared by 

parties benefiting from the infrastructure or whoever modifies 

the runoff pattern necessitating improvements.  Approach 

pavement costs can be reduced within the local government 

right-of-way if the local government completes the subgrade 

preparation with four-inch perforated pipe and filter cloth, 

according to TxDOT.  Use of a suitable filter fabric over the 

entire subgrade area under the crossing and for a sufficient 

distance beyond can be a significant aid in separation, 

filtration, water transport, and tensile reinforcement.  It is 

recommended by the Work Group that any future drainage problems 

be the continued legal responsibility of the rail carrier for 


Advance Signs and Pavement Markings

Standards for advance signs and pavement markings are found in 

the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).  

The local agency, as previously recommended by the Work Group, 

should be the agency responsible for pavement extending to the 

crossing material at the 

edge of the ties, traffic controls on the approach, pavement 

markings, and all signs except the crossbuck and/or signal 

assembly.  Figure II-11 depicts the typical railroad advance 

warning signs as specified by the Texas MUTCD.  Figure II-12 

shows the railroad crossing (crossbuck) sign, flashing light 

signal, and automatic gate typically used at grade crossings.

The crossbuck assembly consists of the crossbuck, a multitrack 

sign if appropriate, and the "exempt" sign if required.  The 

exempt sign informs drivers of special vehicles, transit buses, 

school buses carrying children, or vehicles carrying hazardous 

materials that a stop is not required except when railroad 

equipment is approaching or occupying the crossing.

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 

(ISTEA) legislation has added revisions to the  Texas MUTCD to 

allow the use of STOP signs or YIELD signs at railroad 

crossings.  When adequate sight distance cannot be maintained at 

a passive grade crossing, stop signs are an effective 

countermeasure.  The signs can be posted at any highway-rail 

grade crossing without automatic traffic control devices with 

two or more trains crossing per day.  

For other crossings with passive protection, STOP or YIELD signs 

may be used after need is established  by a traffic engineering 

study.  The study should take into consideration such factors 

as: volume and character of highway and train traffic, adequacy 

of stopping sight distance, crossing accident history, and need 

for active control devices.  For all highway-rail grade 

crossings where STOP and YIELD signs are installed, STOP AHEAD 

or YIELD AHEAD advance warning signs shall also be installed.

As shown in the Highway & Rail Safety Newsletter of June 1993, a 

memorandum by the FHWA and the FRA Administrators to their 

Regional offices provides guidance on the selection of 

highway-rail grade crossings for the installation of STOP and 

YIELD signs.  Research by FHWA and FRA indicates that under 

pertinent circumstances STOP signs may be significantly more 

effective in preventing highway-rail collisions than crossbucks 

alone.  However, both agencies recognize that other highway 

traffic safety concerns must be considered when determining 

proper signage at individual locations.  Also, it has been shown

that there is low motorist recognition and understanding of the 

crossbuck as a traffic control device alone and that 

supplementary signage at crossings not equipped with automated 

warning devices should be considered.  

FHWA and FRA recommend that the following general factors be 

considered when reviewing a crossing for possible STOP or YIELD 

sign installation:

  .  Volume, type, and speed of highway traffic;

  .  Frequency, type, and speed of trains;

  .  Number of tracks;

  .  Intersection angles;

  .  Adequacy of stopping sight distance;

  .  Need for automated warning devices; and

  .  Crossing accident history.

The agencies recommend that the following specific factors be 

applied in determining first priority with respect to new STOP 

sign installations.

Fundamental indications:  It is recommended that the following 

considerations be met in every case before a STOP sign is 


1. Local and/or State police and judicial officials will commit 

   to a program of enforcement no less vigorous than would apply 

   at a highway intersection equipped with STOP signs.

2. Installation of a STOP sign would not occasion a more 

   dangerous situation (taking into consideration both the 

   likelihood and severity of highway-rail collisions and other 

   highway traffic risks) than would exist with a YIELD sign.

Positive indications:  Any one of the following conditions 

indicate that use of STOP signs would tend to reduce risk of a 

highway-rail collision.  It is recommended that the following 

considerations be weighed against the contra-indications below:

1. Maximum train speeds equal or exceed 30 mph (a factor highly 

   correlated with highway-rail accident severity).

2. Highway traffic mix include buses, hazardous materials 

   carriers and/or large (trash or earth moving) equipment.

3. Train movements are 10 or more per day, 5 or more days per 


4. The rail line is used by passenger trains.

5. The rail line is regularly used to transport a significant 

   quantity of hazardous materials.

6. The highway crosses two or more tracks, particularly where 

   both tracks are main tracks or one track is a passing siding 

   that is frequently used.  If Federal-aid funds are used in a 

   highway-rail grade crossing improvement project with multiple 

   main line tracks, gates and flashing lights are required (23 

   CFR 646.214).

7. The angle of approach to the crossing is skewed.

8. The line of sight from an approaching highway vehicle to an 

   approaching train is restricted such that approaching traffic 

   is required to substantially reduce speed.

Contra-indications:  Factors to be weighed in opposition to STOP 


1. The highway is other than secondary in character.  

   Recommended maximum of 400 ADT in rural areas, and 1,500 ADT 

   in urban areas.  (If any of the positive indications apply to 

   a crossing with traffic counts in excess of these levels, 

   strong consideration should be given to installation of 

   automated warning devices). 

2. The roadway is a steep ascending grade to or through the 

   crossing, sight distance in both directions is unrestricted 

   in relation to maximum closing speed, and the crossing is 

   used by heavy vehicles.  A crossing where there is 

   insufficient time for any vehicle, proceeding from a complete 

   stop, to safely traverse the crossing within the time allowed 

   by maximum train speed, is an inherently unsafe crossing that 

   should be closed.

Although STOP and YIELD signs are permissible traffic control 

devices within established conditions or warrants, proper use at 

grade crossings is critical to improving the motoristís 

understanding of the message that is displayed.  As reported in 

the December 1994 issue of The Highway & Rail Safety Newsletter, 

a study of STOP signs in Alabama and Georgia by Archie Burnham 

reported that 82 percent of the drivers were confused of semi-

confused by the STOP signs at railroad-highway grade crossings. 

 Burnham found that of 862 vehicles 18 percent came to a full 

stop, 50 percent made a slow rolling stop, and 32 percent did 

not stop at all.  Based upon these observations Burnham 

concluded that "one of the most widely recognized and often 

overlooked traffic safety axioms is the principle that over use 

provokes abuse.  For a traffic control sign, signal, or pavement 

marking to be of value it must not be overused."

Regarding protection devices for signs and signals, FHWA revised 

the railroad-highway crossing guidelines.  Guardrails are not 

recommended to shield warning device supports because a vehicle, 

if struck by a train, could strike the guardrail and be 

redirected towards the train.  A circular metal beam guard fence 

is allowed to shield warning signals under appropriate 


Pavement markings refers to markings applied or attached to the 

surface of a roadway for the purpose of regulating, warning, or 

guiding traffic.  The markings in advance of a grade crossing 

shall consist of an "X", the letters "RR", a no passing marking 

(2-lane roads), and certain transverse lines.  Identical 

markings shall be placed in each approach lane on all paved 

approaches to grade crossings where grade crossing signals or 

automatic gates are located, and at all other grade crossings 

where the prevailing speed of highway traffic is 40 mph or 



Fencing that encloses the railroad right-of-way may be used to 

restrict access.  It can be an effective deterrent to 

indiscriminate use, according to FHWA, if placed on one side of 

the right-of-way with its height from four to eight feet.  One 

of the three main objections to fencing is the cost which may be 

in excess of $100,000 per mile for chain link fencing, according 

to local rail carriers.  Secondly, according to the FHWA 

Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook, it does not bar 

pedestrian entrances at crossings.  Finally, maintenance costs 

would be another budget consideration for either party.

The absence of fencing at railroad rights-of-way would not 

implicate a city for potential tort liability. 

Therefore, the Task Force recommends that fencing in urban areas 

be considered a site-specific issue, studied and negotiated with 

the affected railroad operators and the local government.

Grade Crossing Materials

Several general guidelines are discussed in this section to 

assist a city in determining a crossing surface management 

process.  These guidelines may help to define the most 

appropriate grade crossing surface for a specific site.  The 

Railroad Maintenance Work Group concurs cities may request the 

railroads to upgrade the standard timber crossings.  Asphalt and 

timber crossings are 

the most common surface materials and represent over 80 percent

of all public crossing surfaces in Texas.  It has been found 

that asphalt crossings and timber crossings have the shortest 

expected life span.  Asphalt and timber crossings are specified

for crossings with very low ADTs but may range up to 7,500 ADT 

without heavy truck traffic and still be cost effective.

The Florida Department of Transportation completed a materials 

selection handbook in 1984 to develop criteria for the selection 

of crossing surfaces.  The expected life of each surface type 

was reduced proportional to an increase in ADT, percentage of 

trucks related to total traffic, multiple track spacing, and 

gross train tonnage.  The annualized cost was then determined 

based on costs per linear foot and surface type as shown in 

Figure II-13.  Listed below are several key factors, not 

specifically ranked in any order, that should be considered in 

determining an appropriate grade crossing surface:

  .  Highway Traffic/Functional Classification - The volume and 

     capacity, vehicle type, and speed of the highway traffic 

     affects the loading the crossing surface must suport

  .  Special Vehicles - Crossings used regularly by special 

     vehicles, (e.g. school buses, transit buses, hazardous 

     material carriers) should be given very careful 


  .  Railroad Traffic/Track Classification - The number of 

     trains, train type and train speed as well as the weight 

     and size of the rail affects the loading that the subgrade 

     and supporting track will bear

  .  Expected Service Life of Crossing Surface - Dependent on 

     adequate ballast tamping and butting onto the crossties 

     with replacement of the weak crossties

  .  Accident History - Particularly accidents related to the 

     condition of the surface

  .  Costs - Initial construction cost, replacement cost, and 

     maintenance cost

  .  Engineering Judgment

The life of a crossing surface depends on the volume and weight 

of the highway and rail traffic.  The highway traffic not only 

dictates the type of grade crossing surface to be installed, but

obviously has a major influence on the life of the crossing.  

The deterioration of the riding quality of a crossing surface 

results in increased vehicle operating cost, hazards and 

inconvenience to highway traffic.  Rail traffic also contributes

to the deteriorating effect on the service life of the crossing

in that it causes the need to repair or replace the highway-rail

crossing surface.  Railroad traffic damages the crossing surface

through vibration or uplift in front of the wheels reducing the 

life by 5 to 50 percent depending on the surface type.

If cities maintain road facilities with traffic volumes greater 

than 5,000 ADT and prefer to upgrade the standard timber 

crossing provided by railroads, the Railroad Maintenance Work 

Group concurs that railroads will install the upgraded crossing 

materials if the local agency purchases the materials on a 

negotiated labor cost basis.  On state maintained highways, 

TxDOT specifies timber surface materials for a crossing for 

vehicle traffic less than 2,000 ADT.

The two principal high-quality crossing materials used in Texas 

are the rubber or concrete panels. For railroad-highway 

crossings on the state maintained roads, TxDOT uses concrete or 

rubber panels for crossing materials for grade crossings with 

vehicle traffic greater than 2000 ADT. These materials provide 

a durable, smooth riding surface with a long-lasting surface 

life.  Most railroads prefer full depth crossings without shims

in main or branch line applications.  Some railroads are 

adopting concrete panels as their standard crossing surface 


One of the principal "high-type" crossing surface materials is 

the rubber panel.  This type of crossing surface consists of 

molded rubber panels usually steel-reinforced with a patterned, 

anti-skid surface.  The panels can be removed or replaced for 

track maintenance.  The rubber panels 

are made in versions that are either full-depth or shimmed to 

the correct surface height. Rubber was marginally preferred over

concrete panels because of its lower annualized cost due to its 

high service life.  Prices of crossings constructed in 1989 from

100 percent virgin rubber ranged from $175-$275 per track-foot, 

according to local city engineers.  Further information 

concerning virgin rubber indicates it has the added advantage 

of being quiet in noise-sensitive areas.  The Louisiana 

Department of Transportation and Development also had a high 

preference for rubber crossings according to the FHWA 

Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Material Selection Handbook.

Currently, some railroads are installing prefabricated concrete 

panel crossings on all main lines and selected spur tracks.  

Some prefabricated concrete panel crossings in the Western 

states have lasted more than 15 years.  Prices of crossing 

materials vary from $90-$175 per track-foot for prefabricated 

concrete.  In a comparison with 100 percent virgin rubber, 

concrete proved to be more cost efficient in maintenance fees.  

The prefabricated concrete panels generally withstand normal 

rail maintenance better than rubber which is often damaged. 

Poured-in-place concrete is not recommended because it can cause 

track access problems for railroad companies during routine 

track maintenance operations.

The Work Group recommends that 100 percent virgin rubber or 

prefabricated concrete materials be utilized for crossings with 

more than 5,000 ADT or heavy truck traffic greater than 

10 percent of the total traffic.

Reflectorized Tape and Illumination

The Texas House Bill (H.B.) 2681 of 1991 mandated that every 

grade crossing currently without active warning devices have 2" 

- 4" reflectorized tape installed on the support post and back 


every single-sided crossbuck sign.  This law requires TxDOT 

to be responsible for this portion of the crossbuck assembly.  

TxDOT representatives have the option of installing the material 

with their crews or supplying to local governments the 

reflectorized tape for local staff installation.  Any 

replacement of crossbucks will be completed by the rail carrier 

with new double-sided reflectorized crossbuck signs.  These will 

ultimately phase out single-sided crossbucks with reflectorized 

tape on back.  Backing up the far-side crossbuck with another 

reflective crossbuck and reflectorized support post has two 

important advantages.  First, it provides redundancy to assist 

drivers in detecting the crossing.  Second, it will reflect 

vehicle headlights back through the gaps between the rail cars. 

 The on-off effect creates a strobe light (flicker) similar to 

an active warning device.

If reflectorization has not reduced accidents, the Railroad 

Maintenance Work Group recommends the adoption of crossing 

illumination guidelines for crossings involving nighttime 

railroad operations or crossings with nighttime train-vehicle 

accidents as described in the FHWA Railroad-Highway Grade 

Crossing Handbook.  According to the Handbook, crossing 

illumination may be effective under the following conditions:

  .  night time train operations

  .  low train speeds

  .  blockage of crossings for long periods at night

  .  accident history indicating that motorists often fail to 

     detect trains or traffic control devices at night

  .  horizontal and/or vertical alignment of the highway 

     approach which does not allow the vehicle headlight to fall 

     on the train until the vehicle has passed the safe stopping 


  .  long dark trains (e.g., unit coal trains)

  .  restricted sight distance or stopping distance in rural 


  .  existing "humped" crossings where the large vertical grade 

     change of the approach lanes can allow oncoming vehicle 

     headlights to be visible under the train

  .  low ambient light levels

Recommendations for the placement and type of floodlights or 

luminaries are available in the FHWA Roadway Lighting Handbook. 

It is desirable to have at least two luminaries provided at the 

crossing, with one on each side of the track.  Mounting height 

should be between 30 and 40 feet. Illumination should be a 

distinctive color and distribution so that it clearly 

distinguishes the crossing amongst other street lighting.  In 

rural areas, some lighting should be directed down the track to 

light the sides of railroad cars.

Track Inspections

Railroad carriers are responsible for track inspections on a set 

schedule as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  

These nationwide safety regulations are solely based on track 

conditions, track curvature, superelevation, and roadbed 

conditions with different standards for six classes of tracks.  

The FRA monitors the rail operators' compliance with these 

maintenance and operating standards and appears to have the sole 

legislative authority to fine railroads if noncompliance occurs, 

according to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT).  This 

inspection procedure appears to have occurred based on the 

supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which specifies when 

federal law conflicts with state or local law, the federal law 

must control. Thus, a local city's inspection of tracks appears 

to have no enforcement validity unless the RCT inspects the 

track on the city's behalf.  A city's attempt at inspection has

been found as a restriction on railroad operations and would be 

in violation of interstate commerce, a concept that Congress 

hoped to encourage in the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970. 

The Work Group 

recommends that track inspections, where necessary on 

behalf of local governments, be coordinated with FRA or RCT 


Visual Obstructions

The clearance of visual obstacles at railroad-highway grade 

crossings for each sight triangle of the crossing's four 

quadrants is recommended by the Work Group as outlined in 

revised Railroad Commission of Texas regulations.  The RCT 

require vegetation control and permanent obstruction clearance 

for 250 feet as measured from the centerline of each crossing 

for public crossings equipped with crossbucks.  When the 

railroad right-of-way is fenced, compliance would be deemed if 

the vegetation is controlled up to two feet from the fence.  

"Vegetation" includes grass, bushes, shrubbery, and trees having 

a diameter of six inches or less.  "Public crossings" include an 

approach with at least one public roadway.

Obstructions also include trains, cars, or equipment standing 

closer than 250 feet from the centerline of any grade crossing 

equipped with passive warning devices.  Railroad operators in 

violation of this rule are subject to fines unless a closer 

distance could not be avoided.  Billboards and signs which are 

legally permitted by the state or a political subdivision are 

not necessarily permanent obstructions as long as they do not 

block the motorists' view of approaching trains, according to 

FHWA.  Permanent buildings in existence prior to the effective 

date of this ruling are exempt from this requirement.

Railroad companies are responsible to bring their right-of-way 

vegetation into compliance.  However, a variance may be applied

for by rail carriers concerning nonconforming vegetation and 

permanent obstructions under the current RCT regulations.  

Clearing brush or weeds from a 

grade crossing provides adequate sight distance at a crossing 

and can also provide a better preview of the crossing for 

approaching drivers.

The Texas Department of Transportation sponsored a research 

report in 1994 through the Texas Transportation Institute to 

study the impact of sight distance as an additional variable to 

the Texas Priority Index for railroad-highway grade crossings.  

The report, by Fambro, Klaver, and Cooner, evaluated both sight 

distance as criterion for ranking railroad-highway grade 

crossings for improvement.  In studying train involved accidents 

over a five year period, Fambro found that sight obstructions 

could have been a contributing factor nearly 50 percent of the 

time and that the majority of passive railroad-highway grade 

crossings have at least one sight obstruction.  The research 

report recommends the use of a sight distance variable to help 

TxDOT engineers identify those crossings most in need of 

improvement.  TxDOT will evaluate the findings of this report 

and may incorporate some or all of the recommendations into 

practice in the Texas Priority Index.


The Federal Railroad Administration has set a national goal to 

close 25 percent of the nationís highway-rail grade crossings by 

the year 2000.  Texas, with almost 20,000 highway-rail grade 

crossings, has the highest number in the nation.  Reducing the 

number of crossings through relocation or rerouting of the 

highway, or closure of the highway crossing represent "low cost" 

safety improvements.  Crossing consolidation is desirable when 

there are many redundant crossings in a particular jurisdiction. 

 Closure of a crossing may be required when the grade crossing 

is angled in such a way that the sight distance is restricted.  

Additionally, any restricted or obstructed sight distance that 

cannot be corrected for the motorist approaching a railroad 

grade crossing will warrant closure.

The number of crossings needed to carry highway traffic over a 

railroad in a community is influenced by many of the 

characteristics of the community itself.  A study of highway 

traffic flow should be conducted to determine origin and 

destination points and needed highway capacity.  Access issues 

must be studied to determine the impact on emergency vehicles, 

ambulances, fire trucks, and police.  Thus, optimum routes over 

railroads can be determined. Highway operation over several 

crossings may be consolidated to move over a nearby crossing 

with flashing lights and gates or over a nearby grade 

separation.  Alternative roates should be within a reasonable 

travel time and distance from a closed crossing.  The alternate 

routes should have sufficient capacity to accommodate the 

diverted traffic safely and efficiently.

The 1986 Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook suggests that 

by using a systems approach several crossings in a community or 

rail corridor could be improved by the installation of traffic 

control devices while other crossings are closed.  However, the 

various factors that should be considered to identify those 

crossings that should be closed are difficult to establish. 

Currently, there are no Federal restrictions or standards on how 

many or what types of crossings should be consolidated within a 

given area.  The following criteria, taken from the 1994 FRA 

report Rail-Highway Crossing Safety Action Plan Support 

Proposals, have been found useful for selecting crossings for 


1. Consolidate crossings where there are more than four per mile 

   in urban areas, and one per mile in rural areas and an 

   alternate route is available.

2. Consolidate crossings which have fewer than 2,000 vehicles 

   per day and more than two trains per day and an alternate 

   route is available.

3. Eliminate crossings where the road crosses the tracks at a 

   skewed angle or where the track is curved.

4. Link construction work with eliminations.  This linkage will 

   be especially important when upgrading rail corridors for 

   high speed trains.

5. When improving one crossing (by grade separation or 

   installation of automated warning devices), consider 

   eliminating adjacent crossings and rerouting traffic from 

   these crossings to the improved crossing.

6. For every new crossing built, consolidate traffic from two or 

   three other crossings.

7. Eliminate complex crossings where it is difficult to provide 

   adequate warning devices or which have severe operating 

   problems (e.g., multiple tracks, extensive switching 

   operations, long periods blocked, etc.).

The 1994 Highway-Railroad Grade Crossings: A Guide to Crossing 

Consolidation and Closure by the Federal Railroad Administration 

provides useful information agencies to assist them in grade 

crossing consolidation projects.  The Guide addresses the issue 

of local opposition crossing closure.  The Guide offers 

strategies to win local support based on actual crossing 

consolidation projects.  Past experience shows that even when 

communities support crossing consolidation, they may oppose 

proposed changes in traffic patterns.  In these cases, "trade-

offs," such as upgrading other crossings in the area of the 

targeted closure, have been successful.


It is recommended by the Railroad Maintenance Work Group that 

cities or counties be given five working days notice by the 

railroad operator for partial or full street closures due to 

maintenance or rehabilitation of the railroad crossing unless an 

emergency situation prevails.  This notice will allow local 

governments to coordinate detour routes if warranted.  It is 

also the recommendation of this Work Group that any work area 

traffic control be coordinated between the local government and 

the railroad.


Bicycle paths across railroad tracks present several special 

problems.  There are some relatively simple and cost-effective 

treatments available for the problems cyclists encounter at 

railroad grade crossings.  The reduction of lane width at a 

crossing can affect passage of bicycles across the tracks.  The 

1986 Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook specifies that the 

crossing should be sufficient to extend at least one foot beyond 

the edge of the highway pavement, including any paved shoulders 

on the highway approaches to the crossing.

Also, depending on the crossing angle (the skew of the tracks in 

comparison with the bikeway or traveled lane) and the condition 

of the tracks, a cyclist may lose control of the vehicle if a 

wheel becomes trapped or violently redirected in the flangeway. 

 The surface materials and the flangeway depth and width must be 

examined to determine if the crossing is safe for the cycling 

public.  The more the crossing deviates from the ideal 90-degree 

crossing, the greater the potential for a cycle wheel to be 

trapped or violently redirected in the flangeway.  If the 

crossing angle is less than 45 degrees, engineers should 

consider widening the bikeway to allow sufficient width to cross 

the tracks at a safer angle.  Maintenance personnel should 

preserve the crossing surface to be as smooth and level as 

possible in order to provide for the safest passage for the 


Another potential problem exists in the communication of an 

approaching train to the cyclists at actively controlled 

railroad-highway grade crossings that use flashing lights.  The 

Handbook recommends the use of a crossing bell to supplement 

other active traffic devices to help alleviate the detection 

problem sometimes encountered by cyclists.  The Handbook goes on 

to say that other than smooth surface treatments, there are no 

special controls for these special vehicles. 

However, if a bicycle trail crosses tracks at-grade, the 

bicyclist should be warned of this with suitable markings and 



The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes 

accessibility standards for new construction and alterations of 

state and local government facilities covered by the ADA.  One 

small part of the Interim Final Rule published by the 

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 

relates to railroads.  Section 14.2.1 of the Accessibility 

Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities sets out minimum 

requirements for new construction of public sidewalks.  Among 

other things, the interim rule specifies: "Where public 

sidewalks cross rail systems at grade, the surface of the 

continuous passage shall be level and flush with the rail top at 

the outer edge and between the rails.  The horizontal gap on the 

inner edge of each rail shall be the minimum necessary to allow 

passage of wheel flanges and shall not exceed 2 1/2 inches 

maximum."  The effective date of this rule was December 20, 



The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducts a crossing 

signal reporting procedure for the public in Texas.  The 

provision of a toll-free number permits any person to report any 

problem or malfunction with a railroad-highway signalized grade 

crossing on the state or federal highway system.  Analysis of 

logged calls by the Railroad Commission of Texas and the DPS has 

primarily indicated problems with improper signal operation, 

excessive crossing delays for motorists, and poor crossing 


Every signalized railroad-highway grade crossing has a sign 

showing both an identification number and toll-free telephone 

number for reporting safety problems.  Figure II-11 shows the


standard malfunction warning sign which is designated under the 

MUTCD as the R15-4 sign.  The identification number is a unique, 

six-digit code number that identifies itsí location and which 

railroad has maintenance responsibility.  The DPS crossing 

safety telephone number is 1-800-772-7677 and is attached to 

metal signal posts at the crossings.  When the public is 

reporting a problem, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) 

crossing number, together with any alphabetic characters, should 

be given to the answering DPS dispatcher.

Cities can participate in this DPS signage program for 

signalized crossings.  The typical cost of these signs is 

approximately $15 with railroads offering to install these signs 

or supervise their installation on existing railroad signal 

posts if the city is willing to pay for the materials.  The RCT 

has confirmed that funding and installation are available from 

TxDOT District offices for any public rail-highway crossing with 

railroad signals.  The local jurisdiction having road authority 

should contact the appropriate TxDOT District office and 

railroad company to arrange for funding and installation of the 


The Railroad Maintenance Work Group recommends that where local 

funds permit, city governments at their discretion arrange for 

U.S. DOT inventory number signs or stencils to be placed on 

signal posts at grade crossings.  The signs' manufacturing costs 

would be absorbed by the city and installation arranged through 

the railroad operator.

	              III.  OPERATIONS

Railroad operations include items of mutual concern for local 

government officials, the general public, and the railroad 

operators.  The issues can be summarized into economic, safety, 

and environmental considerations.  For the North Central Texas 

area, local governments and railroad representatives have 

identified seven major issues as follows:

  .  speed restrictions

  .  size restrictions

  .  blocked crossings

  .  railroad noise related to adjacent land uses

  .  motorist education

  .  responsibilities of motorists at grade crossings

  .  police enforcement at activated warning device grade 


Recommendations for these selected items are presented by the 

Railroad Operations Work Group to the Railroad Coordination Task 

Force for inclusion as regional operation guidelines for rail 



Historical Development

Historically, railroads came to the centers of existing 

communities because the communities wanted them to enter and 

provide transportation between them and the rest of the country. 

 In sparsely populated areas, cities were built up around 

railroads.  In today's environment, especially with high 

vehicular traffic, conflicts have arisen over the railroads' 

location in urbanized areas.

From the community and motorists' viewpoint, the railroad is 

currently a dividing force providing safety hazards, vehicular 

delays, congestion, potential emergency vehicle response time 

delays, and blocked street crossings.  The resulting frustration 

encourages impatient motorists to run through closed automatic 

gates when trains are in dangerous proximity.  Thus, some 

communities have imposed railroad speed restrictions in the 

interest of public safety.

From the rail carriers' perspective, arbitrary speed 

restrictions are undesirable because of the delays and fuel 

costs incurred for trains slowing to pass through the community. 

It makes the railroads less competitive because lower train 

speeds and higher costs enable the airline and trucking industry 

to attract a larger percentage of the transportation market.  

However, the prevalent central city location still proves 

advantageous for the railroads.  The rail corridors can also 

provide easements for utility companies and fiber-optic 

communication services to enter the central cities.

Historically, municipal speed restrictions for railroads did not 

occur in great numbers until the late 1890s when the number of 

crossings and number of rail/motor vehicle accidents increased 

because of the conflicting surface transportation modes.  

Initially, many states and cities demanded that the railroads, 

who were responsible for the crossings, take immediate action to 

eliminate hazardous crossings.  Numerous laws, ordinances, and 

regulations were adopted to enforce these community demands, but 

there was neither regulation uniformity, a division of 

responsibilities, nor an allocation of costs.

Existing Railroad Operating Speeds

Existing railroad operating speeds in the Dallas-Fort Worth 

region are governed by the FRA track class standards, 

maintenance standards, and individual railroad operating 

policies which may 

adopt existing city railroad ordinances.  A summary of city 

railroad ordinances for Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand 

Prairie, Irving, Garland, and Farmers Branch are shown in Figure

III-1.  Tabulated FRA track classes and related maximum 

allowable operating speeds are shown in Figure III-2.  Several 

city ordinances illustrate the diversity between their allowable 

train operating speeds and the FRA maximum allowable operating 

speeds in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.  For instance, the 

Dallas ordinance allows crossings with passive warning devices 

to have limited speeds of 10-25 mph while Farmers Branch allows 

40 mph citywide.

Federal Court Judgments

In order to give some legal context to the differences in 

current railroad operating speeds, a review of case law is 

appropriate.  In 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court, in the 

precedent-setting case of New York and Northeastern Railway vs. 

Town of Bristol, upheld the constitutionality of a Connecticut 

statute that required railroads to pay 75 percent of the costs 

to improve or eliminate crossings where the highway was in 

existence before the railroad.  In addition, if the road was 

constructed after the railroad, the railroad was still required 

to pay 50 percent of such costs.  This so-called "Senior-Junior" 

principle was followed by the courts in several other states to 

determine the railroads' responsibilities.

Until 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court adhered to the position that 

a railroad company should allocate a portion or all of the 

expense for the construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, or 

elimination of public railroad-highway grade crossings.  This 

was partially due to the dominance and financial status of the 

railroads during the first three decades of this century.  

However, funds from federal industrial recovery acts provided 

monies for separation of the railroad-highway grade crossings 

and installation of rail crossing traffic control devices.  By 

this time, the public attitude 

shifted, and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, according to the

Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook, reflected:

    The railroad has ceased to be the prime instrument of 

    danger and the main cause of accidents.  It is the railroad 

    which now requires protection from dangers incident to 

    motor transportation.

Precedence of Federal Railroad Administration Track 


The enactment by Congress of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 

1970 was intended to provide uniform, nationwide railroad safety 

standards.  Authority for individual states to further regulate 

railroads was given only under special circumstances.  Congress 

sought to eliminate the undue burden on interstate commerce and 

railroads by limiting state and local administrative and 

judicial systems in several areas affecting rail operations.  

Pursuant to the Act, the FRA adopted train operating speeds in 

conjunction with the adoption of track, roadbed, and signal 

standards.  The FRA established train speeds between 10 and 110 

mph as summarized in Figure III-1.  In Baltimore and Ohio 

Railroad Company vs. the City of Piqua, Ohio, a federal court in 

1986 held that a city's attempt to establish railroad operating 

speeds below FRA standards was preempted by federal law and 

therefore invalid.  Railroads are willing to cooperate with 

different levels of government to institute safe and practical 

train speeds, motor vehicle speeds, traffic control devices, and 

adequate sight distances to reduce railroad and highway crossing 


Amtrak has worked with local governments on a railroad corridor 

upgrade program to raise operating speeds of the FRA Class 4 

main line between Dallas and Houston.  Selected crossings are 

being upgraded by standard federal rail-highway crossing safety 

improvement matching funds.  They have been successful in 

revising operating speeds in conjunction with the counties of 

Dallas and Carson, plus the cities of Ennis, Wilmer, Palmer, 

Hutchins, and Houston.  Houston currently has passenger train 

operating speeds of between 30 and 60 mph.

State Intervention for Local Crossing Hazards

Allowance was made for state intervention on behalf of cities 

such that, "A state may adopt or continue to enforce an 

additional or more stringent law, rule, regulation, order, or 

standard relating to railroad safety when necessary to eliminate 

or reduce an essentially local safety hazard, when not 

incompatible with any federal law, nor creating an undue burden 

on interstate commerce." 

This judgment was made in the precedent-setting case of Sisk vs. 

National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), 647 Federal 

Supplement 861 (Federal District Court, Kansas, 1986).

The case further argued that the supremacy clause in the United 

States Constitution established that when federal law conflicts 

with state or local law, the federal law must control.  However, 

Congress did allow the states to act on behalf of cities 

concerning local railroad hazards to reduce train operating 

speeds due to, for example, problems with sight distance, road 

geometry, proximity of school children, school bus routes, or 

emergency vehicle routes.  The RCT supports this judicial 

position of state intervention on behalf of local cities at 

unprotected crossings and is recommending that modifications to 

railroad speed limits be achieved on a site-specific basis in 

conjunction with the Commission and the affected rail operator.

Harmonic Oscillation

Documentation from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), 

entitled A General Overview of Railroad Safety in Texas, states 

that for railroad operating speeds between 12 and 25 mph, 

harmonic oscillation or car rocking can occur with a potential 

for derailment, particularly along extended portions of track at 

a lower speed range.  Consideration should be given to this 

problem, according to the Work Group, before any new railroad 

speeds below 25 mph are adopted.

Accident Data

The national office of the FRA in Washington, D.C. publishes 

accident statistics annually.  Those statistics and others 

utilized in accident analysis according to the FHWA, should be 

surveyed over a minimum three- to five-year period to determine 

trends, such as those necessary in before-and-after crossing 

improvement studies.  TxDOT analyze a five-year period of train-

involved accident statistics reported to the Texas Department of 

Public Safety when determining which crossings are eligible for 

site diagnostics and FHWA crossing safety upgrade funds.

Analyzing the Texas region in particular, grade crossing 

accidents between 1980 and 1988 are categorized by 

train-involved and nontrain-involved accidents occurring at 

crossings with active (automatic gates or flashers) and passive 

(crossbuck) warning devices.  Figure III-3 illustrates the total 

number and percentage of Texas railroad accidents.  Over 

40 percent of the crossing accidents occur at active warning 

devices and are nontrain-involved collisions.  This indicates 

that drivers are confused over what the railroad signs and 

signals really mean, especially for the younger and older adult 

population, according to TTI.  In detail, 3904 or 58 percent of 

total train-involved accidents occur at active warning device 

crossings.  The data also suggests that fatality rates are 

correlated to age groups, not only of young adults from 15 to 29 

years but older adults of 75 years of age or higher.  Both have 

significantly higher fatality rates compared to the general 

population, as shown in Figure III-4.  Currently, no "train 

miles of travel" data are available from the national FRA 

database to normalize accident rates as a function of train 



Federal court cases indicate FRA track standards supersede other 

speed restrictions set by a state or city.  The exception would 

be for site-specific local factors such as obstructed sight


distances or schools in close proximity to rail corridors.  At 

that point, the state on behalf of the city can institute more 

stringent railroad operating speed standards if warranted.

The Railroad Commission of Texas recommends that communities and 

railroads try to resolve the grade crossing problem and then 

only consider speed restrictions on a corridor-wide basis.

If a certain grade crossing problem continues, then railroads 

may adopt railroad speed restrictions mutually agreed upon 

during negotiation with railroad operators on a limited 

site-specific basis.

Harmonic oscillation between 12 and 25 mph is also a technical 

issue to consider when seeking railroad speed limits.  The 

rocking of trains which may occur at that speed range can derail 

trains, especially over extended portions of track.

Reconsidering accident data which indicates that rail accidents 

at grade crossings occur more with younger and older members of 

the adult population, education targeted at these age groups may 

be very cost effective.

Considering these four factors, the Work Group recommends that:

  .  any existing city train speed ordinances be repealed, and

  .  railroads make available FRA track classifications for its 



According to the judgment in the law case of Southern Pacific 

Company vs. State of Arizona (325, U.S. 761) in the Federal 

Supreme Court in 1945, any attempt by a state (and therefore any 

lesser governmental entity) to limit the length of trains is an 

unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.  The express 

policy of Congress was to promote an "economical national 


system."  The Task Force therefore considers that train size

restrictions in local ordinances appear legally unenforceable 

and recommends procedures to shorten train lengths relative to 

blocked crossings be discussed with the railroads.  FHWA 

railroad-highway crossing safety funds could be employed 

for grade-separated structures in this situation, and certain 

rail carriers will offer to provide funding given the accident 

and derailment history of the crossing.


A number of cities within their railroad ordinances have a law 

which disallows the blocking of grade crossings for more than 

five consecutive minutes by a standing train.  This is based on 

Article 6701d-5 from Vernon's Annotated Texas Civil Statutes 

which states:

	"An officer, agent, servant, or receiver of any railway 

         corporation who willfully obstructs for more than five 

         minutes at any one time any street, railway crossing, 

         or public highway by permitting their train to stand on 

         or across such a crossing shall be fined not less than 

         five nor more than one hundred dollars."

This law was made effective in 1921 during the 37th Texas 

Legislative session.  Given the number of tracks and switches in 

urban areas which could potentially be blocked, jurisprudence 

would apparently determine whether a "willful" blockage of a 

crossing occurred.  "Considering that urban areas with two grade 

crossings per mile are not unusual and train lengths can range 

from 5,000 to 7,000 feet, then potentially three grade crossings 

could be blocked from a single train."

Track circuitry involving either motion detector track circuits 

or constant warning-time devices can improve motorist crossing 

delays.  When trains approach crossings at variable speeds or 

have significant switching movements, the constant warning time 

device uses an electronic system to ensure a 20- to 25-second 

warning device activation time regardless of the train speed on 

the approach.  If the train stops before the crossing, the 

signal is deactivated.  The cost of a constant warning time 

device ranges from $11,500 to $14,000 plus from $9,000 to 

$11,000 extra to install it

compared to a motion detector.  Motion detector track circuits 

utilize audio frequencies to detect when a train stops on the 

approach or moves away from a crossing.  The crossing warning 

system is then deactivated if the train is within normal 

approach limits.

Grade crossing accident research reported in the November 1989 

issue of Highway and Rail Safety Newsletter by the Canadian 

Institute of Guided Ground Transport indicated that critical 

incidents result from the following conditions at the crossing:

  .  unduly long warning times

  .  long occupancy times of the crossing by some trains

  .  false alarms due to a signal malfunction or a signal 

     placed in a fail safe status

The researchers considered those events as precursors to the 

tendency of drivers to deliberately violate the signals.  Their 

analysis of video recordings indicated 25 percent to 33 percent 

of drivers were not aware that they are approaching a crossing. 

 Other drivers incurred an "unobeyable signal problem" where the 

signals flash and the driver was unable to stop the vehicle in a 

safe and comfortable manner.  Finally, approximately 60 percent 

of the drivers had a speed variance approaching the crossing 

where motorists either increased or decreased their speed thus 

increasing the incidence of collisions at crossings involving no 

train:  either rear-end or front-end collisions with other 

vehicles resulted.

The researchers concluded that for safety purposes at crossings, 

the drivers' decision to disobey the signal will be smaller if 

warning times are kept short including the time that moving 

trains occupy the crossing (that is when trains are short and 

move fast).  They concluded efforts toward risk control, short 

of grade separation, should include:

  .  increasing crossing conspicuity,

  .  reducing occurrence of unobeyable signals,

  .  improving smoothness of crossing surfaces,

  .  eliminating false alarms and excessively long warning 

     periods, and

  .  reducing total duration of signal activation.

Warrants and guidelines for these predictors have currently not 

been developed.

The University of Tennessee Transportation Center has found that 

experimental four-quadrant gate systems reduce the number of 

gate violations to almost zero.  With the two-quadrant gate 

system, one or more motor vehicles drove around closed gates 

during 84 out of 100 train arrivals. 

The experimental four-quadrant gates are not contained in the 

Texas MUTCD, although the regular gate locations with a center 

median prevents motorists from driving around activated gates.  

The experimental four-quadrant gate system reduced 260 motorists 

per 100 trains from driving around gates to zero.  The gates 

also reduced vehicles crossing between 10 to 20 seconds from 

train arrival to zero.  During the testing period, no motorist 

was trapped on the tracks, emergency vehicle operation was not 

impaired, no unreasonable delays were created for the motorist, 

no public complaints were received, and retrofitting crossings 

with two extra gates was not difficult.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee recommend the 

following crossings for four quadrant gates:

  .  crossings on four-lane undivided roads

  .  multitrack crossings where the distance between tracks is 

     greater than the length of a motor vehicle

  .  crossings without constant warning time devices where 

     train times are long and variable

  .  crossings where there are hazardous materials trucks, 

     transit buses, school buses, or high-speed trains

  .  crossings with consistent gate arm violations or 

     continuing accidents

Appraising the likelihood of this occurrence, the Railroad 

Ordinance Work Group has recommended the following:

  .  as mentioned earlier, blocked crossings be analyzed from a 

     corridor perspective

  .  motion detectors or constant warning-time track circuits 

     be utilized as appropriate for crossings with heavy 

     switching operations or variable train speeds to minimize 

     warning device activation time

  .  guidelines for grade separations, described in the 

     Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Handbook be adopted with 

     encouragement of city initiatives to secure FHWA crossing 

     safety improvement funds and matching funds from railroads


The FRA regulates train noise by standards published in the CFR. 

 For example, locomotives manufactured prior to 1981 can have 

allowable "A-weighted" noise decibel levels of 96 dBA maximum 

when trains are in motion (fast).  Locomotives manufactured 

after December 1980 can have allowable noise levels of 90 dBA 

maximum when trains are in motion (fast).

Additional noise regulations for switcher locomotives 

manufactured on or before December 31, 1979, which operate in 

yards, are also available in the CFR.  When stationary 

locomotive noise exceeds the receiving property limit of 65 dBA 

as shown in Appendix B, the locomotives are considered in 

noncompliance.  This situation will trigger a 30-meter or less 

noise level test on 

receiving properties.  Overall, FRA enforcement efforts focus on

abatement procedures that will achieve a reduction of receiving 

property noise levels to less than 65 dBA.

The ICC also has involvement with railroad noise control as a 

part of its environmental impact process.  If a railroad project 

involves either new rail line construction, a discontinuance of 

passenger trains, or certain rail mergers causing heavier train 

traffic (usually 50 percent greater train traffic or eight 

trains per day) on new, existing, or adjacent lines, the ICC's 

noise rules would apply as written in 49 CFR, Part 1105.  Again, 

the preliminary investigation would need to find environmentally 

significant decibel changes, as defined in 40 CFR 1508.27 for 

the Ldn measure = 65 dBA for moving trains.

An example of noise contours indicates that one loaded and one 

empty coal unit train (over 100 cars totaling 11,000 tons 

maximum) per day transporting approximately four million tons of 

coal annually during daylight hours would have an Ldn of 65 dB 

with a contour commonly extending approximately 50 feet from the 

centerline of the track.  Under a 12 million ton per year 

scenario, six trains (three loaded and three empty) would 

increase the Ldn of 65 dBA contour line to 190 feet from the 

track centerline.  This indicates that the Ldn of 65 dBA is a 

fair measure for noise intrusion into sensitive land-use areas 

depending on the extent of residential dwelling units and other 

affected facilities such as libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, 

and schools.  The Work Group recommends that railroad noise of 

moving trains over 65 dBA next to residential property be the 

trigger for further noise measurements as defined in the CFR and 

resolved by FRA procedures.


Grade Crossing Safety Facts

Texas has recognized the importance of educating motorists of 

the potential hazards at highway-rail grade crossings by 

enacting legislation to include grade crossing safety training 

in all defensive driving classes taught in Texas.  In 1993 Texas 

had nearly 7 percent of the total national public and private 

grade crossings with over 10 percent of the nation's grade 

crossing accidents and 12 percent of the nation's fatalities at 

grade crossings, meaning that a disproportionate number of 

accidents occur in Texas.  Details about Texas train/vehicle 

accidents in 1993 indicate:

  .  52 percent occurred at signalized crossings,

  .  54 percent happened during daylight hours,

  .  61 percent involved train speeds of less than 29 mph,

  .  52 percent happened where the driver's view was 


  .  66 percent occurred in clear weather, and

  .  25 percent involved vehicles running into trains.

A 1982 study by Berg, knoblach, and Hucke proposed that the 

occurrence of a vehicle-train accident was the result of a 

recognition, decision, or action error.  The findings of the 

study, as summarized by Fambro, Klaver, and Cooner in 1994, 

revealed that about 80 percent of the accidents investigated at 

crossings with crossbucks involved errors of driver recognition 

and about 23 percent involved late recognition of a train that 

was already in the crossing.  The study identified the principal 

contributing factors to vehicle-train accidents at crossings as 

the lack of quadrant sight distance and low driver expectancy of 

train presence.  Further, the study revealed that nearly 

38 percent of the accidents investigated at crossings with 

flashing lights involved driver recognition errors.  Of these 

accidents the study showed that 81 percent of the drivers did 


detect the signal when they were on the approach.  Apparently, 

motorists who are involved in grade crossing accidents often do 

not exercise proper caution and do not observe motor vehicle 

laws and will attempt to "run through" crossings even when the 

crossing gates are activated.

Local governments should note that Amtrak requires the 

assignment of signal department employees to investigate all 

reported signal malfunctions and the assignment of Amtrak police 

to be at the crossing until required inspections and repairs are 

completed on the signals.

Operation Lifesaver

A national nonprofit program called "Operation Lifesaver" is an 

active, continuous public information and education program to 

help prevent and reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities and 

improve driver performance at highway-rail grade crossings.  

Operation Lifesaver is needed because many drivers do not cross 

railroad tracks often enough to be familiar with the warning 

devices designed for their safety.  Driver inattention and 

impatience are the most common factors contributing to motor 

vehicle/train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings.  The 

majority of 486 collisions in 1993 in Texas occurred during 

clear weather at crossings with active warning signals during 

daylight hours by trains going less than 29 miles per hour.

Operation Lifesaver reminds you to Look, Listen, and Live when 

approaching highway-rail grade crossings.  Program emphasis is 

on the three Eís:

  .  Enforcement of existing laws governing highway-rail grade 


  .  Engineering highway-rail grade crossings to provide the 

     greatest safety by working with communities in their 

     efforts to provide additional warning devices.

  .  Education of the driving public about the inherent dangers 

     at highway-rail grade crossings.

To enhance highway-rail grade crossing safety, Operation 

Lifesaver endorses the concept of reducing the number of 

crossings through elimination, consolidation, grade separation 

and restricting the number of new crossings.

Operation Lifesaver offers films, information, and speakers upon 

request to schools, civic groups, shopping malls, the media, 

governments, corporate driver training courses, fleet vehicle 

drivers, and others.  If cities or counties are interested in 

improving their local grade crossing safety, this Work Group 

recommends that they contact the Texas Safety Association, a 

nonprofit organization which helps coordinate grade crossing 

safety education in Texas.  Their Austin telephone number is 

512/343-6525.  The Operation Lifesaver Coordinator for Texas may 

be reached at the above number or fax 512/343-0746.  The 

National Support Center for Operation Lifesaver, Incorporated 

may be reached toll free at 1-800-537-6224.

Legal Responsibilities of Motorists at Grade Crossings

Drivers are subject to fines by law enforcement officers at the 

Department of Public Safety (DPS) for violating laws stated in 

Article XI, Section 86 of Uniform Act in the Texas Motor Vehicle 

Laws regarding grade crossings.  The Act states:

    whenever any person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad 

    grade crossing, the driver of the such vehicle shall stop 

    within fifty (50) feet but not less than fifteen (15) feet 

    from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall not 

    proceed until he can do so safely when:

  .  a clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device 

     gives warning of the immediate approach of a train,

  .  a crossing gate is lowered or when a human flagman gives 

     or continues to give a signal of the approach or passage 

     of a train,

  .  a railroad engine approaching within approximately 1500 

     feet of the highway crossing emits a signal audible from 

     such distance and such engine by reason of its speed or 

     nearness to such crossing is an immediate hazard, or

  .  an approaching train is plainly visible and is in 

     hazardous proximity to such crossing.


Drivers must stop by law for flashing lights, bells, or gates.  

If for some reason the lights are flashing and no train is in 

sight, the driver should stop and look both ways, and then 

proceed when they are sure the track(s) are clear.

Police Enforcement at Activated Warning Device Grade Crossings

Law enforcement officials are being urged to write citations for 

any motorist or pedestrian who disregards activated grade 

crossing warning devices.  Operation Lifesaver has a program 

that invites law enforcement officiers to ride on locomotives in 

order to witness first hand what train engineers see everyday at 

highway-rail grade crossings where the motorists commonly fail 

to stop and remain behind activated warning devices such as 

gates or flashers.  Enforcement of existing laws governing 

highway-rail grade crossings pertains to driving past flashing 

signals, driving around automatic gates and flashers, failure to 

obey yield or stop signs, failure for special vehicles to stop, 

and failure to yield right-of-way to a train at a passively 

controlled highway-rail grade crossing.

Upon receipt of a railroad crossing warning system malfunction, 

the railroad shall take appropriate action as required by 49 

C.F.R. Part 234.  Until repair or correction of the warning 

system is completed, the railroad having maintenance 

responsibility for the warning system shall promptly initiate 

efforts to provide alternative means of warning highway traffic 

and railroad employees at the subject crossing.  The railroad 

must notify the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over 

the crossing that is capable of responding and controlling 

vehicular traffic at the crossing.  In many cases, the law 

enforcement agency is the first to know of a warning system 

malfunction through public reports before the railroad company.

The FRA has established regulations for warning system 

malfunctions at railroad-highway grade crossings.  If at least 

one uniformed law enforcement officer provides warning to 

highway traffic at the crossing, trains may proceed through the 

crossing at normal speed.  If an appropriately equipped flagger 

or crewmember of the train is available to flag highway traffic 

to a stop, the train may proceed through the crossing.  The 

regulations specify that a train may proceed at normal speed if 

there is a flagger for each direction of highway traffic or may 

proceed with caution through the crossing at a speed not 

exceeding 15 miles per hour if there is only one flagger or 

train crewmember to stop highway traffic.  Normal speed may be 

resumed after the train has passed through the crossing.  

However, the train may not pass if there is no law enforcement 

officer or flagger or train crewmember available to stop highway 



	                APPENDIX A



Arlington - Senior Traffic Engineer - 817/459-6371

Bedford - (no railroads within city limits)

Burleson - Director of Public Works - 817/295-1113

Carrollton - Director of Traffic and Transportation - 


Dallas - Director of Transportation - 214/670-4026

Denton - Emergency Management Coordinator - 817/473-1104

Euless - Emergency Management Coordinator - 817/685-1573

Farmers Branch - City Engineer - 214/247-3131

Fort Worth - City Traffic Engineer - 817/870-8055

Garland - Director of Traffic and Transportation - 214/205-2432

Grand Prairie - Assistant Director of Public Works - 


Greenville - Street Superintendent - 214/457-3153

Hurst - Traffic Engineer - 817/281-6160 x222

Irving - Director of Traffic and Transportation - 214/721-2646

Kaufman - (no railroads within city limits)

Mansfield - Fire Chief - 817/473-1104

Mesquite - Fire Marshal - 214/216-6267

	 - City Engineer - 214/216-6214

Mineral Wells - City Manager - 817/328-1211

North Richland Hills - Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator- 


Plano - Fire Chief - 214/578-7148

Richardson - Traffic Engineer - 214/238-4230

Rockwall - City Engineer - 214/771-1111


Stephenville - City Administrator - 817/965-7887

Waxahachie - (no contact available)

Weatherford - Fire Chief - 817/594-5541

FRA - 817/334-3601 - Leon Sapp

Railroad Commission - 512/463-7116


Local Operations - Transportation Manager - (Fort Worth) 


24-Hour Emergencies - (Mid-West Operations - Chicago) 


Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company

Emergencies - Chief Dispatcher - (Euless) 817/868-3211

Maintenance - Asst. Supt. Maintenance - (Euless) 817/868-3091

Signals - General Supervisor of Signals - (Euless) 817/868-3054

Crossing Upgrades - Asst. Supt. Maintenance - (Euless) 


Burlington Northern Railroad Company

Emergencies - Chief Dispatcher - (Springfield, MI) 417/864-2121

Track Maintenance - Superintendent of Engineering and 

                    Maintenance - (Fort Worth) 817/581-2450

Signals - Supervisor of Control Systems - (Fort Worth) 


Local Operations - Operations Terminal Superintendent - (Fort 

                   Worth) 817/878-7231

Crossing Upgrades - Engineer of Public Works - (Fort Worth) 



Cottonbelt Railroad Company

Emergencies - Chief Dispatcher - (Pine Bluff, AK) 501/541-1600

Local Office - (Carrollton) 214/434-7999 (answered 24 hours, 

except 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday) or 214/242-5320 during regular 

business hours

Track Maintenance - Roadmaster - (Mt. Pleasant, TX) 214/572-3301

Signals - Trainmaster - (Carrollton) 214/372-7465

Local Operations - Trainmaster - (Carrollton) 214/372-7465

Crossing Upgrades - Trainmaster - (Carrollton) 214/372-7465

Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Emergencies - Jack Campbell, DART Control Center - 214/828-6779

DART Transit Police Dispatcher - 214/828-8500

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company

(see Union-Pacific which encompasses this old Missouri-Pacific 


Operation Lifesaver

Phone - 512/343-6525

Fax - 512/343-0746

Southern Pacific Transportation Company

Emergencies - Chief Dispatcher - (Houston) 713/223-6262

Maintenance - Roadmaster - (Dallas) 214/372-4401

Local Operations - Area Engineer - (Dallas) 214/372-7553

Signals - Supervisor of Signals - (Dallas) 214/372-7457

Crossing Upgrades - Area Engineer - (Dallas) 214/372-7553


Union Pacific Railroad Company

Emergencies - Chief Dispatcher - (Houston) 713/350-7581

Local Operations and Signals - Superintendent of Operations

	-(serving Dallas, Fort Worth, Greenville, Mesquite, Chico, 

           and Waxahachie lines)

	   817/878-4540 (7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

	- (serving Denton County northward)

		817/878-4550 (7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

	- (serving State Highway 80 East)

		214/236-2951 (7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

	- (serving south line to Houston)

		713/350-7660 (7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

24-Hour Local Operations - Manager of Train Operations

	-(serving U.P. Dallas, Fort Worth, Greenville, Mesquite, 

          Chico, and Waxahachie lines)	


	- (serving old MKT system)


Track Maintenance - Manager of Engineering Maintenance

	- (serving Parker County westward)


Track Maintenance - Manager of Engineering Maintenance

	-(serving Dallas, Fort Worth, Greenville, Mesquite, Chico, 

         and Waxahachie lines)


	-(serving Denton County northward)


	- (serving Rockwall County eastward)


Crossing Upgrades - Manager of Public Projects -

	-(serving all North Central Texas areas)



                             APPENDIX B


                            APPENDIX C




"A-Weighted" Noise Levels 

(dBA) - The weighting of sound 

which de-emphasizes lower and 

higher frequencies that are 

beyond the average human 

hearing range.

Accident Rate - 1)  The number 

of accidents, fatalities, or 

injuries divided by a measure 

of vehicle activity to provide 

a means of comparing accident 

trends through time.  2)  The 

number of accidents per 

crossing per year.

Ballast - Gravel, broken 

stone, or slag placed between 

and under the ties of a 

railroad to give stability, 

provide drainage, and 

distribute loads.

Bar Ditch - Can be used as a 

drainage channel that carries 

water runoff from the track 

structure and adjacent land; 

forms part of the regional 

storm water and storm sewer 


Benefit-Cost Ratio - The 

economic value of the 

reduction in fatalities, 

injuries, and property damage 

divided by the cost of the 

accident reducing measure.

Branch Line - A secondary line 

of railroad usually handling 

light volumes of traffic.

Case Law - Law established by 

judicial decisions in 

particular cases, instead of 

by legislative action.

Civil Statute - An enactment 

made by a legislature for its 

citizens and expressed as a 

formal document.

Constant Warning Time Track 

Circuit - Warning devices that 

will sense train speed in 

approach section of crossings 

equipped with gates or 

flashers and select 

appropriate warning time.

Crosstie - The wooden or 

concrete support upon which 

track rails rest and which 

holds them to gauge and 

transfers their load through 

the ballast to the subgrade.

Decibels (dB) - The unit of 

measurement for sound 

intensity, with zero dB 

corresponding roughly to the 

threshold of hearing.

Exempt Sign - Informs drivers 

of vehicles for hire, school 

buses carrying children, or 

vehicles carrying hazardous or 

flammable materials that a 

stop is not required except 

when railroad equipment is 

approaching or occupying the 

crossing, or the driver's view 

of the sign is blocked.

Fines - Minute particles of 

rock resulting from pulverized 

ballast or other rock 


French Drain - A drainage 

trench filled to ground level 

with fragments of brick or 


Grade Separation - A crossing 

of two highways, or a highway 

and a railroad, at different 


Green Board - A permanent 

railroad sign which instructs 

an engineer to resume normal 

speed of the train.

Harmonic Oscillation - The 

rocking motion of a train at 

speeds of 12-25 mph hour due 

to loads on staggered rail 

joints occurring over extended 


Horizontal Alignment - The 

angle of a roadway as it 

intersects another road or 

rail line; 90-degree 

intersections are optimal for 

adequate sight triangles.

Ldn Noise Level - The average 

noise level of both day and 

night hours where the night 

level between 10 p.m. and 

7 a.m. is weighted an 

additional ten decibels (dB) 

to account for the increased 

effect of noise perceived 

during these hours.

Line-Haul - The movement of 

freight over the tracks of a 

railroad from one town or city 

to another town or city.

Main Line - The principle line 

or lines of a railway.

Main Track - A track extending 

through yards and between 

stations, upon which trains 

are operated by timetable, 

train order or both, or the 

use of which is governed by 

block signals or by 

centralized traffic control.

Motion Detector Track Circuit 

- Detects train movement with 

an audio frequency whereby if 

a train stops on approach or 

moves away from a crossing, 

the crossing warning system 

will be deactivated; often 

used for switching moves 

within normal approach limits.

Normalize - In statistics to 

create a normal bell-shaped 

curve showing a distribution 

of probability of a given 

event relative to an 

independent variable.

Precedent - An adjudged case 

or judicial decision that 

furnishes a rule or model for 

deciding a subsequent case 

that presents the same or 

similar legal problems.

Priority Index - A 

mathematical equation used in 

Texas to rank the hazard of an 

existing railroad grade 

crossing; it assists in the 

TxDOT determination of 

potential matching funding 

from FHWA Surface 

Transportation Program safety 

monies to be passed through to 

local authorities.

Pumping - The effect of poor 

drainage in the sub-ballast 

which causes mud to form, 

fouls the ballast, and allows 

the track to move vertically 

under heavy loads.

Railroad Line Miles - The 

aggregate length of road of 

line-haul railroads.  It 

excludes yard tracks, sidings, 

and parallel lines.  

Jointly-used track is counted 

only once.

Railroad Track Miles - Total 

miles of railroad track 

including multiple main 

tracks, yard tracks and 

sidings, owned by both 

line-haul and switching and 

terminal companies.

Railroad/Highway Grade 

Crossing - The general area 

where a highway and a railroad 

cross at the same elevation 

and includes the railroad 

right-of-way, roadway 

right-of-way, and roadside 

signs and facilities.

Pedestrian Crossing - A 

railroad- highway grade 

crossing that is used by 

pedestrians only.

Private Crossing - A railroad- 

highway grade crossing that 

includes a privately owned 

roadway utilized only by the 

owner's licensees and 


Public Crossing - A railroad- 

highway grade crossing that 

includes a roadway under the 

jurisdiction of, and 

maintained by, a public 

authority on at least one side 

of the track.

Senior-Junior Principle - A 

concept where a division of 

responsibility occurs between 

two parties depending on who 

or which was in existence 


Tort Liability - Any private 

or civil wrong by act or 

omission, such as an accident 

which occurs from a person's 


Track - An assembly of rails, 

ties, and fastenings over 

which cars, locomotives, and 

trains are moved.

Double or Multiple - Two or 

more main tracks over which 

trains may travel in both 


Single - 1)  The main track on 

a roadbed having one main 

track upon which trains are 

operated in both directions.  

2)  In multiple track 

territory, the process of 

running all trains, regardless 

of direction on one track 

while the other track is 

temporarily out of service.

Traffic Control Device - A 

sign, signal, marking, or 

other device placed on or 

adjacent to a street or 

highway by authority of a 

public body or official having 

jurisdiction to regulate, 

warn, or guide traffic.

Traffic Control Device 

(Active) - Those traffic 

control devices activated by 

the approach or presence of a 

train, such as flashing light 

signals, automatic gates, and 

similar devices as well as 

manually operated devices and 

crossing watchmen, all of 

which display to motorists 

positive warning of the 

approach or presence of a 


Traffic Control Device 

(Passive) - Those types of 

traffic control devices, 

including signs, markings, and 

other devices, located at or 

in advance of grade crossings 

to indicate the presence of a 

crossing but which do not 

change aspect upon the 

approach or presence of a 


Traffic Markings - All lines, 

patterns, words, colors, or 

other devices, except signs, 

set into the surface of, 

applied upon, or attached to 

the pavement or curbing or to 

the objects within or adjacent 

to the roadway, officially 

placed for the purpose of 

regulating, warning, or 

guiding traffic.

Train Miles of Travel - The 

total amount of  distance each 

train travels in a given year.

Vertical Alignment - The 

vertical slope of pavement or 

other material to allow for 


Wigwags - An early active 

warning device which operates 

with a red symbol swinging on 

a fulcrum.

                            APPENDIX D

                         LIST OF ACRONYMS

	                     APPENDIX D

	                 LIST OF ACRONYMS

AAR	- American Association of Railroads

ADT	- Average Daily Traffic (vehicular)

AREA	- American Railroad Engineering Association

CFR	- Code of Federal Regulations

DOT	- Department of Transportation

DPS	- Department of Public Safety

EPA	- Environmental Protection Agency

FARS	- Fatal Accident Reporting System

FHWA	- Federal Highway Administration

FRA	- Federal Railroad Administration

ICC	- Interstate Commerce Commission

NCTCOG 	- North Central Texas Council of Governments

NHTSA	- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PI	- Priority Index

RCT	- Railroad Commission of Texas

TxDOT	- Texas Department of Transportation

TTI	- Texas Transportation Institute


American Railway Engineering Association, American Railway 

Engineering Association Manual for Railway Engineering 

(Washington, D.C., 1988).

Environmental Protection Agency, Model Noise Control Ordinance 

(Washington, D.C., 1979).

Environmental Protection Agency, Noise:  A Health Problem 

(Springfield, Virginia (undated)).

Environmental Protection Agency, Protective Noise Levels - 

Condensed Version of EPA Levels Document (Springfield, Virginia, 

November 1978).

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Operations, 

Demonstration Projects Division; Railroad Crossing Corridor 

Improvements: A Model Program Based on Field Reviews in Six 

States, Richard D. Powers, Report No. FHWA-DP-70, 1986)

Interstate Commerce Commission, "Merger - The Atchison, Topeka 

and Santa Fe Railway Company and Southern Pacific Transportation 

Company," Finance Docket Number 30400 (Springfield, Virginia, 

September 1984).

Interstate Commerce Commission, "Rail Line Construction - 

Manatee County, Florida - Environmental Assessment," Finance 

Docket Number 30482 (Springfield, Virginia, November 6, 1985).

North Central Texas Council of Governments, Transportation and 

Energy Department, "North Central Texas Local Railroad Ordinance 

Survey" (Arlington, Texas, January 1989).

North Central Texas Council of Governments, Transportation and 

Energy Department, Railroad/Roadway Grade Separation Needs 

Assessment:  A Benefit-Cost Ratio Model (Arlington, Texas, 

January 1988).

Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company, Rail Planning Program for 

the North Central Texas Region, prepared for the North Central 

Texas Council of Governments (Arlington, Texas, January 1980).

Proceedings 1989 National Conference on Rail-Highway Safety, 

"Selecting the Most Cost Effective Grade Crossing Surface,"

David R. Burns, Railroad Industrial Engineering Consultant

Railroad Commission of Texas, "Visual Obstruction Rule," Texas 

Register 16 TAC Section 5.620, (17 May 1988, 2293-2294).

Texas A & M University, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas 

Rail System Evaluation:  A General Overview of Railroad Safety 

in Texas (College Station, Texas, August 1977).

United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway 

Administration, Railroad - Highway Grade Crossing Handbook 

(Springfield, Virginia, September 1986).

United States Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad 

Administration, Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Material 

Selection Handbook, Florida Department of Transportation, Bureau 

of Value Engineering and University of Florida, Department of 

Civil Engineering, (Tallahassee, Florida, 1984)

United States Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad 

Administration, Summary of the DOT Rail-Highway Crossing 

Resource Allocation Procedure - Revised (Springfield, Virginia, 

June 1987).

United States District Court, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 

Company vs. City of Piqua, Ohio (Dayton, Ohio, June 30, 1986).

United States District Court, Sisk vs. National Railroad 

Passenger Corporation (Topeka, Kansas, November 12, 1986).

United States Government, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 

Title 49, Part 210.33, Operations Standards (Switch locomotives, 

load cell test stands, car coupling operations, and retards), 

Federal Railroad Administration, (Washington, D.C., October 1, 


United States Government, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 

Title 49, Part 213.9 except as provided in paragraph (b) and (c) 

of this section and 213.57, 213.59, 213.113 (a), and 213.137 (b) 

and (c), Federal Railroad Administration, (Washington, D.C., 

October 1, 1988).

United States Supreme Court, Southern Pacific Company v. State 

of Arizona (Arizona, June 18, 1945).

2nd International Symposium on Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing 

Research & Safety, Low-Cost Safety Improvements at Rail-Highway 

Crossings, John C. Glennon and James R. Loumiet, (Knoxville, 

Tennesse, December, 1992)




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