• When are trains required to stop and protect grade crossings

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by mattg
If there is a crossing where the crossbuck is missing, and there is NO sight distance at all of an oncoming train, because of overgrown vegetation, does the train have any obligation to stop? Is it required to stop?
I know of a particular railroad in Pennsylvania, that used to stop at this particular crossing, but for some reason, they discontinued stopping, and they would roll right on through without even slowing down. That was, until someone was almost killed there because they couldn't see a train coming, and because it was summertime, they had the air conditioning on and the windows up, they didn't hear anything either. Now, right after that accident, they have been stopping, and a crewman would get out, stand in the roadway, ringing a little bell, and make sure that there is no oncoming vehicular traffic. Oh, by the way, they also removed the overgrown vegetation in a frantic manner within a month or two following the accident. I need any helpful information ASAP!!!

  by wess
If its been an inactive line. They would be required to stop and flag their way across. There are some crossings that while posted with cross bucks. I have seen a sign posted below saying exempt, meaning that the train has to stop and flag across. I am not sure what more you need to know. But that is the best I know at the moment

  by keeper1616
It usually varies by the company and the crossing. Stop and protect orders are usually given out based on the individual crossings, but the company may have a general order too...more information (what crossing, what company) may yield better answers...or you can try calling the company and asking someone there the specifics on the crossing in question

  by Lehigh Valley Railroad
Most "heavy traffic" lines are protected by Gates and flashers.

Although on the BRW, there is some "country" roads with no gates, nor flashers. Just a crossbuck sign.

It also depends on the Engineer/crew. If I am there, I give the whole 00-0 and thensome, while slowing at the crossing.

Other guys simply slow, even stop at the crossing, wait for the cars to "stop by themselves" and give a short toot or just bell.

  by ENR3870
Can't speak for all railways here, but from what I've seen, and what the guys on the train have told me, on the E&N most uncontrolled crossings have a 5 MPH slow order. There is another crossing, the Stamp Avenue crossing in Port Alberni, BC has stop signs posted about 100 ft. on either side of the crossing, and all trains must come to a complete stop before entering the crossing. If crossing signals are not working, the train must be flagged across by a member of the crew.

  by themallard
Speaking of trains being required to stop... I rode this tourist train in Pennsylvania where the engineer made an announcement stating that the train would have to stop at a grade crossing ahead. The particularly weird thing was that this was a rural crossing, with cross bucks on both sides. On the left side of the track, there is a country road with fields on either side. On the immediate opposing side, there is a river with the bridge washed out about ten feet from the crossing. No cars would try to cross this track here because if they did they would be plunged into the river. I still do not understand why the trains have to stop here by law as was said over the P.A. system.

  by Engineer
Depends on the crossing and on the railroad special instruction. Remember what the crossbuck means, it is a YIELD sign, meaning cars must YIELD TO THE TRAIN. If that requires the car to stop and then see if it is safe to continue, then that is what the law requires. To often that is either ignored or unknown by the motorist.

  by BN7151
You might be able to find some interesting/useful information in Chapter 6 Section 32 (6.32.x) of the General Code of Operating Rules.

  by CSX Conductor
Black River, you mean --o-, right? LOL (assuming you are working under NORAC Rules. :wink:
  by eddiebear
There are also crossings around here (and probably elsewhere) called "farm crossings". When the railroad was located it bisected some farmer's property and a rude grade crossing was constructed to permit farm machinery, wagons, etc access to both land parcels. Virtually all are unprotected except for whistle posts. One of the closest to Boston is in Sherborn, MA on the Sunshine Dairy (Sunshine Farm) property. This is on the CSX Mansfield-Framingham route. There used to be one much closer to Boston in Waltham, MA, B & M's now abandoned Central Mass. Branch at DaVincent Farms, right near Bentley College.
Trains maintain track speed through the Sunshine Xing and just give the standard whistle signal. Most farm crossings have very little other identification.

  by shortlinerailroader
Forgive me for being a little off-subject, but I have been wondering about non-train vehicles on the track (mainly hi-rail trucks and maintenence equipment). Today, coming home from work, I was driving my usual route on a highway that parallels the BNSF main. This is Class 4 track and there was a Ford F250 Hi-railing at track speed. A cop in front of me and facing the same direction turned left and proceded across the track right in front of the truck who was hard on the brakes when I passed him. The hi-railer had his safety strobes on and was highly visible.

Now, I am wondering if hi-rail trucks, regulators, tampers and other smaller rail vehicles have the same rights as trains on the track; or should they stop and flag at crossings?

On our RR we travel in a Freightliner crew cab with a crane on the back. When the crossing signals activate, we proceed across, horn blowing. When they do not, we still aproach the crosing blowing the horn as a train would. If traffic stops, we proceed across, horn blowing; if it is very busy, a man exits the cab and flags the truck across. At rural crossings we stop as if it were a 4-way stop.

Any input would be appreciated.
  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by clearblock

I am not aware of any FRA rule that requires routine movement be preceded by a hi-rail on any class of track.

I think by "exempt' you mean "Excepted" track.

The FRA Rule 213.9 defines speed limits for classes of track as follows:

Excepted: 10 freight, No passenger, limited hazmat
Class1: 10 freight, 15 passenger
Class2: 25 freight 30 passenger
Class3: 40 freight 60 passenger
Class4: 60 freight 80 passenger
Class5: 80 freight 90 passenger

Some RRs may have their own lower speeds for each class. I don't have the speeds for the higher classes, that is covered by a different rule part.

Even Excepted track requires periodic inspections and some minimal maintenance standards. If the track is not in regular use, inspections can be defered but must be done before a train can run. This can result in a hi-rail inspection immediately ahead of a train movement.
  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.