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Section 5: Railroad Agreements

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Overview

Railroad Agreements are joint use agreements (license agreements) entered into between TxDOT and a railroad company for the use of needed ROW. The agreements are customarily used when an active, operating railroad is involved as opposed to abandoned railroad property. These agreements are in the form of a license in that they are permissive and do not create a property interest. The agreements are used in scenarios where TxDOT needs use of ROW presently used by a railroad company and when a railroad company needs ROW presently used by TxDOT. The agreements allow for the joint use of property for a specific purpose at no cost to either party for the use. The two basic instances when a Railroad Agreement will be used are when a highway and railroad intersect and when a highway and railroad run parallel.

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Crossing Agreements

A Crossing Agreement is used when highway and railroad ROW intersect. If for example, a current railroad is operating on property owned by a railroad company or on property over which a railroad company has an easement and a highway facility needs to cross the railroad property, then it would be appropriate to execute a crossing agreement by and between TxDOT and the railroad company. The agreement will give TxDOT permission to cross the railroad property at a specific location. The Railroad Section of the Traffic Operations Division is charged with the responsibility of negotiating for and preparation of these agreements. That Division coordinates the agreements with the Railroad Project Coordinator in each District. The Traffic Operations Division Director is the only person authorized to execute such agreements on behalf of TxDOT. A signed and sealed property description and parcel sketch detailing the common usage area must be attached to the agreement. A copy of the agreement should be transmitted by the District to the ROW Division for their records. At the option of TxDOT, the agreement may or may not be recorded in the deed records of the appropriate county. There is no compensation paid to the railroad company for the use of the railroad property in this instance. The area covered by these agreements should be shown on the ROW map for the project and should be designated with a parcel number followed by JUP (Joint Use Parcel). A Crossing Agreement will also be used if a railroad company desires to cross an existing highway.

If the interest owned in the property by the railroad company is only an easement and those rights are abandoned by the railroad, it will be necessary for TxDOT to acquire a property interest from the underlying fee owner. The reason for this is that TxDOT only has a license to use the property for so long as the railroad company has an interest. If the interest of the railroad company goes away, so does TxDOT's interest.

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Longitudinal Agreements

Longitudinal or Common-Ditch Agreements are used when highway and railroad ROW run parallel. These agreements usually entail the use of the ditch area that exists between the railroad property and the highway ROW. As in Crossing Agreements, the negotiation and preparation of a Longitudinal Agreement is the responsibility of the Railroad Section of the Traffic Operations Division in coordination with the Railroad Project Coordinator in the District. The Director of the Traffic Operations Division is the only person authorized to execute these agreements on behalf of TxDOT. A signed and sealed property description and parcel sketch detailing the common usage area must be attached to the agreement. A copy of the agreement should be transmitted by the District to the ROW Division for their records. At the option of TxDOT, the agreement may or may not be recorded in the deed records of the appropriate county. The type of agreement entered into by and between TxDOT and the railroad company is similar to the Crossing Agreement and will only give TxDOT a license to use the property. As in the situation of a Crossing Agreement, if the interest owned in the property by the railroad company is only an easement and those rights are abandoned by the railroad, it will be necessary for TxDOT to acquire a property interest from the underlying fee owner. The area covered by these agreements should be shown on the ROW map for the project and should be designated by a parcel number followed by JUP (Joint Use Parcel).

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