Chapter 13: Maintenance

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Section 1: Grade Crossing Maintenance

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Railroad Company Responsibilities

Railroad companies are generally responsible for maintenance of:

  • crossing surface from edge of tie to edge of tie on at-grade crossings (panels, rail, ties, ballast, and subballast)
  • active warning systems (gates, mast flashers, cantilevers), including energy charges
  • crossbuck, Number of Tracks, Stop, Yield, and ENS signs
  • vegetation and sight obstructions within 250 feet of at-grade crossing on railroad right-of-way
  • railroad circuitry, including preemption circuitry and operation from railroad cabin
  • superstructure of underpasses.

Although the railroad companies maintain these items, TxDOT does provide assistance for railroad crossing surface replacement on state routes via the Replanking Program. See Chapter 5 for details.

District Railroad Coordinators should make an effort to routinely inspect crossing surfaces to identify candidates for the Replanking Program. Additionally, any operational or maintenance issues regarding active warning systems, crossbuck signs, or sight distance obstructions should be coordinated with the TxDOT Traffic Operations Division-Rail Safety Section (TRF-RSS) and the railroad company. Typical issues may include:

  • broken gates
  • malfunctioning gates or flashing lights
  • gates, cantilevers, crossbuck signs, or mast flashers that have been hit by vehicular traffic
  • non-reflective signs (must be inspected at night)
  • missing signs
  • vegetation that is causing sight distance issues
  • scrape marks on gauge crossing surface panels or panels that rock or have shifted
  • damaged crossing surface panels
  • clogged or blocked drainage pipes at a crossing.
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TxDOT Responsibilities

On state routes, TxDOT is generally responsible for the maintenance of:

  • pavement up to crossing surface panels on both sides of at-grade crossings. This includes pavement between multiple sets of railroad crossing panels.
  • base material beneath subballast at at-grade crossings
  • design features such as guardrail, retaining walls, medians, curbs, and sidewalks at at-grade crossings
  • signing, striping, raised pavement markers, delineators, and object markers (not including crossbuck signs) at at-grade crossings
  • retroreflective tape on crossbuck signs
  • timing settings and maintenance of preempted traffic signals
  • inspection and maintenance of overpass structures, including drainage, fencing, and DOT Number stenciling
  • lighting and energy charges for lighting over a railroad track on an overpass
  • substructure (columns), guardrail, barriers, all roadway and sidewalk features, and vertical clearance signs at underpasses
  • any pavement, curb and gutter, signs, lighting, or other features on railroad right-of-way not at at-grade crossings.

District Railroad Coordinators should make an effort to visit on-system at-grade crossings to inspect the applicable items above as time permits. Typical issues may include:

  • missing stop bars and approach striping
  • missing or incorrect railroad crossing pavement markings (should be adjacent to W10-1 Grade Crossing Advance Warning Sign)
  • missing railroad crossing warning signs on both approaches and on parallel streets within 100’ of rail
  • nonreflective signs and pavement markings (must be inspected at night)
  • pavement cracking due to truck loadings or humped crossings
  • broken or missing raised pavement markers, delineators, and object markers.
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Joint Responsibility

Areas of maintenance that generally require a joint effort by TxDOT and the railroad company or may be governed by a specific agreement include:

  • common ditches
  • pipes, culverts, and conduits on railroad right-of-way or under tracks
  • traffic signal preemption and associated interconnection with the railroad cabin (See Section 2 for details.).

Any sight inspections of crossing locations should be verified against existing inventory in TRIMS and corrected as needed. Photographs of the crossing should also be taken and uploaded as the most current photos of the crossing.

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