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Section 4: Project Agreements

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Design Approval

Submittals on railroad capital improvement projects come from the railroad company to the District office. After approval by the District office, the materials are forwarded on to the TRF-RSS Contract Specialist who distributes the materials to the appropriate parties at the Divisions for review and approval. Reviewing parties are the same as for a TxDOT construction project.

For documentation needed on submittals, see Chapters 2 and 3 of tis manual. For review of Exhibit A plan set, refer to the checklists shown in Chapter 7 of this manual.

Preemption forms, reports, and request forms are uploaded into the TRIMS Project Management Module by TRF-RSS.

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Project Agreement Process

After all comments are resolved, the TRF-RSS Contract Specialist will draft an appropriate agreement giving permission for the work to be performed.

  • Spur Permit Agreement: used for a new track crossing a highway on TxDOT right-of-way.
  • Joint Use Agreement: typically used for double tracking projects, maintenance projects, or other railroad capital improvement projects on railroad right-of-way which impact a highway.
  • Letter Agreement: may be used for minor work with minimal impact to highway facilities or TxDOT right-of-way.

These agreements usually specify that the railroad company will be responsible for all costs involved in the construction of the project and will not include any attachments other than an Exhibit A plan set. A cost estimate for work performed by TxDOT would not be included since this would be covered by a Donation Agreement.

Typical timelines for execution of these agreements are six to nine months from initial submittal of Exhibit A plan set to full agreement execution.

Project agreements are uploaded into the TRIMS Project Management Module by TRF-RSS.

If driveway access is needed or driveway locations need to be modified, approval will come from the Area Office via a driveway permit. Districts will issue any required roadway closure agreements.

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Spur Permit Contents

Spur Permit Agreements usually have similar requirements as C&M Agreements, but may include additional requirements that the railroad company or private industry must adhere to in accordance with 43 TAC §7.105.

  • Modifications to the Highway: If TxDOT elects to modify the highway in any way that will affect the spur track at-grade crossing, TxDOT will have the right to make such modifications, and the railroad company or private industry will make the necessary changes to the crossing surface and railroad warning devices at their expense.
  • No Abnormal Delays in Traffic Flow: No general switching of trains across the highway is permitted. Train operations crossing the highway must be conducted in a way as to not delay traffic flow for more than a normal period of time. If more than the normal time is needed, the railroad company or private industry must notify TxDOT in writing as to the necessity and circumstances for more time.
  • Future Need for Grade Separation: If, in the future, TxDOT determines that a grade separation is required, the railroad company or private industry or both will finance and construct the structure. The terms of the grade separation structure will be handled under a separate agreement.
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Other Projects by Outside Parties

Occasionally other parties may have projects which impact rail lines and highways. Work may be on railroad or TxDOT right-of-way. Examples of these projects may include:

  • developer or industry projects
  • transfer of an agreement from one party to another.

These agreements are unique in nature. TRF-RSS will coordinate review and approval of any:

  • design approvals
  • cost estimates
  • agreement terms.
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