Chapter 2: Railroad Agreements -- General

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Section 1: Overview

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Financial Responsibility

Responsibility for undertaking work at highway-railroad grade crossings is defined in the Texas Administrative Code (43 TAC 25.76). Financial responsibility for costs associated with new crossings, or improvements or adjustments to existing crossings, depends on whose property is being crossed. If TxDOT needs to cross or originally crossed an existing railroad, TxDOT pays for any necessary warning signals, crossing surfaces, and other work. If the railroad wants to cross or originally crossed an existing highway on the state system, the railroad pays for any necessary warning signals, crossing surfaces, or other work.

In the more common situation where TxDOT approaches the railroad to cross their tracks, a “license to cross,” rather than an easement, is granted by formal agreement and without cost to either party. The agreement specifies the construction and maintenance responsibilities of the two parties at the crossing. Since railroads are most often not required to bear any of the costs of federal-aid and state funded projects, their contribution to state projects should be the license to cross them and, if necessary, occupy small portions of their right-of-way for the state’s structure or roadway. This arrangement is of particular benefit to the railroad for work involving the elimination of hazards at highway-rail grade crossings.

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Agreements Required

An agreement between TxDOT and the railroad must be executed before any work on railroad right-of-way is done.The type of agreement necessary depends on the nature of the work and the source of funding. The following chapters of this volume explain the specific types of work and circumstances under which various agreements are required.

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