Chapter 27 Railroad

§ 2701. Railroad connections with sidetracks and laterals.


A. General rule.  Every public utility engaged in a railroad business shall, upon application of any owner or operator of any lateral railroad, or any private sidetrack, or of any shipper tendering property for transportation, or of any consignee, construct, maintain, and operate, at a reasonable place and upon reasonable terms, a switch connection with any such lateral railroad or private sidetrack which may be constructed to connect with its railroad, where such connection may be reasonably practicable and can be put in with safety, and will furnish sufficient business to justify the construction and maintenance of the same.

B. Additional connections and use.  Whenever any lateral line of railroad or private sidetrack has been so connected with a line of any railroad, or whenever any owner of such lateral railroad or private sidetrack has at any time heretofore sold or leased, or shall hereafter sell or lease, such lateral railroad or sidetrack to any public utility engaged in a railroad business, any person or corporation, including a municipal corporation, shall be entitled to connect therewith, or to use the same upon payment to the party incurring the primary expense thereof of a reasonable proportion of the cost of such lateral railroad or private sidetrack, and of the maintenance thereof, which shall be determined, in case of disagreement among the parties, by the Commission, after notice to the interested parties, and a hearing. Such connection and use shall be made without reasonable interference with the use thereof by the party incurring the primary expense of owning or leasing such lateral railroad or sidetrack.

§ 2702. Construction, relocation, suspension and abolition of crossings.


A. General rule.  No public utility, engaged in the transportation of passengers or property, shall, without prior order of the Commission, construct its facilities across the facilities of any other such public utility or across any highway at grade or above or below grade, or at the same or different levels; and no highway at grade or above or below grade, or at the same or different levels; and no highway, without like order, shall be so constructed across the facilities of any such public utility, and, without like order, no such crossing heretofore or hereafter constructed shall be altered, relocated, suspended or abolished.

B. Acquisition of property and regulation of crossing.  The Commission is hereby vested with exclusive power to appropriate property for any such crossing, except as to such property as has been or may hereafter be condemned by the Department of Transportation for projects financed entirely by the Commonwealth and for Federal Aid Projects under section 1004 of the act of June 1, 1945 (P.L.1242, No. 428), known as the "State Highway Law," in which case the provisions of that statute shall be in effect, and to determine and prescribe, by regulation or order, the points at which, and the manner in which, such crossing may be constructed, altered, relocated, suspended or abolished, and the manner and conditions in or under which such crossings shall be maintained, operated, and protected to effectuate the prevention of accidents and the promotion of the safety of the public. The Commission shall require every railroad the right-of-way of which crosses a public highway at grade to cut or otherwise control the growth of brush and weeds upon property owned by the railroad within 200 feet of such crossing on both sides and in both directions so as to insure proper visibility by motorists.

C. Mandatory relocation, alteration, or suspension.  Upon its own motion or upon complaint, the Commission shall have exclusive power after hearing, upon notice to all parties in interest, including the owners of adjacent property, to order any such crossing heretofore or hereafter constructed to be relocated or altered, or to be suspended or abolished upon such reasonable terms and conditions as shall be prescribed by the Commission. In determining the plans and specifications for any such crossing, the Commission may lay out, establish, and open such new highways as, in its opinion, may be necessary to connect such crossing with and existing highway, or make such crossing more available to public use; and may abandon or vacate such highways or portions of highways as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be rendered unnecessary for public use by the construction, relocation, or abandonment of any such crossings. The Commission may order the work of construction, relocation, alteration, protection, suspension or abolition of any crossing aforesaid to be performed in whole or part by any public utility or municipal corporation concerned or by the Commonwealth or and established nonprofit organization with a recreational or conservation purpose.

D. Procedure for appropriation of property.   When any real property is appropriated by the Commission under this section, each parcel of such property so appropriated, shall be accurately described by metes and bounds, and the record owner of each such parcel shall be named in the order of appropriation. Unless otherwise recorded, the Commission shall file with the recorder of deeds of the proper county, a copy of that portion of the order of the Commission which appropriates such property, and such plans and other detailed information as the Commission may deem necessary. Such portion of the Commission’s order dealing with the specific names of the record owners of such specific property at the expense of the governmental agency, including the Department of Transportation and Public Utility Commission, corporation or persons upon whose instigation, petition or complaint the said crossing was constructed, reconstructed, relocated, altered, suspended or abolished, as may be ordered, to bear such expense or recording by the Commission. When such appropriation of real property has been recorded under the provisions of any other statute, such recording shall not be duplicated under the terms of this subsection.

E. Reactivation.  The Commission may, within its discretion upon petition by any railroad, the Commonwealth, a political subdivision or any other affected party by order reactivate any crossing suspended under this section.

F. Danger to safety.  Upon the Commission’s finding of an immediate danger to the safety and welfare of the public at any such crossing, the Commission shall order the crossing to be immediately altered, improved, or suspended. Thereafter hearing shall be held and costs shall be allocated in the manner prescribed in this part.

G. Suspensions .  Any order of suspension under this section shall require the following for the protection of the motoring public:

1. Removal or covering of crossing warning devices.

2.   i. Paving over the tracks; or

     ii. removal of the tracks and paving over of the area formerly occupied by said tracks; or

    iii. barricading the crossing. 

H. Assignment of crossing responsibilities to certain nonprofit organizations.

1. The Commission may order the work of abolition of an crossing, in whole or in part, including an future obligations, to be performed by a municipal authority created to advance recreation or conservation purposes or a nonprofit organizations with a recreation or conservation purpose, if:

       i. The Municipal Authority or nonprofit organization provides adequate security for the work or demonstrates financial responsibility to the satisfaction of the Commission; and

       ii. The Commission does not order any Commonwealth agency to bear ancillary responsibility for the work or abolition of any crossing, or the cost associated with the work, without the prior written consent of the head of the Commonwealth agency.

2.  In accordance with the provisions of section 2704 (relating to compensation for damage occasioned by construction, relocation or abolition of crossings), the Commission may order the municipal authority or nonprofit organization assuming responsibility for the abolition of the crossing to bear all, or a portion, of the cost associated with the work. This section shall not apply to any proceeding wherein the Commission has issued a final order prior to the effective date of its enactment.

§ 2703. Ejectment in crossing cases.


A. When any real property is appropriated by the Commission in connection with a crossing improvement under this part, the Commission may direct the removal of all structures within the lines of such appropriation.

§ 2704. Compensation of damages occasioned by construction, relocation or abolition of crossings.


A. General rule.   The compensation for damages which the owners of adjacent property taken, injured, or destroyed may sustain in the construction, relocation, alteration, protection, or abolition of any crossing under the provisions of this part, shall, after due notice and hearing, be ascertained and determined by the Commission. Such compensation, as well as the cost of construction, relocation, alteration, protection, or abolition of such crossing, and of facilities at or adjacent to such crossing which are used in any kind of public utility service, shall be borne and paid, as provided in this section, by the public utilities or municipal corporations, municipal authority or nonprofit organization authorized under Section 2702(h) (relating to construction, relocation, suspension and abolition of crossings) concerned, or by the Commonwealth, in such proper proportions as the Commission may, after due notice and hearing, determine, unless such proportions are mutually agreed upon and paid by the interested parties.

B. Judicial review .  Any party to the proceeding dissatisfied with the determination of the Commission may appeal therefore, as provided by law, and for this purpose is hereby authorized to sue the Commonwealth. The Commission may, of its own motion, or upon application of any party in interest, submit to the court of common pleas of the county wherein the property affected is located, the determination of the amount of damages to any property owner due to such condemnation, for which purpose such court shall appoint viewers, from whose award of damages an appeal to said court shall lie on the part of any person or party aggrieved thereby, under the general law applicable to the appointment of viewers, for the ascertainment of damages due to the condemnation of private property for public use.

C. Payment of compensation.   The amount of damages or compensation determined and awarded to be paid the owners of adjacent property by the Commonwealth shall, in each instance, be paid by the State Treasurer, on a warrant drawn by the State Treasurer, upon the presentation to that officer of a statement setting forth the amount determined to be paid as aforesaid, duly certified by the Commission; such payment to be paid out of any funds specifically appropriated for the improvement of the roads or highways of this Commonwealth; and in case of a verdict and judgment thereon for the damages or compensation, recorded by any such adjacent property owners upon appeal, the same shall be paid out of any funds appropriated as aforesaid; and any court of common pleas hearing and determining such appeal is hereby authorized and empowered to issue a writ of mandamus to such Commission and the State Treasurer, or either of them, as the case may require, for the payment of such judgment.

D. Recovery of compensation.   The Commission shall have the right to recover, for and on behalf of the Commonwealth, by due process of law, as debts of like amount are now by law recoverable, from the public utility or municipal corporation concerned, in such amounts or proportions against each as may be determined by the Commission, as hereinbefore provided in this section, the amount of the damages or compensation awarded to the owners of adjacent property by the Commission, or by the court, and the amounts so received shall be paid into the State Treasury, through the Department of Revenue, to the credit of the Motor License Fund.

§ 2705. Speedometers and speed recorders.


A. General rule.   No railroad locomotive shall be operated in excess of 30 miles per hour in this Commonwealth without a device or devices making a record of the speed at which the locomotive is traveling and providing the engineer or operator of the locomotive with a view of such speed. Both devices shall be functioning correctly within four miles per hour.

B. Exceptions.   Locomotives operated or used exclusively within designated yard limits in switching or transfer service need not be equipped in accordance with the provisions of this section. Locomotives while being used in commuter passenger service need not be equipped with a speed device.

C. Notification of compliance.   Each railroad shall notify the Commission of the date that each locomotive comes in to compliance with the provisions of this section. The notification shall state the serial number or other identification of the locomotive.

D. Schedule of regulated locomotives . Each railroad affected by the provision of this section shall maintain at a designated location a list or schedule of the locomotives referred to in this section . It shall set forth, along with other information, the date that the device or devices referred to in subsection (a) were calibrated and found to be functioning in accordance with the provisions of this section. It shall advise the Commission as to such location. In the event of an accident during the operation of a locomotive or In the event of a disciplinary proceeding in which a railroad employee is charged with excessive speed, the record required by this section showing the speed at the time and place of involved shall be retained by the railroad, at a location made known to the Public Utility Commission, for a period of six months after said accident or disciplinary proceeding. In any disciplinary proceeding in which a railroad employee is charged with excessive speed in the operation of a locomotive equipped with a speed recorder the railroad may not introduce other evidence of such speed unless the record has been retained in compliance with this subsection.

E. Enforcement. The Commission shall enforce the provisions of this section and may issued such order or orders as may be proper to require compliance herewith.

§ 2706. Flag protection.


A. General rule .  All railroads operating in this Commonwealth shall promulgate and maintain appropriate operating rules and special instructions for the government of their respective employees in conformity with the following:

1.  When a train stops under circumstances in which it may be overtaken by another train, a member of the crew must provide flagging protection by going back immediately with a red flag, torpedoes and fusees by day and with a red and/or white light, torpedoes and fusees by night, a sufficient distance to insure full protection, placing two torpedoes on the rail and also, when necessary, display lighted fuses.

2.   When recalled and safety to the train will permit, he may return.

3.  When conditions require, he will leave the torpedoes and a lighted fuse.

4.  The front of the train must be protected in the same way, when necessary, by a member of the crew.

5.  When a train is moving under circumstances in which it may be overtaken by another train, a member of the crew must take such action as may be necessary to insure full protection. By night, or by day, when the view is obscured, lighted fusees must be dropped off the moving train or displayed at proper intervals.

6.  When day signals cannot be plainly seen, owing to weather or other conditions, night signals must also be used

7.  Conductors and enginemen are responsible for the protection of their trains.

8.  When a pusher engine is assisting a train, coupled behind the cabin or caboose car, and the member of the crew who protects the rear end of the train is riding in the cabin or caboose car, the requirements as to the fusees will be met by dropping them off between the cabin or caboose car and pusher engine on the track the train is using, and not between that track and an adjacent track.

B. Unless specific circumstances indicate to the contrary, it will be presumed that trains stopping under the following circumstances will

1. Passenger trains making normal station stops.

2.  All trains stopping in manual block territory protected by absolute block.

3.  All trains stopping so as to be completely within the limits of classification or storage yards at the usual place to change crews or remove power.

C. Construction of section.   For the purposes of this section a "train" means a movement on which the air brakes must be connected and functioning under Federal law. This section is not intended to require the employment of additional employees or restrict the use of crew members in any matter.

D. Enforcement.   The Commission shall enforce the provisions of this section.