49 CFR § 234.305 - Remedial actions in response to reports of unsafe conditions at highway-rail and pathway grade crossings.

§ 234.305 Remedial actions in response to reports of unsafe conditions at highway-rail and pathway grade crossings.

(a)General rule on response to credible report of warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing.

(1) If a railroad receives a credible report of a warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing pursuant to § 234.303(c)(1) and the railroad has maintenance responsibility for the warning system to which the report pertains, then it shall take the appropriate action required by subpart C of this part.

(2) If a railroad receives a credible report of a warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing pursuant to § 234.303(c)(1) and the railroad has dispatching responsibility for the crossing, but does not have maintenance responsibility for the warning system to which the report pertains, it shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the highway-rail grade crossing in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported malfunction prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the maintaining railroad and inform it of the reported malfunction. The maintaining railroad shall then take the appropriate action required by subpart C of this part.

(b)General rule on response to public report of warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing.

(1) If a railroad receives a public report of a warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing pursuant to § 234.303(c)(1) and the railroad has maintenance responsibility for the warning system to which the report pertains, the railroad shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the highway-rail grade crossing in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported malfunction prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the highway-rail grade crossing and provide the necessary information for the law enforcement agency to direct traffic or carry out other activities to maintain safety at the highway-rail grade crossing. The railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the malfunction and take the appropriate action required by § 234.207.

(2) If a railroad receives a public report of a warning system malfunction at a highway-rail grade crossing warning system pursuant to § 234.303(c)(1) and the railroad does not have maintenance responsibility for the warning system at the highway-rail grade crossing, it shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the highway-rail grade crossing to which the report pertains in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported malfunction prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the highway-rail grade crossing and provide the necessary information for the law enforcement agency to direct traffic or carry out other activities to maintain safety at the highway-rail grade crossing. The railroad shall then promptly contact the maintaining railroad and inform it of the reported malfunction. The maintaining railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the malfunction, and take the appropriate action required by § 234.207.

(c)General rule on response to report of warning system failure at a pathway grade crossing.

(1) If a railroad receives a report of a warning system failure at a pathway grade crossing pursuant to § 234.303(d)(1) and the railroad has maintenance responsibility for the warning system to which the report pertains, the railroad shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the pathway grade crossing in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported failure prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the pathway grade crossing and provide the necessary information for the law enforcement agency to direct traffic or carry out other activities to maintain safety at the pathway grade crossing. The railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the failure, and without undue delay repair the active warning system if necessary.

(2) If a railroad receives a report of warning system failure at a pathway grade crossing pursuant to § 234.303(d)(1), but does not have maintenance responsibility for the warning system to which the report pertains, the railroad shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the pathway grade crossing to which the report pertains in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported failure prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the pathway grade crossing and provide the necessary information for the law enforcement agency to direct traffic or carry out other activities to maintain safety at the pathway grade crossing. The railroad shall then promptly contact the maintaining railroad and inform it of the reported failure. The maintaining railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the failure, and without undue delay repair the warning system if necessary.

(d)General rule on response to report of a disabled vehicle or other obstruction blocking a railroad track at a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing.

(1) If a railroad receives a report of a disabled vehicle or other obstruction blocking a railroad track at a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing, pursuant to § 234.303(c)(2) or (d)(2), and the railroad has maintenance responsibility for the crossing to which the report pertains, the railroad shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the crossing in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported obstruction prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the crossing to provide it with the information necessary to assist in the removal of the reported track obstruction or to carry out other activities to maintain safety at the crossing. The railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the obstruction, and without undue delay take the necessary action to have the obstruction removed.

(2) If a railroad receives a report of a disabled vehicle or other obstruction blocking a railroad track at a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing, pursuant to § 234.303(c)(2) or (d)(2), but does not have maintenance responsibility for the crossing to which the report pertains, the railroad shall promptly contact all trains that are authorized to operate through the crossing to which the report pertains in an effort to notify the train crews of the reported obstruction prior to each train's arrival at the crossing. After contacting the appropriate trains, the railroad shall then promptly contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the crossing to provide it with the information necessary to assist in the removal of the reported track obstruction or to carry out other activities to maintain safety at the crossing. The railroad shall then promptly contact the maintaining railroad and inform it of the reported obstruction. The maintaining railroad shall then promptly investigate the report, determine the nature of the obstruction, and without undue delay take the necessary action to have the obstruction removed.

(e)Special rule on contacting a train that is not required to have communication equipment. If a railroad is not required by § 220.9 of this chapter to have a working radio or working wireless communications in each occupied controlling locomotive of its trains and the railroad receives a report pursuant to § 234.303(c)(1), (c)(2), (d)(1), or (d)(2) about a highway-rail or pathway crossing that any of the trains is authorized to operate through, the railroad shall promptly contact the occupied controlling locomotive of the train as required by paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this § 234.305 by the quickest means available consistent with § 220.13(a) of this chapter.

(f)General rule on response to report of an obstruction of view at a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing.

(1) Upon receiving a report pursuant to § 234.303(c)(3) or (d)(3), the railroad, if it is both the dispatching and the maintaining railroad, shall timely investigate the report and remove the obstruction if it is lawful and feasible to do so.

(2) If the dispatching railroad is not also the maintaining railroad, it shall promptly contact the maintaining railroad, which shall timely investigate the report and remove the obstruction if it is lawful and feasible to do so.

(g)General rule on response to report of other unsafe condition at a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing. Upon receiving a report pursuant to § 234.303(c)(4) or (d)(4) related to the maintenance of a crossbuck sign or other similar grade crossing safety device or any other unsafe condition (such as a pot hole that could cause injury or damage) not covered by paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this § 234.305, the railroad, if it is both the dispatching and the maintaining railroad, shall timely investigate the report; and, if the railroad finds that the unsafe condition exists, it shall timely correct it if it is lawful and feasible to do so. If the dispatching railroad is not also the maintaining railroad, it shall timely inform the maintaining railroad, which shall timely investigate the report; and, if the maintaining railroad finds that the unsafe condition exists, it shall timely correct it if it is lawful and feasible to do so.

(h)General rule on a maintaining railroad's responsibilities for receiving reports of unsafe conditions at highway-rail and pathway grade crossings.

(1)In general. If the dispatching railroad is required under this section to contact the maintaining railroad, the maintaining railroad shall -

(i) Provide the dispatching railroad with sufficient contact information by which the dispatching railroad may timely contact the maintaining railroad upon receipt of a report; and

(ii) Have either a live person answer calls directly and promptly, or use an automated answering system for the purpose of receiving a call from the dispatching railroad of a report of an unsafe condition, except as provided in paragraph (h)(2) of this section.

(2)Exceptions for use of a third-party telephone service and answering machine by a maintaining railroad.

(i) If a maintaining railroad is responsible for the maintenance of a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing through which a railroad dispatches one or more trains, each of which is authorized to travel through the crossing at speeds not greater than 20 mph, the maintaining railroad may use a third-party telephone service, in accordance with § 234.307, or an answering machine to receive reports from a dispatching railroad of unsafe conditions at such a crossing. If using an answering machine pursuant to this paragraph, the railroad must retrieve its messages immediately prior to the start of its operations for the day.

(ii) If a maintaining railroad is responsible for the maintenance of a highway-rail or pathway grade crossing only on a seasonal or intermittent basis (e.g., tourist, biweekly service, or non-24-hour service), the maintaining railroad may use a third-party telephone service, in accordance with § 234.307, or an answering machine to receive reports from a dispatching railroad of unsafe conditions at such a crossing. If using an answering machine pursuant to this paragraph, during periods of non-operation, the maintaining railroad must retrieve its messages daily. However, the railroad must retrieve its messages immediately prior to the start of its operations for the day, and during hours of operation the railroad shall either have a live person answer calls directly or use an automated answering system to receive reports regarding unsafe conditions at such a crossing.