Chapter 4955: TRACKS; CROSSINGS

4955.01 Elevated or surface track.

If, in the location of any part of a railroad owned or operated by a domestic or foreign corporation, it is necessary to occupy with a surface or elevated track, with the necessary supports for it, any public road, street, alley, way, or ground of any kind, or part thereof, the municipal corporation or other corporation, or the public officers or authorities owning or having charge of such public road, street, alley, way, or ground, and the company may agree upon the manner and conditions upon which it can be used or occupied. In the event of the occupancy of such ground with an elevated track, the agreement shall specify the number, character, and location of all supports for the track, any part of which will be upon such public ground, and the vertical and longitudinal clearances between such supports.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.02 Appropriation of property for surface track or elevated crossing.

If the parties are unable to agree as provided in section 4955.01 of the Revised Code, and it is necessary in the judgment of the board of directors of the railroad company, to use or occupy such road, street, alley, way, or ground, or a part thereof, for surface tracks or for crossing with an elevated structure when no piers, supports, or obstructions are to be placed in such road, street, alley, way, or ground, the company may appropriate so much of it as is necessary for the purposes of its railroad in the manner and upon the terms provided for in sections 163.01 to 163.22 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 01-01-1966

4955.03 Limitation as to action for damages.

Every railroad company which lays a track upon or over any street, alley, road, or ground, or part thereof, as provided in section 4955.01 of the Revised Code, is responsible for injuries done thereby to private or public property lying upon or near such ground, which may be recovered by civil action brought by the owner before the proper court at any time within two years from the completion of the track.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.04 Piers or other supports in a public way.

When it is declared necessary by two thirds of the members of the legislative authority of the municipal corporation and the mayor approving, any municipal corporation may grant the right, by ordinance, to a railroad company operating a railroad in such municipal corporation to place and maintain necessary piers, or other stays or supports, in any street or way, when they are provided for and included in the plans and specifications prepared for the abolishment of grade crossings in such municipal corporation under sections 4957.10 to 4957.26 of the Revised Code. Every railroad to whom a grant has been made by any municipal corporation shall notify in writing the authorities making the grant of its rejection or acceptance of the grant at a time fixed by such authorities when making the grant. After such grant has been made and accepted by a railroad, if within sixty days after such acceptance there is filed with the mayor of the municipal corporation making such grant a petition protesting against it signed by such a number of the electors of the municipal corporation qualified to vote at the most recent general election as equals ten per cent of the number of votes cast for mayor at the most recent election for mayor, he shall certify that fact to the proper election officials.

Effective Date: 08-22-1995

4955.05 Submission of question to electors.

The officials in charge of general elections, in accordance with the laws relating to elections, shall arrange for and conduct the submission of the question referred to in section 4955.04 of the Revised Code to the electors. The question whether the grant shall be made shall be submitted to the electors of such municipal corporation at the succeeding general election occurring more than ninety days after the expiration of the sixty days referred to in such section. The ballots at such election shall read "Elevated Railroad Grant--Yes;" "Elevated Railroad Grant--No." If at the election a majority of the votes cast on such question is against the grant, it shall be void.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 48, §1, eff. 7/2/2010.

Effective Date: 08-22-1995

4955.06 Longitudinal occupancy of way unlawful.

Sections 4955.01 to 4955.06, inclusive, 4961.16, and 4961.17 of the Revised Code do not authorize a grant of the right to occupy any public street, avenue, or alley, longitudinally by an elevated track, except in so far as necessary to accommodate a curve in the line of the elevated track, in which case no supports shall be placed in the roadway of the street, avenue, or alley between the curb lines thereof. Such longitudinal occupancy of the street, avenue, or alley shall not exceed three hundred feet in length.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.07 Track of uniform gauge.

Every company shall make every railroad constructed or controlled by it of one uniform gauge or width of track from end to end. When a railroad connects with or crosses another railroad, the companies owning or controlling such railroads may adopt such uniform gauge or width of track as will enable each company to pass its cars over the railroad of the other. If railroads so connecting or crossing are constructed of different gauges or widths of track, the companies controlling them may lay down, and maintain upon the whole or any portion of such railroads, additional rails so as to admit the passage of the same cars over both railroads, and also maintain and operate either or both of such railroads upon the tracks originally constructed, as is deemed expedient by the companies owning or controlling either or both of the railroads.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.08 Tracks may be used in common.

When two or more railroad companies have two or more tracks of the same gauge in the same street, alley, public way, or opening through a municipal corporation, the legislative authority of such municipal corporation may require such companies to use such tracks in common and to pass their locomotives and cars over each track in one direction only.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.09 Obstructing the laying of a track.

No person or corporation shall willfully interfere with or obstruct any company engaged in laying the track of its railroad across any other railroad, if such company has fully complied with the law and obtained the right to so lay its track. No person or corporation shall obstruct the full operation of any railroad so constructed. A person or corporation which violates this section, for each day of such interference or obstruction, shall pay one thousand dollars, to be recovered by action in the name of the state. Half such recovery shall go to the company so interfered with, and half to the county in which the interference occurs. Such person or corporation is also liable for damages to the party injured.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.10 Railroad crossings.

When the tracks of two railroads cross each other, or in any way connect at a common grade, the crossings shall be made and kept in repair and watchmen maintained at such crossing at the joint expense of the companies owning the tracks. All trains or engines passing over such tracks must come to a full stop not nearer than two hundred nor further than eight hundred feet from the crossing, and must not cross until signaled to do so by the watchman, nor until the way is clear.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.11 Crossings of trains.

When two passenger or freight trains approach a crossing at the same time, the train on the road first built shall have precedence if the tracks are both main tracks over which all passengers and freights on the road are transported. If only one track is such main track, and the other is a side or depot track, the train on the main track shall take precedence. If one of the trains is a passenger train and the other a freight train, the passenger train shall take precedence, and regular trains on time take precedence over trains of the same grade not on time. Engines with the cars attached, not on time, shall take precedence over engines without cars attached, not on time.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.12 Rules to be made and published.

The managing agent or superintendent of each railroad shall establish, and publish to all the employees on the railroad, such rules and regulations as in all cases will secure strict compliance with sections 4955.10 and 4955.11 of the Revised Code, and shall republish such rules and regulations on each timetable or card issued to the employees on the railroad.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.13 Failure to publish rules - forfeiture.

If a managing agent or superintendent fails to establish and publish rules and regulations as provided by section 4955.12 of the Revised Code, or fails to republish them on each timetable or card issued to the employees on the railroad, he is personally liable for every such failure to a penalty of one hundred dollars, to be recovered together with costs in an action against him in favor of the state, to be brought in the court of common pleas of the county in which the crossing is. Such agent or superintendent, and the company of which he is agent or superintendent, shall also be liable in damages to any person or company injured in person or property by an accident arising from such failure.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.14 Failure to comply with rules - forfeiture.

An engineer or person in charge of an engine who willfully fails to comply with sections 4955.10 and 4955.11 of the Revised Code, or fails to bring the engine of which he is in charge, with the train attached to it, to a full stop at least two hundred feet before arriving at a railroad crossing or connection, or crosses it before signaled to do so by the watchman, or before the way is clear, is personally liable to any person injured by reason of such failure in a penalty of one hundred dollars, to be recovered by civil action at the suit of the state in the court of common pleas of the county in which such crossing or connection is. The company in whose employ such engineer or person in charge of an engine is, as well as the person himself, is liable in damages to any person or company injured in person or property by such neglect or act of such engineer or person.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.15 Trains may cross without stopping.

If two railroads crossing each other, or in any way connecting at a common grade, by works or fixtures to be erected by them render it safe to pass over those crossings without stopping, and the works and fixtures first are approved by the public utilities commission, and the plan thereof for the crossing, designating the plan of crossing, has been filed with the commission, sections 4955.10 to 4955.15 of the Revised Code do not apply. If the commission disapproves the plan, or fails to approve it within twenty days from its filing, the companies may apply in the county where the crossing is situated to the court of common pleas or a judge of that court in vacation. Upon reasonable notice being given to the commission and upon good cause shown, the court or judge shall appoint a competent disinterested engineer, not a resident of the county through which the railroads pass, to examine the crossing and prescribe the plan of and conditions for it. Not later than twenty days after his appointment, the engineer shall submit the plan and conditions to the applicable court of common pleas, subject to exceptions by any affected party. The court shall examine, approve, and confirm them unless good cause is shown against that approval. The order of confirmation shall be sufficient authority for the erection, use, and occupancy of the crossing.

Effective Date: 07-01-1989

4955.16 Mode of crossing ordered by court.

When outside the limits of a municipal corporation it becomes necessary for the track of a railroad, street or electric railway, or interurban railroad company to cross the tracks of another railroad, street or electric railway, or interurban railroad company, or it is necessary within the corporate limits of a municipal corporation for the tracks of a railroad, street or electric railway, or interurban railroad company to cross the tracks of another railroad, street or electric railway, or interurban railroad company, other than within the limits of a public street or highway, unless the manner of such crossing is agreed to between such companies, the court of common pleas of the county in which such crossing is located, or a judge of such court in vacation, on application of either party, must ascertain and define by its decree the mode of such crossing which will inflict the least practical injury upon the rights of the company owning or operating the tracks intended to be crossed.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.17 Grade crossings avoided if practicable.

If in the judgment of the court of common pleas or judge of such court, as provided in section 4955.16 of the Revised Code, it is reasonable and practicable to avoid a grade crossing, by its process the court shall prevent a crossing at grade. In determining the mode of such crossing, no grade shall be required to exceed the established maximum or ruling grade governing the operation by motive power of that division or part of the railroad on which the improvement is to be made without the consent of the company. Neither company's track shall be required to be placed below high-water mark.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.18 Order of court.

The court, by its order referred to in section 4955.16 of the Revised Code, shall define the manner in which the applicant is to do or let the work for such crossing and equitably apportion the initial expense of such construction or crossing and the expense of maintenance among the parties interested. A party feeling aggrieved by the decision of the court shall have the right of appeal as in other civil cases. Unless the companies agree upon the compensation to be paid for the land occupied by such crossing, the court shall submit that question to a jury as provided in other cases for the appropriation of private property.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.19 Exceptions.

Sections 4955.16 to 4955.19, inclusive, of the Revised Code, do not prevent any street or electric railway company, interurban railroad company, or railroad company from laying additional tracks at existing crossings, under authority existing on May 9, 1908.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.20 Highway crossings and sidewalks - maintenance and repair.

Companies operating a railroad in this state shall build and keep in repair good and sufficient crossings over or approaches to such railroad, its tracks, sidetracks, and switches, at all points where any public highway, street, lane, avenue, alley, road, or pike is intersected by such railroad, its tracks, sidetracks, or switches. Such companies shall build and keep in repair good and sufficient sidewalks on both sides of streets intersected by their railroads, the full width of the right of way owned, claimed, or occupied by them. The board of township trustees shall have power to fix and determine the kind and extent, and the time and manner of constructing, crossings and approaches outside of municipal corporations. The legislative authority of a municipal corporation may exercise the same powers as to crossings, approaches, and sidewalks within municipal corporations as such board exercises concerning crossings and approaches outside of municipal corporations. Such crossings, approaches, and sidewalks shall be constructed, repaired, and maintained by the railroad companies as so ordered.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.201 Abandonment of railroad track.

(A) If the interstate commerce commission approves the abandonment of a railroad track that crosses a road or highway at grade, the railroad that owned the track immediately after the approval of the abandonment shall remove the track at the crossing and fill the space previously occupied by the rails with the same material that comprises the road or highway at the crossing. Upon completion of the work, the surface of the crossing where the rails previously were located shall be the same height as the surface of the road or highway abutting the crossing. The restored portion of the road or highway shall meet the construction standards applicable to the road or highway of which the restored portion is a part.

(B) No railroad shall fail to remove from a crossing the rails that comprise a track whose abandonment has been approved or fail to fill the space previously occupied by the rails as required by division (A) of this section.

Effective Date: 06-30-1993

4955.21 Service of notice.

The officers having charge of a public highway, street, or alley intersected by a railroad shall serve a written notice upon the nearest station agent or section foreman having charge of that portion of the railroad where such intersection occurs that the crossing, approach, or sidewalk described in section 4955.20 of the Revised Code must be built or repaired, setting forth its kind and extent and the time and manner of constructing it, as ordered by the legislative authority of the municipal corporation or board of township trustees. A railroad company so notified must comply with such notice within a period of thirty days after receiving it. On failure to do so, the board or legislative authority may cause such crossing, approach, or sidewalk to be constructed or repaired as ordered, and recover the cost of so doing with interest in a civil action against the railroad company in the name of the board or municipal corporation.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.22 Failure to construct or repair crossings or sidewalks - forfeiture.

A railroad company which neglects to comply with sections 4955.20 and 4955.21 of the Revised Code is liable to pay damage to the municipal corporation or township in which the highway is situated in the sum of thirty dollars for such neglect, and a further sum of ten dollars per day for each day such company fails to comply with the terms of such sections, to be recovered in an action brought in the name of the municipal corporation or township. The prosecuting attorney of the county shall prosecute to judgment any claim arising under such sections without charge to the municipal corporation or township.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.23 Crossings above streets.

No person or company owning or operating a railroad which crosses over and above a street less than seventy feet in width, in any city in this state, at an elevation above such street sufficient to permit persons to pass and repass along such street beneath the crossing, shall place, cause to be placed, or permit to be or remain in the street beneath such crossing or bridge, any pier or other stay or support for it, unless the placing or maintaining of such pier, stay, or support is authorized by the city in which the crossing is situated by ordinance, or permit such crossing or bridge to be or remain in such condition that iron, coal, other hard substance, fluid, or noisome matter can fall or drop through such crossing or bridge upon persons traveling or passing beneath it.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.24 Construction and maintenance of bridge - forfeiture.

A person or company owning or operating a railroad that fails to comply with the requirements of or violates section 4955.23 of the Revised Code, for each day during the continuance of such failure or violation, shall forfeit to such city one hundred dollars, to be recovered in a civil action in the city's name, against the owner or operator of such railroad, or both, as the city elects. Like recovery may be had for subsequent failures and violations.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.25 Legislative authority may regulate use of bridge.

The legislative authority of a city may prohibit the switching of freight engines, trains, or cars, over or on a crossing or bridge referred to by section 4955.23 of the Revised Code, the sounding of locomotive steam whistles on or near such bridge, and the standing or stopping of a railroad engine over or on such crossing or bridge, and by ordinance, may constitute a violation of such prohibition an offense and provide for the punishment of any person guilty of such violation.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.26 Crossing of highway to cemetery.

All railroads constructed across an avenue or public highway leading from a city to a public cemetery of such city located within or without the limits of the city, shall be constructed so as to pass under or over such avenue or highway at an elevation or depression that will allow the unobstructed passage of all vehicles necessary for any person to use on such avenue or highway.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.27 Private crossing.

When a person owns fifteen or more acres of land in one body through which a railroad passes, which land is so situated that he cannot use a crossing in a public street, lane, road or other highway in going from his land on one side of the railroad to that on the other side without great inconvenience, at his request the company or person operating such railroad, at the expense of such company or person shall, within four months after such request, construct a good and sufficient private crossing across such railroad and the lands occupied by the company, between the two pieces of land to enable such landowner to pass with a loaded team and over which he may go at all times when such railroad is not being used at the crossing, or so near to it as to render passing thereat dangerous.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.28 Expense of private crossing - right of entry.

If, for four months after the request by a landowner for that purpose, the company or person neglects to construct a good and sufficient private crossing as provided in section 4955.27 of the Revised Code, after reasonable notice to the agent of the company for receiving and shipping freight at the station on the railroad nearest to the land where it is proposed to construct such crossing by the landowner of the time when he will proceed to construct it, such landowner may enter upon the lands of the company at any point he wishes between the two pieces of his land and construct such crossing. Such company or person is liable to such landowner for all reasonable expense of such construction, not exceeding fifty dollars, which he may recover in an action against such company or person.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.29 Exception.

Sections 4955.27 and 4955.28 of the Revised Code do not apply to any case in which compensation for building a private crossing is considered and estimated as part of the consideration to be paid for the right of way, so far as the right to private crossing has been or may be settled or paid for. Such sections do not affect, in any manner, any contract or agreement between any railroad company or person having control or management of a railroad and the proprietor or occupants of lands adjoining, for the construction or maintenance of railroad crossings.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.30 Freightways may be constructed.

A person owning or operating a coal or iron-ore mine, stone quarry, rolling mill, or machine shop, who, as a means of removing the product thereof, uses or desires to use a railway, may construct one and run cars on it, over or under any railroad or public highway, the consent of the owner of the fee in the land at such crossing first being obtained. Such railway shall be so constructed that it will not impede or interfere with the running of cars or the travel upon such railroad or highway, or in any manner injure or impair either, or any switch, building, or appurtenance connected with or belonging to any railroad or highway. When such freightway is constructed over a railroad, it shall be at the height of at least eighteen and one-half feet in the clear above the rails of the railroad.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.31 Plan must be approved.

Before a person constructs a railway across a railroad as provided in section 4955.30 of the Revised Code, he shall submit the plan of construction to the public utilities commission for its approval, which at the cost of such person for traveling expenses or otherwise, must see that the structure in all respects conforms to the requirements of such section.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.32 Use of horn or alternative audible warning at highway or crossing.

(A) As used in this section, "lite locomotive consist" means a consist of locomotives not attached to any piece of equipment or attached only to a caboose.

(B) When the locomotive in the lead of a train, when a lite locomotive consist, or when an individual locomotive is approaching a public highway or a grade crossing , either of the following shall occur:

(1) The engineer or person in charge of the locomotive shall sound the locomotive horn in accordance with 49 C.F.R. part 222;

(2) An alternative audible warning system approved by the public utilities commission under section 4955.321 of the Revised Code shall be activated in accordance with guidelines established by the commission.

(C)

The establishment of an alternative audible warning system does not preclude the sounding of a locomotive horn by an engineer or other person in charge of a locomotive in an emergency situation, as determined by the sole judgment of the engineer or other person.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

4955.321 Alternative audible warning system.

The public utilities commission may evaluate alternative systems for providing an audible warning of an approaching locomotive . The commission may approve the use of an audible warning system as an alternative to the horn sounding required under division (B)(1) of section 4955.32 of the Revised Code only if it determines that the alternative audible warning system complies with applicable federal requirements for an audible warning of an approaching train and only if train-activated warning devices also are present at any public highway or grade crossing at which the alternative audible warning system is installed. The commission shall establish guidelines for the use and operation of any alternative audible warning system it approves.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

4955.322 Immunity from liability at private crossings.

The sounding of a locomotive horn at a private crossing or the failure to sound a locomotive horn at a private crossing is not a basis for a civil action against the railroad company that operated the locomotive, a board of county commissioners, or any local authority, or against the employees or agents of the company, board, or authority.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

4955.33 Crossbuck signs.

At all points where its railroad crosses a public road at a common grade, each company shall erect crossbuck signing at positions at each such crossing that are in accordance with the department of transportation manual for uniform traffic control devices, adopted under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code, to give notice of the proximity of the railroad and warn persons to be on the lookout for the locomotive. Any such signing that has been or is erected in accordance with this section may lawfully be continued in use until it is replaced. A company that neglects or refuses to comply with this section is liable in damages for all injuries that occur to persons or property from such neglect or refusal.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.70, HB 349, §1, eff. 4/20/2012.

Effective Date: 01-01-1995

4955.331 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 10-20-1994

4955.34 Failure to erect warning signs.

Every engineer or person in charge of a locomotive who fails to comply with section 4955.32 of the Revised Code is personally liable to a penalty of not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars, to be recovered by civil action at the suit of the state in the court of common pleas of a county in which the public highway or grade crossing is located.

The company in whose employ such engineer or person in charge of a locomotive is, as well as the engineer or person in charge, is liable in damages to a person or company injured in person or property by such neglect or act of such engineer or person in charge.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.35 Blocking of frogs.

Every railroad company operating a railroad or part of a railroad within this state shall adjust, fill, or block all angles in frogs, switches, and crossings on its railroads and in its yards, divisional stations, and terminal stations where trains are made up, with sheet steel, wrought or malleable iron, or other metallic appliances, which shall be so placed and be of such design as will prevent the wedging of the feet of employees and other persons in such angles. All such appliances or devices shall be approved by the public utilities commission before installation. Whoever, owning, operating, or controlling a railroad fails to comply with this section shall forfeit twenty-five dollars for each day of such failure, to be recovered in a civil action in the name of the state and paid into the state treasury.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

4955.36 Removal of obstructive vegetation at crossings.

Every railroad company shall destroy or remove plants, trees, brush, or other obstructive vegetation upon its right-of-way at each intersection with a public road or highway, for a distance of six hundred feet or a reasonably safe distance from the roadway of such public road or highway as shall be determined by the public utilities commission. When any railroad company fails to destroy or remove such vegetation after ten-day written notice served on its local agent, the commission, board of county commissioners, board of township trustees, or legislative authority of a municipal corporation, in which the intersection is located, having the care of such road or highway, shall remove such plants, trees, brush, or other obstructive vegetation and shall recover the cost of removal from the responsible railroad company. If the company fails to pay the amount demanded within thirty days, after such company has been notified by certified mail at the address to which tax bills are sent, the commission, board of county commissioners, board of township trustees, or legislative authority of a municipal corporation shall certify the amount demanded to the county auditor of the county in which the work was performed to be collected as other taxes and assessments and upon collection shall be credited to the general fund of the public body causing said work to be performed.

Effective Date: 11-24-1967

4955.37 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 06-30-1995

4955.41 Railroad quiet zones - definitions.

As used in sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Railroad quiet zone" means a designated area including and adjacent to one or more consecutive public grade crossings that are equipped with automatic gates and lights that conform to the manual on uniform traffic control devices and for which one or more supplemental safety measures are implemented and used pursuant to sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code.

(B) "Supplemental safety measure" means a supplementary safety measure, and the guidelines for the use and operation of that measure, that are prescribed in 49 C.F.R. 222.41(a) and (e) and Appendix (A), as set forth in 65 F.R. 2230 to 2270.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.42 Railroad quiet zones - municipal corporation or township may establish - procedure.

(A) A municipal corporation or township may establish within its jurisdiction one or more railroad quiet zones implementing and using one or more supplemental safety measures, through the enactment or adoption, after the effective date of initial regulations adopted pursuant to the "Swift Rail Development Act," Pub. L. No. 103-440 , 108 Stat. 4615, 49 U.S.C. 20153 , of an ordinance or resolution authorizing each zone and subject to public utilities commission approval under this section.

(B)

(1) Following enactment of an ordinance or resolution under division (A) of this section, the municipal corporation or township shall send a detailed written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each railroad operating over a public grade crossing within the quiet zone. The notice shall request the railroad to give a written reply that includes its comments about the quiet zone and details any concerns the railroad has with any aspect of the quiet zone. The notice shall inform the railroad that if the municipal corporation or township does not receive the railroad's written reply within sixty days of the date of delivery of the notice, the municipal corporation or township is permitted to submit its application for approval of the quiet zone to the commission without the railroad's written reply and inform the commission that it provided the written notice as required by this section but that the railroad did not reply in a timely manner.

(2) The municipal corporation or township then may file with the commission an application for commission approval of the railroad quiet zone authorized pursuant to the ordinance or resolution. The application shall be in such form and contain such information as the commission specifies. All applications also shall include all of the following:

(a) The written reply described in division (B)(1) of this section, if any, from each railroad operating over a public grade crossing located within the quiet zone. If there is a written reply and it contains concerns that the railroad has about any aspect of the quiet zone, the municipal corporation or township shall include a written statement explaining how it will meet those concerns.

(b) A written statement from the federal railroad administration, stating that the agency has no objection to the establishment of the quiet zone;

(c) If a municipal corporation or township makes application under this division and wishes to pay all or part of the cost of the installation or maintenance of supplemental safety measures at a highway grade crossing located within the quiet zone in an adjoining municipal corporation or township, a written statement from the adjoining municipal corporation or township agreeing to that arrangement;

(d) A list of the private grade crossings, if any, that are located within the quiet zone, and a description of how the municipal corporation or township will ensure the safety of those who utilize those private grade crossings if the commission approves the quiet zone.

(3) Any combination of municipal corporations and townships may file a joint application for commission approval of quiet zones within their respective jurisdictions.

(C) Upon the filing of an application under division (B) of this section, the commission shall authorize a limited period for the filing of comments by any party regarding the application. After considering any such comments and only by order issued after the effective date of initial regulations adopted pursuant to the "Swift Rail Development Act," Pub. L. No. 103-440 , 108 Stat. 4615, 49 U.S.C. 20153 , the commission may approve the application, approve it with conditions, or reject the application. If the application is complete and otherwise meets all the requirements of this section, the commission shall approve the railroad quiet zone if the commission finds that the supplemental safety measures proposed for each public crossing included in the zone comply with the guidelines for the use and operation of those measures as set forth in Appendix (A) of 49 C.F.R. part 222 and are appropriate and adequate for the crossing. If the commission disapproves all or part of an application as to a particular crossing, the commission's order shall state the findings and reasons for disapproval. Nothing in this section precludes the subsequent filing of a substantially modified application by the municipal corporation or township. The commission shall reject an application that does not include the documents described in divisions (B)(2)(a), (b), and, if applicable, (B)(2)(c) and (d) of this section. If the application includes a written reply and a written statement described in division (B)(2)(a) of this section, the commission shall reject the application if the commission finds that the statement from the municipal corporation or township does not adequately address the concerns of the railroad contained in the railroad's written reply. If the application includes a statement described in division (B)(2)(d) of this section, the commission shall reject the application if the commission finds that the application does not adequately address the issue of the safety of those persons who will utilize the private grade crossings located within the quiet zone if the commission approves its creation.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.43 Railroad quiet zones - notice to railroads - order regarding audible warning signals.

(A) At least ninety days prior to the date of first operation of a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code, the municipal corporation or township shall provide detailed, written notice of the established zone by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each railroad operating over a public grade crossing included in the zone, the highway or traffic control authority or law enforcement authority having responsibility for control of vehicular traffic at the crossings, the public utilities commission, the director of public safety, and the associate administrator for safety for the federal railroad administration.

(B) For each railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code, the commission shall issue an order expressly prohibiting any engineer or other person in charge of a locomotive from sounding any locomotive whistle, horn, bell, or other audible warning device within the distance of each public crossing in the zone, as that distance is designated in the order of the commission.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.44 Railroad quiet zones - other laws preempted - emergency exception - suspension of status.

(A) On and after the date of first operation of a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code, divisions (B)(1) and (2) of section 4955.32 of the Revised Code do not apply with respect to the zone.

(B) The establishment of a railroad quiet zone pursuant to sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code does not preclude the sounding of a locomotive whistle, horn, bell, or other audible device by an engineer or other person in charge of the locomotive to address a perceived potential for injury, death, or loss to person or property, as determined by the sole judgment of the engineer or other person.

(C) The commission may suspend summarily the operation of a quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code if the commission, through any source, obtains sufficient, credible evidence showing that a condition at a public grade crossing located within a quiet zone has changed to such an extent that, even with the continuing existence of the supplemental safety measures at the crossing, the quiet zone no longer qualifies as such under federal law or the commission determines that public safety is otherwise compromised at the crossing. Within fifteen days following the quiet zone suspension date described in this division, the commission shall hold a hearing in the general vicinity of the quiet zone in question to determine whether the quiet zone suspension should be lifted or continued, or whether commission approval of the quiet zone should be rescinded and the quiet zone eliminated.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.45 Railroad quiet zones - report to commission - crossing inspections - additional safety measures.

(A) Each municipal corporation or township that has established a railroad quiet zone pursuant to sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code shall submit a report to the commission every three years after the date of first operation of the zone. The report shall be in such form and contain such information as the commission shall prescribe by rule, including, but not limited to, information on the number of traffic citations issued at the crossing, roadway traffic counts at the crossing, and changes to the crossing and roadway due to construction or improvements.

(B) Once every three years after the date of first operation of a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code, the public utilities commission shall inspect each public grade crossing in the zone and issue a report documenting the compliance of the zone with the commission order issued under that section. The commission also may inspect such a crossing at any other time.

(C) The commission at any time and by order, after notice and opportunity for the filing of comments, may require at a public grade crossing in a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code the implementation and use of such safety measures as it considers necessary and appropriate to ensure that safety measures are appropriate and adequate for the crossing or to ensure compliance with an order issued under division (C) of that section or with the guidelines for the use and operation of those measures as set forth in Appendix (A) of 65 F.R. 2230 to 2270, including to the extent such guidelines are applicable upon any adoption of regulations pursuant to the "Swift Rail Development Act," Pub. L. No. 103-440 , 108 Stat. 4615, 49 U.S.C. 20153 .

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.46 Railroad quiet zones - governmental function - state liability - maintenance costs - funds.

(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the designation, establishment, design, construction, implementation, operation, repair, or maintenance of, or the lack of any of the preceding for, a public grade crossing included in a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code is a governmental function under section 2744.01 of the Revised Code.

(B) Sections 9.85 to 9.87 and Chapter 2743. of the Revised Code specify the liability of this state or an officer or employee of this state with respect to a civil action brought for a violation of any provision of sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code or any order issued under those sections. As used in this division, "state" has the same meaning as in section 2743.01 of the Revised Code, and "officer or employee" has the same meaning as in section 9.85 of the Revised Code.

(C) Nothing in sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code obligates or requires the payment by a railroad of any part of the costs of establishing or maintaining such a railroad quiet zone.

(D) If, prior to the creation of a railroad quiet zone, a railroad is paying any part of the maintenance costs of a railroad grade crossing protective device then in existence at a railroad grade crossing located within the quiet zone, the railroad shall continue to pay those maintenance costs after the approval by the commission of the quiet zone, but the railroad is not required to pay any of the additional costs associated with the installation or maintenance of any protective device installed thereafter at the railroad grade crossing due to the creation of the quiet zone.

(E) Except as provided in division (F) of this section, no money appropriated by the general assembly to pay the costs of measures taken to increase the safety of the traveling public at a public railroad grade crossing shall be diverted from such use after the effective date of this section to pay any of the costs associated with the establishment of a railroad quiet zone, including money in the grade crossing protection fund created by section 4907.472 of the Revised Code.

(F) State grade crossing safety funds may be used to pay part of the costs of additional safety improvements required to establish a railroad quiet zone when the municipal corporation or township establishing the quiet zone complies with sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code if either of the following circumstances exist:

(1) The municipal corporation or township closes a public grade crossing in the same railroad corridor as the railroad quiet zone.

(2) The department of transportation has selected the municipal corporation or township as a participant in the grade separation program along the same railroad corridor as the railroad quiet zone.

(G) No political subdivision of the state may use state funds of any kind to assist in the planning, construction, development, operation, or maintenance of a railroad quiet zone unless the political subdivision acts in accordance with sections 4955.41 to 4955.47 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.47 Railroad quiet zones - railroads and employees not liable for acts in compliance.

No railroad company and no employee or agent of the company shall be charged, or is liable in damages to person or property, for any failure to sound an audible warning by whistle, horn, bell, or other audible warning device at a railroad grade crossing to which any of the following apply:

(A) The crossing is equipped in accordance with division (B)(2) of section 4955.32 of the Revised Code .

(B) The crossing is located in a railroad quiet zone established pursuant to section 4955.42 of the Revised Code .

(C) The crossing is located in a jurisdiction in which such sounding is restricted or prohibited by law.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Effective Date: 11-18-2004

4955.99 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 06-30-1995