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This website publishes administrative rules on their effective dates, as designated by the adopting state agencies, colleges, and universities.

Chapter 4901:3-1 | General Provisions

Rule 4901:3-1-01 | Minimum track clearances for new railroad track construction or reconstruction of yard tracks of railroads operating within the state of Ohio.

(A) Each railroad in the state of Ohio shall comply with the track clearance standards established in this rule.

(B) On any new railroad track construction or reconstruction of yards in Ohio, the lateral clearance between centers of adjacent and parallel railroad tracks covering main lines, passing tracks, and yard tracks over which switching is performed, shall not be less than fourteen feet on tangent tracks and on curved tracks, provided that in specific cases if this commission, after investigation, shall find that it would be unreasonable to require fourteen-foot clearance between track centers, it may by order prescribe lesser clearances.

(C) Tracks constructed on, under, or adjacent to permanent railroad and highway structures, which structures were constructed previous to February 24, 1958 and were designed to provide less than fourteen-foot clearances for future tracks, are exempt from the provisions of this rule.

(D) Ladder tracks shall be spaced not less than fifteen feet center to center from any parallel track and when such parallel track is another ladder track that it be spaced not less than eighteen feet center to center, body tracks shall be spaced not less than fourteen feet center to center and when paralleled to main track or important running track the first body track shall be spaced not less than fifteen feet center to center from such track; provided, however, that the commission upon application, when accompanied by a full statement of the conditions existing and the reasons upon which such permit is predicated, may permit any railroad to construct or reconstruct under such conditions, if any, as the commission may prescribe, any track or tracks at lesser clearance than herein required, when in the judgment of this commission, compliance with the clearance prescribed herein is unreasonable or unnecessary, and when lesser clearance would not create a condition unduly hazardous to the employees of such railroad.

(E) This rule applies to any railroad defined in section 4907.02 of the Revised Code, in the construction of new yards or in the reconstruction of existing yards, except any extensions or realignments of existing tracks, after February 24, 1958, and railroads shall construct said tracks in compliance with the minimum track clearance standards herein prescribed after February 24, 1958, except any extensions or realignments of existing tracks or unless otherwise ordered by the commission.

Supplemental Information

Authorized By: 4905.04
Amplifies: 4907.03, 4907.24, 4907.44
Five Year Review Date: 6/13/2024
Prior Effective Dates: 1/20/1963
Rule 4901:3-1-02 | Lateral clearance for permanent structures.

(A) Every railroad company, public or private corporation, or person proposing to build any structure or place described in section 4963.42 of the Revised Code which has a lesser clearance than that prescribed in such section shall apply to this commission for a permit to erect such structure or place in the manner prescribed in such section.

(B) Application for the permit provided for in section 4963.43 of the Revised Code shall be made on blanks furnished by this commission.

(C) The lateral clearance for such structures are with reference to straight alignment of tracks. On curves, the clearance distance to structures shall be increased so as to have the equivalent clearances, and should be measured from a line perpendicular to the place of the top of the rails.

Supplemental Information

Authorized By: 4901.13, 4907.02, 4963.42
Amplifies: 4907.03, 4907.24, 4907.44
Five Year Review Date: 6/13/2024
Prior Effective Dates: 8/17/2006
Rule 4901:3-1-03 | Inspection, maintenance and safety of railroad bridges.

(A) Application

The provisions of this rule shall apply to all railroad companies subject to the jurisdiction of this commission.

(B) Definitions

In the interpretation of this rule of the code governing the inspection, maintenance and safety of railroad bridges in Ohio, the word "bridge" shall mean a structure of ten feet or more clear span or ten feet or more in diameter upon which railroad locomotives or cars may travel.

(C) Reports

(1) Inspection reports as required by this rule and all such additional inspection reports required pursuant to the code of rules for the inspection of bridges as formulated by the "American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association" shall be filed with this commission within sixty days following the date of such inspection.

(2) The annual inspection report shall be filed on railroad forms furnished or approved by this commission or on the form shown on exhibit one, appended. The form of report shown in exhibit one covers substantially the required items of inspection contained in the "Manual for Railway Engineering," published by the "American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association", which covers recommendations for bridge inspection.

(3) The initial inspection report for each existing bridge or for any bridge constructed after the effective date of this rule shall be filled out in detail, insofar as the bridge parts and numbers listed on the report form are parts of that structure, and rated as per the condition rating schedule included on the report form.

(4) On all subsequent reports, the detailed reporting of parts and members may be omitted except when the condition of any parts or members is such as to require attention before the next annual inspection, in which cases those parts shall be noted and described as provided for on the inspection report form.

(5) Each inspection report shall be certified to the public utilities commission of Ohio by a responsible officer of the railroad.

(D) Records

Every railroad company subject to these rules shall file with this commission a complete list of all bridges located entirely or partly within the boundaries of the state of Ohio for which they are wholly or partially responsible for the inspection, maintenance and repair. They shall also file and maintain with the commission an up-to-date map showing the name, number or other description and location of each such structure.

(E) Inspection

(1) Every bridge used for the transportation of freight, passengers or railroad crews shall be inspected annually by the railroad, which is responsible for all or part of the structural maintenance work. Each such inspection shall be made or supervised by a professional engineer and accomplished substantially in accordance with the provisions of the "American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association" code of rules for inspection of bridges.

(2) Inspection and progress reports to be filed.

(a) If a railroad company inspection discloses that a bridge is dangerous or unfit for the transportation of passengers, freight or railroad crews, the railroad shall immediately file a report with the commission describing the dangerous condition and what action is being taken to correct that condition.

When any dangerous condition at a bridge is called to the attention of the commission, the commission shall notify the railroad company. The railroad shall immediately file a report with the commission stating what action is being taken to alleviate the dangerous condition.

(b) At any time a bridge passing over a public highway is found to be in an unsafe condition or constitutes a safety hazard to the public use of said highway, a copy of the reports referred to in the foregoing paragraph shall be given to the public authority having jurisdiction over such highways.

(c) The railroads shall notify the commission whenever maintenance and repair work to correct such conditions is in progress, which shall require special operational restrictions or limitations due to the nature of the work in progress.

(d) If such maintenance and repair work involves reconstruction, the nature of which can reasonably be expected to entail a period of sixty calendar days or more, the railroad shall furnish a progress report at thirty-day intervals and the final inspection report upon its completion.

(3) If, as a result of examination of inspection reports, or after complaint or otherwise, the commission has reasonable grounds to believe that a bridge of a railroad is in a condition which renders it dangerous or unfit for the transportation of passengers, freight or railroad crews, it shall forthwith inspect and examine the bridge. Such inspection shall be performed by the commission's staff, and any other qualified person retained by the commission or ordered to be retained by the commission for this purpose, jointly with the railroad's engineering representative; thereafter the commission shall give to the railroad superintendent or other executive officer notice of any adverse finding and of its recommendation for corrective action and an order to show cause why such corrective action should not be taken. After hearing, the commission shall forthwith take such action as is authorized under the provisions of the Revised Code.

(4) In any case where the strength and/or safety of any bridge is in question, the railroad shall furnish to the commission, when so requested, a copy of the complete plans and details of the structure, together with a copy of other available data such as stress diagrams, structural, maximum loading and computations so that a firm basis can be established for the disposition of the case.

(F) Administration and enforcement.

In the matter of the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this rule, the plant property and facilities of each railroad company operating in Ohio shall be made readily accessible to the commission and its staff in the administration and investigation of violations or alleged violations of any of its provisions. Such companies shall provide to the commission or its staff, such reports, supplemental data and information from the books and records of the companies as it shall from time to time request, in the administration and enforcement of the provision of this rule or in the investigation of any violation or alleged violation of this rule.

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Supplemental Information

Authorized By: 4905.04
Amplifies: 4907.03, 4907.24, 4907.44
Five Year Review Date: 6/13/2024
Prior Effective Dates: 2/9/1980, 12/25/1987, 8/6/1994