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Content of Shared-Use Access and Operating Agreements 69 Any combination of the above, either in parallel or sequenced, in a staged project for develop- ment of a commuter rail service. Once the basic approach to securing or paying for the capacity used by the commuter service is agreed on, then the agreement must address the remaining elements, as with Alternative 1. These elements include: The geographical limits of the corridor included in the agreement. Any limits on freight service, such as times of day during which freight trains may operate (e.g., avoiding peak commute hours). Any restrictions on minimum clearances that must be maintained for freight operations (e.g., at station platforms). Liability agreement. Usually the freight operator will want "but for" protection as discussed in Chapter 2. As with all long-term agreements, provisions to review and renegotiate the agreement as cir- cumstances change and a mechanism to resolve disputes. Alternative 3: Parallel Operations in a Shared Right-of-Way This option is similar to Alternative 1 in that the commuter operation purchases or leases its own ROW and becomes responsible for all O&M activities. There is little or no shared operation on the passenger track and only limited interaction with the freight railroad. A substantial capi- tal investment is required to acquire the ROW and to construct the passenger track. This alternative has been used where a high-frequency service is planned and where sufficient space is available in the existing freight railroad ROW for parallel services. This arrangement gives both the passenger and freight operators greater freedom to plan and operate their services independently, using sep- arate dispatchers, but there will still be a number of points of contact that have to be addressed in an agreement. These issues include dealing with points where freight operations cross passenger tracks, joint management of grade crossing systems where highways cross both tracks, coordinat- ing maintenance activities that may constrain operations on a parallel track, and developing com- munications links among dispatchers for both routine and emergency situations. 4.4.4 Agreement with the Host Freight Railroad The commuter rail agency planning to access a freight rail corridor (the foregoing Alternative 2) is in a similar position to Amtrak implementing an intercity service. Assuming an approach for paying for capacity has been agreed on, the agreement must specify service parameters (e.g., num- ber of trips, journey time, OTP) and the basis of charges from the freight railroad for infrastruc- ture maintenance, dispatching, and management. If the commuter rail agency owns the corridor, then these matters will be covered in the O&M services agreements described in the next section, and a freight railroad access agreement will be needed as described under Alternative 1. The specifics of the agreement between the commuter rail agency and the host freight railroad are presented in the following two subsections. Capital Improvements Introducing a new high-quality commuter rail service is rarely possible without capital invest- ments in the corridor. Investments are typically needed to increase capacity and to upgrade track and signals to passenger service standards so that the desired service performance can be achieved. Investment funds will be provided by the commuter rail agency to the freight railroad to complete agreed-upon investments in capital improvements. The agreement will reiterate the service specification, including staged development, where planned. Then, the commuter rail agency and the railroad will agree on the specific improvements