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15 Access to railroad property for engineering studies, such as Determine the exact log points of the project. soil borings or environmental analysis necessary for high- Establish the internal billing number for all time to be way projects that are proximate to railways; spent on the project. Paving of crossings; Write to the agency acknowledging the notification and Installation of safety devices at crossings, such as lights and advising it of the standard issues to consider. gates; 2. Begin the process to notify the internal offices of the pre- Horizontal encroachments onto linear railroad property liminary project. when adjacent roads are improved; and Contact internal railroad offices of engineering, commu- Grade separations of crossings, either over or under the nications, rights-of-way, legal, industrial development, railroad. and maintenance. Inform them of the potential project and its essential The four largest Class I railroads--Union Pacific Railroad elements, such as clearances, distribution of costs, and (UP), BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)--have need for in-house force account effort. created "public projects" divisions that serve as the points of Request comments relevant to present and future contact and coordination for these projects. Amtrak has as well. track needs. Kansas City Southern Railway handles the projects through its Determine which railroad appurtenances, such as normal engineering staff. The four largest Class I railroads typ- communication equipment or maintenance facilities, ically provide standard agreements, design standards, and other may be affected. routine documents to assist public agencies. (See Appendix A If right-of-way for additional tracks is to be provided for additional information on railroad processes for addressing for, determine which side of existing tracks it should agreements.) be on. In interviews with the Class I railroads, all expressed a strong Determine if the railroad has planned any industrial desire to cooperate on public projects. They stated in various development near the proposed project. ways that their publicly traded corporations have expressly Determine if special geometric considerations are nec- adopted policies that commit them to be corporate citizens essary for that location, such as horizontal and vertical who want to enhance the communities in which they do busi- clearances, access to the site for maintenance equip- ness. At the same time, all of them have repeatedly stressed the ment, or planned future changes to the alignment. complexity of conducting highway construction work on or Determine what the railroad's right-of-way is at adjacent to railroad properties. To reconcile the need to coop- the location and if there are any special legal con- erate on projects while protecting the railroads' interests, the siderations. Class I railroads have developed formal review processes. Determine if the mechanical department has any concerns. Determine if the transportation department has con- Standard Review Process cerns regarding operations or other issues. Although the seven Class I railroads have differences in their Allow 4 to 6 weeks internally for comments from the internal project review processes, they also have many similar- notified offices. ities. These similarities reflect the universal nature of the issues 3. After receiving the internal comments, summarize them that must be addressed when highways and railways cross. A in writing to the public agency. Include the following: generic, idealized project review process is summarized below. Provide initial comments about the project concept and The summary is not intended to describe in accurate detail any scope and whether it meets standard railroad designs one railroad's review process, but it reflects the processes and specifications. described by all the Class I railroads when they consider proj- Seek clarifying details. ects. This summary was assembled after reviewing the rail- Advise as to the need for continued coordination as roads' internal workflows and their project agreements, and plans develop. after interviewing their public projects staff. Inform as to the need for preliminary engineering agree- ment and other necessary initial agreements. Provide an estimate of costs for preliminary engineering. Typical Project Review Process Begin the preliminary engineering agreement. 1. Initial inquiry about a potential project or initial submit- 4. The next submittal, which would be some form of prelim- tal of draft project plans is received. inary plans, is received. Record the project into the internal railroad project track- Acknowledge receipt of the plans. ing and billing systems. Conduct an initial cursory internal review of the plans.

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16 Submit the plans to the contract engineering firm for Ensure that the operations divisions coordinate any detailed review. change in train operation to accommodate the con- On acknowledgment by the public agency of the agree- struction phases. ment to pay the contract engineering firm, the contract Ensure that the contractor's insurance is in place and is engineering firm conducts reviews. legally adequate. The contract engineering firm determines if changes have Provide the public agency with a letter authorizing con- been made to the project concept or scope that would tractor to proceed. conflict with any issues raised by the internal railroad 8. Construction begins. departments that reviewed the initial concept in Step 2. Monitor the conduct of the contractor for compliance Circulate any significant changes internally as described with safety provisions. in Step 2. Schedule and conduct force account work. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for internal comments. Inspect ongoing work. Prepare and submit the comments to the public agency. Schedule and conduct flagging. 5. The final plans are received. Collect costs and submit them to the agency for reim- Acknowledge receipt. bursement. Get an estimate of the review costs from the contract 9. The project is completed. engineering firm. Inspect the project and address any deficiencies with the Authorize the contract engineering firm's reviews. agency. The contract engineering firm reviews the plans to ensure Record, both in hard copy and electronic GPS format, that any changes are in accordance with the earlier com- any final changes to the railway and bridge inventories ments from the railroad. to reflect the changes created by the project, such as Seek concurrence from the internal offices listed in Step 2 altered alignments, grades, clearances, and signaling. if any significant plan changes have been made. Record right-of-way or easement changes. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for internal reviews. Prepare the final billing. Summarize the comments and transmit them to the pub- lic agency for inclusion in the final plans. As the railroads frequently stress, the time frames for proj- Request corrected final plans and review them as to ect reviews and agreements can vary significantly depending whether they have addressed comments. on the complexity of the project and the quality of submit- Request the necessary number of sets of the final plans. tals. The unique nature of each railroad's engineering needs 6. Prepare the project agreement. creates special considerations that are not always apparent Estimate the force account costs. to the uninitiated public sponsor, or to the sponsor's engi- Prepare the right-of-way provisions. neering firm. These special considerations underlie the Include the standard or special provisions necessary to railroads' repeated emphasis on the need for projects to be control the contractor during the construction process, developed by engineers who have experience dealing with such as flagging, coordination with railroad road master, railroads and, preferably, with the particular railroad that is or coordination with train master or local operating affected. official. Include any long-term maintenance agreements. The Railroads' "Desired State" Include all payments and contributions from the involved parties. The implied "desired state" for the railroads is included in the If the railroad makes a contribution, begin the internal best practices and recommendations they repeatedly cite. In process to secure funds. the desired state in which they would prefer to operate, the Specify the contractor's insurance requirements. following conditions would be common: Transmit the final agreement. 7. The public agency awards the project. Public highway agencies would have fully developed mas- Notify internal divisions of the schedule of work. ter and standard agreements that spell out the roles and Schedule a preconstruction meeting with the public responsibilities of the agency and of the railroads in devel- agency and contractor. oping and reviewing projects. Schedule the in-house or contract forces necessary for Public highway agencies would execute a preliminary devel- any force account work. opment agreement early in the conceptual stage of every sig- Schedule flagging. nificant project and use that agreement to compensate the Ensure that the safety plan is adequate. railroad for its staff and consultant review effort.

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17 Public highway agencies would approach railroads early in acknowledged that public auditors may question the need the project-development process and seek their input into to reimburse staff time and expenses of railroad reviewers. the projects' original purpose, need, and conceptual scope. However, they noted that understanding what conditions Public highway agency personnel would be highly experi- they desire makes it easier for a public project sponsor to enced in railroad coordination and would only seek design organize its submittals and processes to better address the exceptions and minimum clearances when these cannot be railroads' concerns. avoided. Experienced consulting firms who have extensive history Best Practices in working with the particular railroad would be hired to develop the project. Several best practices were identified during interviews with The means and methods of construction would be consid- the railroads and the review of their processes. The highlights ered early in the process to minimize incursions into the of those are described below. operating envelope. Projects would be developed using engineering and con- CSX Transportation publishes a Public Project Informa- struction standards unique to the affected railroad. tion manual that summarizes the process, agreements and The project agreement process would begin early in the proj- permits required to develop a project. ect development process. The development of the agreement NS's website includes an extensive listing of its design would run concurrent with the development of plans. The guidelines and standards. agreement would incorporate the railroad's standard legal BNSF and UP developed a joint set of standards and guide- language regarding insurance, indemnification, safety, and lines for the development of projects. other key issues. Kansas City Southern Railway developed a program for the Project submittals would occur at the 30%, 60%, and 100% simplified acquisition of low-cost Railroad Protective Lia- plan-completion stages. bility Insurance. All plan comments would be incorporated into later sub- BNSF's attempts to meet at least annually with each state mittals. DOT to discuss the project review process. All right-of-way agreements and payments, environmen- Some railroads publish permit applications and approval tal permits, right-of-entry permits, and insurance require- guidelines for basic activities, such as rights-of-entry and ments would be secured, accurate, and submitted with the maintenance of existing structures. final plans. NS publishes its Special Provisions for construction, which The railroad's construction provisions would be included can be incorporated into construction contracts. in the contract plans. The railroads are willing to participate in regular project- Contractors and state highway personnel would have com- tracking and milestone-review meetings with DOTs when pleted safety training before construction begins. DOTs request such meetings. Preconstruction meetings would be held to coordinate BNSF assigned an individual engineer to assist the Washing- activities with all parties. ton State DOT through the course of an extended multiyear Flagging would be scheduled well in advance of the start of rail-corridor development process. construction. Construction activities would be conducted safely and under Areas for Improvement the review of the railroad road master's designee. At the end of construction, all materials and equipment Although each of these efforts appears to be a best practice, would be removed and the rights-of-way restored. no railroad seems to have captured and implemented them As-built plans would be provided. all. Rather, each railroad had some of the best practices in place but had not fully exploited all the practices identified by These conditions constitute the idealized desires of the rail- the other railroads. Areas for improvement that are apparent roads' public projects divisions. All the railroad personnel inter- include the following: viewed willingly acknowledged, however, that they understood that circumstances would often prevent these conditions from There appears to be additional opportunity for all the rail- occurring. They said they realized that some states and localities roads to capture the best practices that have been devel- operate under statutes that do not allow all these conditions to oped by the others. be met. They also realized that meeting optimal design stan- Railroads and public highway agencies could further develop dards in all situations can lead to longer spans and more expen- partnering strategies and agreements to identify common sive designs, which public sponsors may reasonably resist. They approaches to project development. Such agreements can