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76 A P P E N D I X A Railroad Processes for Addressing Agreements Processes of to work with us when they have construction and improve- Individual Railroads ment projects that may involve the CSXT railroad. . . . Accurate and timely communication of information The processes of each railroad vary to some degree. In the fol- between CSXT and these parties improves planning, relation- lowing sections, the processes of each of the five largest Class I ships and successful completion of projects. railroads and of Amtrak are summarized. Because of the com- The information in this manual is intended to improve plexity of these processes and the large number of projects the communication and cooperation on construction and improve- railroads address, each of the Class I railroads has taken vari- ment projects that may involve the CSXT rail property. These ous steps to make them more predictable and routine. These tools explain important steps CSXT must follow including information required in connection with any public project steps include the following: proposal. · Providing standard drawings for typical projects, such as The manual includes the following: structures, signals, and tracks; · Providing standard agreements that include language they · Contact lists; will accept without review; · Requirements for preliminary engineering agreements; · Providing standard applications and forms for typical · Explanation of payments and costs; projects or permits; · Process for entry onto CSX property; · Offering to develop master agreements that streamline · Public road crossings and closures guidelines; routine functions; and · Parallel road construction guidelines; · Providing manuals on how to successfully navigate their · Crossing warning devices guidelines; processes. · Quiet zone processes; · Bicycle and pedestrian facilities rules; · Painting requirements for CSX bridges; CSX Public Projects Process · Overhead and undergrade bridge criteria; The CSX Corporation owns CSX Transportation (CSXT) · Insurance requirements; and CSX Intermodal, which provide rail and intermodal · Flagging requirements; service in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and two Cana- · Grade crossing maintenance requirements; dian provinces. It operates more than 1,200 trains daily over · Standard preliminary engineering agreements; 21,000 miles of track. · Standard construction agreements; and CSX Corporation has produced a public projects manual · Special provisions during construction. that offers guidance, standard agreements, and standard drawings to assist public agencies (1). It states the following: The manual also includes a set of key points for success, including the following: [T]he company wants to be a good neighbor in the states and communities where we operate. That is why we have prepared · Start preliminary engineering reviews early in the project- this information. We want to make it easier for communities development process.
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77 · Use CSX standard agreements, which reduce review time. · CSX provides no implied consent regarding the adequacy These include the following: of the project that eventually may be constructed; Preliminary engineering agreement. · The estimated amount of reimbursement; Construction agreement. · Payment will be in full and in advance; Special provisions for work on right-of-way. · The agency will make all reasonable efforts to get appropri- · Complete a preliminary engineering agreement early. ation authority for the agreement; · Arrange for payments to be made for engineering reviews. · Provisions for termination by either party; · Provide as soon as possible initial concept information about · Subconsultants can be used by both parties; and the project. · Standard "boilerplate" relating to severability, assignment to successors, and concurrence with governing statutes. The manual provides the policy rationale for CSX's require- ments, as well as ready access to engineering requirements and The construction agreement includes the same provisions, engineering personnel necessary to develop a project. Its pol- but also adds the following: icy explanations address issues such as why the railroad needs to charge for reviews, why it requires rights-of-entry agree- · A detailed description of the project; ments, why it discourages new at-grade crossings, why it needs · A description of the tasks required of the public agency; · An estimate of expenses reimbursable to CSX; to be involved during parallel road construction, and why it · Assurances that the agency and contractor will acquire all has significant insurance requirements. Although it does not provide detailed schedules, it provides general guidance about needed environmental or legal permits and easements; · CSX's ability to terminate the agreement or exclude the time frames and costs for various types of projects and agree- ments, such as the following: contractor from the right-of-way for any unsafe practice or condition; · Insurance requirements of $5 million for commercial gen- · Preliminary engineering for projects such as grade separa- eral liability, railroad protective liability of $5 million for a tions can accrue costs of up to $25,000 and can require up single incident, and a total of $10 million aggregate; to 5 months of review time. · Maintenance responsibilities of the parties after construc- · Right-of-entry permits cost $750 and can take up to 6 weeks tion; and to process. · Indemnification for reckless or wrongful contractor actions. · Separate preliminary engineering agreements and payments are required for signal and warning device reviews. The Special Provisions Appendix imposes the following · Once projects are approved for construction, up to 45 days additional requirements on the agency and contractor during may be necessary to schedule in-house flagging crews the construction process: who must be present. Flagging typically costs $600 to $800 per day. · Nothing shall be construed to permit interference with railroad operations. CSX also provides sample agreements for preliminary engi- · CSX shall be notified 30 days in advance of the start of neering, construction, and special provisions. It encourages construction if flagging is required and 10 days in advance public agencies to work from these documents when prepar- otherwise. ing agreements. The engineering and legal staff at CSX said · Written authorization is required to begin work on rail- their reviews of projects that are predicated on these standard road property. agreements are routine and much faster than reviews of unique · Contractor shall not deviate from plans without written agreements. A standard agreement, they advise, can be rou- approval. tinely approved with a cursory review of any additional provi- · Equipment shall not cross tracks without approval. sions, while a unique agreement requires a line-by-line review · Contractor and agency shall not charge CSX for project by busy legal staff. delays. The preliminary engineering agreement includes provi- · Equipment and materials shall not be stored on railroad sions such as the following: property without approval. · CSX inspects and approves construction on its property. · Acknowledgment that CSX and the public agency agree to · The CSX safety manual will be followed. cooperate on project reviews; · Blasting will be strictly controlled. · Reviews do not imply that CSX will approve the project or · Flagging will be provided and controlled by CSX, with ade- agree to construction; quate notification.
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78 · Utilities will be safely addressed. tions. Regardless of the details, CSX staff indicate that they · The project site will be restored to its original condition encourage and pursue standard agreements to the extent pos- when complete. sible. Having worked for more than a century with more than · CSX reserves the right to eject the contractor for unsafe or 25 states, they have broad experience in legal strategies to noncompliant activities. reach agreements. CSX indicates that it relies heavily on outside consultants In addition to the process and legal requirements, CSX for review of projects. Its in-house engineering staff members provides the most critical design parameters for typical types function more as project and program managers, not as engi- of projects. It provides guidance or standards for typical but neering reviewers. The widespread downsizing of railroad important design issues, such as the following: staffs has led to such outsourcing. The use of consultants also allows the accurate capturing of time and labor. Consultants · Stationing or location information; track their time and the cost of that time can be assigned back · Vertical and horizontal clearances both during construc- to the public agency that requires the review. tion and permanently; Officials at CSX and all the railroads interviewed stressed the · Geological testing information; significant work volumes their staffs experience. Each of the five · Rigging and lifting requirements during construction; regional CSX divisions handles approximately 800 projects at · Crash wall guidance; one time. The CSX public projects staff has five principal engi- · Drainage guidance; neers and a small administrative staff to handle all public proj- · Fencing; ects. They and other railroads all readily acknowledge the · Shoring and excavation; typical lapses that occur in any organization because of over- · Needed calculations; work, changing priorities, staff vacations, and emergencies. · Demolition requirements; However, they indicate that many project delays could be · Pipe installation; avoided by adherence to their standards and agreements. · Pedestrian overhead structures; and CSX officials were complimentary of the typical public · Undergrade bridge requirements. agency and the quality of their submittals. Although they do not have formal metrics on the matter, they estimate that no Officials at CSX said in an interview that their intent was to more than 5% of submittals are significantly substandard. provide public sponsors with the information they need to They said that local agencies with less experience are the successfully matriculate a project and its agreement through more likely sources of significant review comments, rework, the CSX process. They provided the standards and guidance and delay. in an effort to promote clarity and efficiency in the project- The CSX officials indicated that they challenge project spon- development process. CSX does not provide all of its design sors to meet the railroad's optimal design standards, but they standards, but it says its standards do not vary significantly from also recognize that they cannot always be met. Projects often the widely disseminated AREMA standards. Unique design are being constructed in areas with tight rights-of-way, difficult considerations at specific locations can be addressed in prelim- terrain, or adjacent constraints. In such cases, they said, they inary consultations at the project concept stage or in prelim- accommodate exceptions to their typical standards but in such inary submittals. a fashion as to protect railroad operations, assets, safety, and CSX officials said they encourage master and standard operational efficiency. agreements for the ease of public agencies. CSX provides draft "When they can demonstrate it's impossible to meet our agreements with language that it will accept automatically. But standards, then we say, `Show us that and we'll see what else they indicate that some states and localities have constraining we can do,'" is how one CSX public projects official described statutes that may prohibit those governments from accepting their attitude. all of the standard language. The CSX officials indicate that They said that while they prefer overhead projects to com- they have signed several master or standard agreements crafted pletely span their rights-of-way, they realize that can lead to by states that incorporate the state's legal issues. Whether the excess public expenses. While they will insist that future track agreement is based on CSX language or local language, they needs are protected, they regularly provide permanent use of encourage the use of standard agreements to save all the par- their rights-of-way for public projects. ties time and effort. They have experience with various legal They described their corporate attitude toward public proj- strategies to reconcile the conflicts between state law and CSX's ects as being driven by a recognition that they need to cooper- requirements. For instance, issues such as indemnification ate and accommodate public projects, while exposing their or insurance which the state cannot address can be shifted corporation to as little risk as possible. They do not want to the contractor, which does not have such legal prohibi- exposure to liability, additional costs, or constrained operating
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79 parameters because of a project that does not benefit their in conference calls and meetings with states in order to keep all shareholders or customers. parties abreast of schedules, outstanding issues, and expected They said their attitude toward public projects varies by completion dates. type of projects. They acknowledged they do not encourage new, at-grade crossings. Those are at odds with both railroad Norfolk Southern Railway and Federal Railroad Administration policy, which is to reduce the number of crossings. Projects that close or grade separate Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) operates approximately 21,000 crossings they encourage as being in both the railroad's inter- miles of track in 22 eastern states. It coordinates highway proj- ests and in the interest of public safety. ects through its Public Improvements office in Atlanta. It pub- They acknowledged that a common source of delay or dis- lishes an array of standards, permits, and guidelines on its agreement is in the assigning of costs. Some, particularly local, website to promote understanding of its process and to make agencies object to paying for reviews and submittals. Others it easier for public agencies to comply with its design and con- disagree with the costs. CSX officials insisted that they do not struction standards. try to profit from public projects but merely try to capture their NS has published typical timelines and steps for various true and total costs. If they do not assign those costs back to the types of projects (Table A.1). Its officials indicated they pre- project sponsor, they are then indirectly assigned to customers pared these schedules in cooperation with public agencies so and shareholders. They noted that they can experience engi- that the agencies could anticipate the lead time necessary for neering review and legal costs of thousands of dollars on proj- railroad review and concurrence. These time frames are pred- ects, and that those costs must be covered by someone. icated on the assumption that all submittals are complete and The CSX officials were complimentary of states that closely address railroad concerns. track project submittals. They anecdotally described instances NS emphasizes that up to 9 weeks can be trimmed from the where some states did not respond to railroad comments for project schedule if the public agency submits a project agree- months, acknowledged that they had lost the comments, and ment early in the process. NS will review and process the agree- asked for them to be resent. The CSX officials said that, for ment concurrent with the other reviews. It has developed some states, the railroad could not discern a pattern of prior- model agreements that it will approve with minimal review. ity or schedule for projects. Other states, such as Michigan, These time frames indicate that a minimum of 12 weeks Florida, and North Carolina, closely track project milestones. and up to a maximum of 40 weeks are necessary for internal The CSX officials indicated that they were willing to participate railroad coordination and review. Between these weeks of Type of Project Grade Parallel Overhead Grade Underpass Grade Steps in Process Crossing Encroachment Separation Separation Submit preliminary plans and 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks 12 weeks request acknowledgment of plans Receive railroad comments 7 weeks 7 weeks 7 weeks 8 weeks on preliminary plans Receive comments on 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks 6 weeks corrected plans Receive railroad cost estimate 1 week 1 week 1 week 2 weeks Receive project agreement 7 weeks 7 weeks 7 weeks 7 weeks approval from railroad If railroad financial 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks contribution is needed Total railroad handling time 21 weeks without 21 weeks without 21 weeks without 35 weeks without contribution; 26 weeks contribution; 26 weeks contribution; 26 weeks contribution; 40 weeks with contribution with contribution with contribution with contribution Source: Norfolk Southern Review Schedule for Public Improvement Projects ( 2). Table A.1. Norfolk Southern Schedule for Project Reviews
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80 review, the public agency will be conducting its own project- and amendments. These fees do not cover the cost of insur- development processes. As a result, the total coordination ance, right-of-way, easements, and additional complex engi- process for a complex project such as a grade separation could neering reviews. extend over several years. The period for the application process varies, depending on To reduce the uncertainty in project development and to the quality of the submittal. A DMJM official indicated that the provide specificity for project developers, NS provides a com- quality of most submittals generally is good. The most com- prehensive set of guidelines and standard drawings on its mon problem is incomplete information, particularly concern- website (3). The guidance it provides includes overhead grade ing insurance. He estimated that a significant percentage of his separation design criteria, underpass grade separation design staff's time spent on pipe and wire agreements is devoted to criteria, guidelines for under track culverts, special provisions merely getting accurate information regarding basic aspects of for protection of railway interests, and the schedule of review insurance coverage. He said that issues such as incomplete or of grade separation projects. inaccurate names and addresses of insurers and beneficiaries NS provides permits for environmental rights of entry, consistently delay applications. nonenvironmental rights of access, and right of access within DMJM advises applicants that if their submittals are accu- 50 feet of a railroad track, as well as all the appropriate points rate and complete, transverse crossings applications can be of contact for access information (4). It also provides applica- completed in 30 days, longitudinal occupancy applications tions for pipe and wire crossings of railroad rights-of-way (5). in 3 to 4 months, and complex projects dependent on their A right-of-entry permit for engineering studies requires unique considerations. Generally, it assures applicants that a $750 fee, exhibits illustrating the site, and assurances that it will respond to submittals within 30 days. The agreements all insurance, safety, and environmental provisions will be may require typical railroad safety and protection clauses, followed. including requirements that the applicant pay for flagging, Pipeline and wire crossings or encroachments are managed inspection, and maintenance work related to the project. through the DMJM Harris office in Philadelphia, now a sub- In addition to the basic application information, NS pro- sidiary of AECOM. DMJM Harris is a national, full-service vides 38 pages of design and construction guidance for pipeline engineering firm that NS has under contract to review and projects. The guidance specifies the type of engineering details process pipe and wire permits. It processes all agreements and and calculations that NS requires to ensure its railroads' safety. reviews, while the final agreement and occupancy license is Boring beneath a railroad can lead to subsidence of the tracks. issued through NS. DMJM Harris reports the following time- Trenching can lead to cave-ins that can subside track. Flood- lines for review of pipe and wire projects: ing by storm water can erode track and structures. Some pipelines carry hazardous or flammable materials. All these · Within 30 days of an application, DMJM will provide com- complexities have led to specific engineering reviews that ments, including the need for additional information or DMJM Harris conducts on behalf of NS. NS also advises that comments as to how to rectify an incomplete application. If complex projects--particularly ones that require lengthy lon- revised plans are not received within 30 days, the application gitudinal encroachments--can require site visits and reviews. will be automatically canceled. Such reviews add time and cost because of the scheduling and · If revised plans comply with NS standards, a draft agreement engineering time required. will be prepared and mailed within 30 days. NS provides another 23 pages of culvert guidance and · If revised plans still are inadequate, additional comments 13 pages of guidance for wire, conduit, and cable encroach- will be provided within 2 weeks. ments and crossings. · On acceptance of adequate plans, the applicant will execute A DMJM Harris representative who has worked closely with the license agreement and return it to DMJM with a check for the pipe and wire process for many years said that applications the appropriate license fees and certificates of insurance. Draft proceed most quickly when they are handled by experienced agreements are valid for 60 days without an extension. personnel whom both DMJM and NS know. His opinion was · NS will then execute the license, and the fully executed that experienced people are more important than a particular agreement will be returned to the applicant in approxi- process. DMJM and NS acknowledge that such projects can be mately 1 week. routine and expeditious if the details are adequately addressed. When all parties are familiar with one another's proven exper- The application must include items such as accurate project tise, reviews are faster, responses to comments are quicker, and description, mapping and geographic information, accurate each party will be more likely to accept the engineering judgment right-of-way descriptions, photographs, and other materi- of the other. He said the interaction is based on both engineer- als sufficient to allow thorough comment. Fees range from ing expertise and personal trust among the parties--NS, DMJM, $1,200 to $2,100, with additional costs for supplemental filings the applicant, and the applicant's engineer.
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81 The DMJM Harris representative said that successful appli- with public agencies the names of the engineering firms with cations for routine utility, drainage, or pipeline projects gener- which it works frequently. It advises public agencies to select ally not only provide complete information but also present one of those firms, as they are highly experienced in the details this information in the standard format and sequence that the of NS specifications. railroad expects. Successful projects also include early railroad NS officials indicate that they provide extensive design and coordination, not coordination that occurs late in the project- construction guidance on their website to clarify for public development process. agencies what is required for a successful submittal. A major He described a model process as being one in which knowl- issue that they cannot reduce to guidance for every project is edgeable engineering staff start the coordination process early, the needed horizontal clearances at a particular site for future prepare complete submittals, and understand the needs of the track expansion. NS indicates that it strongly advises project railroads. He recommended that reliance on standard agree- sponsors to coordinate with them early, at the project concept ments, as opposed to customized or unique legal agreements, stage. The officials say they will provide guidance as to their lat- will save considerable time. eral clearance needs and will provide right-of-way maps early NS also provides 10 pages of overhead grade separation design in the process. NS describes a "boots on the ground" philoso- criteria that address issues such as vertical and horizontal clear- phy regarding public projects. It wants to meet early, will meet ances, drainage, crash walls, excavation, erosion control, demo- on-site, and particularly wants to be on-site for preconstruc- lition, erection and hoisting, and plan requirements. tion meetings on most projects. NS also provides requirements during construction, which NS strongly recommends a centralized railroad agreement are summarized under "Special Provisions for Protection of office for state departments of transportation. It prefers work- Railway Interests." It addresses issues such as the following: ing regularly with experienced, centralized state officials to dealing with individual DOT districts. Its officials indicate that · The railroad representative will have final authority over all district personnel are more likely to deal with the railroad issues of safety. process infrequently and tend to not develop the expertise that · Contractors will not begin work until written permission accrues to centralized personnel who interact with the railroads has been granted. more often. · Contractors shall not be allowed to interfere with railroad NS also strongly prefers to use standing master agreements operations. for preliminary engineering and for construction standards. It · Contractors need to pay for and provide railroad flagging provides its special provisions for protection of railway interests services. as the basis of standard language to be included in every con- · The railroad shall inspect and approve all work. struction project. Inclusion of these provisions simplifies and · Special protections are taken during excavation and shoring streamlines the development of project agreements. to protect tracks and structures. · Erection, demolition, and hoisting cannot impede the rail- road operating envelopes and must be conducted with the BNSF Railway Process approval of the railroad engineers. · Blasting is strictly controlled. BNSF Railway operates 32,000 miles of railway in 26 states, · Materials and equipment will not be stored on rights-of- most of which is west of the Mississippi River. It is the nation's way without written permission. second largest railroad. Like NS and CSXT, BNSF Railway · Materials and equipment cannot be hauled across tracks emphasizes its corporate policy to cooperate with public without written permission. agencies on projects. It focuses its project-coordination efforts · Contractors cannot make delay claims against railroads through its public projects division, based in Kansas City, because of railroad operations. Kansas. Unlike CSXT or NS, it has not published a public proj- · Insurance will be provided in accordance with railroad ects manual or design standards on its website. Its officials said requirements. they used to publish company design standards until they were · Failure to comply with safety or insurance provisions can named in a lawsuit brought by a design firm. The firm con- result in the contractor being expelled from the railroad tended its errors and omissions on a project were based on out- property. dated design standards it obtained from BNSF. Since then, BNSF has not published standards. Instead, it advises designers NS handles its public project reviews from its Atlanta Public and public project sponsors to design projects to the standards Improvements Office. At any one time, NS has approximately of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of- 1,600 public projects pending. It estimates that 70% of submit- Way Association (AREMA). When the draft plans are submit- tals are adequate. Typical deficiencies involve lack of adequate ted to BNSF, the railroad will provide detailed design standard clearances or problems with drainage plans. NS says it will share comments on a case-by-case basis.
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82 BNSF reports that it relies on outreach to public agencies 2. In 10 to 15 working days, Staubach forwards the applica- to develop effective lines of communication. Its Public Proj- tion and preliminary drawing to engineering firm, which ects division attempts to schedule annual meetings with the will prepare final drawings for the contract. department of transportation within each state it serves. These 3. When the drawings are drafted by the engineering firm, annual meetings and regular contacts with project sponsors plans are sent to the BNSF roadmaster for approval. about ongoing projects serve to provide open communication 4. The roadmaster sends plans to applicant, who forwards a between the railroad and public agencies. copy to Staubach. Its website includes contact information for the Public Proj- 5. The Staubach permits manager executes permit if all cer- ects division officials assigned to each state (6). It also provides tification and payments are received. applications and standard agreements for typical projects or 6. The agency ensures that the contractor completes the permits (7), including the following: online safety training course before commencing work. 7. The agency-applicant provides notice to the roadmaster · Access to BNSF property for environmental assessment 5 days before beginning the project. needs; · Standard roadway repaving projects; The total process is estimated to take up to 60 days if filings · Crossing of tracks with oversized loads; are complete and accurate. If they are not, additional time · Permits for pipe and wire crossings; is required to return files and to get complete application · Permits to construct or maintain culverts or other minor information. maintenance devices; and BNSF public projects officials strongly recommend the fol- · Temporary occupancy of right-of-way permits. lowing general steps and schedule: All the Class I railroads rely on private sector engineering · Conduct annual overview meetings in which the railroad firms for services such as plan review and construction engi- and the public agency review processes in general and seek neering and inspection. In addition, BNSF outsources han- opportunities to improve communication and workflows. dling of the basic permits and agreements, including all of · The following are recommended for specific projects: those listed above. The firm Staubach Global Services man- A preproject scoping meeting in which the railroad and ages those permits and reviews for BNSF. project sponsor discuss the project concept, location, Staubach reports that the following are the standard pro- special site conditions, and geometric needs of the rail- cessing times and fees for various permits and approvals: road for that location. A submittal at the 30% plan stage, which usually includes · Access to right-of-way for environmental studies, such as a line, grade, typical section for roadway; and a type, size, borings or soil sampling: $350 per permit, with a process- and estimate for structures. ing time of up to 60 days if all application information is A submittal at the 60% plan stage, which will include complete and accurate. An additional fee and additional changes made to address the comments on the 30% time are required for each resubmittal caused by incom- plans. plete information. A submittal at 90% completion when details such as · Permission to install or improve a culvert, drainage structure, drainage structures, right-of-way limits, utility reloca- or other routine appurtenance on or adjacent to railroad tions, and work limits are clear. property: The permit has a $350 application fee and requires · BNSF wants to pay particular attention to details that are up to 60 days for processing and an engineering review. The critical to the railroad, such as shoring around piers and average cost for the engineering review is $2,500. foundations, demolition plans, and erection procedures. · Roadway resurfacing projects: $350 fee, varying engineer- · BNSF also encourages preconstruction meetings on all ing reimbursement costs, and requires up to 60 days for projects, but requires them on complex ones, such as grade processing. separations and new alignment. The review process for a typical minor project, such as a Internally, during its review process, the BNSF public proj- resurfacing at or near a rail crossing, includes the following ects team tracks these major milestones for each project: con- steps and time frame, according to Staubach: cept stage; diagnostics stage; estimates requested; estimates sent to agency; contract negotiated; contract returned to agency; 1. The project sponsor sends application, drawings, and $350 and contracts signed. It reports that each of these seven steps fee to Staubach. requires about 30 days of internal processing time and review
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83 within the railroad. BNSF reports that it is difficult to estimate Temporary and permanent clearances; the average time for all reviews because of the great variation in Drainage and erosion; and the timing of submittals. It reports that some agencies can go Construction oversight. years between submittals if projects are delayed for various rea- · Overhead structures: sons, such as a reduction in finances, changes in priorities, or Design plans; environmental delays. Clearances; BNSF offers standard project agreements for most types of Pier and abutment locations; projects in order to help the public agency save time and Lighting; and money. The draft standard agreements include the standard Drainage and erosions. clauses and considerations BNSF requires. They offer draft · Underpass structures: standard agreements for the following: Materials requirements; Acceptable deck types; · Crossing surface installation projects; Sequences of construction; and · Highwayrail signal interfaces projects; Temporary structures. · Grade crossing signal installation agreements; · A variety of standard drawings. · Underpass projects; and · Overpass agreements. Agreements The guidelines note that the applicant is responsible for all Joint BNSF Railway/Union costs to plan, design, construct, and maintain the grade sepa- Pacific Railroad Guidelines ration structure. The guidelines also put applicants on notice One of the major innovations to assist public agencies was that they must comply with all of the railroad's construction the joint development by BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad practices and inspection procedures, and they must not inter- of guidelines for railroad grade separation projects. These fere with any other facilities or utilities within the railroad are the two largest railroads, and they collectively dominate right-of-way. Applicants are also responsible for all the rail- road's costs associated with the review of plans and construc- the large majority of rail traffic west of the Mississippi River. tion documents and with construction procedures. The joint guidelines provide a unique resource that bene- fits dozens of states and hundreds of communities that pur- sue grade crossings. It addresses a comprehensive array of Submittals processes, standards, timelines, and advice on how to develop The guidelines note that review of submittals does not remove a grade separation project for approval by the railroads. Because any liability or responsibility from the applicant for subse- grade separation projects are among the most complex ones, quent problems. They spell out requirements for engineering the guidelines include many components that would be rele- oversight, submittal schedules, design submittals, submittal of vant to other projects as well. Included in the guidelines are calculations, and stages for submittal. These stages include the the following: following for a typical overhead structure: · Purposes, definitions, and references. · Submittal of conceptual plans with site pictures. Four · How to develop agreements and the minimum require- weeks allowed for review. ments for them. · Submittal of 30% plans, which include responses to com- · What is needed for submittals, including the following: ments on conceptual plans, preliminary designs, shoofly Designs; specifications (a shoofly is a temporary bypass track built to Calculations; accommodate construction on existing tracks), a drainage Geotechnical; report, and construction phasing plans. Four weeks allowed Drainage; for review. Construction plans; and · 100% plans, which include responses to all earlier com- As-built drawings. ments. Four weeks allowed for review. · General requirements for the following: · Construction plans that address the following: Shooflies; Shoring; Track spacing; False work; Accommodating future tracks and access roads; Demolition; Structure types; Erection;
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84 Erosion control; and BNSF public projects officials emphasize that they want to Construction phasing plans. cooperate with public projects, as evidenced by their creation of an entire division to service these projects. However, they Underpass projects are much less common and are discour- also note that BNSF tracks are a "34,000-mile storefront" for aged by the guidelines. Several additional design components the company. Its right-of-way is finite, while its freight volume are required, with an additional 6 weeks for review. has steadily increased. After decades of track abandonments, BNSF is in a steady mode of expansion, particularly for impor- tant Pacific Rim intermodal traffic and coal shipments. Its General Requirements overriding corporate concern has to be the protection of rights- The guidelines require construction projects to create no of-way and operating envelopes so that immediate and long- interference with railroad operations. They recommend term customer needs are met. overpasses, because overpasses cause less interference to rail BNSF officials report that the biggest impediment to the operations during construction than underpasses do. The efficient processing of agreements and review of plans is a lack guidelines also recommend the construction of shooflies if of understanding of railroad standards and requirements. track interruption is necessary. They require maintaining They strongly advise project sponsors to use one of the several existing track spacing and the widening of existing substan- firms that BNSF itself relies on. Another consistent problem is dard spacing. The railroads require 20 feet minimum spacing a lack of understanding of the need for flagging. Applicants, between freight train tracks and 25 feet between freight and BNSF officials indicate, fail to anticipate the need for, cost of, passenger lines. or advance time required for flagging services. A fundamental component of any conceptual planning is An innovation BNSF offers is assistance with securing determining future needs for main tracks, sidings, and spur short-term railroad protective liability insurance. Firms can tracks for local development. The railroad may have specific buy a rider on the BNSF policy for short-term insurance that plans for additional tracks for major, critical service routes. In may be needed for minor projects. other cases, transit or other passenger rail agencies may have long-range track needs. Additional clearances for future tracks, Union Pacific Railroad sidings, and access facilities are to be identified early in the con- ceptual stage of the project. Union Pacific Railroad (UP) is the nation's largest railroad To the extent possible, the guidelines require piers and company. It has 32,000 miles of track in 23 states. Its rail net- abutments to be outside of rights-of-way. If that is impossible works are the most far-flung in the nation, stretching from because of the width of the right-of-way, then a minimum of Louisiana to Chicago across the western two-thirds of the at least 25 feet of horizontal clearance is required between the country, including the entire West Coast. Its Industry and Pub- outside track and the nearest obstructing pier or abutment. lic Projects Division at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, This clearance allows for maintenance access or additional is the focal point for its interaction with a large number of pub- track. The minimum permanent vertical clearance is 23 ft 4 in. lic agencies across the western two-thirds of the nation. Lesser vertical and horizontal clearances during construction Its website includes extensive information regarding appli- can be permitted. cations for various permits, including environmental right-of- The general guidance also notes that specific plans will way access, pipe and wire easements, and drainage installation need to be approved for shoring, demolition, erection, false or modifications. However, its public projects team indicates work, drainage, vegetation, access roads, and a variety of spe- that it does not publish generalized project-development guide- cific considerations during construction. The railroad will lines or agreements because of the great diversity in public require assurances that all those procedures are met during agency requirements that it faces across its vast system. It does construction. In addition, it will require the following: not publish a single model agreement or model process for project reviews because of the significantly different legal and · Safety training for employees who are on site; project-development requirements of the different states. It · The existence of and adherence to a formal safety plan; develops agreements on a state-by-state basis. · Appropriate flagging provided by or approved by the rail- UP public project officials indicate that preliminary engi- road; neering agreements are usually included with construction and · Adherence to all erection and demolition plans to ensure maintenance agreements, although preliminary engineering the safety of trains and track; may be addressed often in a separate letter of agreement. It pro- · Assurances that equipment, materials, false work, and other vides standard construction agreements, which it uses when items do not interfere with the operating envelop; and agencies do not have their own standard agreements or when · Adherence to all environmental requirements. UP cannot accept the public agency's proposed agreement.
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85 Its manager of industry and public projects (MIPP) is the UP officials indicate that public agencies use a variety of initial contact with the public agency. This person serves as the mechanisms for communicating with it. Some state DOTs project manager who negotiates the project and facilitates have annual meetings with the railroads, such as in Iowa. the interface between the agency and the various departments There, the DOT brings together all its personnel involved in within the railroad, such as Real Estate, Design, and Opera- projects, including maintenance forces. Other states, such as tions. UP officials say they believe this arrangement provides Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Illinois, have consistency in the handling of projects. In addition, the single quarterly project-review meetings. Regardless of the details, point-of-contact ensures that the project has a consistent man- UP officials say they encourage continuous communication. ager as it moves through the various departments for review. UP officials say they frequently experience a lack of under- The process by which a project progresses through the standing among public agencies as to the length of times that review stages varies significantly depending on the project type. are acceptable for railroad interruptions. They note that their A signal project is reviewed by other offices than those that system lacks the redundancy that highway networks have. A review grade separation projects. UP's standards differ signifi- closure on one section of the railroad will have complicated cantly from the national AREMA standards. UP says that its ramifications for movements across the country. Rail system higher volumes, greater speeds, and diverse terrains require network computer simulations that model the effects of rail more restrictive standards than would apply to short-line rail- interruptions are so complex they cannot be run on desktop roads, which generally rely on AREMA standards. It notes that computers but require more powerful parallel processors. The its standards document, prepared jointly with BNSF, provides impact analyses can estimate the amount of delay, and the significant detail for project developers who need to identify subsequent costs of that delay to the entire network. UP has UP requirements. had experiences with public agencies that want to minimize UP indicates that addressing public projects is a corporate project cost without an appreciation for how closures or inter- priority, as reflected by the extensive staffing for them. It has ruptions can create significant costs for the railroad during a field staff of public project managers supported by staff in construction. the track, structures, and signal design groups. The safety Such issues are more common with cities and counties, projects have a particularly high corporate focus and are sup- because they have fewer projects and less experience with the ported by the entire organization. railroads, UP officials indicate. Similarly, the smaller agencies As with the other Class I railroads, UP sees problems with often develop early project cost estimates that later prove to be project submittals. They fall into predictable categories, includ- inaccurate. ing the following: UP officials strongly recommend getting the railroad involved from the start of the planning process. Early involve- · The use of consultants who are not familiar with UP require- ment can identify where UP will require higher than the ments. Submittals do not address the requirements noted in minimum design standards. UP frequently encounters local the UP published guidelines. consultants designing to minimum standards and basing esti- · Unrealistic project schedules from the agencies. If the mates and schedules on those minimums. If the design initial project schedule from the agency assumes an arbi- involves the mainline, UP officials may require more robust trary schedule without the railroad's input, it likely will design than the minimums in the AREMA standards to com- not be met. pensate for the greater speed, tonnage, and grades that their · Provisions for UP future expansion, such as future track, trains must handle. access roadway, and spreading of existing tracks to 20-ft UP officials strongly recommend the following practices to spacing, are not addressed. Encroachment onto UP right- improve the agreement and review processes: of-way is assumed as being acceptable, which it is not. · Projects do not provide for uninterrupted rail service dur- · Select engineering firms with extensive railroad experience. ing construction. · Work from preapproved standard legal agreements. · Scope changes affect the track, railroad bridge alignment, · Begin the coordination process as early as practicable. location, or elevation, requiring the railroad to start over · Create regular and continuous lines of communication. with the review process. · Have a centralized point of contact at the highway agency. · Failure by the agency to get the railroad involved in discus- sions early in the project's development. UP reports that some of the DOTs have centralized points · Failure of agencies to deal with right-of-way issues. of contact, which they believe operate much more effectively · Lack of consideration by agencies regarding the effects of than ones in which agreements are split among the DOT dis- constraining railroad operations or right-of-way. tricts. When UP coordinates consistently with one team, it · Substandard designs or substandard materials. experiences fewer problems.
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86 UP reports that it tracks project submittals and provides addition to standard insurance to protect the railroad from comments within 45 to 60 days. It particularly tracks safety claims involving accidents that occur as a result of or dur- projects to keep them on schedule. For bridge projects, at- ing construction on or near the railroad. The inability of grade crossings, or parallel roadway work projects, it would like contractors to get protective liability insurance has been to see project coordination begin at the project concept stage. cited by some state DOTs as a problem. Also, railroads and For safety projects, it would like to begin coordination with a their consulting engineers say that incomplete or inaccurate preliminary engineering agreement. For quiet zone proposals, policies are a common cause of delay in approving project it would like to begin coordination when the community pub- agreements. lishes a notice of intent to seek a quiet zone. KCSR has a standing agreement with CFR Risk Manage- ment, a regional insurance carrier that serves the southwestern Kansas City Southern Railway United States. CFR provides a program of short-term railroad protective liability insurance policies that meets the require- The Kansas City Southern Railway (KCSR), based in Kansas ments of KCSR. The railroad includes a link from its website to City, Missouri, operates 3,226 miles of track in 10 states from the insurance carrier's website, where contractors can find an southern Texas and Louisiana north to Chicago and Min- insurance application and a rate schedule. For instance, protec- neapolis. Its parent company owns a connecting railroad in tive liability coverage for a transverse installation of an overhead Mexico, giving it a significant presence in the Mexico-to- wire or an underground pipe can be obtained for $1,480 to Canada NAFTA freight markets. $1,800. Longitudinal encroachment utility installations can be Being one of the smaller Class I railroads, KCSR does not insured on a per-foot basis, with costs of up to $3,350 for up to have a public projects division. It handles public project reviews 10,000 feet of installation. Installations greater than 10,000 feet through its normal engineering divisions. Its officials indicate require rating and approval. they will provide their design standards to public agencies Insurance can be provided for projects up to $10 million for whose consultants want them to determine how KCSR stan- many common types of construction and maintenance proj- dards differ from AREMA standards. When submittals are ects, including bridge painting, private grade crossings, grade received, the KCSR engineering staff give them a preliminary crossing maintenance, bridge surface repair, borings, bridge review and then assign them to one of several outside consult- inspection, and other similar work. ing firms that conduct a detailed review. KCSR says it provides comments generally within 30 days and does not have a significant backlog of projects awaiting Amtrak comment. It does not recommend extensive presubmittal coordination because it would prefer to have a set of prelimi- Amtrak operates 21,000 miles of track serving more than nary plans to review as it makes its comments. The existence 500 destinations with its long-distance and commuter rail of plans, KCSR staff say, provides specificity about the project, services. Amtrak coordination on public projects is compli- which its consultants and its internal divisions can review in cated because of the electrification of its system, higher oper- detail. ating speeds, and the increased liability caused by passenger KCSR staff report experiencing the same types of issues service. Not only must the usual concerns regarding rail safety that the larger railroads reported regarding submittals: plans and operations be addressed during construction but the elec- sometimes fail to accommodate track expansion; local agen- trical lines that serve its track must also be accommodated. cies do not want to pay for reviews or rights-of-way; design The electrification issue has led Amtrak to identify a subset standards are not met; or that years pass between submittals. of prequalified consultants who not only can address its rail However, the KCSR officials indicate that their relatively "flat" issues that are common to all railroads but who also are qual- table of organization, their ability to quickly send project ified to address the electrification issues. Amtrak is willing to reviews to consultants, and their lack of review backlog indi- share that list of consultants with public project sponsors who cates that their current processes work effectively for conduct- seek to conduct projects that interact with Amtrak rights-of- ing project reviews. way. On some corridors, Amtrak trains run up to 150 mph, KCSR relies on outside consultants for several functions that which not only increases the risk of derailment but also means other, larger railroads perform in-house. Track construction, that trains enter a construction zone much faster and with less flagging services, and inspection of construction are generally warning than would be the case with slower, freight lines. provided by outside contractors for KCSR. Amtrak's busiest routes are on the crowded Northeast Corri- One innovation that KCSR provides is standardized rail- dor, which travels through some of the most densely popu- road protective liability (RPL) insurance. RPL is required in lated regions of the country.
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87 The electrification and rail passenger concerns have led References Amtrak to develop additional design and construction stan- 1. Public Project Information for Construction and Improvement Projects dards. Amtrak does not publish those standards but will share That May Involve the Railroad. Public Projects Group, CSX Trans- them on a case-by-case basis with design firms that are work- portation, Jacksonville, Fla., 2009. www.csx.com/share/media/ ing on behalf of public agencies. media/docs/CSX_Public_Project_Manual-REF21857-REF22268.pdf. Amtrak strongly encourages the development of standard Accessed April 1, 2010. agreements and the use of standing coordination meetings, 2. Norfolk Southern Corporation. Review Schedule for Public Improve- ment Projects. www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/Customers/ such as it has with the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Mas- Publications/pdf/SEC3_MISC4.pdf. Accessed Oct. 14, 2009. sachusetts Highway Department. It advises public agencies 3. Norfolk Southern Corporation. Guidelines for Design of Grade Sep- that coordinate with it on projects to appreciate its enhanced aration Structures. www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/Customers/ concerns about safety and indemnification. They note that Publications/Design%20of%20Grade%20Separation%20Structures. Amtrak operates under federal statutes that created it. Those Accessed April 1, 2010. statutes prohibit it from subsidizing freight or local passen- 4. Norfolk Southern Corporation. Property Access. http://realestate. nscorp.com/nscrealestate/RealEstate/Real_Estate_Services/Property_ ger service. They interpret that to mean they cannot con- Access. Accessed April 1, 2010. tribute anything of value to serve projects that do not directly 5. Norfolk Southern Corporation. Wireline/Pipeline and Fiber Optics. address its core mission. The corporate approach is that "but http://realestate.nscorp.com/nscrealestate/RealEstate/Real_Estate_ for your project" it would not have any additional cost for Services/Wireline_Pipeline_and_Fiber_Optics. Accessed April 1, project reviews, right-of-way contributions, or interruptions 2010. 6. BNSF Railway. Public Projects. www.bnsf.com/tools/pubprojects. in train schedules during construction of a project. As a Accessed April 1, 2010. result, Amtrak takes an absolute stance that it is prohibited 7. BNSF Railway. Property Permits and Licenses. www.bnsf.com/ from cost-sharing on projects or from providing free design markets/services/realestate/permitslicenses.html. Accessed April 1, or construction services. 2010.