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Background The nationâs freight, intercity passenger, and commuter rail operators need a comprehensive source of informa- tion that can provide authoritatively researched, spe- cific, limited-scope studies of legal issues and problems having national significance and application to rail transportation. The complex interaction among opera- tors, institutional entities at all levels of government, and private and public sectors creates a multi-level institutional configuration affecting rail system plan- ning and operation. To meet similar needs in the highway area, the Trans- portation Research Board of the National Academies inaugurated a legal research project in 1969 under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The highway legal project has been funded continuously since that time, eliciting strong support and approval from the constituency it serves. Similarly, a transit legal research project was implemented in 1992 under the Transit Cooperative Research Program and that project has continued since its inception. Finally, an airport legal research project was implemented in 2006 under the Airport Cooperative Research Program and contin- ues today. Each year, numerous attorneys nationwide are involved in rail-related work, yet there is no central- ized repository of legal resources on which they can depend. In response, the National Cooperative Rail Research Programâs (NCRRP) Legal Research Digest series has been initiated to provide rail-related research on a wide variety of legal topics. Legal Research Digest 2 NATIONAL COOPERATIVE RAIL RESEARCH PROGRAM September 2015 RAILROAD LEGAL ISSUES AND RESOURCES This report was prepared under NCRRP Project 12-01, âLegal Aspects of Rail Programs,â for which the Transportation Research Board is the agency coordinating the research. The report was prepared by Larry W. Thomas, The Thomas Law Firm, Washington, DC. Responsible Senior Program Officer: Lawrence D. Goldstein Applications This legal research digest presents a detailed compilation and review of legal issues of importance that attorneys may encounter when representing both freight and passenger railroad owners and operators (commuter and intercity) and others (including government enti- ties) involved in railroad-related transactions. This product includes 40 separate chapters evaluating indi- vidual issues ranging from abandonment and discon- tinuance to constitutional law, construction, contracts, interaction with regulatory agencies, safety-related issues, retirement, and numerous other subjects. The digest is presented in two parts: 1. A printed annotated index of the entire range of legal topics encompassed by review. 2. The electronic supporting documentation present- ing detailed summaries of statutes, regulations, cases, and relevant articles as a fundamental resource for use in understanding the background and broad ramifications of railroad-related law reflected in each category. Case law is continuously evolving and any analysis or evaluation building on the material contained in this digest should also examine experiences that occur after publication. Case law also varies by jurisdiction, and possible variations should always be researched and considered when using this resource.