New York Railroad Law
Intercity Rail Passenger Service
1. As used in this section, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the term:
a. “Intercity rail passenger service” shall mean any intercity rail passenger transportation operation where rail passenger trains operate on a regular scheduled basis.
b. “Intercity rail passenger service corridor” shall mean a continuous railroad route which contains one or more segments of railroad track or tracks where intercity rail passenger service is in operation by the national rail passenger corporation.
c. “Public rail crossing” shall mean a crossing where a highway, roadway or similar facility, which is owned by a government, either federal, state or local, a public authority or a public agency, crosses a railroad track or tracks, is open to the public and has been designated as such by order of the commissioner, or recognized as having been a public at-grade crossing prior to eighteen hundred ninety-seven.
d. “Private rail crossing” shall mean a crossing which traverses a railroad track or tracks and may be used by the owner of the right-of-way, the owner’s invitees and others, including the public, but has not been declared or recognized as a public rail crossing by the commissioner.
e. “Railroad” shall mean a private or public railroad operating in the state of New York carrying either freight or passengers or freight and passengers including, but not limited to, those operated by the metropolitan transportation authority and its subsidiaries, including the Long Island Rail Road or operated by any other public authority or local government.
2. No new private rail crossings shall be established in an intercity rail passenger service corridor until an application has been made to and approved by the commissioner. Whenever an application is made, the commissioner shall conduct a hearing to determine if a private rail crossing is justified or if an existing public or private crossing could be used to avoid the creation of a new crossing. If the commissioner determines that a crossing is justified and is in the best interest of the people of the state of New York, the commissioner shall determine the manner of the crossing, whether it is to be at-grade or grade-separated, the location, the manner of protection and the apportionment of responsibility for the maintenance of any such crossing, including any warning devices.
3. In order to insure public safety, the commissioner may, if he or she determines it appropriate, require alterations in an existing private rail crossing, including a farm crossing, which is located in an intercity rail passenger service corridor and is hereby authorized to participate in the cost of such alterations. In the event that an agreement on such alterations cannot be reached between the railroad owning the crossing, property owners who are directly impacted by the crossing and the department, the commissioner shall conduct a hearing on the need for such alterations and whether any other alternatives are available, including the use of an alternate route or the closure of the crossing and shall, where applicable, determine the apportionment of responsibility for the alteration and maintenance of any such crossing, including any warning devices. Public comment shall be sought on any proposed alteration or closure which will impact public access to lands open to the public for recreational use. Comments received from the public shall be considered in any decision to alter or close such a crossing. No crossing which provides direct access to public state recreational lands shall be closed unless the commissioner, in consultation with the state agency with jurisdiction over such lands, finds that there is a reasonable alternate route to such lands that maintains public access to and the public recreational value of such lands.
4. The commissioner shall prepare and promulgate standards and specifications for the design and protection of private rail crossings in an intercity rail passenger service corridor and is authorized to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations to accomplish this as shall be deemed necessary.
5. The commissioner shall have the power to acquire any real property, easements, rights-of-way or similar rights necessary for the purposes of this article in the same manner as property is acquired for state highway purposes pursuant to the provisions of section thirty of the highway law.