New York Railroad Law
Commuter Rail Service
1. As used in this section, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the term:
a. “Commuter rail service” shall mean any rail passenger transportation operation where heavy rail passenger trains provide scheduled passenger service for weekday commuters between a city or cities and adjacent areas.
b. “Commuter rail service corridor” shall mean a railroad route which contains one or more segments of railroad track where commuter rail service is in operation.
c. “Private rail crossing” shall have the same meaning as such term is defined in section ninety-seven of this article.
d. “Railroad” shall have the same meaning as such term is defined in section ninety-seven of this article.
2. No new private rail crossings shall be established in a commuter rail 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 private rail crossing. If the commissioner determines that a new private rail 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 responsibilities and costs for the construction, inspection and maintenance of any such private rail crossing, including any warning devices.
3. a. 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 a commuter rail service. 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 existing private rail 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 private rail crossing and shall, where applicable, determine the apportionment of responsibilities and costs for the alteration, construction, inspection and maintenance of any such private rail crossing, including any warning devices.
b. 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 a private rail crossing. No private rail 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 a commuter rail service corridor and, in consultation with the metropolitan transportation authority, is authorized to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this section. Except as otherwise provided by law, said rules and regulations shall include guidelines for the allocation of responsibility for the costs associated with establishment of any new private crossings pursuant to subdivision two of this section or the closing or improvement of existing private crossings pursuant to subdivision three of this section and shall recognize that the private interests seeking or using a crossing shall be generally responsible for such costs as well as all costs associated with the inspection and maintenance of such improvements; and, that the arrangement between the railroad and the owners or occupants of the adjoining properties shall be formalized in an agreement.
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.