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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

Pennsylvania Code




25.1.    Scope.
25.2.    Applicability.
25.3.    Employment of minors.
25.4.    Physically deficient employes.
25.5.    Penalty.


25.11.    Rolling stock equipment.
25.12.    Roadway equipment.
25.13.    Signals and signs.
25.14.    Clearances for standard gauge tracks.
25.15.    Narrow gauge tracks.


25.21.    Conduct of railway personnel.
25.22.    Railway movement and traffic.
25.23.    Coupling and uncoupling.
25.24.    Improperly loaded cars.
25.25.    Derailing switches.


   The provisions of this Subchapter A issued under act of June 2, 1913 (P. L. 396, No. 267) (71 P. S. § §  1441—1451); and act of May 18, 1937 (P. L. 654, No. 174) (43 P. S. §  25-15), unless otherwise noted.


   The provisions of this Subchapter A adopted January 1, 1919, amended through May 1, 1967, unless otherwise noted.

Cross References

   This subchapter cited in 34 Pa. Code §  11.85 (relating to applicable provisions of other regulations).


§ 25.1. Scope.

 This subchapter sets forth rules to safeguard the lives, limbs and health of those who work on or near plant railways, and places the responsibility of complying with the rules upon both employer and employe.

§ 25.2. Applicability.

 The standards set forth in this subchapter apply to those railways in or about industrial plants which are not operated by a common carrier but by the owners of the plant. The provisions apply to both standard gauge and narrow gauge equipment, which is handled by power, except where otherwise stated.

§ 25.3. Employment of minors.

 No minor under 18 years of age shall be employed or permitted to work at switch tending, at gate tending, at track repairing, as a brakeman, fireman, engineer, motorman or conductor upon a railroad or railway.

§ 25.4. Physically deficient employes.

 No person deficient in hearing, visual power, color perception or otherwise physically deficient shall be employed in or about a railway at any work where such defect will create a hazardous condition.

§ 25.5. Penalty.

 Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subchapter and any regulations of the Department or who interferes with the Department or its authorized representatives in the enforcement of the provisions or regulations shall be subject to summary proceedings before an alderman, magistrate, or justice of the peace, and upon conviction shall be penalized under the provisions of section 15 of act of May 18, 1937 (P. L. 654, No. 174) (43 P. S. §  25-15).


§ 25.11. Rolling stock equipment.

 (a)  All cars. Wherever practicable, all cars shall be promoted with either automatic or link and pin couplers, and automatic couplers should be employed in new installations. Cars shall be in proper and safe condition, and all cases of defective couplers, brakes, steps, handholds, lamps and other parts shall be reported by the person in charge of the crew to the proper authority without unreasonable delay.

 (b)  Coupler adjustment and coupling. The development and use of devices or methods for safety adjusting couplers or performing couplings automatically is strongly recommended.

 (c)  Special cars. Special cars for skelp steel and the like should be provided with suitable side stakes or end stakes, or be otherwise suitably equipped. Special cradle cars should be used to handle hot crop ends and the like.

 (d)  Locomotives. Locomotives or motor cars shall be in proper and safe condition and be supplied with necessary working tools, supplies and a full set of signals necessary for proper operation. The absence of any of these items shall be reported by some designated person to the proper authority without unreasonable delay.

 (e)  Switching locomotives. It is recommended that all switching locomotives be equipped at both ends with platforms above the couplers, together with hand rails and steps.

 (f)  Locomotive boiler inspection. Locomotive boilers, not subject to inspection under the Federal laws, and their appurtenances shall be thoroughly inspected annually, internally and externally, and under operating conditions, and may not be operated at pressures in excess of the safe working pressure stated in the certificate of inspection. These inspections shall be made by inspectors who have qualified before the examining board of the Department.

§ 25.12. Roadway equipment.

 (a)  Grade crossings. Important grade crossings should be eliminated by the use of overhead bridges or subways. Where this is impracticable, such grade crossings shall be properly safeguarded by the use of gates, bells, watchmen, lights or other suitable means.

 (b)  Dead end tracks. Dead end tracks, where a hazard to life or property exists, shall be provided with substantial bumping blocks, or equivalent equipment.

 (c)  Frogs, switches and guard rails. Frogs, switches and guardrails shall be provided, in a protective manner, with suitable blocks of wood or metal.

 (d)  New switch stands. When new switch stands are installed, they shall be constructed so that the lever will be thrown parallel with the rails.

 (e)  Trestles. On trestles where persons are permitted to walk, there shall be a walkway on at least one side extending to at least 5 feet 1 inch from the nearest rail, and the outer edge of the walkway shall be equipped with a standard railing; on multitrack trestles the walkway, without railing, may be between tracks. When dumping is done on trestles, all sides of tracks shall be accessible either by means of walkways or working platforms, portable or otherwise.

 (f)  Trestles above work areas or passageways. When there is a designated passageway, or men regularly work under a trestle not used for dumping purposes, the trestle shall be planked over in such satisfactory manner as to prevent objects falling from the rolling stock or trestle.

 (g)  Precautions regarding track hoppers. Track hoppers under tracks for the unloading of coal or other material from dumping cars should either be covered with a grating so as to catch a man should he fall into a hopper, or, in lieu of such grating, safety belts should be worn by men when it is necessary for them to go into hopper cars to assist the unloading.

§ 25.13. Signals and signs.

 (a)  A signal incorrectly displayed at any point, or the absence of a signal at a place where a signal is usually shown, shall be regarded as a stop signal, and shall be investigated and reported to the proper authority at once.

 (b)  If buildings, poles or other structures are so located relative to the track as to not afford sufficient clearance for a trainman on the side of a car, there shall be suitable warning signs to readily indicate the danger to the trainman aboard the approaching train.

 (c)  When cars cannot be stationed on main leads so as to be readily visible, suitable warning signs shall be provided.

 (d)  When workmen loading or unloading cars are likely to be injured by movement of the cars, a suitable warning sign shall be displayed at each accessible end of the car or depth to warn trainmen against making a coupling.

 (e)  When repairs on or about rolling stock requires workmen to go under the equipment, the accessible ends of the car, locomotive or depth shall be protected by a portable derailer or a suitable warning signal to prevent trainmen from making a coupling.

§ 25.14. Clearances for standard gauge tracks.

 (a)  Minimum side clearance. For standard gauge tracks the minimum side clearance shall, whenever practicable, be as follows:

   (1)  From the gauge line of the nearest rail to loading or unloading docks, walls of depressed tracks and wheelbarrow platforms, 3 feet 4 inches.

   (2)  From the gauge line of the nearest rail to all stock yards, 5 feet on tangent track and 5 feet 6 inches on curve track.

   (3)  From the gauge line of the nearest rail to all other structures not noted in paragraphs (1) and (2), 6 feet.

 (b)  Minimum overhead clearance. For standard gauge tracks the minimum overhead clearance shall, wherever practicable, be as follows:

   (1)  From top of rail to any wire structure, 22 feet.

   (2)  From top of rail to any high tension transmission line, 35 feet.

 (c)  Head tappers. For standard gauge track where it is impossible to have an overhead clearance of 22 feet or more above the top of the rail, suitable head tappers shall be placed at proper distances on each side of the structure.

 (d)  Adjacent tracks. For standard gauge track the minimum distance between nearest gauge lines of adjacent tracks shall be 7 feet 3 1/2 inches.

§ 25.15. Narrow gauge tracks.

 On narrow gauge track safe clearances shall be maintained at all times.


§ 25.21. Conduct of railway personnel.

 (a)  Unauthorized riders. Unless properly authorized, no person whose duty does not require it shall be allowed to ride on a locomotive or train.

 (b)  Locomotive operation. Unless properly qualified and duly authorized, yardmasters and trainmen shall not operate a locomotive.

 (c)  Boarding a moving train. Trainmen shall not stand between the occupied rails to board an approaching locomotive or car.

 (d)  Control of trains descending an incline. When descending an incline, the engineer shall always have his train under control and be prepared to stop at any time.

§ 25.22. Railway movement and traffic.

 (a)  Movement relative to railway buildings. Before cars are moved into or out of a railway building or before coupling is made to any car within a building, a trainman shall walk the full length of the cars to insure that no one will be injured by the train movement and that all obstructions are removed.

 (b)  Insuring clear tracks. There shall always be a member of the crew at the head end of a moving train to warn anyone along the track who may be in danger, except when hot metal or hot cinders are being handled. With the locomotive pointed forward at the head end of the train, the engineer in his proper place in the cab shall be regarded as being at the head end of the train. When a train is moving on tracks where vision is obstructed, it shall be ascertained by some member of the crew that the track is clear before movement proceeds.

 (c)  Starting signals. The engineer shall not knowingly act on a starting signal given by any person except a member of the crew. No person other than a member of the crew shall couple or uncouple cars.

 (d)  Precedence of trains on intersecting tracks. Where one track crosses another track, there shall be established a rule giving trains on one track precedence over those on the other track, at the point of intersection.

§ 25.23. Coupling and uncoupling.

 (a)  Trainmen shall not go between cars to pull pins while the cars are in motion. Links may not be guided into the draw head by hand; a pin or stick may be used for this purpose. Drawheads or knuckles shall not be pushed over with the foot; the train shall be standing still when drawheads or knuckles are shifted. No attempt shall be made to pull pins or make couplings on the inside of a curve.

 (b)  Trains shall be brought to a complete stop before cars are disconnected.

 (c)  Cars disconnected from motive power shall be blocked or have the hand brakes properly set.

§ 25.24. Improperly loaded cars.

 No improperly loaded car shall be handled so as to endanger life or property.

§ 25.25. Derailing switches.

 Derailing switches shall be opened and remain open after cars have passed through.

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