Subchapter C. CLEARANCES
33.121. Overhead clearances.
33.122. Side clearances.
33.123. Overhead and side clearances.
33.124. Clearances between parallel tracks.
33.125. Other conditions and obstruction adjacent to tracks.
33.126. Lesser clearances.
33.128. Application of regulations.
§ 33.121. Overhead clearances.
(a) Minimum overhead clearances above railroad tracks, used or proposed to be used for transporting freight cars, shall be 22 feet, except as provided in this Subchapter. Structures constructed, or under construction, prior to the adopting of this Subchapter may be maintained at existing clearances and additional tracks may be constructed and existing tracks reconstructed at the same clearance.
(b) Overhead clearance above the top of rail of such tracks located at the entrance and inside of buildings may be reduced to 18 feet; if an overhead clearance of less than 22 feet exists on tracks inside such buildings, movements of railway equipment shall be brought to a stop before entering such buildings. In switching movements requiring a number of entries, stopping is required only upon initial entry.
(c) Clearances provided in this section do not apply to electric wires and equipment required over present and future tracks for the operation of trains by electric energy, provided the carriers concerned promulgate and enforce rules which prohibit any employe from being on top of cars while being operated under lower clearances than provided in this section.
(d) Clearances provided in this section do not apply to enginehouses, enginehouse facilities, tipples, or facilities used for servicing cars or for loading or unloading of bulk commodities, if such compliance is not reasonably practicable.
The provisions of this § 33.121 were formerly designated Section 1 by the Commission.
§ 33.122. Side clearances.
(a) Minimum side clearances from center line of tangent railroad tracks, used or proposed to be used for transporting freight cars, shall conform with the regulations of this section, except that structures, including platforms and tracks, constructed or under construction prior to the adoption of this Subchapter may be maintained and extended at existing clearances.
(b) All structures and obstructions above the top of the rail, except those specifically exempted in this section, shall have a minimum side clearance of 12 feet from the center line of the track.
(c) Platforms, except platforms adjacent to main or passing tracks, 4 feet or less above the top of the rail may have lesser clearance than 8 feet, 6 inches, from center line of tracks on one side of such tracks only if a full clearance of 8 feet, 6 inches, is maintained on opposite side of track or track centers to adjacent track are not less than 14 feet.
(d) Platforms 4 feet, 6 inches, or less above the top of the rail, if used principally for loading or unloading refrigerator cars, may be constructed 8 feet from the center line of the track.
(e) Platforms previously constructed at less than the clearances prescribed in this section may be extended at such lesser clearances, unless such an extension is in connection with reconstruction of the original platform.
(f) Low passenger platforms not over 8 inches above the top of the rail may be 5 feet, 1 inch, from the center line of the track. High passenger platforms not over 4 feet above the top of the rail may be 5 feet, 7 inches, from the center line of the track.
(g) Side clearances, other than for platforms, on sidings only, at entrances to and inside of buildings, shall not be less than 8 feet from the center line of the track.
(h) Switchboxes, switch-operating mechanisms, and accessories necessary for the control and operation of signals and interlockers projecting 4 inches or less above the top of the rail shall not be less than 3 feet from the center line of the track.
(i) The center spindle of signal and switch stands 3 feet or less above the top of the rail and located between tracks, if not practicable to provide the clearances otherwise prescribed in this section, shall not be less than 6 feet from the center line of the track.
(j) Through bridges supporting track affected, tunnels, water columns, and oil columns should not be less than 8 feet from the center line of the track, except if special protection is required for unusual commodities.
(k) Clearances for through bridges supporting track affected, water barrel platforms and refuge platforms on bridges and trestles not provided with walkways, handrails, water barrels, water columns, oil columns, block signals, cattle guards, and stock chutes if all or portions thereof are 4 feet or less above the top of the rail, may be decreased to the extent defined by a line extending diagonally upward from a point level with the top of the rail and 5 feet distant laterally from the center line of the track to a point 4 feet above the top of the rail and 8 feet distant laterally from the center line of the track to a point 4 feet above the top of the rail and 8 feet distant laterally from the center line of the track; however, the minimum clearance for handrails and water barrels on bridges with walkways shall be 7 feet, 9 inches, and the minimum clearance for fences for cattle guards shall be 6 feet, 9 inches.
(l) Lesser clearances, authorized in subsection (k) providing for handrails and water barrels, do not apply to through bridges if the work of trainmen or yardmen require them to be upon the decks of such bridges for the purpose of coupling and uncoupling cars in the performance of switching service on a switching lead.
(m) The side clearances specified in this section do not apply to mail cranes during such time as arms of such mail cranes are supporting mail sacks for delivery, if the top arm is not higher than 10 feet, 8 inches, above the top of the rail and neither arm extends within 6 feet, 5 inches, from the center line of the track.
(n) Icing platforms and supports shall have a minimum side clearance of eight feet.
(o) Operations over portions of track adjacent to icing platforms previously constructed with a side clearance of less than eight feet shall be restricted, except in emergencies, to the movement or switching of trains containing refrigerator cars to be iced, and necessary use of such tracks for the unloading of supplies required for the operation of an icing dock.
(p) The side clearances specified in this section do not apply to intertrack fences located on the center line between tracks.
(q) The clearances provided in this section do not apply to enginehouses, enginehouse facilities, tipples, or facilities used for servicing cars or for loading or unloading of bulk commodities, if such compliance is not reasonably practicable.
(r) The side clearances specified in this section do not apply to car retarders, derails, switch point protectors, guardrails, and similar appurtenances projecting 3 inches or less above the top of the rail.
(s) All minimum side clearances prescribed in this section are for tangent tracks. Structures adjacent to curve tracks shall have additional minimum side clearance compensating for curvature.
The provisions of this § 33.122 were formerly designated Section 2 by the Commission.
§ 33.123. Overhead and side clearances.
(a) The overhead and side clearances prescribed in § § 33.121 and 33.122 (relating to overhead clearances; side clearances) may be decreased to the extent of a line extending diagonally downward from a point 4 feet from the center line of the track 22 feet above the top of the rail to a point 8 feet from the center line of the track at 16 feet above the top of the rail.
(b) For tracks located at entrances to and inside buildings with 18 feet overhead and 8 feet side clearances, as prescribed in this subchapter, such overhead and side clearances may be decreased to the extent of a line extending diagonally downward from a point 4 feet from the center line of the track at 18 feet above the top of the rail to a point 8 feet from center line at 14 feet above top of rail.
(c) Canopies at one side of the track at freight platforms may be constructed not less than four feet from the center line of the track if the height of such canopies is at least 17 feet, 6 inches, above the top of the rail and if the full clearance of 8 feet, 6 inches, is maintained on the opposite side of the track from such canopy or track centers to adjacent track are not less than 14 feet.
(d) Shelters over platforms used for passenger car operation may be constructed not less than 4 feet, 6 inches, from the center line of tracks if the height is not less than 15 feet above the top of the rail and if the railroads promulgate and enforce rules prohibiting employes from riding on the side of equipment if standing above car floor height.
§ 33.124. Clearances between parallel tracks.
(a) The minimum distance between the center lines of parallel tracks shall not be less than 13 feet, 6 inches, for main tracks and not less than 13 feet, 6 inches, for yard and side tracks, except as otherwise provided in this section.
(b) The center line of any track, except a main track or a passing track, parallel and adjacent to main track or a passing track, shall be at least 15 feet from the center line of such main track or passing track, except that if a passing track is adjacent to and at least 15 feet distant from the main track, such other track may be constructed adjacent to such passing track with a clearance of not less than 13 feet, 6 inches.
(c) The center line of any ladder track, constructed parallel to any other adjacent track, shall have a clearance of not less than 18 feet from the center line of such other track, except that parallel ladder tracks shall have a clearance of not less than 19 feet from center line to center line.
(d) The minimum distance between the center line of parallel team and house tracks shall not be less than 13 feet, 6 inches.
(e) Tracks constructed or under construction prior to the effective date of these regulations may be extended without increasing the distances between tracks.
§ 33.125. Other conditions and obstruction adjacent to tracks.
(a) No merchandise, material, or other articles shall knowingly be permitted to remain piled or assembled on ground or on platforms adjacent to any track at a distance of less than 8 feet, 6 inches, from the center line of such track. It is recommended that suitable line or other marker be maintained at a distance of 8 feet, 6 inches, from the center line of the track, on all platforms, excluding passenger platforms, to indicate the space along the edge of such platform which shall be kept clear of merchandise, material, or other articles.
(b) The space between tracks ordinarily used by train and yardmen and other employes as a walkway in the discharge of their duties, and the space beside such tracks within 8 feet, 6 inches, of the center line of such tracks, shall be kept in reasonably suitable condition for such purpose.
§ 33.126. Lesser clearances.
Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, if overhead or side clearances between a track and any building, structure, or facility are less than the minimum prescribed in this Subchapter, but were created prior to the adoption of such provisions such minimum clearances shall be provided whenever such a building, structure, or facility is relocated or reconstructed. However, the Commission may grant specific requests for the future continuance of prior clearances at such reconstructed buildings, structures, or facilities, if application is made as provided in § 33.127(b) (relating to exemptions).
§ 33.127. Exemptions.
(a) Nothing in this subchapter will be construed as restricting the tempory distribution of materials or the performance of work on, over, or adjacent to tracks, if such distribution or performance is necessary in the construction or maintenance of facilities or equipment, provided such distribution and performance is carried out within a reasonable time under conditions reasonably necessary to provide for the safety of all concerned, including proper notice by train order, message, or bulletin.
(b) If, in any particular case, exemption from any of the requirements of this subchapter is deemed necessary by the carrier concerned, the Commission may grant an application by such carrier for such exemption if accompanied by a full statement of conditions existing and the reason why such exemption is requested. Any exemption granted will be limited to the particular case covered by the application.
The provisions of this § 33.127 were formerly designated Section 7 by the Commission.
§ 33.128. Application of regulations.
(a) Wherever the words railroads, railroad tracks, tracks, buildings, entrances to an inside of buildings, structures, facilities, platforms, and other similar terms appear in this Subchapter, they apply only to property owned by, or leased to, common carrier railroads.
(b) This subchapter does not apply to repairs, renewals, maintenance, extensions, additions, or rearrangements in substantially the same location and within the general plan of existing installations if existing clearances are not reduced.
(c) This section shall not be construed as limiting the authority or jurisdiction of the Commission.
§ 33.129. Enforcement.
(a) Application. The provisions of this section apply to violations of the Commissions regulations or orders or other law of the Commonwealth which is enforceable by the Commission. It shall not apply to the exercise of authority which a Federal agency has delegated to state enforcement personnel under section 206 of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (45 U.S.C.A. § 435) or to other regulation or requirement preempted by Federal law.
(b) Issuance of emergency order. When a qualified safety inspector determines through testing, inspection, investigation or research that a locomotive, car, other facility or equipment of a railroad is so imminently hazardous as to present a dangerous or potentially dangerous condition likely to result in injuries to any persons or in damage to property or in breakdown by reason of the fact that the equipment, track, locomotive, rolling stock or other facility being in violation of a law, regulation or order which the Commission is legally authorized to enforce, such inspector shall declare such locomotive, car or other facility OUT OF SERVICE.
(c) Action by inspector. When an inspector declares a locomotive, car or other facility OUT OF SERVICE, he shall affix thereto in a prominent place an OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE on Form PUC-BT-6. Such affixing of OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE shall constitute legal notice that the locomotive, car or other facility shall not be used or operated except as provided under Part IV regulations until all defects noted thereon shall be repaired. Such form shall not be removed by anyone until the defects noted by the inspector have been corrected by the railroad company, and the locomotive, car or other facility is placed in full compliance. In the case of a track or other facility for which it is not practical to affix an OUT OF SERVICE notice, the qualified inspector shall furnish immediate telephone or telegraphic notification to the owner of the track (in lieu of the affixing an OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE), describing the conditions, specific locations and defect. When an OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE has been affixed, the qualified inspector shall furnish Form PUC-BT-5 in duplicate by the most expeditious manner to the railroad immediately responsible for the operation of the defective locomotive, car or track. Such Form PUC-BT-5 shall indicate thereon the nature of the defects involved which caused the equipment or other facility to be placed OUT OF SERVICE. In addition the inspector shall immediately forward a copy of the Form PUC-BT-5 to the Secretary of the Commission, with a copy thereof to be retained by the qualified inspector.
(d) Reduction in maximum speed of track. When a qualified Commission inspector determines the existence of a hazardous local track condition, the inspector shall furnish immediate telephone or telegraphic notification to the owner of the track that movements within defined limits of the track must be made at a reduced maximum speed, which shall be that speed applicable to the highest FRA class designation which the inspector determines is appropriate. Within 48 hours of the telephone or telegraphic notification, the qualified inspector shall furnish Form PUC-BT-5 in duplicate to the owner of the track or to the owners agent immediately responsible for the affected track. PUB-BT-5 shall indicate thereon the full particulars of the conditions and the violations which create local safety hazards. Such conditions or violations shall be fully repaired or otherwise brought into compliance with the highest FRA class designation applicable to the speed at which trains will operate on the track in question.
(e) Action by a railroad. When any locomotive, car or facility of a railroad has been declared OUT OF SERVICE, it shall be removed from service until the defect or defects are corrected. In the case of track being reduced in class, the railroad shall take the steps necessary to insure compliance with the findings of the Inspector. For the purpose of making necessary corrections, defective locomotive units, freight cars, cabin cars and passenger carrying cars may be moved to the nearest available point where the unit can be repaired, provided that other similar units in suitable operation condition are also a part of the consist. When the defects noted on Form PUC-BT-5 have been corrected, the railroad shall complete the Carrier Certification portion of Form PUC-BT-5 and forward the entire form to the Secretary of the Commission at the address shown thereon.
(f) Review. Review shall be in accordance with the following:
(1) Upon issuance of Form PUC-BT-5, the railroad involved may request a reinspection. The Chief Engineer or an engineer designated by the Commission shall arrange for an immediate reinspection by a second qualified Commission inspector. If, on reinspection, the decision of the original inspector is sustained or modified by the Chief Engineer or an engineer designated by the Commission, the Chief Engineer or an engineer designated by the Commission shall notify in writing the railroad that the original finding is affirmed or modified. If, however, the decision of the original inspector is not sustained, the inspector shall immediately remove the OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE, and enter an appropriate notation on the related Form PUC-BT-6; and the restrictions of the Notice shall then cease to be effective.
(2) In the event the Chief Engineer or an engineer designated by the Commission, on the basis of the reinspection, affirms or modifies the original finding, a railroad may then request complete review within 30 days of the affirmation or modification, by the Commission, which may, after affording an opportunity for hearing, at which the inspectors shall be present, and at which other interested parties may testify, affirm, set aside, or modify in whole or in part, the actions taken. Requests for review by the Commission shall recite the facts relevant to the issuance and review of the OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE. Actions on such reviews will be scheduled on an expedited basis in relation to other Commission business.
(3) The requirements of an OUT OF SERVICE NOTICE shall be effective pending action by the Commission.
(4) Requests for extension of time for compliance based on good cause will be decided by the Commission upon petition of the common carrier.
(g) Penalties. Any violation of this section shall subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties as the act may provide. Each day of non-compliance shall constitute a separate violation. However, where a car or locomotive shall have been properly equipped and such equipment shall have become defective or insecure while such car or locomotive was being used by such carrier, such car may be hauled from the place where such equipment was first discovered to be defective or insecure to the nearest available point where such equipment can be repaired, without liability for the penalties imposed by this section, if such movement is necessary to make such repairs and such repair cannot be made except at such repair point.
The provisions of this § 33.129 adopted March 26, 1976, effective March 27, 1976, 6 Pa.B. 611.
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