The Proto-Freelance Modelers
Special Interest Group

"How long ago a flag fell does not matter as long as there are railfans and
modelers to pick it up again and hand it off to the next generation of fans."

<-- RockyCrater.org  ::  Home  ::  1948 Atlas  ::  Posters  ::  Prototype Data  ::  E-mail Discussion List  ::  Links

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 49, Volume 4]
[Revised as of October 1, 2003]
[CITE: 49CFR234]

[Page 484-495]
 

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION
CHAPTER II--FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 234--GRADE CROSSING SIGNAL SYSTEM SAFETY



                           Subpart A--General

Sec.
234.1 Scope.
234.3 Application.
234.4 Preemptive effect.
234.5 Definitions.
234.6 Penalties.

                           Subpart B--Reports

234.7 Accidents involving grade crossing signal failure.
234.9 Grade crossing signal system failure reports.

      Subpart C-- Response to Reports of Warning System Malfunction

234.101 Employee notification rules.
234.103 Timely response to report of malfunction.
234.105 Activation failure.
234.106 Partial activation.
234.107 False activation.
234.109 Recordkeeping.

             Subpart D--Maintenance, Inspection, and Testing

                          Maintenance Standards

234.201 Location of plans.
234.203 Control circuits.
234.205 Operating characteristics of warning system apparatus.
234.207 Adjustment, repair, or replacement of component.
234.209 Interference with normal functioning of system.
234.211 Security of warning system apparatus.
234.213 Grounds.
234.215 Standby power system.

[[Page 485]]

234.217 Flashing light units.
234.219 Gate arm lights and light cable.
234.221 Lamp voltage.
234.223 Gate arm.
234.225 Activation of warning system.
234.227 Train detection apparatus.
234.229 Shunting sensitivity.
234.231 Fouling wires.
234.233 Rail joints.
234.235 Insulated rail joints.
234.237 Reverse switch cut-out circuit.
234.239 Tagging of wires and interference of wires or tags with signal 
          apparatus.
234.241 Protection of insulated wire; splice in underground wire.
234.243 Wire on pole line and aerial cable.
234.245 Signs.

                          Inspections and Tests

234.247 Purpose of inspections and tests; removal from service of relay 
          or device failing to meet test requirements.
234.249 Ground tests.
234.251 Standby power.
234.253 Flashing light units and lamp voltage.
234.255 Gate arm and gate mechanism.
234.257 Warning system operation.
234.259 Warning time.
234.261 Highway traffic signal pre-emption.
234.263 Relays.
234.265 Timing relays and timing devices.
234.267 Insulation resistance tests, wires in trunking and cables.
234.269 Cut-out circuits.
234.271 Insulated rail joints, bond wires, and track connections.
234.273 Results of inspections and tests.

Appendix A to Part 234--Schedule of Civil Penalties
Appendix B to Part 234--Alternate Methods of Protection Under 49 CFR 
          234.105(c), 234.106, and 234.107(c).

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 20103, 20107, and 49 CFR 1.49.

    Source: 61 FR 31806, June 20, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

                           Subpart A--General

Sec. 234.1  Scope.

    This part imposes minimum maintenance, inspection, and testing 
standards for highway-rail grade crossing warning systems. This part 
also prescribes standards for the reporting of failures of such systems 
and prescribes minimum actions railroads must take when such warning 
systems malfunction. This part does not restrict a railroad from 
adopting and enforcing additional or more stringent requirements not 
inconsistent with this part.

Sec. 234.3  Application.

    This part applies to all railroads except:
    (a) A railroad that exclusively operates freight trains only on 
track which is not part of the general railroad system of 
transportation;
    (b) Rapid transit operations within an urban area that are not 
connected to the general railroad system of transportation; and
    (c) A railroad that operates passenger trains only on track inside 
an installation that is insular; i.e., its operations are limited to a 
separate enclave in such a way that there is no reasonable expectation 
that the safety of the public--except a business guest, a licensee of 
the railroad or an affiliated entity, or a trespasser--would be affected 
by the operation. An operation will not be considered insular if one or 
more of the following exists on its line:
    (1) A public highway-rail crossing that is in use;
    (2) An at-grade rail crossing that is in use;
    (3) A bridge over a public road or waters used for commercial 
navigation; or
    (4) A common corridor with a railroad, i.e., its operations are 
within 30 feet of those of any railroad.

Sec. 234.4  Preemptive effect.

    Under 49 U.S.C. 20106 (formerly Sec. 205 of the Federal Railroad 
Safety Act of 1970 (45 U.S.C. 434)), issuance of these regulations 
preempts any State law, rule, regulation, order, or standard covering 
the same subject matter, except a provision directed at an essentially 
local safety hazard that is consistent with this part and that does not 
impose an undue burden on interstate commerce.

Sec. 234.5  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    Activation failure means the failure of an active highway-rail grade 
crossing warning system to indicate the approach of a train at least 20 
seconds prior to the train's arrival at the crossing, or to indicate the 
presence of a train occupying the crossing, unless the crossing is 
provided with an alternative means of active warning to highway users of 
approaching trains. (This failure indicates to the motorist

[[Page 486]]

that it is safe to proceed across the railroad tracks when, in fact, it 
is not safe to do so.) A grade crossing signal system does not indicate 
the approach of a train within the meaning of this paragraph if--more 
than 50% of the flashing lights (not gate arm lights) on any approach 
lane to the crossing are not functioning as intended, or in the case of 
an approach lane for which two or more pairs of flashing lights are 
provided, there is not at least one flashing light pair operating as 
intended. Back lights on the far side of the crossing are not considered 
in making these determinations.
    Appropriately equipped flagger means a person other than a train 
crewmember who is equipped with a vest, shirt, or jacket of a color 
appropriate for daytime flagging such as orange, yellow, strong yellow 
green or fluorescent versions of these colors or other generally 
accepted high visibility colors. For nighttime flagging, similar outside 
garments shall be retro reflective. Acceptable hand signal devices for 
daytime flagging include `` STOP/SLOW'' paddles or red flags. For 
nighttime flagging, a flashlight, lantern, or other lighted signal shall 
be used. Inasmuch as Part VI of the Federal Highway Administration's 
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices addresses standards and guides 
for flaggers and flagging equipment for highway traffic control, FRA 
recommends that railroads be aware of the standards and follow them to 
the greatest extent possible. Copies of the latest MUTCD provisions 
regarding flagging will be available from FRA, as well as FMCSA, as 
changes are made in this area.
    Credible report of system malfunction means specific information 
regarding a malfunction at an identified highway-rail crossing, supplied 
by a railroad employee, law enforcement officer, highway traffic 
official, or other employee of a public agency acting in an official 
capacity.
    False activation means the activation of a highway-rail grade 
crossing warning system caused by a condition that requires correction 
or repair of the grade crossing warning system. (This failure indicates 
to the motorist that it is not safe to cross the railroad tracks when, 
in fact, it is safe to do so.)
    Highway-rail grade crossing means a location where a public highway, 
road, street, or private roadway, including associated sidewalks and 
pathways, crosses one or more railroad tracks at grade.
    Partial activation means activation of a highway-rail grade crossing 
warning system indicating the approach of a train, however, the full 
intended warning is not provided due to one of the following conditions:
    (1) At non-gated crossings equipped with one pair of lights designed 
to flash alternately, one of the two lights does not operate properly 
(and approaching motorists can not clearly see flashing back lights from 
the warning lights on the other side of the crossing);
    (2) At gated crossings, the gate arm is not in a horizontal 
position; or
    (3) At gated crossings, any portion of a gate arm is missing if that 
portion normally had a gate arm flashing light attached.
    Train means one or more locomotives, with or without cars.
    Warning system malfunction means an activation failure, a partial 
activation, or a false activation of a highway-rail grade crossing 
warning system.

Sec. 234.6  Penalties.

    (a) Civil penalty. Any person (an entity of any type covered under 1 
U.S.C. 1, including but not limited to the following: a railroad; a 
manager, supervisor, official, or other employee or agent of a railroad; 
any owner, manufacturer, lessor, or lessee of railroad equipment, track, 
or facilities; any independent contractor providing goods or services to 
a railroad; and any employee of such owner, manufacturer, lessor, 
lessee, or independent contractor) who violates any requirement of this 
part or causes the violation of any such requirement is subject to a 
civil penalty of at least $500, but not more than $11,000 per violation, 
except that: penalties may be assessed against individuals only for 
willful violations, and where a grossly negligent violation or a pattern 
of repeated violations has created an imminent hazard of death or injury 
to persons, or has caused death or injury, a penalty not to exceed 
$22,000 per violation may be assessed. Each day a violation continues 
shall

[[Page 487]]

constitute a separate offense. Appendix A to this part contains a 
schedule of civil penalty amounts used in connection with this rule. The 
railroad is not responsible for compliance with respect to any condition 
inconsistent with the technical standards set forth in this part where 
such variance arises as a result of actions beyond the control of the 
railroad and the railroad could not have prevented the variance through 
the exercise of due diligence. The foregoing sentence does not excuse 
any instance of noncompliance resulting from the actions of the 
railroad's employees, agents, or contractors.
    (b) Criminal penalty. Whoever knowingly and willfully makes, causes 
to be made, or participates in the making of a false entry in reports 
required to be filed by this part, or files a false report or other 
document required to be filed by this part is subject to a $5,000 fine 
and 2 years imprisonment as prescribed by 49 U.S.C. 522(a) and section 
209(e) of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970, as amended (45 U.S.C. 
438(e)).

[61 FR 31806, June 20, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 11623, Mar. 10, 1998]

                           Subpart B--Reports

Sec. 234.7  Accidents involving grade crossing signal failure.

    (a) Each railroad shall report to FRA every impact between on-track 
railroad equipment and an automobile, bus, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, 
farm vehicle, or pedestrian at a highway-rail grade crossing involving 
an activation failure. Notification shall be provided to the National 
Response Center within 24 hours of occurrence at (800) 424-0201. 
Complete reports shall thereafter be filed with FRA pursuant to 
Sec. 234.9 of this part (activation failure report) and 49 CFR 225.11 
(accident/ incident report).
    (b) Each telephone report must state the:
    (1) Name of the railroad;
    (2) Name, title, and telephone number of the individual making the 
report;
    (3) Time, date, and location of accident;
    (4) U. S. DOT-AAR Grade Crossing Identification Number;
    (5) Circumstances of the accident, including operating details of 
the grade crossing warning device;
    (6) Number of persons killed or injured, if any;
    (7) Maximum authorized train speed; and
    (8) Posted highway speed limit, if known.

Sec. 234.9  Grade crossing signal system failure reports.

    Each railroad shall report to FRA within 15 days each activation 
failure of a highway-rail grade crossing warning system. FRA Form No. 
6180-83, ``Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning System Failure Report,'' 
shall be used for this purpose and completed in accordance with 
instructions printed on the form.

      Subpart C--Response to Reports of Warning System Malfunction

Sec. 234.101  Employee notification rules.

    Each railroad shall issue rules requiring its employees to report to 
persons designated by that railroad, by the quickest means available, 
any warning system malfunction.

Sec. 234.103  Timely response to report of malfunction.

    (a) Upon receipt of a credible report of a warning system 
malfunction, a railroad having maintenance responsibility for the 
warning system shall promptly investigate the report and determine the 
nature of the malfunction. The railroad shall take appropriate action as 
required by Sec. 234.207.
    (b) Until repair or correction of the warning system is completed, 
the railroad shall provide alternative means of warning highway traffic 
and railroad employees in accordance with Secs. 234.105, 234.106 or 
234.107 of this part.
    (c) Nothing in this subpart requires repair of a warning system, if, 
acting in accordance with applicable State law, the railroad proceeds to 
discontinue or dismantle the warning system. However, until repair, 
correction, discontinuance, or dismantling of the warning system is 
completed, the railroad shall comply with this subpart to ensure the 
safety of the traveling public and railroad employees.

[[Page 488]]

Sec. 234.105  Activation failure.

    Upon receipt of a credible report of warning system malfunction 
involving an activation failure, a railroad having maintenance 
responsibility for the warning system shall promptly initiate efforts to 
warn highway users and railroad employees at the subject crossing by 
taking the following actions:
    (a) Prior to any train's arrival at the crossing, notify the train 
crew of the report of activation failure and notify any other railroads 
operating over the crossing;
    (b) Notify the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the 
crossing, or railroad police capable of responding and controlling 
vehicular traffic; and
    (c) Provide for alternative means of actively warning highway users 
of approaching trains, consistent with the following requirements (see 
appendix B for a summary chart of alternative means of warning):
    (1)(i) If an appropriately equipped flagger provides warning for 
each direction of highway traffic, trains may proceed through the 
crossing at normal speed.
    (ii) If at least one uniformed law enforcement officer (including a 
railroad police officer) provides warning to highway traffic at the 
crossing, trains may proceed through the crossing at normal speed.
    (2) If an appropriately equipped flagger provides warning for 
highway traffic, but there is not at least one flagger providing warning 
for each direction of highway traffic, trains may proceed with caution 
through the crossing at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour. Normal 
speed may be resumed after the locomotive has passed through the 
crossing.
    (3) If there is not an appropriately equipped flagger or uniformed 
law enforcement officer providing warning to highway traffic at the 
crossing, each train must stop before entering the crossing and permit a 
crewmember to dismount to flag highway traffic to a stop. The locomotive 
may then proceed through the crossing, and the flagging crewmember may 
reboard the locomotive before the remainder of the train proceeds 
through the crossing.
    (d) A locomotive's audible warning device shall be activated in 
accordance with railroad rules regarding the approach to a grade 
crossing.

Sec. 234.106  Partial activation.

    Upon receipt of a credible report of a partial activation, a 
railroad having maintenance responsibility for the warning system shall 
promptly initiate efforts to warn highway users and railroad employees 
at the subject crossing in the same manner as required for false 
activations (Sec. 234.107).

Sec. 234.107  False activation.

    Upon receipt of a credible report of a false activation, a railroad 
having maintenance responsibility for the highway-rail grade crossing 
warning system shall promptly initiate efforts to warn highway users and 
railroad employees at the crossing by taking the following actions:
    (a) Prior to a train's arrival at the crossing, notify the train 
crew of the report of false activation and notify any other railroads 
operating over the crossing;
    (b) Notify the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the 
crossing, or railroad police capable of responding and controlling 
vehicular traffic; and
    (c) Provide for alternative means of actively warning highway users 
of approaching trains, consistent with the following requirements (see 
Appendix B for a summary chart of alternative means of warning).
    (1)(i) If an appropriately equipped flagger is providing warning for 
each direction of highway traffic, trains may proceed through the 
crossing at normal speed.
    (ii) If at least one uniformed law enforcement officer (including a 
railroad police officer) provides warning to highway traffic at the 
crossing, trains may proceed through the crossing at normal speed.
    (2) If there is not an appropriately equipped flagger providing 
warning for each direction of highway traffic, or if there is not at 
least one uniformed law enforcement officer providing warning, trains 
with the locomotive or cab car leading, may proceed with caution

[[Page 489]]

through the crossing at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour. Normal 
speed may be resumed after the locomotive has passed through the 
crossing. In the case of a shoving move, a crewmember shall be on the 
ground to flag the train through the crossing.
    (3) In lieu of complying with paragraphs (c) (1) or (2) of this 
section, a railroad may temporarily take the warning system out of 
service if the railroad complies with all requirements of Sec. 234.105, 
``Activation failure.''
    (d) A locomotive's audible warning device shall be activated in 
accordance with railroad rules regarding the approach to a grade 
crossing.

Sec. 234.109  Recordkeeping.

    (a) Each railroad shall keep records pertaining to compliance with 
this subpart. Records may be kept on forms provided by the railroad or 
by electronic means. Each railroad shall keep the following information 
for each credible report of warning system malfunction:
    (1) Location of crossing (by highway name and DOT/AAR Crossing 
Inventory Number);
    (2) Time and date of receipt by railroad of report of malfunction;
    (3) Actions taken by railroad prior to repair and reactivation of 
repaired system; and
    (4) Time and date of repair.
    (b) Each railroad shall retain for at least one year (from the 
latest date of railroad activity in response to a credible report of 
malfunction) all records referred to in paragraph (a) of this section. 
Records required to be kept shall be made available to FRA as provided 
by 49 U.S.C. 20107 (formerly 208 of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 
1970 (45 U.S.C. 437)).

             Subpart D--Maintenance, Inspection, and Testing

                          Maintenance Standards

Sec. 234.201  Location of plans.

    Plans required for proper maintenance and testing shall be kept at 
each highway-rail grade crossing warning system location. Plans shall be 
legible and correct.

Sec. 234.203  Control circuits.

    All control circuits that affect the safe operation of a highway-
rail grade crossing warning system shall operate on the fail-safe 
principle.

Sec. 234.205  Operating characteristics of warning system apparatus.

    Operating characteristics of electromagnetic, electronic, or 
electrical apparatus of each highway-rail crossing warning system shall 
be maintained in accordance with the limits within which the system is 
designed to operate.

Sec. 234.207  Adjustment, repair, or replacement of component.

    (a) When any essential component of a highway-rail grade crossing 
warning system fails to perform its intended function, the cause shall 
be determined and the faulty component adjusted, repaired, or replaced 
without undue delay.
    (b) Until repair of an essential component is completed, a railroad 
shall take appropriate action under Sec. 234.105, Activation failure, 
Sec. 234.106, Partial activation, or Sec. 234.107, False activation, of 
this part.

Sec. 234.209  Interference with normal functioning of system.

    (a) The normal functioning of any system shall not be interfered 
with in testing or otherwise without first taking measures to provide 
for safety of highway traffic that depends on normal functioning of such 
system.
    (b) Interference includes, but is not limited to:
    (1) Trains, locomotives or other railroad equipment standing within 
the system's approach circuit, other than normal train movements or 
switching operations, where the warning system is not designed to 
accommodate those activities.
    (2) Not providing alternative methods of maintaining safety for the 
highway user while testing or performing work on the warning systems or 
on track and other railroad systems or structures which may affect the 
integrity of the warning system.

[[Page 490]]

Sec. 234.211  Security of warning system apparatus.

    Highway-rail grade crossing warning system apparatus shall be 
secured against unauthorized entry.

Sec. 234.213  Grounds.

    Each circuit that affects the proper functioning of a highway-rail 
grade crossing warning system shall be kept free of any ground or 
combination of grounds that will permit a current flow of 75 percent or 
more of the release value of any relay or electromagnetic device in the 
circuit. This requirement does not apply to: circuits that include track 
rail; alternating current power distribution circuits that are grounded 
in the interest of safety; and common return wires of grounded common 
return single break circuits.

Sec. 234.215  Standby power system.

    A standby source of power shall be provided with sufficient capacity 
to operate the warning system for a reasonable length of time during a 
period of primary power interruption. The designated capacity shall be 
specified on the plans required by Sec. 234.201 of this part.

[66 FR 49560, Sept. 28, 2001]

Sec. 234.217  Flashing light units.

    (a) Each flashing light unit shall be properly positioned and 
aligned and shall be visible to a highway user approaching the crossing.
    (b) Each flashing light unit shall be maintained to prevent dust and 
moisture from entering the interior of the unit. Roundels and reflectors 
shall be clean and in good condition.
    (c) All light units shall flash alternately. The number of flashes 
per minute for each light unit shall be 35 minimum and 65 maximum.

Sec. 234.219  Gate arm lights and light cable.

    Each gate arm light shall be maintained in such condition to be 
properly visible to approaching highway users. Lights and light wire 
shall be secured to the gate arm.

Sec. 234.221  Lamp voltage.

    The voltage at each lamp shall be maintained at not less than 85 
percent of the prescribed rating for the lamp.

Sec. 234.223  Gate arm.

    Each gate arm, when in the downward position, shall extend across 
each lane of approaching highway traffic and shall be maintained in a 
condition sufficient to be clearly viewed by approaching highway users. 
Each gate arm shall start its downward motion not less than three 
seconds after flashing lights begin to operate and shall assume the 
horizontal position at least five seconds before the arrival of any 
normal train movement through the crossing. At those crossings equipped 
with four quadrant gates, the timing requirements of this section apply 
to entrance gates only.

Sec. 234.225  Activation of warning system.

    A highway-rail grade crossing warning system shall be maintained to 
activate in accordance with the design of the warning system, but in no 
event shall it provide less than 20 seconds warning time for the normal 
operation of through trains before the grade crossing is occupied by 
rail traffic.

Sec. 234.227  Train detection apparatus.

    (a) Train detection apparatus shall be maintained to detect a train 
or railcar in any part of a train detection circuit, in accordance with 
the design of the warning system.
    (b) If the presence of sand, rust, dirt, grease, or other foreign 
matter is known to prevent effective shunting, a railroad shall take 
appropriate action under Sec. 234.105, ``Activation failure,'' to 
safeguard highway users.

Sec. 234.229  Shunting sensitivity.

    Each highway-rail grade crossing train detection circuit shall 
detect the application of a shunt of 0.06 ohm resistance when the shunt 
is connected across the track rails of any part of the circuit.

Sec. 234.231  Fouling wires.

    Each set of fouling wires in a highway-rail grade crossing train 
detection

[[Page 491]]

circuit shall consist of at least two discrete conductors. Each 
conductor shall be of sufficient conductivity and shall be maintained in 
such condition to ensure proper operation of the train detection 
apparatus when the train detection circuit is shunted. Installation of a 
single duplex wire with single plug acting as fouling wires is 
prohibited. Existing installations having single duplex wires with a 
single plug for fouling wires may be continued in use until they require 
repair or replacement.

Sec. 234.233  Rail joints.

    Each non-insulated rail joint located within the limits of a 
highway-rail grade crossing train detection circuit shall be bonded by 
means other than joint bars and the bonds shall be maintained in such 
condition to ensure electrical conductivity.

Sec. 234.235  Insulated rail joints.

    Each insulated rail joint used to separate train detection circuits 
of a highway-rail grade crossing shall be maintained to prevent current 
from flowing between rails separated by the insulation in an amount 
sufficient to cause a failure of the train detection circuit.

Sec. 234.237  Reverse switch cut-out circuit.

    A switch, when equipped with a switch circuit controller connected 
to the point and interconnected with warning system circuitry, shall be 
maintained so that the warning system can only be cut out when the 
switch point is within one-half inch of full reverse position.

Sec. 234.239  Tagging of wires and interference of wires or tags with 
          signal apparatus.

    Each wire shall be tagged or otherwise so marked that it can be 
identified at each terminal. Tags and other marks of identification 
shall be made of insulating material and so arranged that tags and wires 
do not interfere with moving parts of the apparatus. This requirement 
applies to each wire at each terminal in all housings including switch 
circuit controllers and terminal or junction boxes. This requirement 
does not apply to flashing light units, gate arm light units and other 
auxiliary light units. The local wiring on a solid state crossing 
controller rack does not require tags if the wiring is an integral part 
of the solid state equipment.

Sec. 234.241  Protection of insulated wire; splice in underground wire.

    Insulated wire shall be protected from mechanical injury. The 
insulation shall not be punctured for test purposes. A splice in 
underground wire shall have insulation resistance at least equal to that 
of the wire spliced.

Sec. 234.243  Wire on pole line and aerial cable.

    Wire on a pole line shall be securely attached to an insulator that 
is properly fastened to a cross arm or bracket supported by a pole or 
other support. Wire shall not interfere with, or be interfered with by, 
other wires on the pole line. Aerial cable shall be supported by 
messenger wire. An open-wire transmission line operating at voltage of 
750 volts or more shall be placed not less than 4 feet above the nearest 
cross arm carrying active warning system circuits.

Sec. 234.245  Signs.

    Each sign mounted on a highway-rail grade crossing signal post shall 
be maintained in good condition and be visible to the highway user.

                          Inspections and Tests

Sec. 234.247  Purpose of inspections and tests; removal from service of 
          relay or device failing to meet test requirements.

    (a) The inspections and tests set forth in Secs. 234.249 through 
234.271 are required at highway-rail grade crossings located on in 
service railroad tracks and shall be made to determine if the warning 
system and its component parts are maintained in a condition to perform 
their intended function.
    (b) If a railroad elects not to comply with the requirements of 
Secs. 234.249 through 234.271 because all tracks over the grade crossing 
are out of service or the railroad suspends operations during a portion 
of the year, and the grade crossing warning system is also temporarily 
taken out of service, a full inspection and all required tests must be

[[Page 492]]

successfully completed before railroad operations over the grade 
crossing resume.
    (c) Any electronic device, relay, or other electromagnetic device 
that fails to meet the requirements of tests required by this part shall 
be removed from service and shall not be restored to service until its 
operating characteristics are in accordance with the limits within which 
such device or relay is designed to operate.

[61 FR 31806, June 20, 1996, as amended at 66 FR 49560, Sept. 28, 2001]

Sec. 234.249  Ground tests.

    A test for grounds on each energy bus furnishing power to circuits 
that affect the safety of warning system operation shall be made when 
such energy bus is placed in service and at least once each month 
thereafter.

Sec. 234.251  Standby power.

    Standby power shall be tested at least once each month.

Sec. 234.253  Flashing light units and lamp voltage.

    (a) Each flashing light unit shall be inspected when installed and 
at least once every twelve months for proper alignment and frequency of 
flashes in accordance with installation specifications.
    (b) Lamp voltage shall be tested when installed and at least once 
every 12 months thereafter.
    (c) Each flashing light unit shall be inspected for proper 
visibility, dirt and damage to roundels and reflectors at least once 
each month.

Sec. 234.255  Gate arm and gate mechanism.

    (a) Each gate arm and gate mechanism shall be inspected at least 
once each month.
    (b) Gate arm movement shall be observed for proper operation at 
least once each month.
    (c) Hold-clear devices shall be tested for proper operation at least 
once every 12 months.

Sec. 234.257  Warning system operation.

    (a) Each highway-rail crossing warning system shall be tested to 
determine that it functions as intended when it is placed in service. 
Thereafter, it shall be tested at least once each month and whenever 
modified or disarranged.
    (b) Warning bells or other stationary audible warning devices shall 
be tested when installed to determine that they function as intended. 
Thereafter, they shall be tested at least once each month and whenever 
modified or disarranged.

Sec. 234.259  Warning time.

    Each crossing warning system shall be tested for the prescribed 
warning time at least once every 12 months and when the warning system 
is modified because of a change in train speeds. Electronic devices that 
accurately determine actual warning time may be used in performing such 
tests.

Sec. 234.261  Highway traffic signal pre-emption.

    Highway traffic signal pre-emption interconnections, for which a 
railroad has maintenance responsibility, shall be tested at least once 
each month.

Sec. 234.263  Relays.

    (a) Except as stated in paragraph (b) of this section, each relay 
that affects the proper functioning of a crossing warning system shall 
be tested at least once every four years.
    (b)(1) Alternating current vane type relays, direct current polar 
type relays, and relays with soft iron magnetic structure shall be 
tested at least once every two years.
    (2) Alternating current centrifugal type relays shall be tested at 
least once every 12 months.
    (c) Testing of relays requiring testing on four year intervals shall 
be completed in accordance with the following schedule:
    (1) Not less than 50% by the end of calendar year 1996;
    (2) Not less than a total of 75% by the end of calendar year 1997; 
and
    (3) One hundred percent by the end of calendar year 1998.
    (d) Testing of relays requiring testing on two year intervals shall 
be completed by the end of calendar year 1996.

[[Page 493]]

Sec. 234.265  Timing relays and timing devices.

    Each timing relay and timing device shall be tested at least once 
every twelve months. The timing shall be maintained at not less than 90 
percent nor more than 110 percent of the 41 predetermined time interval. 
The predetermined time interval shall be shown on the plans or marked on 
the timing relay or timing device. Timing devices which perform internal 
functions associated with motion detectors, motion sensors, and grade 
crossing predictors are not subject to the requirements of this section.

Sec. 234.267  Insulation resistance tests, wires in trunking and cables.

    (a) Insulation resistance tests shall be made when wires or cables 
are installed and at least once every ten years thereafter.
    (b) Insulation resistance tests shall be made between all conductors 
and ground, between conductors in each multiple conductor cable, and 
between conductors in trunking. Insulation resistance tests shall be 
performed when wires, cables, and insulation are dry.
    (c) Subject to paragraph (d) of this section, when insulation 
resistance of wire or cable is found to be less than 500,000 ohms, 
prompt action shall be taken to repair or replace the defective wire or 
cable. Until such defective wire or cable is replaced, insulation 
resistance tests shall be made annually.
    (d) A circuit with a conductor having an insulation resistance of 
less than 200,000 ohms shall not be used.
    (e) Required insulation resistance testing that does not conform to 
the required testing schedule of this section shall be completed in 
accordance with the following schedule:
    (1) Not less than 50% by the end of calendar year 1996;
    (2) Not less than a total of 75% by the end of calendar year 1997; 
and
    (3) One hundred percent by the end of calendar year 1998.

Sec. 234.269  Cut-out circuits.

    Each cut-out circuit shall be tested at least once every three 
months to determine that the circuit functions as intended. For purposes 
of this section, a cut-out circuit is any circuit which overrides the 
operation of automatic warning systems. This includes both switch cut-
out circuits and devices which enable personnel to manually override the 
operation of automatic warning systems.

Sec. 234.271  Insulated rail joints, bond wires, and track connections.

    Insulated rail joints, bond wires, and track connections shall be 
inspected at least once every three months.

Sec. 234.273  Results of inspections and tests.

    (a) Results of inspections and tests made in compliance with this 
part shall be recorded on forms provided by the railroad, or by 
electronic means, subject to approval by the Associate Administrator for 
Safety. Each record shall show the name of the railroad, AAR/DOT 
inventory number, place and date, equipment tested, results of tests, 
repairs, replacements, adjustments made, and condition in which the 
apparatus was left.
    (b) Each record shall be signed or electronically coded by the 
employee making the test and shall be filed in the office of a 
supervisory official having jurisdiction. Records required to be kept 
shall be made available to FRA as provided by 49 U.S.C. 20107 (formerly 
Sec. 208 of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (45 U.S.C. 437)).
    (c) Each record shall be retained until the next record for that 
test is filed but in no case for less than one year from the date of the 
test.

         Appendix A to Part 234--Schedule of Civil Penalties \1\

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Willful
                    Section                      Violation    violation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Subpart B--Reports

234.7 Accidents involving grade crossing             $5,000       $7,500
 signal failure...............................
234.9 Grade crossing signal system failure            2,500        5,000
 reports......................................


[[Page 494]]


   Subpart C--Response to Reports of Warning
              System Malfunction

Sec.
234.101 Employee notification rules...........        2,500        5,000
234.103 Timely response to report of                  2,500        5,000
 malfunction..................................
    234.105 Activation failure
        (a) Failure to notify--train crews....        5,000        7,500
            Other railroads...................        5,000        7,500
        (b) Failure to notify law enforcement         2,500        5,000
         agency...............................
        (c) Failure to comply with--flagging          5,000        5,000
         requirements.........................
            Speed restrictions................        5,000        7,500
        (d) Failure to activate horn or               5,000        7,500
         whistle..............................
    234.106 Partial activation
        (a) Failure to notify--train crews....        5,000        7,500
            Other railroads...................        5,000        7,500
        (b) Failure to notify law enforcement         2,500        5,000
         agency...............................
        (c) Failure to comply with--flagging          5,000        7,500
         requirements speed restrictions......
        (d) Failure to activate horn or               5,000        7,500
         whistle..............................
    234.107 False activation
        (a) Failure to notify--train crews....        5,000        7,500
            Other railroads...................        5,000        7,500
        (b) Failure to notify law enforcement         2,500        5,000
         agency...............................
        (c) Failure to comply with--flagging          5,000        7,500
         requirements.........................
            Speed restrictions................        5,000        7,500
        (d) Failure to activate horn or               5,000        7,500
         whistle..............................
    234.109 Recordkeeping.....................        1,000        2,000

    Subpart D--Maintenance, Inspection, and
                    Testing

Maintenance Standards:
    234.201 Location of plans.................        1,000        2,000
    234.203 Control circuits..................        1,000        2,000
    234.205 Operating characteristics of              2,500        5,000
     warning system apparatus.................
    234.207 Adjustment, repair, or replacement        2,500        5,000
     of component.............................
    234.209 Interference with normal                  5,000        7,500
     functioning of system....................
    234.211 Locking of warning system                 1,000        2,000
     apparatus................................
    234.213 Grounds...........................        1,000        2,000
    234.215 Standby power system..............        5,000        7,500
    234.217 Flashing light units..............        1,000        2,000
    234.219 Gate arm lights and light cable...        1,000        2,000
    234.221 Lamp voltage......................        1,000        2,000
    234.223 Gate arm..........................        1,000        2,000
    234.225 Activation of warning system......        5,000        7,500
    234.227 Train detection apparatus.........        2,500        5,000
    234.229 Shunting sensitivity..............        2,500        5,000
    234.231 Fouling wires.....................        1,000        2,000
    234.233 Rail joints.......................        1,000        2,000
    234.235 Insulated rail joints.............        1,000        2,000
    234.237 Switch equipped with circuit              1,000        2,000
     controller...............................
    234.239 Tagging of wires and interference         1,000        2,000
     of wires or tags with signal apparatus...
    234.241 Protection of insulated wire;             1,000        2,000
     splice in underground wire...............
    234.243 Wire on pole line and aerial cable        1,000        2,000
    234.245 Signs.............................        1,000        2,000
Inspections and Tests:
    234.247 Purpose of inspections and tests;         2,500        5,000
     removal from service of relay or device
     failing to meet test requirements........
    234.249 Ground tests......................        2,500        5,000
    234.251 Standby power.....................        5,000        7,500
    234.253 Flashing light units and lamp             1,000        2,000
     voltage..................................
    234.255 Gate arm and gate mechanism.......        1,000        2,000
    234.257 Warning system operation..........        2,500        5,000
    234.259 Warning time......................        1,000        2,000
    234.261 Highway traffic signal pre-emption        1,000        2,000
    234.263 Relays............................        1,000        2,000
    234.265 Timing relays and timing devices..        1,000        2,000
    234.267 Insulation resistance tests, wires        2,500        5,000
     in trunking and cables...................
    234.269 Cut-out circuits..................        1,000        2,000
    234.271 Insulated rail joints, bond wires,        2,500        5,000
     and track connections....................
    234.273 Results of tests..................        1,000        2,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ A penalty may be assessed against an individual only for a willful
  violation. The Administrator reserves the right to assess a penalty of
  up to $22,000 for any violation where circumstances warrant. See 49
  CFR Part 209, Appendix A.


[61 FR 31806, June 20, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 11623, Mar. 10, 1998]

[[Page 495]]

  Appendix B to Part 234--Alternate Methods of Protection Under 49 CFR 
                   234.105(c), 234.106, and 234.107(c)

                         [This is a summary--see body of text for complete requirements]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           Flagger present,
                                   Flagger for each     Police officer      but not one for      No flagger/no
                                     direction of           present        each direction of        police
                                        traffic                                 traffic
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
False Activation................  Normal Speed......  Normal Speed......  Proceed with        Proceed with
                                                                           caution--maximum    caution--maximum
                                                                           speed of 15 mph.    speed of 15 mph.
Partial Activation*.............  Normal Speed......  Normal Speed......  Proceed with        Proceed with
                                                                           caution--maximum    caution--maximum
                                                                           speed of 15 mph.    speed of 15 mph.
Activation Failure**............  Normal Speed......  Normal Speed......  Proceed with        Stop: Crewmember
                                                                           caution--maximum    flag traffic and
                                                                           speed of 15 mph.    reboard.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Partial activiation--full warning not given.
 Non-gated crossing with one pair of lights designed to flash alternatively, one light does not work (and back-
  lights from other side not visible).
 Gated crossing--gate arm not horizontal; or any portion of a gate arm is missing if that portion had held a
  gate arm flashing light.
**Activitation failure includes--if more than 50% of the flashing lights on any approach lane not functioning;
  or if an approach lane has two or more pairs of flashing lights, there is not at least one pair operating as
  intended.



Copyright Notice

© 1996 - 2017. Unless otherwise noted, the contents of http://trains.rockycrater.org are copyrighted to A.J. Kleipass. All rights are reserved. Reuse without permission is forbidden. Downloadable material, including but not limited to maps and posters, are intended for personal, non-commercial use to aid in model railroad design and construction only.

Visitor #280 since December 29, 2016 (when all counters were reset). :: Last Modified: 19-Jun-2004 at 13:31 EDT :: Page was generated in 0.008678 seconds.