The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: Location, Condemnation, and Construction
§ 3518. Preliminary survey
A railroad corporation may cause such examinations and surveys for a proposed railroad to be made as are necessary for the selection of the most advantageous route and, for such purpose, by its officers, agents, and employees, may enter upon lands or waters of a person, subject to liability for actual damages. Entry for other purposes shall not be made without the consent of the owner, until the damages are agreed upon by the parties, or ascertained and paid to the owner, or deposited as hereinafter provided.
§ 3519. Location of road to be recorded
Before a railroad corporation commences proceedings for the purpose of acquiring title to real estate or an interest therein, and, within two years from its incorporation, it shall cause a map or plan of the location of its road defining the courses, distances, and boundaries of the same in each town through which it passes, signed by a majority of the directors, to be recorded in the respective clerk's offices of such towns. If the road passes through an unorganized town or gore, the location shall be recorded in the offices in which conveyances of real estate situated therein are required by law to be recorded.
§ 3520. Right to take land and water
A railroad corporation may lay out its road, not exceeding five rods wide, and may purchase or otherwise take lands or materials necessary for making or securing its railroad, and such water and in such quantity as is required for the uses of the road, with the right of entering upon the land and constructing and keeping in repair necessary aqueducts.
§ 3521. Taking for depot accommodations
A railroad corporation may enter upon and take lands necessary for depot accommodations as provided by law and its act of incorporation.
§ 3522. Land without road limits
Land without the limits of its road shall not be taken by a railroad corporation for the requisite and convenient accommodation of its road, without the permission of the owner, unless the commissioners appointed as prescribed in section 3523 of this title, on application of the corporation, and after 12 days' notice to the owner, first prescribe the limits within which such lands shall be taken.
§ 3523. Appraisal of damages; appointment of commissioners
When a railroad corporation has not acquired, by gift or purchase, land, real estate, or property, taken or required for the construction, maintenance, and convenient accommodation of its road, and if the parties do not agree as to the price of such land and other property, any two Justices of the Supreme Court, upon application for that purpose by the corporation, shall appoint three disinterested commissioners, one of whom shall be an inhabitant of the town and all shall be inhabitants of the county in which the land or other property to be appraised is situated, to determine the damages which the owners of such land or property have sustained by the occupation of the same for the purposes aforesaid.
§ 3524. Notice of time and place of appraisal
The commissioners shall give 12 days' notice to the occupants or owners of the land of the time and place when and where they will attend to such appraisal, but notice shall not be required to be given of the appraisal of unoccupied lands unless the owner resides in the State or has some known agent or attorney residing herein. If the owner does not reside in the State, and has a known agent or attorney residing herein, the same notice shall be given to the agent or attorney as is directed to be given to the owner or occupant.
§ 3525. Description of land and property
At least ten days before an appraisal is made by the commissioners, the corporation shall deliver to the owner, or deposit in the clerk's office in the town in which the same lies, a plan or description in writing of the land or property so taken.
§ 3526. Estate for life or years; reversionary interest
When a railroad corporation takes land subject to an estate for life or years, the commissioners shall appraise the damages to such estate, and also the damages to the reversionary interest.
§ 3527. Notice and statement of appraisal; record
When an appraisal is made, the commissioners, within 20 days, shall notify the owner, if known, of the amount thereof, and deliver to the corporation a written statement of the same, with a description of the land or other property so appraised. Within 30 days thereafter, the corporation shall cause the same to be recorded in the clerk's office of the town where the land or other estate lies.
§ 3528. Payment or deposit of damages conveys property
Upon the payment of the damages by the corporation, as determined upon by the commissioners, with the costs and charges thereupon accruing, or upon the deposit of the same by the corporation in such bank or with such clerk of the Supreme Court as the commissioners direct, to the credit of the person to whom the damages have been awarded, such bank or clerk giving notice personally or by mail to such persons that such deposit has been made, the corporation shall be deemed to be seized and possessed of the land or other property appraised by the commissioners.
§ 3529. When owner is an infant or has an intellectual or psychiatric disability
When the owner of the land or estate is an infant, or lacks capacity to protect his or her interests due to an intellectual or psychiatric disability, or does not reside in this State, or is not known, the corporation shall cause the damages sustained by the owner to be determined in the manner described in this subchapter, and shall pay the same to the lawful owner when demanded, with interest thereon. Such damages and interest shall be a specific lien upon the real estate of such corporation, and be preferred before any other demand against such corporation. (Amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)
§ 3530. Appeal to Superior Court
When the corporation or the owner of land or property is dissatisfied with the decision of the commissioners, within 90 days after the date of the award either party may appeal to the Superior Court. Such court shall thereupon appoint three commissioners, one of whom shall be an inhabitant of the county in which such land or property is situated. The decision of the court shall be final upon the report of the commissioners, and costs, in the discretion of the court, may be allowed to either party. An appeal shall not be taken by the corporation after deposit of the amount of the award, nor shall an appeal be taken by the landholder or owner after acceptance thereof. (Amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974.)
§ 3531. Proceedings in Superior Court respecting damages
When a railroad corporation requires for roadway or building materials land, the owner of which is unknown, or where there are conflicting claims to the title, or where such land is encumbered by mortgages, attachments, or the levy of execution, or otherwise, after having the damages appraised by the commissioners, such corporation may apply by petition to a Superior judge, who, in his or her discretion, may order the damages awarded by the commissioners to be deposited with the Clerk of the Court, or in a bank in the county where the land lies, subject to the order of such person as the Superior judge decides is entitled to the same, or subject to the future order of the Superior judge.
§ 3532. Notice required before final decree
A final decree shall not be made in such case until reasonable notice of the filing of the petition has been given to persons interested, when they are known and reside in the State. When the owners are unknown or reside outside the State, such notice shall be given as the Superior judge may order.
§ 3533. Deposit of damages; sum invested
On the deposit of the damages under the order of a Superior judge, the title to the land shall vest in the corporation, subject to the right of appeal as in other cases. If the sum so deposited remains for six months undemanded, a Superior judge may order the same invested for the benefit of those interested.
§ 3534. Obstruction to private way
If a railroad corporation obstructs the travel or means of access to a manufactory, mill, place of business, or dwelling house in laying out, building, grading, or making its road, it shall be liable to pay to the person thereby injured such reasonable compensation as the commissioners for determining railroad damages deem proper. The person so claiming to be damaged may apply in writing to the commissioners, setting forth such damage. Such application, with a notice from the commissioners to the corporation of the time and place of hearing, shall be served on the corporation according to law.
§ 3535. Right of action on nonpayment of damages
When a railroad corporation has entered upon and used land and real estate for the construction and accommodation of its railroad and has, by its engineers, agents, or servants, entered upon land contiguous to the railroad or the works connected therewith and taken materials to use in the construction of its road, and has not paid the owner therefor nor, within two years from such entry, had the damages appraised by commissioners and an award made and delivered, a person claiming damages, within six years after such entry, may bring an action therefor before a Superior Court. An answer justifying the entry under the act incorporating the company shall not bar the action, but the plaintiff shall recover only his or her actual damages. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 57.)
§ 3536. Security from contractors; liability for wages
A railroad corporation shall require sufficient security from the contractors for the payment of labor performed in constructing the road by persons in their employ. Such corporation shall be liable to the day laborers employed by the contractors for labor actually performed on its road, if the person having such claim, within 40 days after the performance of the labor, shall notify in writing the engineer in charge of the section on which the labor was performed that he or she has not been paid by the contractors.
§ 3537. Changes in location
After taking land for a portion of its road, a railroad corporation may vary the direction of the road in the place where such land lies, provided it does not thereby locate its road, or a part thereof, outside the limits prescribed by its act of incorporation. Before the time required by law for completing the road, such corporation shall file the location of the different parts of the road, when such variations are made, with the clerks of the respective towns where such parts are situated, who shall record the same.
§ 3538. When other land of same owner is taken, first land to revert
When a railroad corporation has paid or becomes liable to pay land damages for the location of its road, and afterwards changes such location and occupies other lands of the same landowner to whom damages have been paid or awarded, the land first located upon, on the completion of the subsequent location, shall revert to the landowner. On the subsequent location, the commissioners shall award such damages as under the circumstances are just.
§ 3539. Difference in value; adjustment
When the damages awarded on the second location are less than those awarded on the first, the corporation may recover the difference, if paid, from the landowner. If the damages so awarded have not been paid, such corporation may retain the difference, and shall not be liable to pay the same. When the damages on the first location have been assessed by the commissioners and an appeal taken therefrom is pending, the corporation shall pay the costs accrued in the appeal, and cause its new location to be recorded, before it takes the benefit of this section.
§ 3540. Change after damages are paid
When the location of a railroad is changed after the payment of damages to a landowner, and a portion of the lands of such owner is not taken for the new location, the lands taken for the first location shall revert to the owner. The railroad corporation may recover from such landowner the amount so paid as damages, deducting therefrom the damages which accrued to the owner in consequence of locating the railroad across his or her lands, which shall be ascertained by the Transportation Board. The landowner, if he or she chooses, may convey to the corporation the land so located upon, and retain the sum so awarded. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3541. Change before damages are paid
When the location of the road has been changed as mentioned in section 3540 of this title, and the damages have been awarded and not paid, the land first located upon shall revert to the owner thereof. The corporation shall not be required to pay the sum so awarded, but shall pay to the owner the damages which have accrued to him or her by reason of such location, to be determined by the Board. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3542. Right to alter highway
When it is necessary for a railroad corporation to lay out its road upon or by the side of a highway, or upon a bridge owned by a town or the Agency of Transportation, the railroad corporation shall give notice thereof to a member of the selectboard of the town (where the proposed alteration involves a town highway) or the Secretary of Transportation (where the proposed alteration involves a State highway). When the railroad corporation cannot agree with the selectboard members or with the Agency of Transportation on a road to be worked or a bridge to be built by the railroad corporation, in place of such road or bridge, or on the amount of damages, the Transportation Board shall direct it to build such road or bridge, as a substitute for the road or bridge so located upon, as the interest of the public and the parties require. Upon the construction of such road or bridge, the road or bridge so located upon shall vest in the railroad corporation. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 47.)
§ 3543. Appeal
A railroad corporation, town, the Agency of Transportation, or individual owning land adjacent to such road or bridge so entered upon, crossed, or altered, shall have the same right of appeal from the decision of the selectboard or the Transportation Board as is provided in this chapter in case of the appraisal of land damages by commissioners. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 48.)
§ 3544. Alteration of course of highway at crossing
A railroad corporation may alter the course of a highway where it is crossed by its railroad, for the purpose of facilitating the crossing of the same, if it can agree with the selectboard of the town (in the case of a town highway) or the Agency of Transportation (in the case of a State highway) as to such alteration or the manner of crossing. When they cannot agree, the Transportation Board shall determine the same. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 49.)
§ 3545. Alterations to be recorded
Alterations made in a highway as provided in this chapter, if made by the Transportation Board, shall be signed by it. If such alterations are agreed upon by the parties, the agreement shall be signed by the selectboard of the town (where the alteration involves a town highway) or Secretary of Transportation (where the alteration involves a State highway), and duly recorded in the town clerk's office. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 50.)
§ 3546. Additional lands
Such railroad corporation may take such additional lands for the purposes mentioned in sections 3543-3545 of this title as the Transportation Board judges necessary. Unless the lands so taken are purchased or given, compensation therefor shall be determined by the Transportation Board, as in other cases, and made by the railroad corporation to the owners and persons interested in the lands. When compensation is made, the same shall become part of such highway, and may be held for highway purposes, and such landowners and such railroad corporation shall have the same right of appeal as in other cases of land damages. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 51.)
- Subchapter 002: Crossing Highways and Turnpikes
§ 3566. Highway crossing railroad
When a highway is laid out after the laying out and constructing of a railroad, so as to cross such railroad, the highway may pass over, under or cross the railroad, and shall be so built as not to obstruct or injure it. In case the highway is laid out to cross the railroad at grade, on application of the parties owning or operating the railroad, the Board, upon notice and hearing, shall determine whether such crossing ought to be at grade. If the Board determines that the crossing ought not to be at grade, it shall be constructed over or under the railroad. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1995, No. 60, § 32, eff. April 25, 1995.)
§ 3567. Application to Transportation Board
The application to the Board, provided in section 3566 of this title, may be made at any time before the expiration of the time fixed in the order laying the highway for beginning work thereon. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1995, No. 60, § 33, eff. April 25, 1995.)
§ 3568. Railroad crossing highway
A railroad may be so laid out as to cross a highway if the Board judges it necessary. The railroad may raise or lower the highway, for the purpose of having its railroad pass over or under it. However, the railroad shall restore the highway as far as practicable and so as not to impair its usefulness. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1995, No. 60, § 34, eff. April 25, 1995.)
§ 3569. Highway changed; notice; hearing
When a highway is so located that such railroad cannot be judiciously constructed across or upon the same without interfering therewith, the railroad corporation, with the consent of the Board, may cause such highway to be changed so that such railroad may be constructed on the best site for that purpose. However, such corporation shall put such highway as near as practicable in as good a situation and repair as it was previous to such alteration, under the direction of the Board. Such construction or alteration shall not be made without notice to all parties interested and a hearing before the Board. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3570. Crossing; repairs at town highways
When a railroad corporation has constructed a railroad across a town highway by passing upon, over, or under the traveled path thereof, the corporation shall keep in good and sufficient repair, and rebuild when necessary, bridges, culverts, crossings, and other constructions made for the accommodation, safety, and convenience of the public travel on the highway, over or upon the railroad. (Amended 1969, No. 76, § 1; 1995, No. 60, § 35, eff. April 25, 1995.)
§ 3571. State highways
(a) When a railroad corporation has constructed a railroad across a State highway by passing upon the traveled path thereof, the corporation shall keep in good and sufficient repair, and rebuild when necessary, culverts, crossings, and other constructions except bridges made for the accommodation, safety, and convenience of the public travel on the highway upon the railroad.
(b) Installation of new crossings at grade, extensions of existing crossings, or the rebuilding of existing crossings required as a result of the building of said extensions, when required for the accommodation, safety, and convenience of the public travel, or for any reason except the accommodation of the railroad, shall be done by the railroad corporation at State expense. (Added 1969, No. 76, § 2.)
§ 3572. Highway bridges on State highways
(a) When it next becomes necessary to rebuild or reconstruct, in whole or in part, any existing bridge on a State highway that carries a public highway over railroad tracks, the State shall rebuild the bridge and pay one-half the cost thereof and the railroad corporation whose track travels under the bridge shall pay one-half the cost thereof; thereafter the State shall maintain, rebuild, and repair the bridge at its expense. If the rebuilding or reconstruction is made at the request of and for the benefit of the railroad, the railroad shall pay the entire cost. Maintenance, repair, and reconstruction or rebuilding, in whole or in part, required on bridges which were reconstructed or rebuilt in whole or in part for existing legal loads for State highways, subsequent to January 1, 1963, shall be made by the State at its expense.
(b) Construction of new bridges carrying public highways over railroad tracks, and rebuilding and reconstruction of existing bridges, when made necessary by reason of highway improvement incident to increased load, usage, or speed of motor vehicular traffic, shall be made by the State at its expense, except that to the extent any additions or improvements are made at the request of and for the benefit of the railroad, the added cost shall be paid by the railroad. (Added 1969, No. 76, § 3.)
§ 3573. Railroad bridges; repairs and construction
When a railroad corporation has constructed a railroad across a public highway by passing over the traveled path thereof, the corporation shall keep in good and sufficient repair and rebuild when necessary, its bridges and abutments; however, construction of new bridges and abutments, and rebuilding and reconstruction of existing bridges and abutments, made necessary by reason of highway improvement incident to increased load, usage, or speed of motor vehicular traffic, shall be made by the railroad at State expense. (Added 1969, No. 76, § 4.)
§ 3574. Expense; apportionment; State, municipality, and railroad
When made necessary by reason of highway improvement incident to increased load or speed of motor vehicular traffic, upon petition of the railroad corporation owning or operating the crossing mentioned in section 3570 of this title or of the municipality in which the crossing is located or of the Agency of Transportation, to the Transportation Board, after hearing and due notice to the parties in interest, the cost of the repairing and rebuilding may be apportioned between the State, the municipality with its consent, and the railroad in such proportion as the Board finds just and equitable. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1969, No. 76, § 5; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 52.)
§ 3575. Maintenance, road bed; underpass
The maintenance of the road bed of the highway through an underpass shall be borne by the State or municipality, or both, unless, upon petition, the Board shall order otherwise. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3576. Expense; State highways
When a highway is controlled and maintained by the State, the expense shall be borne by the State. (Amended 1969, No. 76, § 6.)
§ 3577. Liability; railroad
A railroad corporation constructing a railroad across a highway shall be liable to the town, within whose limits the crossings are, for damages occasioned to that town by reason of the corporation not complying with the provisions of sections 3570 and 3574 of this title. The liability shall extend to expenses incurred by the town in connection with actions against the corporation by reason of the noncompliance. (Amended 1969, No. 76, § 7.)
§ 3578. Release of corporation from liability
The liability of the corporation shall continue although the railroad has been abandoned, unless the selectboard members of the town consent in writing that the corporation be released therefrom, or unless the corporation or its assigns restore such crossing to its original state of usefulness and permanency. Such written consent shall be recorded in the record of deeds in the town clerk's office by such selectboard members.
§ 3579. Towns may require repairs
When the selectboard of a town in which such crossing is located are of opinion that such bridge, culvert, crossing, or construction requires repairing or rebuilding in order to be safe for travel thereon, the selectboard may notify the corporation required by this chapter to repair or rebuild the same, by leaving a written notice to that effect with the president, superintendent of such road, or the clerk of such corporation. When such corporation does not repair or rebuild the same within one month after such notice, the town may apply by petition to the Transportation Board to be heard thereon. Upon due notice and hearing, the Board may order and compel such repairs or rebuilding to be made as are necessary for the safety of the traveling public. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.)
§ 3580. Contract between town and company not affected
Nothing in sections 3570-3579 of this title shall interfere with an express contract made by a railroad corporation and a town relative to keeping in repair or rebuilding any such bridge, culvert, crossing, or other construction.
§ 3581. Warning devices and signs at grade crossings; exemption from stopping
(a) A railroad shall maintain railroad crossing (crossbuck) signs conforming to the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, as amended from time to time, at every public highway where the same is crossed by its railroad at grade.
(b) The Transportation Board, upon recommendation of the Agency of Transportation and after notice to the railroad and the person having control of the highway and an opportunity to be heard, may designate certain crossings as "exempt" and may impose such conditions as the interests of safety and the public good dictate. However, a flagperson shall be stationed at every crossing whenever a train is crossing a highway where an exempt sign is displayed. Within 90 days of such an order, the railroad in the case of warning devices, and the person having control of the highway in the case of advance warning signs, shall affix "exempt" signs in accordance with 23 V.S.A. § 1025. The petitioner shall bear the expense of the exempt sign.
(c) At the request of the Agency of Transportation, the railroad, or the person having control of the highway, and after notice and an opportunity to be heard, the Transportation Board may rescind an "exempt" crossing designation. The railroad and the person having control of the highway shall remove the "exempt" signs as directed by the Transportation Board. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1967, No. 153, § 1; 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. March 1, 1973; 1985, No. 268 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 49, § 1, eff. June 4, 1991; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 53a.)
§ 3582. Crossings; use of audible warning device
(a) An audible warning device meeting standards prescribed by the Federal Railroad Administration shall be sounded sufficiently in advance of each public highway grade crossing to give warning of a train's approach and shall be kept sounding until the train has crossed the highway.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the Agency, following the procedures set forth in 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, may prohibit the sounding of audible warning devices at public and private grade crossings equipped with the following safety features or other safety features of similar effect:
(1) Flashing lights in each direction which are automatically activated by approaching trains.
(2) Two gates, one on each side of the crossing, both of which are automatically lowered by the approaching train and both extended across approximately half the width of the lanes of traffic so that the entire width of the lanes of traffic is blocked when the gates are lowered.
(3) A bell that is automatically activated by the approaching train.
(4) Overhead street lights.
(5) Signs posted before the crossing in each direction warning motorists and pedestrians of the crossing ahead.
(6) Posted speed limits for traffic of not more than 40 miles per hour.
(7) Not more than two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction at the crossing.
(c) No prohibition by the Agency under subsection (b) of this section shall become effective until the Federal Railroad Administration grants a waiver or exemption under 49 U.S.C. § 20153. The Agency shall promptly notify all affected railroads when a waiver or exemption is granted.
(d) A railroad operating a train over a crossing at which the Agency has prohibited the sounding of audible warning devices shall not, on the basis of its omission to sound an audible warning device, be liable to any person for death, personal injury, or property damage resulting from use of the crossing.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a railroad's use of an audible warning device in emergency circumstances.
(f) A municipality in which a crossing is located shall not, on the basis of the railroad's omission to sound an audible warning device because of a prohibition by the Agency under subsection (b) of this section, incur liability to any person for death, personal injury, or property damage, resulting from use of the crossing. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 53b; 1995, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 9a, eff. May 22, 1996; 1997, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 3583. Penalty
When a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad unreasonably neglects or refuses to comply with the provisions of sections 3581 and 3582 of this title, such person or corporation shall be fined not more than $1,000.00.
§ 3584. Gates, electric signals, flaggers
When requested in writing by three or more freeholders or registered voters or residents of a city or village to order a gate or electric signal to be erected, or a flagger to be stationed at any railroad crossing at grade within such city or village, or when so requested by three or more freeholders or registered voters or residents of a town to order an electric signal to be erected at any railroad crossing at grade within that town, or, acting on its own initiative, the Transportation Board shall visit that place, first giving the parties making the request, the Secretary of Transportation, and the railroad corporation notice thereof. If the public safety requires, the Board shall order the corporation operating the railroad to do any act at that place needful for the protection of the public, and may make any other order or further order it deems necessary in the premises, including an order, after hearing and due notice to the parties in interest, directing the State, the municipality, and the railroad to pay all or part of the costs as the Board finds just and equitable. The Board shall not make further order without first visiting the place and giving the railroad corporation, the Secretary of Transportation, and the parties making request an opportunity to be heard thereon. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1961, No. 267, § 3, eff. Aug. 1, 1961; 1969, No. 76, § 8; 1971, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. April 7, 1972; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 54.)
§ 3585. Procedure for payment of State's portion of cost
In making an order under section 3584 of this title, the Transportation Board shall require the submission of an itemized statement of the cost incurred by the State agency, municipality, corporation, or person responsible for compliance with the order, with an affidavit of an appropriate officer or person that the costs shown on the statement were incurred and are reasonable to the best of the officer's or person's knowledge and belief. Upon approval by the Board of the statement and its certification to the Commissioner of Finance and Management, the State Treasurer shall issue a warrant to pay the State's portion of the cost in accordance with the order of the Board. (Added 1966, No. 4 (Sp. Sess.), eff. Feb. 17, 1966; amended 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 55.)
§ 3586. Obstructing crossings; penalty
A person, corporation, or the agents or employees thereof, owning or operating a railroad, who willfully or negligently obstruct a public highway or farm crossing with engines, tenders, or cars, shall be fined not more than $20.00 nor less than $5.00.
§ 3587. Obstructing crossing more than five minutes; penalty; exemption
(a) When a railroad crosses a highway or road required for farm use at rail level, the company operating such railroad shall not, nor shall its officer, agent, or employees permit an engine or railroad car, or any portion thereof, to stand on any part of such highway or road for a longer period than five minutes at any one time, or in shunting, to obstruct public traffic for a longer period than five minutes at any one time. A person or corporation violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $5.00.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) any grade crossings now existing or hereinafter established over the line of railroad extending through the city of Rutland between the River Street underpass and the Pine Street overpass; and
(2) the grade crossing in the town of Norton between the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad and the class 4 town highway known as Gagnon Road (town highway #12). (Amended 1993, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. June 17, 1994; 2005, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.)
§ 3588. Nuisance on highway; penalty
A person or corporation owning or operating a railroad or the agents or employees thereof, shall not allow a handcar or other nuisance to be left on the railroad track or at the side of such track within the bounds of a highway crossed by such railroad. An agent or employee of a railroad corporation who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $20.00 nor less than $5.00.
§ 3589. Liability for neglect
A person or corporation that violates the provisions of section 3588 of this title shall be liable for all injuries and damages occasioned by reason of a horse or team becoming frightened thereby, to be recovered in an action on this statute, brought by the party injured or damaged.
§ 3590. Obstructing sight of cars at crossing; penalty
A person who leaves wood, lumber, or other material on the line of a railroad or highway, at or near the crossing of a highway, so as to prevent or obstruct the sight of cars when approaching the crossing, shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $5.00.
§ 3591. Nonremoval after notice; penalty
A person who does not remove such obstruction after notice from one or more of the selectboard members or from a police officer of the town in which the crossing is situated, shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $5.00 for every 24 hours such obstruction remains thereafter.
§ 3592. Agency approval
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter allocating certain costs to the State or permitting the Transportation Board to make such allocations, no claim for reimbursement of the State's share of any work may be asserted against the State unless the Secretary of Transportation, prior to commencement of the work for which reimbursement is sought, certified in writing that appropriated funds were available to pay the State's share. (Added 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)
§ 3593. Partial reimbursement of crossing maintenance costs; crossing surfaces
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
(1) "Public rail-highway crossings" means at-grade crossings determined by the Agency to be active public crossings. Public crossings shall not include crossings on railroad lines that have been abandoned or embargoed.
(2) "Active warning devices" means flashing lights, signals, automatic gates, or manually-operated gates.
(b) Reimbursement. To the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose by the General Assembly, the Agency shall reimburse railroads up to $2,000.00 annually for the maintenance of each public rail-highway crossing equipped with flashing light signals and $2,500.00 annually for the maintenance of each crossing equipped with automatic or manually-operated gates. Any reimbursement under this subsection shall be reduced by any amount that a municipality or some other third party is separately required to contribute to the railroad's cost of maintaining active warning devices at a public rail-highway crossing, whether because of some contractual obligation or because of a regulatory order entered by the Transportation Board or one of its predecessor agencies.
(c) Failure of railroad to perform maintenance. Payment to any railroad may be made contingent on the railroad's performing inspection and maintenance of active warning devices in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
(d) Maintenance of crossing surface. The Agency shall be responsible for maintenance, repair, replacement, and installation of highway surfaces at public rail-highway crossings.
(e) Quiet zones; special agreements. Notwithstanding this section, the Agency may enter into special agreements to reimburse a railroad for inspecting and maintaining signals and related equipment at crossings that have been specially designated as "quiet zones" pursuant to section 3582 of this title.
(f) Rulemaking. The Secretary may adopt rules to implement this program. (Added 1999, No. 18, § 8, eff. May 13, 1999.)
- Subchapter 003: Crossing or Connecting With Another Railroad
§ 3612. Railroads may cross or unite; compensation, points and manner
A railroad corporation may cross or unite its railroad with any other railroad at any point in its route and upon the grounds of such other railroad corporation, with necessary turnouts, sidings, switches, and other conveniences. If the two corporations cannot agree upon the amount of compensation to be made therefor or the points and manner of such crossings and connections, the same shall be determined by the Transportation Board on petition, service, and hearing. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 56.)
§ 3613. Foreign corporations may hold real estate, when
A foreign railroad corporation connecting at the line of this State with a domestic railroad corporation may acquire and hold in this State such real estate as it may find necessary, and may make such improvements thereon as shall enable it satisfactorily, to make such connection with the railroad in this State, and may construct and maintain all necessary sidings, engine houses, car houses, turntables, and other necessary structures and appliances for terminal purposes as shall be required for the operation of its railroad.
§ 3614. Terms of business between connecting roads
When a railroad enters upon, intersects, or connects with another railroad, the managers of each of such connecting roads shall furnish to the other reasonable terms of connection, accommodations, privileges, and facilities, in the reception, transportation, and delivery of cars, passengers, baggage, and freight, to and from each of such connecting roads, according to the usual course of railroad business, including the sale and reception of passenger tickets and checking of baggage, and shall receive and transport such cars, passengers, baggage, and freight at reasonable times, and on reasonable terms.
§ 3615. Terms with two competing roads which intersect
When a railroad is intersected by two or more railroads which are competing lines for business to or from the road so intersected, the managers of such road shall transport cars, passengers, baggage, and freight to and from each of such intersecting roads on the same terms, and shall not establish rules, regulations, or terms of connection that will give to either of such competing roads an unreasonable advantage over the other. If the managers of such roads cannot agree upon any of the terms aforesaid, the same, on petition, notice and hearing, shall be determined by the Transportation Board. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 57.)
§ 3616. Connection of passenger trains; Board may determine
The Board may determine the time or times when the passenger trains of connecting railroads shall connect with each other, having in view the convenience of the traveling public, and may make all necessary rules and regulations respecting the manner of such connections. Such determination and order may be made on petition of either of the connecting roads, or of twenty or more freeholders of the vicinity, duly served and heard. The Board, at any time, may change such order, on petition, service thereof and hearing. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3617. Making competing road a party
A competing road interested in the time or times of such connections, or in the rules and regulations governing the same, may be made a party to such petition and hearing, or may bring an independent petition to have the time, times, rules, or regulations changed or modified. The Board, on due service and hearing, may make such changes or modifications as are required for the accommodation, convenience, and safety of the public. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3618. Intersection of railroads; stopping trains
All trains or engines run upon a railroad in this State which intersects or crosses or is intersected or crossed by another railroad upon the same level, shall be brought to a full stop and the whistle sounded at a distance of not less than 100 feet nor more than 1,000 feet from the point of intersection or crossing, before such intersection or crossing is passed by such train or engine. The full stop and crossing on signal, with the approval of the Transportation Board, may be discontinued if an interlocking switch and signal apparatus is adopted, installed, and put in operation by such railroads at such crossing or intersection of two railroads. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 58.)
§ 3619. Penalty
An engineer who violates a provision of section 3618 of this title shall be fined $100.00, and the corporation on whose road the offense is committed shall be fined the further sum of $300.00.
- Subchapter 004: Farm Crossings, Cattle Guards, Fences, and Watercourses
§ 3639. Farm crossings and cattle guards; construction and maintenance
(a) A person or corporation owning or operating a railroad shall construct and maintain farm crossings of the road for the use of the proprietors of lands adjoining the railroad, and cattle guards at all farm and road crossings sufficient to prevent cattle and animals from getting on the railroad. A farm crossing may be temporarily or permanently closed or discontinued by mutual agreement between all parties having an interest therein. If no such mutual agreement can be reached by such interested parties, then a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad and desiring to close any farm crossing shall make application to the Transportation Board. The Board shall thereupon give notice to all parties interested, in such manner as the Board may direct, of hearing on the application, the hearing to be in the county where such crossing is located. After the hearing, a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad shall not close such farm crossing without the approval of the Transportation Board. A person aggrieved by the closing of a farm crossing after January 1, 1955 by a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad may notify the Transportation Board by registered or certified mail of the closing, and thereupon the Board shall conduct a hearing. Notice and place of hearing shall be as set forth in this subsection. The Transportation Board may require the reopening of any such crossing and make such other order as is permitted in section 3649 of this title. At any such hearing, the burden of proof shall rest with the person or persons effecting or seeking to effect the closing of such farm crossing. Any person aggrieved by an order of the Transportation Board may, in accordance with Rule 74 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, appeal to the Superior Court, whereupon such cause shall be tried as an original action brought under the provisions of 12 V.S.A. § 402.
(b) A person or railroad corporation closing any farm crossing in violation of a provision of this section or failing to comply with any such order shall be fined not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00 and any person aggrieved by such violation may recover his or her damages in an action on this statute. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 59; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2019, No. 14, § 6, eff. April 30, 2019.)
§ 3640. Board, when parties disagree
When the parties cannot agree upon the plan, manner, or number of the farm crossings, the same shall be determined by the Transportation Board on petition and after a public hearing. However, if the cost of such farm crossings exceeds the value of the land to be accommodated thereby, the Board need not order such crossings to be made, but shall award reasonable damages in lieu thereof. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 60.)
§ 3641. Cattle guards at highway crossings
The provisions of law relieving parties owning property adjoining a highway from maintaining fences along the line of such highway shall not be held to relieve persons owning or operating a railroad from maintaining cattle guards at points where such railroad crosses a highway at grade.
§ 3642. Fences; construction and maintenance
(a) A person or corporation owning or operating a railroad shall construct and maintain on the sides of its road, when completed and in running order, a good and sufficient fence, along land of an operating farm adjacent to the railroad.
(b) Whenever the owner or occupant desires to pasture livestock on land adjacent to the railroad not then used for pasturing livestock and desires the railroad to erect the portion of the fence next to the tracks, he or she shall fence the portion of that land which is not adjacent to the railroad, and the railroad shall construct the portion of the fence adjacent to its tracks within five days of notice to it from the owner or occupant that his or her portion of the fence has been completed, and shall maintain that fence so long as the adjacent land is used for pasturing livestock. (Amended 1977, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 24, 1978.)
§ 3643. Neglect; proceedings
When a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad does not construct and maintain a fence as required by this chapter, any person aggrieved may construct it. The selectboard members of the town in which the same is located shall appraise the value thereof, and the person or railroad corporation shall pay the amount so awarded by the selectboard members to the person so aggrieved. On failure of the person or corporation to pay the amount so awarded, the person so constructing such fence may recover the same in an action on this statute. Such a person or railroad corporation shall not be required to build such fence while the ground is frozen.
§ 3644. Construction of fence when landowner is to keep it
The provisions requiring a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad to construct and maintain fences shall not apply when such person or corporation has settled with and paid the landowner for building and maintaining such fence. When a landowner thus paid for keeping such fence in repair neglects so to do, the person or corporation owning or operating such railroad may make the repairs and recover the necessary expense thereof of such landowner or his or her grantee.
§ 3645. Damage to animals on railroad
Until fences and cattle guards are duly made, such person or corporation and their agents shall be liable for the damages done by agents or engines to cattle, horses, or other animals thereon, if occasioned by want of such fences and cattle guards. After such fences and guards are made, the person or corporation shall not be liable for such damages, unless negligently or willfully done.
§ 3646. Driving animals or vehicle within fences on railroad; damages; penalty
A person who rides, leads, or drives a horse or other animal or operates a motor vehicle or a snowmobile upon a railroad, and within such fences and guards, other than at road and farm crossings, without the consent of the corporation shall forfeit not more than $50.00 to be recovered by the corporation in an action on this statute, and shall also pay the damages sustained thereby to the party aggrieved. (Amended 1967, No. 341 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)
§ 3647. Allowing animal to be at large in roadway; damages; penalty
When a horse or other beast is found going at large within the limits of a railroad after the same is opened for use, the person through whose fault or negligence such horse or other beast is so at large shall forfeit not more than $20.00 for every horse or other beast so found going at large, and shall be liable for the damages thereby sustained by any person, such forfeiture and damages to be recovered in an action on this statute.
§ 3648. Complaint regarding fences, guards, crossings, watercourses
A person through whose land a railroad passes, after such road is in operation, and after 10 days' notice by registered or certified letter addressed to the principal office of such railroad, may make complaint in writing to the Transportation Board that he or she is aggrieved by the neglect or default of a railroad corporation in constructing or maintaining fences, cattle guards, or farm crossings which the corporation is bound to construct or maintain, or by its stopping, impeding, or altering a watercourse, or by its making or stopping a ditch. The Board shall give reasonable notice to the petitioner and to the railroad corporation and to any other parties having an interest in the subject matter of the complaint, of the time and place of hearing thereon, and such notice shall be given by registered or certified mail or by personal delivery. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 61.)
§ 3649. Order of Board
After hearing, the Board may make a written order requiring the corporation to construct or maintain in good repair such fence, cattle guard, or farm crossing, or to make or alter such watercourse or ditch, or to remove such impediment to the same, within such time as it may fix. Such corporation shall not be required to open a ditch while the ground is frozen, nor to alter the natural course of or do any act in regard to a watercourse which it is not legally bound to do, nor to comply with such order until ten days after being served with a copy thereof. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
§ 3650. Penalty
Unless the Board has extended the time for cause shown, a railroad corporation failing to comply with such order for more than 20 days after the time fixed therefor by the Board, shall be fined not more than $25.00 for each day's failure. Such corporation shall be further liable to the party aggrieved for the damages he or she sustains in consequence of such failure. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961.)
- Subchapter 005: Bridges, Tracks, Stations, and Equipment
§ 3670. Clearance standards; variance
(a) No person shall construct, alter, or permit construction or alteration of a railroad track, railroad bridge, or structure over or adjacent to any railroad track unless the clearances provided equal or exceed the minimum standards set forth in the American Railway Engineering Association's Manual for Railway Engineering, as in effect at the time work begins.
(b) Subject to the approval of the Transportation Board, a variance from the standards established by this section may be established by written agreement of the Agency of Transportation, all involved railroad companies and any affected municipality.
(c) If the parties are unable to agree on a variance request, the Transportation Board, after notice and hearing, may grant a variance from the standards established by this section if the Board determines that:
(1) the Agency of Transportation, all involved railroad companies, and any affected municipality have had an opportunity to review and comment on the variance request;
(2) granting the variance will not significantly impair the safe, efficient, continuous movement of freight, passengers, and railroad equipment on the State's railroad system or the safe, efficient performance of railroad maintenance operations; and
(3) the costs and impacts associated with meeting the clearance standards established by this section would exceed any public benefits reasonably likely to flow from adhering to such standards.
(d) Notwithstanding this section, tracks, bridges, and structures lawfully in existence or already under construction before July 1, 1990 may continue to be used and repaired, provided that clearances are not further reduced. (Added 1989, No. 246 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; amended 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 62; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)
§ 3671. Destruction of weeds and thistles
A person or corporation operating a railroad in this State shall cause all thistles and noxious weeds growing within the surveyed boundaries of such railroad to be cut and destroyed before August 1 in each year. (Amended 1969, No. 97, § 1.)
§ 3672. Repealed. 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.
§ 3673. Vegetation control
A railroad shall take reasonable measures to control vegetation that is both on railroad property and on or immediately adjacent to the roadbed, so that the vegetation does not obstruct a highway user's view of traffic control devices at a grade crossing or of a train approaching the crossing. (Amended 1969, No. 97, § 4; 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.)
§ 3674. Enforcement
If a railroad fails to control vegetation as required by section 3671 or 3673 of this title within 30 days after written notice is given by the selectboard of the town in which the vegetation is located or by the Agency in the case of violations involving a State highway grade crossing, the Transportation Board, upon application by the town or the Agency and after notice and hearing, may order the railroad to perform the work. Any such order shall specify a date by which the work must be completed. If the railroad fails to comply with the Board's order, the Board may impose a civil penalty of $100.00 against the railroad for each day that the railroad fails to comply with the Board's order. (Amended 1969, No. 97, § 3; 2017, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)
- Subchapter 006: Schedules, Charges, and Facilities
§ 3694. Rebate on fare paid on train; penalty
A railroad corporation and its agents or employees shall not demand or receive for a single ticket bought or fare paid, on a train or elsewhere than at its ticket office, more than ten cents in excess of the tariff rate charged at its ticket office. When such excess is received, the conductor or other person receiving it shall give to the passenger a certificate which shall entitle him or her to receive the excess so paid at any station of the corporation in exchange for such certificate, if presented for redemption at any time within 30 days from the day of issue. A person or corporation that violates a provision of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00 nor less than $10.00 for each offense.
§ 3695. Equal charges and facilities; long and short haul
A railroad corporation whose railroad is located in the State shall not charge a larger sum for the transportation of freight, merchandise, or passengers thereon for a less distance, to or from a way station on such road, than is charged for a greater distance. In case of a violation of this provision, the excess so charged may be recovered from such corporation, by the party aggrieved, in an action on this statute, with costs.
§ 3696. Special rates; fairs and schools
Railroad companies may transport at special and reduced rates, to and from a public agricultural exhibition or fair, animals or other property to be exhibited there publicly, and may transport at special and reduced rates, to and from schools and other institutions of learning in this State, students there attending, provided that such rates shall be available to all who exhibit at such exhibitions or fairs or attend such schools or other institutions of learning.
§ 3697. Equal and reasonable facilities
A person or corporation operating a railroad shall give to all persons reasonable and equal terms, benefits, facilities, and accommodations for the transportation of themselves, their agents and servants, and of merchandise and other property, upon such railroad, and for the use of the depots, buildings, and grounds thereof, and, at any point where such railroad connects with another railroad, reasonable and equal facilities of interchange.
§ 3698. Connecting roads not to charge more for short than long distance; exception
Two or more corporations whose roads connect shall not charge or receive for the transportation of freight to any station on the road of either of them a greater sum than is, at the time, charged or received for the transportation of the like class and quantity of freight from the same original point of departure to a station at a greater distance on the road of either in the same direction. This section shall not be construed as affecting the right of any railroad corporation to establish such rates on freights shipped over its line in carload lots from points outside the State to points beyond the State as may seem for its best interests, and the sum charged or received for the transportation of freight shall include all terminal charges.
§ 3699. Penalty; excursion tickets
A person or corporation violating a provision of sections 3697 and 3698 of this title shall be liable to the party aggrieved for all damages sustained by reason of such violation, in an action on this statute. However, such sections shall not be so construed as to prevent the issuing of excursion, mileage, and commutation tickets.
§ 3700. Installation of telephone in stations
Each railroad corporation doing business in this State shall grant to every person, firm, joint stock company, or corporation operating a public telephone line in the State and having at least 500 telephone connections, equal and reasonable terms, arrangements, and facilities for the installation of telephone instruments on the lines, or connected with the telephone system of such person, firm, joint stock company, or corporation, in all depots, station houses, or offices of such railroad corporation in the State. A railroad corporation that violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 and shall be further liable in an action on this statute, for damages to the party injured thereby.
- Subchapter 007: Operating Railroads
§ 3720. Repealed. 1995, No. 183 (Adj. Sess.), § 9b, eff. May 22, 1996.
§ 3721. Badges
A conductor, baggage master, engineer, brakeman, or other servant of a railroad corporation employed in a passenger train or at stations for passengers shall wear upon his or her hat or cap a badge, which shall indicate his or her office, and the initial letters of the name of the corporation by which he or she is employed. An officer without such badge shall not demand or be entitled to receive from any passenger any fare, toll, or ticket; or interfere with a passenger or his or her baggage or property; or exercise any of the powers of his or her office.
§ 3722. Baggage checks
Baggage masters and station agents on railroads shall give checks when requested so to do, to the owners of baggage who hold tickets, when delivered to them for the transportation from station to station. Such checks shall be returned to the baggage master or station agent when he or she delivers the baggage to the owner. A person or corporation operating a railroad whose officers or employees do not comply with the requirements of this section shall be fined $10.00, and shall also be liable for damages which accrue in consequence thereof.
§ 3723. Ejectment of passenger from train
When a passenger in a train refuses to pay his or her fare or toll or to comply with the reasonable regulations of the corporation for the government of passengers, or is disorderly or intoxicated, the conductor of the train and the employees of the corporation may put him or her out of the cars at the nearest regular station on such railroad, causing the train to be stopped for that purpose. Conductors, agents, employees, or other officials of a railroad corporation shall not forcibly eject or cause to be ejected or put out of a train any passenger for nonpayment of fare or for being disorderly or intoxicated, except at a regular station on such railroad.
§ 3724. Liability for damages
A person or corporation running trains on any railroad in this State and the conductors, agents, employees, or other officers of such railroad shall be responsible for all injury and damage to persons or property arising by reason of noncompliance with or a violation of the requirements of section 3723 of this title, to be recovered in an action on this statute.
§ 3725. Refusal to pay fare; penalty
A person entering as a passenger upon a railroad train and refusing to pay his fare shall be fined not more than $20.00 nor less than $2.00.
§ 3726. Running out of time; penalty
A conductor, engineer, or other person having the control of an engine or train of cars, who runs such engine or train of cars or allows the same to be run upon a section of railroad, at the time designated for any other engine or train of cars to run upon such section in an opposite direction, without notice and authorization from the conductor, engineer, train dispatcher, or other person having control of the movement of the last mentioned engine or train of cars shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 nor less than $100.00.
§ 3727. Only company's engines to be run on road; penalty
A locomotive, engine, or other power shall not run upon a railroad, except such as belong to and are controlled by the person or corporation owning and managing the road, unless by the consent of such person or corporation. An engineer or other person violating the provisions of this section shall be liable to the person or corporation for the damages thereby sustained, and shall be fined not more than $500.00. If a collision of trains results from the violation of this section, whereby a person is killed, such engineer or other person shall be guilty of manslaughter. This section shall not be enforced when it conflicts with the charter of a railroad corporation organized under the laws of this State.
§ 3728. Employ of person using alcohol; penalty; damages
When a railroad corporation employs or retains in its service a conductor, engineer, brakeman, switchman, semaphore operator or other signalman, train dispatcher, or telegraph operator who receives train orders, who uses alcohol as a beverage, such fact being known to the president, superintendent, or any of the directors of such road, such corporation shall be fined not more than $3,000.00 nor less than $300.00. Such corporation shall also be liable for the damages which a person sustains by the employment or retention of such employee. (Amended 2017, No. 83, § 161(1).)
§ 3729. Use of alcohol by employee; penalty
A person named in section 3728 of this title who, while in control of the movement of an engine, train, electric car, or semaphore, or while engaged in the discharge of any duty relating to his or her employment, is intoxicated, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both. (Amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2017, No. 83, § 161(1).)
§ 3730. Negligence of employee; penalty
An engineer, fireman, or other agent of a railroad who is guilty of negligence or carelessness, whereby an injury is done to a person or corporation, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. This section shall not exempt a person or corporation from an action for damages. (Amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)
§ 3731. Property held for injuries on road
When the property or person of another is injured through the default of a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad, or the agents or employees thereof, the cars, engines, and other property which, at the time of such injury, are subject to use in the running and management of such road, and which have, at any time, been owned by such person or corporation, shall be held to be the property of the person or corporation for the purpose of furnishing indemnity for such injury, and may be attached and levied upon as such at the action of the party injured.
§ 3732. Damages for fire communicated by engine
A person or corporation owning or operating a railroad shall be responsible in damages for injury to a building or other property caused by fire communicated by a locomotive engine on such road, unless due caution and diligence are used and suitable expedients employed to prevent such injury. The person or corporation shall have an insurable interest in the property along its route, and may procure insurance thereon.
§ 3733. Repealed. 2007, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 47.
§ 3734. Trespass on railroad property; penalty
(a) Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) "Passenger" means a person traveling by train with lawful authority and who does not participate in the train's operation. The term "passenger" does not include a stowaway.
(2) "Railroad" means any form of nonhighway ground transportation that runs on rails or electromagnetic guideways. "Railroad" does not include rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.
(3) "Railroad carrier" means a person providing railroad transportation.
(4)(A) "Railroad property" means the following property owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier or used in its rail operations:
(i) a right-of-way, track, yard, station, shed, or depot;
(ii) a train, locomotive, engine, car, work equipment, rolling stock, or safety device; and
(iii) a "railroad structure," which means a bridge, tunnel, viaduct, trestle, culvert, abutment, communication tower, or signal equipment.
(B) "Railroad property" does not include inactive railroad property of the Twin State Railroad.
(5) "Right-of-way" means the track and roadbed owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier and property located on either side of the tracks that is readily recognizable to a reasonable person as being railroad property or is reasonably identified as such by fencing or appropriate signs.
(6) "Yard" means a system of parallel tracks, crossovers, and switches where railroad cars are switched and made up into trains, and where railroad cars, locomotives, and other rolling stock are kept when not in use or when awaiting repairs.
(b) Trespassing on railroad property prohibited. Except for the purpose of crossing railroad property at a public highway or other authorized crossing, a person shall not, without lawful authority or the railroad carrier's written permission, knowingly enter or remain upon railroad property by an act including:
(1) standing, sitting, resting, walking, jogging, or running, or operating a recreational or nonrecreational vehicle, including a bicycle, motorcycle, snowmobile, car, or truck; or
(2) engaging in recreational activity, including bicycling, hiking, camping, or cross-country skiing.
(c) Stowaways prohibited. A person shall not, without lawful authority or the railroad carrier's written permission, ride on the outside of a train or inside a passenger car, locomotive, or freight car, including a box car, flatbed, or container.
(d) Persons not subject to ticketing. The following is a nonexhaustive list of persons who, for the purposes of this section, are not subject to ticketing for trespass under subsections (b) and (c) of this section:
(1) passengers on trains, or employees of a railroad carrier while engaged in the performance of their official duties;
(2) police officers, firefighters, peace officers, and emergency response personnel, while engaged in the performance of their official duties;
(3) a person going upon railroad property in an emergency to rescue from harm a person or animal such as livestock, pets, or wildlife, or to remove an object that the person reasonably believes to pose an imminent hazard;
(4) a person on the station grounds or in the depot of the railroad carrier as a passenger or for the purpose of transacting lawful business;
(5) a person, or the person's family or invitee, or the person's employee or independent contractor going upon a railroad's right-of-way for the purpose of crossing at a private crossing site approved by the railroad carrier or authorized by law in order to obtain access to land that the person owns, leases, or operates;
(6) a person who has permission from the owner, lessee, or operator of land served by a private crossing site approved by the railroad carrier or authorized by law, to use the crossing for recreational purposes and who enters upon the crossing for such purposes;
(7) a person having written permission from the railroad carrier to go upon the railroad property in question;
(8) representatives of the Transportation Board or Agency of Transportation while engaged in the performance of their official duties;
(9) representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration while engaged in the performance of their official duties;
(10) representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board while engaged in the performance of their official duties; or
(11) a person who enters or remains in a railroad right-of-way, but not within a rail yard or on a railroad structure, while lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, or trapping; however, a person shall not be exempt from ticketing under this subdivision if he or she enters within an area extending eight feet outward from either side of the rail and within the rail unless he or she crosses and leaves this area quickly, safely, and at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the rail.
(e) Rights, duties unaffected. Nothing in this section is intended to modify the rights, duties, liabilities, or defenses available to any person under any other law or under a license or agreement.
(f) Penalty. A violation of this section is a traffic violation as defined in 23 V.S.A. chapter 24 and an action under this section shall be brought in accordance with 4 V.S.A. chapter 29. A person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $200.00. (Amended 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)
§ 3735. Repealed. 2015, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.
- Subchapter 008: Railroad Police
§ 3755. Commissions
Upon petition of a person or corporation owning or operating a railroad, the Commissioner of Public Safety may, subject to the provisions of section 3757 of this subchapter, commission any employees of the railroad as the person or corporation designates to act as police officers in and upon the premises and equipment owned, managed, or used by a railroad, shall issue commissions to the employees so commissioned, and shall have the authority to rescind such commissions. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1; amended 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. July 1, 2015.)
§ 3756. Oath of office
Each police officer so commissioned shall, before entering upon the duties of his or her office, take an oath of office administered by the Commissioner of Public Safety or his or her designee. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3757. Qualifications
Persons commissioned pursuant to section 3755 of this subchapter shall be subject to minimum training standards established by rule of the Vermont Criminal Justice Council pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 151. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1; amended 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. July 1, 2015.)
§ 3758. Powers
Railroad police commissioned pursuant to this subchapter shall have the authority to act as police in and upon the premises and equipment owned, managed, or used by a railroad, and in all cases in which the rights of the employing or another railroad are involved, to exercise within this State all the powers of a law enforcement officer, including the powers of arrest and the carrying of firearms. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3759. Arrest; place of arraignment and trial
When a criminal offense occurs on a moving train, arraignment and trial of any suspected offender shall take place in the county or territorial unit in which the offense occurred. When arrest and continued custody by railroad police are necessary and allowed by the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure, railroad police may detain a person arrested on a moving train until the next regular stop for the train on which they are traveling. The person shall then be removed from the train and delivered to the appropriate authorities. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3760. Carrying of badge
Railroad police commissioned pursuant to this subchapter shall, when on duty, carry a badge with the words "Railroad Police" or "Railway Police," and the name of the employing railroad inscribed thereon. The badge shall be worn in plain view when the police officer is in uniform. The police shall also carry, when on duty, an identification card issued by the employing railroad. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3761. Compensation; liability of employer
The compensation and cost of training, including minimum basic training, of railroad police shall be paid by the person or corporation upon whose petition they are appointed. The person or corporation shall be liable to parties aggrieved by the official misconduct of the railroad police to the same extent as they are for the torts of other agents and employees of the railroad. The State of Vermont shall not be liable for the acts or omissions of railroad police appointed under this subchapter. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3762. Reciprocity
In order to more effectively carry out the purposes of this subchapter, the Governor of this State, referred to as the empowering state, may enter into a reciprocal agreement with the governor of any other state, referred to as the reciprocal state, empowering railroad police, subject to any regulations prescribed under such agreement, with the right to perform any police function that can be lawfully exercised by a police officer of the reciprocal state relating to the detection and apprehension of any person committing an offense against the empowering or the reciprocal state, but only to the extent that the offense is committed on or against property owned, operated, or maintained by the employing or another railroad. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1.)
§ 3763. Termination of authority
Upon termination of employment as a railroad police officer of any person commissioned pursuant to this subchapter, the person's commission shall be automatically rescinded and his or her powers as a police officer shall terminate. Within 10 days after the termination, the employing railroad shall file a notice of the termination with the Commissioner of Public Safety and the Vermont Criminal Justice Council. The State of Vermont shall not be responsible for the supervision, discipline, or decision to terminate the employment of persons commissioned as railroad police officers under this subchapter. (Added 1981, No. 104, § 1; amended 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. July 1, 2015.)