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Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 5 : Aeronautics and Surface Transportation Generally

Chapter 068 : CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF THE ROAD

Subchapter 007 : OPERATING RAILROADS

(Cite as: 5 V.S.A. § 3734)
  • § 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.)