Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Subtitle .
Chapter 13. Railroad Corporations
12/9/2022

Chapter 13. Railroad Corporations.

Article 1. Creation, Changes of Corporate Structure, Etc.

§ 56-339. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-345. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-345.1. Notice; consolidation, merger, abandonments, or discontinuances.

Any railroad company operating in the Commonwealth that submits an application to the federal government for consolidation, merger, abandonment, or discontinuance shall, contemporaneously with such application, notify the Commission and the Governor of such action.

1996, cc. 114, 157.

Article 2. Powers.

§ 56-346. Certain powers conferred by law on railroad corporations.

In addition to the powers conferred by Title 13.1, every corporation of this Commonwealth organized to conduct a railroad business shall have power to cause to be made such examinations and surveys for its proposed railroad as are necessary to the selection of the most advantageous route or routes, or for the improvement or straightening of its line or change of location, for constructing or providing additional tracks or facilities or for any other work or thing mentioned in § 56-347; and for such purposes, by its officers and servants, to enter upon the lands or waters of any person, but subject to responsibility for all damages that may be done thereto.

Code 1919, § 3857; 1920, p. 305; 1944, p. 534; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 3857a; 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-347. Power of condemnation; limitation.

In addition to the powers conferred by Title 13.1, every corporation of this Commonwealth organized to conduct a railroad business shall have the power to acquire by the exercise of the right of eminent domain any lands or estates or interests therein, sand, earth, gravel, water or other material, structures, rights-of-way, easements or other interests in lands, including lands under water and riparian rights, of any person, which are deemed necessary for the purposes of construction, reconstruction, alteration, straightening, relocation, operation, maintenance, improvement or repair of its lines, facilities or works including depots, stations, shops, yards, industrial spurs, switches and sidetracks, terminals or additional tracks or facilities, and for all other necessary railroad purposes and purposes incidental thereto, for its use in serving the public, including permanent, temporary, continuous, periodical or future use, whenever such corporation cannot agree upon the terms of purchase or settlement with any such person because of the incapacity of such person or because of the inability to agree on the compensation to be paid or other terms of settlement or purchase, or because any such person cannot with reasonable diligence be found or is unknown or is a nonresident of the Commonwealth, or is unable to convey valid title to such property. Such proceedings shall be conducted in the manner provided by Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1 and shall be subject to the provisions of § 25.1-102. Provided, however, such corporation shall not take by condemnation proceedings a strip of land for its right-of-way within sixty feet of the dwelling house of any person except (a) when the court having jurisdiction of the condemnation proceeding finds, after notice of motion to be granted authority to do so to the owner of such dwelling house, given in the manner provided in §§ 25.1-209, 25.1-210, and 25.1-212, and a hearing thereon, that it would otherwise be impractical, without unreasonable expense, to construct the proposed works of the corporation at another location; or (b) in case of occupancy of the streets or alleys, public or private, of any county, city or town, in pursuance of permission obtained from the board of supervisors of such county or the corporate authorities of such city or town; or (c) in case of occupancy of the highways of this Commonwealth or of any county, in pursuance of permission obtained from the authorities having jurisdiction over such highways.

Code 1919, § 3857; 1920, p. 307; 1944, p. 536; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 3857a; 1956, c. 435; 1962, c. 221; 2003, c. 940.

§ 56-348. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-349. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-352. Railroad to have an insurable interest in property along its route.

Every railroad company is hereby invested with an insurable interest in the property upon the route operated by it, and may procure insurance thereupon in its own behalf for protection against any damage to such property by fire or otherwise, for which such company shall or might be liable.

Code 1919, § 4018.

§ 56-353. Railroad company may appoint police agents.

The president or any other executive officer of any railroad company incorporated by this Commonwealth may, with the approval of the circuit court of any county or the corporation court of any city through which the road passes or has its chief office, appoint one or more police agents, who shall have authority in all cases in which the rights of such railroad company are involved to exercise within the Commonwealth all powers which can be lawfully exercised by any police officer for the preservation of the peace, the arrest of offenders and disorderly persons, and for the enforcement of laws against crimes; and such president or other executive officer may remove any such agent at his pleasure; but, any court giving such consent may at any time revoke it.

Code 1919, § 3944; 1930, p. 787.

§ 56-354. Conductors, etc., to be conservators of the peace.

Conductors and engineers of railroad passenger trains, and station and depot agents, shall be conservators of the peace. Each shall have the same power to make arrests that other conservators of the peace have except that the conductors and engineers of passenger trains shall only have such power on board their respective trains and on the property of their companies while on duty and the agents at their respective places of business. Conductors, engineers, and agents may cause any person so arrested by them to be detained and delivered to the proper authorities for trial as soon as practicable.

Code 1919, § 3944; 1930, p. 788; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

Article 3. Extensions; Connections; Crossing Other Railroads, Roads, Etc.

§ 56-355. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-355.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2015, c. 256, cl. 9.

§ 56-355.2. Definitions.

"Public road authority" as used in this chapter means any appropriate governing body which has responsibility for the construction and maintenance of public highways.

"Overpass" as used in this chapter means a grade separation structure in which the public highway passes above and across the railroad.

"Underpass" as used in this chapter means the railroad passes above and across the public highway.

"Highway" as used in this chapter means any public highway, road, or street maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation or for which maintenance payments are made pursuant to §§ 33.2-319 and 33.2-366.

1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-356. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-359. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-362. Right of railroad to cross watercourse, intervening railroad, etc.

Any railroad corporation created or doing business under the laws of this Commonwealth, which shall have fully located the route of its railway, may, in the construction of such railway on such route, cross any canal, navigable stream, or watercourse between its termini, but in such manner as not unreasonably to impede the navigation and use thereof; and may also cross any railway or railroad intervening, in the manner and upon the terms prescribed by §§ 56-17 to 56-32, and 56-363.

Code 1919, § 3999; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-363. Crossing of a railroad or public highway by another railroad; crossing of a railroad by a public highway.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Commonwealth that all crossings of one railroad by another, or a public highway by a railroad, or a railroad by a public highway, shall, wherever reasonably practicable, pass above or below the existing facility. And every railroad hereafter constructed across another railroad or across a public highway, and every public highway hereafter constructed across a railroad, shall, wherever it is reasonably practicable, and does not involve an unreasonable expense, all the circumstances of the case considered, pass above or beneath the existing structure at a sufficient elevation or depression, as the case may be, with easy grades, so as to admit of safe speedy travel over each.

If constructing a crossing either above or below the existing structure is not practical and involves an unreasonable expense, the responsible governing body constructing a new public crossing at grade, in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall take precautions to provide for the safe movement of traffic. It is the policy of the Commonwealth to limit the number of new public at grade crossings and to eliminate unnecessary crossings.

Code 1919, § 3972; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-364. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-365.1. Closing and or consolidation of grade crossings.

Whenever the public safety requires that an existing crossing of a railroad by a public highway at grade be eliminated or that multiple grade crossings be consolidated, either the public road authority or the affected railroad may petition the Commonwealth Transportation Board to provide funding for and to require the elimination of the existing grade crossing as a condition of participating in the funding. Upon a finding that the public safety requires elimination of the existing grade crossing, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board funds are available for the improvement, the Commonwealth Transportation Board may order the elimination of the crossing or the consolidation of multiple grade crossings. The affected railroad may contribute to the cost of eliminating or consolidating grade crossings. The Commonwealth may apply for, receive, and contribute any available federal or other funds for the elimination or consolidation of grade crossings.

1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-366. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1952, c. 398.

§ 56-366.1. Proceedings to avoid or eliminate grade crossings by grade separation or to widen, strengthen, remodel, relocate or replace existing crossing structures on public highways.

Whenever a road in the primary or secondary state highway system or a public highway maintained by a locality (i) crosses a railroad, (ii) is projected across a railroad, or (iii) is to be so changed as to cross a railroad, or an existing overpass or underpass crossing of any such road and a railroad is in need of widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing, and funds are (or are to be) allocated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board or public road authority for payment of the locality's or state's portion of the cost of constructing such an overpass or underpass structure or for widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing such an existing structure, the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the public road authority may agree with the railroad company or companies involved, on such terms and conditions as he shall deem in the best interests of the Commonwealth or locality regarding the plans and specifications, the method and manner of construction and the division of costs and maintenance responsibility of any such separation of grade structure. In case of a separation of grade by structure at a new, or an existing, grade crossing, the project, except in special cases and under special circumstances to be mutually agreed upon by the Commissioner of Highways, the public road authority, and the railroad company or companies involved, shall be deemed to start at points on each side of the tracks of the railroad or railroads where the grade, under the proposed plans and specifications, leaves the ground line to go over or under, as the case may be, the tracks of the railroad or railroads.

In the event the Commissioner of Highways, the public road authority, and the railroad company or companies involved are unable to agree on (i) the necessity for the construction of such underpass or overpass structure or for the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing of any existing overpass or underpass structure, (ii) the plans and specifications for and method or manner of construction thereof, or (iii) the portion of the work, if any, to be done and the share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by each of the railroad company or companies involved, the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority shall petition the State Corporation Commission setting forth the plans and specifications for and the method and manner of construction of such project and the facts which in his opinion justify the elimination of the crossing, the erection of a new separation of grade structure or the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing of an existing structure and the maintenance responsibility. Copies of the petition and the plans and specifications shall forthwith be served by the State Corporation Commission on the railroad company or companies involved. Within twenty days after service on it of such petition and plans and specifications, the railroad company or companies shall file an answer with the State Corporation Commission setting out its objections to the proposed project and the Commission shall hear and determine the matter as other matters are heard and determined by that body. The Commission shall consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and shall determine (a) whether public necessity and convenience justifies or requires the construction of such new separation of grade structure or whether an existing structure is so dangerous to or insufficient to take care of traffic on the highway as to require the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing proposed, (b) whether the plans and specifications or method and manner of construction are proper and appropriate, and (c) what portion of the work, if any, to be done and what share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by each of the railroad company or companies involved (excluding the cost of right-of-way) is fair and reasonable, having regard to the benefits, if any, accruing to such railroad or railroads from the elimination of such grade crossing or the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing any existing overpass or underpass structure, and either dismiss the proceeding as against the railroad company or companies involved or enter an order deciding and disposing of all of the matters hereinbefore submitted to its jurisdiction.

Grade crossings shall be closed when replaced by a new public highway. However, the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the public road authority may authorize the continued use of the crossing for a period of two years following the construction of the new highway to familiarize the public with the new route.

1952, c. 398; 1996, cc. 114, 157; 2015, c. 256.

§ 56-366.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-366.3. Proceedings to alter, rebuild or replace existing grade separation structure destroyed or rendered unusable.

In the event an existing overpass or crossing over a railroad is destroyed or rendered unusable or otherwise becomes necessary to alter, rebuild, or replace, which overpass or crossing is maintained by a railroad company, such company shall immediately notify the Commissioner of Highways, or the public road authority of its intent to formulate plans for such alteration, rebuilding, or replacement. The Commissioner or the public road authority shall, as soon as practicable after receipt of such notice, determine if, in consideration of the needs of the state systems of highways, the work to be done on such existing separation structure should encompass any upgrading of such overpass. Upon reaching such decision, the Commissioner or the public road authority shall forthwith notify the company thereof.

If the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority determines that upgrading is not necessary, the company, within six months of notice thereof, shall, in consultation with the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority, formulate and submit plans to the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority for the necessary work. As soon as the plans are submitted the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority shall review the same and after determining the plans are satisfactory, shall notify the railroad to begin construction by a specified date and to complete such construction within a specified time limit after considering public safety, convenience and necessity and the amount, nature and extent of the planned construction. All costs of necessary work, including formulation of plans, where upgrading is not necessary, shall be borne by the company. In the event there is a disagreement as to the design, method of construction and date of completion, such dispute shall be resolved under the procedural provisions of § 56-366.1.

If the Commissioner or public road authority determines that upgrading is necessary or desirable, the same procedure for coordination with the company shall apply except that the parties may agree that the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority formulate, and execute plans for such work, in consultation with such company. Disputes as to matters in this regard, including allocation of cost, shall also be resolved by petition to the State Corporation Commission and any new overpass shall be maintained in accordance with § 56-368.1.

When it is necessary only to repair any overpass, maintained by such railroad, the railroad shall perform all work and bear all costs in connection therewith.

All duties under this section shall be performed as expeditiously as possible. Nothing herein shall be construed in any way to limit the authority of the Commissioner or representative of the public road authority over public highways and overpasses.

1977, c. 443; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-367. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1952, c. 398.

§ 56-368.1. Subsequent maintenance of underpasses and overpasses.

After the work specified in §§ 56-366.1 and 56-366.3 regarding underpasses and overpasses has been done, the maintenance, including drainage, of any underpass hereafter so constructed, except the pavement thereof, shall be the sole responsibility of the railroad company and the maintenance of any overpass hereafter so constructed shall be the sole responsibility of the Department of Transportation or the public road authority; provided, that the railroad company shall not be responsible for any damage to an underpass caused by operations on the highway, and the Department of Transportation or the public road authority shall not be responsible for any damage to an overpass caused by the operations of the railroad company; and further provided, that the provisions herein as to maintenance of overpasses and underpasses shall also be construed as applicable in the case of those structures previously built on the primary system under agreement between the railroad company and the Department of Transportation or the public road authority; and further provided that the provisions herein as to maintenance by a railroad company shall not be applicable in the case of any underpass hereafter constructed without eliminating a crossing of a railroad and a highway grade, but the maintenance of such structures, including highway drainage and pavement therefor, shall be the sole responsibility of the Department of Transportation or the public road authority.

1924, p. 147; 1926, p. 399; 1930, p. 75; 1934, p. 265; Michie Code 1942, § 3974a; 1948, p. 1003; 1962, c. 538; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-369. Elimination of public grade crossings by change of alignment of public highways or construction of replacement public highways.

Whenever the Commissioner of Highways or the appropriate public road authority in improving the alignment of public highways proposes to change the alignment of the highway or construct a replacement public highway and thereby permanently eliminate as a public crossing one or more crossings of a railroad at grade, he may agree with the railroad company involved, on such terms and conditions as he or the representative of the public road authority shall deem in the best interest of the Commonwealth or locality regarding the plans and specifications, the method and manner of construction and the division of costs of so changing the alignment of the highway. Grade crossings shall be closed when replaced by a new public highway. However, the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the public road authority may authorize the continued use of the crossing for a period of two years following the construction of the new public highway to familiarize the public with the new route.

In the event the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority and the railroad company are unable to agree (i) on the necessity for such change in the alignment of the highway, or (ii) the plans and specifications for the method and manner of construction thereof, or (iii) the portion of the work, if any, to be done and the share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by the railroad company involved, the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority shall petition the State Corporation Commission setting forth the plans and specifications for the method and manner of changing the alignment of the public highway and the facts which, in his opinion, justify the proposed elimination as a public crossing of one or more crossings of the railroad at grade. Copies of the petition and the plans and specifications shall forthwith be served by the State Corporation Commission on the railroad company involved. Within twenty days after service on it of such petition and plans and specifications, the railroad company involved shall file an answer with the State Corporation Commission setting out its objections to the proposed project and the Commission shall hear and determine the matter as other matters are heard and determined by that body. The Commission shall consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and shall determine (a) whether public necessity and convenience justifies or requires the proposed change in the alignment of the highway which shall not, in respect to any particular project within the meaning of this section, exceed five miles in length, (b) whether the plans and specifications or method and manner of construction are proper and appropriate, and (c) what portion of the work, if any, to be done and what share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by the railroad company involved is fair and reasonable, having regard to the benefits, if any, accruing to such railroad from the elimination of such grade crossing or crossings, and either dismiss the proceeding as against the railroad company involved or enter an order deciding and disposing of all of the matters hereinbefore submitted to its jurisdiction, provided, however, that the share of the cost of such project which the Commission may find proper to be borne by the railroad under the provisions of this section, shall not exceed what the Commission might otherwise decide would be the proportion of the cost of constructing an overpass or underpass structure or structures at the point or points where such public grade crossing or crossings are to be eliminated.

1930, p. 891; Michie Code 1942, § 3974b; 1952, c. 399; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

Article 4. Duties.

§ 56-370. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 435.

§ 56-371. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-383. Railroad company may construct and maintain telegraph or telephone line.

Any railroad company may construct and maintain along the line of its improvement an electric telegraph or telephone for its own use and that of the public, and may make reasonable charges on messages and intelligence conveyed thereby.

Code 1919, § 3943.

§ 56-384. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

Article 5. Segregation of Races, Etc.

§ 56-390. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1970, c. 731.

Article 6. Highway Crossings.

§ 56-405. Railroad companies to maintain grade crossings of public highways and approaches; repair by Commissioner of Highways or public road authority; recovery of cost from railroad company.

At every crossing, now existing or hereafter established, of a public road by a railroad or of a railroad by a public highway at grade, it shall be the duty of the railroad company to keep such crossing in good repair to the full width of the public highway, and to maintain such crossing in a smooth condition so as to admit of reasonable and safe travel over the same, and it shall also be the duty of the railroad company to maintain and keep in good repair that portion of the highway located between points two feet on either side of the extreme rails. A railroad may request that a public highway be closed for grade crossing maintenance activities, and the representative of the Commissioner of Highways or the representative of the appropriate public road authority may approve such closing where a reasonable detour is available. Any railroad company violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $500.

The Commissioner of Highways or the representative of the public road authority, whenever he or it shall ascertain that any such crossing is not being properly maintained, shall notify the railroad company involved in writing to repair the crossing forthwith; the railroad company upon receipt of notice may request a conference on the condition of the crossing and the need, if any, for the repair of such crossing and such conference shall be held within thirty days after receipt of the Commissioner's or the public road authority's notice. After the conference if the Commissioner or the public road authority is of the opinion that such repairs are required and the railroad is not willing to proceed promptly with such repairs, he or the public road authority may repair the same or cause it to be repaired and recover from the railroad company the actual cost of such work including any administration and engineering cost.

If no conference is requested by the railroad company within the thirty-day period, the Commissioner or the public road authority with advance notice may repair the crossing or cause it to be repaired and recover from the railroad company the actual cost of such work including any administration and engineering cost.

In any action under this section to recover the cost of the repair of any such crossing, the need for, and reasonableness of, the repairs may be put in issue.

Nothing herein shall be construed as placing a duty on the railroad company to construct or reconstruct any such crossing in the event any such crossing is relocated or the highway approaches thereto are widened or reconstructed.

Code 1919, § 3973; 1952, c. 99; 1960, c. 544; 1968, c. 226; 1978, c. 214; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-405.01. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-405.02. Railroads to adjust certain public highways at grade crossings.

When adjustments are made to railway trackage grade which crosses public rights-of-way in use as a public highway or street in any locality, the railway company making such adjustments to their trackage shall also make initial adjustments to those public highways or streets so affected thereby to maintain a safe vertical relationship between trackage and street surfaces and to insure positive storm drainage such as existed prior to such repairs. After making such initial adjustments the responsibility for the continuing maintenance of the areas within such public highways and streets so adjusted shall be controlled by § 56-405.

The cost of all such initial street improvements necessitated by railway trackage adjustments shall be the responsibility of the railway company making such initial adjustments irrespective of whether or not the street improvements extended beyond railway right-of-way.

1984, c. 439; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-405.1. Agreements with Commissioner of Highways or public road authority representative for maintenance and repair of public grade crossings.

Whenever the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the appropriate public road authority determines that it is in the best interest of the public to assist a railroad in its grade crossing maintenance and repair activities, he is authorized to enter into an agreement with the railroad company for the repair or maintenance of any crossing of a railroad and a public highway or for the sale of materials to the railroad company for the repair and maintenance of any such crossing. Any such agreement shall provide for the railroad company to bear the cost of the repair or maintenance or material furnished and such other conditions as the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the appropriate public road authority deems necessary or advisable to protect the interest of the public.

1968, c. 175; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-405.2. Construction and maintenance of crossbucks.

Every railroad company shall cause signal boards, hereinafter referred to as crossbucks, well supported by posts or otherwise and approved by the Department of Transportation at such heights as to be easily seen by travelers from both directions of the public highway, and not obstructing travel, containing in capital letters, at least five inches high, the inscription "railroad crossing," to be placed, and constantly maintained, at each public highway at or near, and on both sides of, each place where it is crossed by the railroad at the same level. The requirements of this section in localities that maintain their own streets may be waived at specific crossings on the petition of any such company to both the Commissioner of Highways and the public road authority if both the Commissioner and the public road authority determine that any such crossing has or will have other adequate warning devices or that the placement of new crossbucks will not enhance the safety of the traveling public. Neither official action nor failure to act as hereinabove provided shall impair the power of the Commissioner or the public road authority to require crossbucks at specific public crossings should a subsequent determination of their need be made.

The cost of erecting crossbucks placed at a public highway for the first time or whenever the Commissioner or the public road authority determines an upgrade of the standards is required may be paid or supplemented from federal funds when available to the Department of Transportation for such purpose at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Highways. But the election of the Commissioner not to participate in such cost shall not relieve any company from the obligation of this section.

This section shall apply as to cities and towns in the case of new crossbucks beginning July 1, 1977.

1977, c. 226; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-405.3. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-406. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 226.

§ 56-406.1. Proceedings for installation and maintenance of automatically operated gates, signals and other automatic crossing warning devices.

Railroads shall cooperate with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation in furnishing information and technical assistance to enable the Commonwealth to develop plans and project priorities for the elimination of hazardous conditions at any crossing of a public highway which crosses at grade including, but not limited to, grade crossing elimination, reconstruction of existing grade crossings, and grade crossing improvements. The Commonwealth shall provide each locality a listing of grade crossing safety needs for its consideration. Information collected and analyses undertaken by the designated state agencies are subject to 23 U.S.C. § 409. A railroad shall not unilaterally select or determine the type of grade crossing warning system to be installed at any crossing of a public highway and railroad at grade. The railroad shall only install or upgrade a grade crossing warning system at any crossing of a public highway and railroad at grade pursuant to an agreement with the Virginia Department of Transportation or representative of the appropriate public road authority authorized to enter into such agreements. A railroad is not required but is permitted to upgrade, at its own expense, components of any public highway at grade warning system when such upgrade is incidental to a railroad improvement project relating to track, structures or train control systems.

When required by the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the appropriate public road authority, every railroad company shall cause a grade crossing warning device including flashing lights approved by the Department of Transportation at such heights as to be easily seen by travelers, and not obstructing travel, to be placed, and maintained at each public highway at or near each place where it is crossed by the railroad at the same level. Such warning device shall be automatically activated by the approaching train so as to be clearly discernible to travelers approaching the railroad crossing from each direction at a distance of two-hundred feet. Such warning devices shall be erected at the initiative of the appropriate public road authority only when required by ordinance or resolution adopted by the Commissioner or the appropriate public road authority thereof stating that such political subdivision will pay the full initial installation cost of such warning devices and that maintenance costs will be fixed as provided in § 56-406.2. A certified copy of such ordinance or resolution shall be delivered to such railroad company, and such railroad company shall forthwith install such warning devices at the full initial cost of such public road authority. The cost of such installation and maintenance of such warning devices may be shared by agreement between such railroad company and the Commissioner of Highways or the appropriate public road authority, when initiating such installation. The railroad shall be responsible for the continuing maintenance of the warning devices.

In the event that such Commissioner or representative of the appropriate public road authority and the railroad company or companies involved are unable to agree on (i) the necessity for such grade crossing warning device, or (ii) the plans and specifications for and the method and manner of construction or operation thereof, or (iii) the share of the cost of construction, if any, to be borne by the railroad company or companies involved, then the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the appropriate public road authority, as the case may be, shall petition the State Corporation Commission setting forth the grade crossing warning devices desired and the plans and specifications for and the method and manner of construction and operation of the devices desired and the facts which, in the opinion of the petitioner, justify the requiring of the same. Copies of the petition and plans and specifications shall be forthwith served by the State Corporation Commission on the railroad company or companies involved. Within twenty days after service on it of such petition and plans and specifications, each such railroad company shall file an answer with the State Corporation Commission setting out its objections to the proposed project, and the Commission shall hear and determine the matter as other matters are heard and determined by that body. The Commission shall consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and shall determine (a) whether public necessity justifies or requires the proposed warning devices, (b) whether the plans and specifications or the method and manner of construction and operation be proper and appropriate, and (c) what share of the cost of the project, if any, to be borne by any railroad company involved is fair and reasonable, having regard to the benefits, if any, accruing to such railroad company from providing such grade crossing warning devices, and either dismiss the proceeding as against such railroad company or enter an order deciding and disposing of all of the matters hereinbefore submitted to its jurisdiction.

1952, c. 400; 1954, c. 122; 1962, c. 527; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-406.2. Proceeding for fixing cost of maintaining such warning devices at public grade crossings.

Whenever any automatically operated gate, signal or other automatic crossing warning device has been or may hereafter be installed at any highway, road or street grade crossing by any railroad company, the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority may agree with the railroad company involved as to the division of the cost of the future maintenance of any such device or devices. The basis for the division of costs shall be determined by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation utilizing the calculated average maintenance cost of all previous warning device maintenance performed and documented by all railroads operating in Virginia. In the event that the Commissioner or the public road authority and the railroad company involved are unable to agree upon the share of the cost of maintenance of any such device or devices to be borne by the railroad company, if any, then such railroad company may file a petition with the State Corporation Commission setting forth the crossing protection provided at such crossing, the terms of the contract and/or the conditions of the order of said Commission or the public road authority under which it was constructed and installed and the estimated future annual cost of maintaining the same. Copies of such petition shall forthwith be served by the State Corporation Commission upon the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority who shall, within twenty days after service of such petition, file an answer thereto setting out reasons for declining to participate in the future cost of maintaining such warning device or devices as requested by the railroad company, and the Commission shall thereupon hear and determine the matter as other matters are heard and determined by that body. The Commission shall consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and shall determine what share of the cost of the future maintenance of such warning device or devices, if any, shall be borne by the railroad company and/or the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the public road authority, having regard to the benefits, if any, accruing to such railroad company from the continued maintenance of such protection of said public highway, road or street grade crossing, and either dismiss the proceeding or enter an order deciding and disposing of the matters therein submitted to its jurisdiction.

1956, c. 626; 1962, c. 528; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-407. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 164.

§ 56-408. Signs similar to crossing signs prohibited.

No device or sign which is in the form of a railroad crossing signboard shall be erected or permitted to remain on or near any of the public roads of this Commonwealth, except as required by § 56-405.2.

Any person who shall erect such a device or sign, as aforesaid, and every sign owner who shall permit such a device or sign to remain on or near the public roads of this Commonwealth, and every landowner or tenant in possession who shall knowingly permit such a sign to remain on his land in view of any public road, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than $5 nor more than $100.

1918, p. 128; Michie Code 1942, § 3985a; 1956, c. 164.

§ 56-409. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1954, c. 122.

§ 56-411. Removal of brush and trees from right-of-way.

Every railway company operating in this Commonwealth shall be required to clear from its right-of-way trees and brush for 100' on each side of public road crossings at grade when such trees or brush would otherwise obstruct the view of approaching trains.

Every railway company violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $500 for each offense, to be imposed by the State Corporation Commission after due notice and hearing upon the company or the employee so offending.

1918, p. 452; Michie Code 1942, § 3986a; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-412. When trains shall be stopped before getting to railroad crossing.

Whenever railroads cross each other on the same grade in this Commonwealth, the trains shall be brought to a full stop at least fifty feet before getting to the crossing.

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable where the crossings of such roads are regulated by derailing switches, or other safety appliances, which prevent collision at crossings, nor where a flagman or watchman is stationed, or signal tower is located, and signals that the trains may cross in safety.

Code 1919, § 3987.

§ 56-412.1. Railroad cars obstructing street or road; standing vehicle on railroad track.

It shall be unlawful for any railroad company, or any receiver or trustee operating a railroad, to obstruct for a longer period than five minutes the free passage on any street or road by standing cars or trains across the same, except a passenger train while receiving or discharging passengers, but a passway shall be kept open to allow normal flow of traffic; nor shall it be lawful to stand any wagon or other vehicle on the track of any railroad which will hinder or endanger a moving train; provided that when a train has been uncoupled, so as to make a passway, the time necessarily required, not exceeding three minutes, to pump up the air after the train has been recoupled shall not be included in considering the time such cars or trains were standing across such street or road. Any such railroad company, receiver or trustee, violating any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500; provided that the fine may be $100 for each minute beyond the permitted time but the total fine shall not exceed $500.

This section shall not apply when the train is stopped due to breakdown, mechanical failure or emergency.

1958, c. 242; 1976, c. 89.

§ 56-412.2. Ordinances conflicting with § 56-412.1.

No city, town or county shall adopt any ordinance, order or resolution in conflict with the provisions of § 56-412.1 and all ordinances, orders or resolutions of any city, town or county heretofore adopted in conflict with such section are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.

1958, c. 242.

§ 56-412.3. Maintenance of certain roadways by Buchanan County.

The Board of Supervisors of Buchanan County is hereby authorized to maintain roadways located within the right-of-way of railroads pursuant to an agreement between Buchanan County and the railroad. However, nothing in this section shall obligate Buchanan County or the railroad to enter into any such agreement, nor shall Buchanan County or the railroad be precluded from including in any agreement any term, condition, or other lawful contractual provision. Any agreement made between Buchanan County and a railroad shall result in the complete immunity of the railroad from suit for any acts of the County in maintaining the roadways within the right-of-way of the railroad. The Board of Supervisors of Buchanan County shall cause all such roadways to be appropriately posted to warn users of such roadways that they are present on such roadways at their own risk.

2010, c. 256.

Article 7. Safety Provisions.

§ 56-413. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-413.01. Locomotive and rail car standards.

All locomotives and rail cars operating over the tracks of a railroad company are subject to Federal Railroad Administration jurisdiction and shall be maintained in accordance with federal standards. Locomotives designed with spark arrestors shall be cleaned and maintained on a regularly scheduled basis.

1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-413.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-414. Bell and whistle or horn; when sounded.

Every railroad company shall provide each locomotive passing upon its road with a bell of ordinary size and steam whistle or horn, and such whistle or horn shall be sharply sounded outside cities and towns at least twice at a distance of not less than 300 yards nor more than 600 yards from the place where the railroad crosses upon the same level any public highway or crossing, and such bell shall be rung or whistle or horn sounded continuously or alternately until the locomotive has reached such highway crossing, and shall give such signals in cities and towns as their local governing bodies may require.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance require locomotives to sound their whistle upon approaching designated railroad trestles or bridges having lengths of 100 feet or more. Notice of any such requirement shall be given by registered mail to the registered agent of the railroad operating in the affected county, city, or town. Affected railroads shall comply with any such ordinance within 30 days of receiving the notice.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may, by ordinance adopted following a public hearing, petition the State Corporation Commission to enter an order, pursuant to the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, requiring locomotives to sound their whistle or horn at specifically identified private crossings in the same manner as required for public crossings. If the Commission should deem the blowing of the locomotive whistle at such private crossings to be necessary in the interest of safety under all relevant circumstances, then it shall enter an order. The affected railroad shall comply with the order within 90 days of receipt by its registered agent of notice sent by registered mail and the locality must first install stop signs on both sides of such private crossing, to be paid for by the locality or the landowner. The Commission may establish and collect a fee, not to exceed its actual costs, from applicants for an order to sound locomotive whistles pursuant to this section.

Code 1919, § 3958; 1950, p. 944; 1956, c. 164; 1993, c. 483; 2003, c. 287.

§ 56-415. Penalty for violation of § 56-414.

Every officer or employee of any railway company, whose duty it shall be to carry out any of the provisions of § 56-414 and shall fail to do so, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten dollars for each offense.

Code 1919, § 3960.

§ 56-416. Effect of failure to give statutory signals.

If the employees in charge of any railroad engine or train fail to give the signals required by law on approaching a grade crossing of a public highway not protected with an automatically operating gate, operating wigwag signal or other operating electrical or operating automatic crossing protection device, the fact that a traveler on such highway failed to exercise due care in approaching such crossing shall not bar recovery for an injury to or death of such traveler, nor for an injury to or the destruction of property in his charge, where such injury, death, or destruction results from a collision on such crossing between such engine or train and such traveler or the property in his charge, respectively; but the failure of the traveler to exercise such care may be considered in mitigation of damages.

Code 1919, § 3959; 1964, c. 621.

§ 56-417. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-417.1. Clearance to be provided in construction, etc., of railroad structures.

No railroad, nor any person, firm or corporation operating any railroad shall hereafter construct or erect any track, building, sign, guidepost, switch stand or structure of any kind unless there is sufficient clearance provided for the safety of any employee or servant in the normal and customary operations of such railroad or any part thereof. The State Corporation Commission may inspect any such track or structure of any railroad in this Commonwealth, and upon complaint, or on its own motion and after timely notice to the railroad company affected and a hearing thereon, by proper order or orders, may require any railroad to make such changes as may be found necessary to safeguard and preserve the safety of its employees, servants and the general public. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to any track, building, sign, guidepost, switch stand or structure of any kind in existence prior to January 1, 1953, nor to any private or industrial siding; provided, further, however, that any private or industrial siding constructed after January 1, 1953, shall, as far as practical, conform to the foregoing provisions.

1952, c. 710.

§ 56-418. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-419. Duplicate switch keys of railroads; unlawful making, etc.; punishment.

It shall be unlawful for any person to make, buy, sell, or give away to any other person any duplicate key to any lock belonging to, or in use by, any railroad company in this Commonwealth on its switches or switch tracks, except upon the written order of that officer of the railroad company whose duty it is to distribute and issue switch lock keys to the employees of such railroad company. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

Code 1919, § 4019.

§ 56-419.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-419.2. Safety requirements applicable to vehicles transporting railroad employees.

A. As used in this section "motor vehicle" shall mean any motor vehicle designed for highway use, owned or operated by a railroad, whether or not it is used on the highways of this Commonwealth.

B. No motor vehicle shall be used for transporting one or more railroad employees three miles or more to or from a work situs unless such motor vehicle is constructed and maintained so as to provide safe transportation for such employees.

C. The requirement of safe transportation as set out hereinabove shall include, but not be limited to, the construction and maintenance of motor vehicles so as:

1. To provide an enclosure providing full cover from the elements for all railroad employees being so transported. Such enclosure shall be heated.

2. To provide within said enclosure fixed seats with backs for all railroad employees being so transported.

3. To provide a means to effectively communicate to the driver of the motor vehicle the emergency needs of the railroad employees being so transported.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any motor vehicle when an emergency arises and such vehicle must be used to meet such an emergency.

E. The failure of any railroad company to correct any violation of this section within seven days from receipt of written notice thereof shall subject said company to the penalty provided by § 56-449; provided, however, any unsafe vehicle shall be removed immediately from service until repaired.

1977, c. 628.

§ 56-420. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 7.

Article 8. Rights-of-Way; Fires; Fences; Cattle Guards, Etc.

§ 56-426. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1984, c. 227.

§ 56-426.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 891.

§ 56-427. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-428. Railroads liable for damage from fires set out by their engines or trains.

Whenever any person sustains damage from fire occasioned by sparks or coals dropped or thrown from the engine or train of any railroad company, such company shall be liable for the damage so sustained, whether such fire originated on the company's right-of-way or not.

Code 1919, § 3992; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-429. Company to erect fences along roadbed; cattle guards, etc.

Upon the written request by certified mail to the registered agent of the railroad in question of any landowner whose land adjoins the railroad and whose land is otherwise enclosed for the purpose of maintaining livestock, every railroad company shall cause fences to be erected along its line and on both sides of its roadbed and shall keep such fences in proper repair. Such fence shall be adequate to enclose livestock. The owners of adjoining lands may connect their fences with such fences at such places as they may deem proper. In erecting such fences the company shall, at the termini of those portions of the roadbed which it is required to fence, and on each side of all public and private crossings, construct across its roadbed and keep in good repair cattle guards reasonably sufficient to turn all kinds of livestock, with which its fences shall be connected. Such cattle guards at private crossings may be dispensed with if the company erects sufficient gates and maintains them in good order.

Such fences shall be constructed on the request of the landowner, in writing, by certified mail, to the registered agent of such railroad. If the company refuses or fails, for 180 days after such request, to construct or maintain the fences at the place designated, the owner, having given ten days' notice in writing to such registered agent, may apply to the circuit court of the county or city in which any such point is located for the appointment of three disinterested freeholders, whose duty it shall be to go on the land and determine whether the proposed fence shall be constructed. Their decision shall be in writing, and shall be forthwith returned to and filed in the office of the clerk of such court. If such decision is that the fence ought to be constructed, the company shall, within sixty days thereafter, construct the same. Upon its failure so to do, it shall pay to the landowner fifty dollars for every day of such failure. Any style of fence approved by the State Corporation Commission shall, if properly constructed and maintained, be deemed a sufficient fence within the meaning of this chapter. Any delay in construction or maintenance caused by inclement weather, war, strikes, acts of God, national emergencies or failure of any local, state, or federal governmental agencies to grant permits shall extend the aforesaid period.

Any such company may erect gates or bars instead of the cattle guards required by this section, if, in the judgment of the company, the hazard to trains at such crossings requires gates or bars as a safeguard to life and property on the trains. If such fence, cattle guard or gate is destroyed or damaged due to the negligence of the landowner, the landowner shall be solely responsible for restoring or repairing such fence, cattle guard or gate.

The circuit court of the county or city wherein any such fence or cattle guard, or any portion thereof, is to be erected or built pursuant to this section shall have jurisdiction through its power to grant equitable relief to compel the erection of any such fence, or building of any such cattle guards along or adjoining lands or lots actually enclosed.

Code 1919, § 3946; 1994, c. 352.

§ 56-430. Construction of § 56-429; burden of proof.

Section 56-429, so far as it relates to fencing, shall not apply to any part of a railroad located within the corporate limits of a city or town, or between the terminals of switches, or spur tracks, not exceeding 350 yards from the depot, either way, nor to any part of a railroad at a place where there is a cut or embankment with sides sufficiently steep to prevent the passage of stock at such place; nor in an action by an adjacent owner to recover for stock killed or injured on the track shall it apply to a company which has compensated the owner for making and keeping in repair the necessary fencing, but the burden of proving the fact of such compensation shall be on the company, and no report of any commissioners shall be received as proof thereof, unless it shall plainly appear on the face of the report, or from other evidence in connection therewith, that an estimate was made by such commissioners for the fencing, and the expense for the same entered into, and constituted a part of the damages reported and actually paid.

Code 1919, § 3947.

§ 56-431. When company not liable for injury on enclosed track.

No railroad company shall be liable for any injury to any person or property on such part of its track as may be enclosed according to the provisions of this chapter, unless it be made to appear that the person or property was thereon by express permission of the company, or through the negligence of its employees, agents or servants, or unless the injury was willful or the result of gross negligence on the part of the company, its servants, agents, or employees.

Code 1919, § 3948.

§ 56-432. Liability for injury on track not enclosed.

In any action or suit against a railroad company for an injury to any property on any part of its tracks not enclosed according to the provisions of this chapter it shall not be necessary for the claimant to show that the injury was caused by the negligence of the company, its employees, agents, or servants.

Code 1919, § 3949.

§ 56-433. Cattle guards; remedy of aggrieved landowner; penalty.

Every railroad company whose road passes through any enclosed lands in this Commonwealth shall construct and keep in good order cattle guards reasonably sufficient to prevent the passage of livestock of every kind over such land, at any point where a fence may be necessary or proper, whether it is a division fence between contiguous farms or between different parcels or tracts belonging to the same person, or a fence along a public highway. Such cattle guards shall be constructed on the request of the landowner, in writing, by certified mail, to the registered agent of such railroad. If the company refuses or fails, for ninety days after such request, to construct or maintain the cattle guards at the place designated, the owner, having given ten days' notice in writing to the registered agent, may apply to the circuit court of the county or city in which any such point is located for the appointment of three disinterested freeholders, whose duty it shall be to go on the land and determine whether the proposed cattle guard shall be constructed. Their decision shall be in writing, and shall be forthwith returned to and filed in the office of the clerk of such court. If such decision is that the cattle guard ought to be constructed, the company shall, within ninety days thereafter, construct the same. Upon its failure so to do, it shall pay to the landowner fifty dollars for every day of such failure. Any style of cattle guard approved by the State Corporation Commission shall, if properly constructed and maintained, be deemed a sufficient cattle guard within the meaning of this chapter. Any delay in construction or maintenance caused by inclement weather, war, strikes, acts of God, national emergencies or failure of any local, state, or federal governmental agencies to grant permits shall extend the aforesaid period.

Code 1919, § 3950; 1994, c. 352.

§ 56-434. When cattle guards may be discontinued.

Every railroad company, after erecting the fences mentioned in § 56-429, may discontinue all cattle guards enclosed by such fences, except such as are provided for at public or private crossings, and in lieu thereof the owners of contiguous lands may connect their fences with those of the company at such place or places as they may desire.

Code 1919, § 3951.

§ 56-435. Appeal from general district court to circuit court in cattle-guard cases.

In all suits brought before the general district court against railroad companies to recover penalties for failure to construct cattle guards as required by law, either party shall have the right of appeal to the circuit court of the county where such suit is brought, from the judgment of the general district court, without regard to the amount in controversy.

Code 1919, § 3954; 2005, c. 839.

§ 56-436. Board of appraisers to appraise injured or killed livestock; duty of appraisers.

Whenever any horses, cattle, or other livestock are killed or injured, or other property damaged, by the cars or locomotives upon any railroad, it shall be lawful for the owner thereof or for the railroad company to have the property examined and the damages assessed by a board of appraisers in the following manner:

Either party, his agent or attorney, may appoint one person as the appraiser in his behalf, and notify the other party; such notice, when intended for the railroad company, shall be sufficient if given by certified mail to the registered agent of such railroad. Then the party so notified shall appoint an appraiser on his behalf, and the two appraisers shall select a third appraiser. These three persons shall constitute a board of appraisers to examine and appraise the property so injured or damaged, and shall examine the horses or other livestock so killed, or injured, or the other property so damaged, and affix a value upon the same if killed, or assess the damages to the same if injured, and make a written report, carefully describing the horses, cattle, or other livestock or property, stating whether killed or injured, and also setting out the valuation or assessment of damages made by them. Such report shall be returned to the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which such livestock was killed or injured, who shall file and preserve the same.

Code 1919, § 3994; 1994, c. 352.

§ 56-437. Effect of appraisal in case of suit; costs.

If the railroad company fails, for sixty days after such report is so returned to such clerk, to pay to the owner the full amount assessed by the board of appraisers under § 56-436, and the cost attending the assessment, the owner shall have the right to institute suit on the original cause of action. If, upon the trial, he recovers a verdict for an amount equal to or greater than the amount assessed in his favor by the board of appraisers, it shall be the duty of the court to render judgment in his favor for the amount of such verdict, and costs of suit and, of such appraisement, and ten percent damages in addition thereto. If the owner recovers less than the amount so assessed, judgment shall be rendered in his favor for the amount of the verdict and costs of suit and appraisement; but if the company has offered to pay the award, and the owner has refused to accept the same, and he recovers a verdict for an amount less than such assessment, judgment shall be rendered in his favor for the amount of his recovery, but the cost of the appraisement and action shall be taxed against him.

Code 1919, § 3995; 1994, c. 352.

§ 56-438. Fee of appraisers.

Appraisers appointed pursuant to the provisions of § 56-436 shall receive for their services each the sum of one dollar.

Code 1919, § 3996; 1994, cc. 352, 432.

§ 56-439. Application of §§ 56-436 through 56-438.

The provisions of §§ 56-436 through 56-438 shall not apply to any railroad company which has its line of road enclosed with fences and cattle guards, as required by law.

Code 1919, § 3997.

§ 56-439.1. Notice of injury or death of certain livestock; penalty.

Whenever any horses, cattle, or other livestock are injured or killed by the cars or locomotives operating on a railroad, the section master or employee of the railroad having charge of the road at the place where the injury or death occurred shall, if he knows of the incident or should have known of it, within seventy-two hours, notify the owner of the animal or animals or the local law-enforcement agency of the injury or death and the location of the incident in relationship to state routes as well as railroad mile posts. Disposal of any such animal or animals without proper notification shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1994, c. 352.

§ 56-440. Penalty for failure to remove cause of complaint in cities or towns.

If any railroad, when directed so to do by a valid order of the State Corporation Commission, shall refuse or fail to remove the cause of complaint of the authorities of any incorporated city or town in which such railroad is located, as to the physical condition or operation of such railroad, it shall, in the discretion of the Commission, be fined not less than $10 nor more than $1,000.

Code 1919, § 4001.

Article 9. Liability to Employees.

§ 56-441. Liability for injury to employee.

Every corporation operating a railroad in this Commonwealth, whether such corporation be created under the laws of this Commonwealth or otherwise, shall be liable in damages for any and all injury sustained by any employee of such corporation under the following circumstances:

(1) When such injury results from the wrongful act, neglect or default of an agent or officer of such corporation superior to the employee injured, or of a person employed by such corporation having the right to control or direct the services of such employee injured, or the services of the employee by whom he is injured; and

(2) When such injury results from the wrongful act, neglect or default of a coemployee engaged in another department of labor from that of the employee injured or of a coemployee (notwithstanding the fact that the party injured had the right to direct the services of the coemployee) in the performance of any duty on or about the same or another train of cars, or on or about an engine, or of a coemployee who has charge of any switch, signal point or locomotive engine, or who is charged with dispatching trains or transmitting telegraphic or telephonic orders.

When it shall appear in the evidence at the trial of any action for damages that the accident occurred while the employee was working on an engine or on a car standing upon a track it shall be no defense to such action for the defendant railroad to show that such engine or car was guarded by a derailer or a blue flag or in any other manner. Knowledge by any employee injured of the defective or unsafe character or condition of any machinery, ways, appliances or structures of such corporation shall not of itself be a bar to recovery for any injury or death caused thereby.

When death, whether instantaneous or otherwise, results from any injury to any employee of such corporation received as aforesaid, the personal representatives of such employee shall have a right of action therefor against such corporation and may recover damages in respect thereof.

Any contract or agreement, express or implied, made by any such employee to waive the benefit of this section or any part thereof shall be null and void, and this section shall not be construed to deprive any such employee or his personal representative of any right or remedy to which he is now entitled under the laws of this Commonwealth.

The provisions of this section shall always be so restricted in their application as not to conflict with any of the provisions of the Constitution or laws of the United States and as if necessary limitation upon their interpretation had been herein expressed in each case.

1926, p. 853; Michie Code 1942, § 4019a.

Article 10. Excursions and Picnics.

§ 56-442. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1980, c. 142.

Article 11. Miscellaneous.

§ 56-445. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-446. Information to State Corporation Commission; penalty.

Every railroad company in this Commonwealth shall, at all times, on request, furnish to the State Corporation Commission any information required by it concerning the track and ancillary facilities or operation of the road, or any other report lawfully required by the Commission and particularly copies of all of its timetables upon such road and other roads with which its business is connected. Copies of information provided to federal agencies are acceptable. Any railroad willfully refusing or failing to furnish any such information in compliance with a Commission order or who willfully or unlawfully hinders, delays, or obstructs the Commission in the discharge of the duties imposed upon it by the Constitution, or by law, shall, in the discretion of the Commission, be fined not less than $10 nor more than $1,000. Each day of such refusal, hindrance, delay, or obstruction shall be considered a separate offense. Fine amounts are to be specified in the order.

Code 1919, § 4002; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-446.1. Limitations on passenger rail transportation liability.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise:

"Authority" means a political subdivision of the Commonwealth that is comprised of two transportation commissions of the Commonwealth collectively engaged in providing, directly or indirectly, passenger rail transportation services to the general public.

"Claim" means a claim, action, suit, or request for damages, whether compensatory, punitive, or otherwise, made by or on behalf of any rail passenger arising out of the provision of passenger rail services against an authority or a railroad, against a member of an authority's governing body, or against a director, officer, employee, affiliate engaged in railroad operations, or agent of an authority or a railroad, for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, or death.

"Passenger rail services" means the transportation of rail passengers by or on behalf of an authority, and all related services performed by a railroad or an authority, including services performed by a railroad on behalf of an authority, pursuant to a contract with the authority arising from or in connection with the transportation of rail passengers.

"Railroad" means a railroad company or railroad corporation that has entered into any contracts or operating agreements of any kind with an authority for the provision of passenger rail services.

B. An authority may contract with any railroad to allocate financial responsibility for claims against the railroad or the authority arising from or in connection with any incident or accident of any kind related to the provision of passenger rail services, which may include but not be limited to executing indemnity agreements, notwithstanding any other statutory, common law, public policy, or other prohibition against same, and regardless of the nature of the claim or the conduct giving rise to such claim.

C. The aggregate liability of the authority and any applicable railroad, including the authority or railroad's governing board, directors, officers, employees, affiliates engaged in railroad operations, or an agent of an authority, for all claims of rail passengers arising from a single incident or accident of any kind involving passenger rail services or incidental services related thereto for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and death shall be limited to $250 million per single incident or accident.

D. This section shall not affect the damages that may be recovered under the Federal Employers' Liability Act of 1908 (45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq.), as amended.

E. This section shall not affect the damages that may be recovered for a claim if it can be shown that the accident or injury occurred as a result of willful and wanton conduct, felonious criminal conduct, or gross negligence on the part of the railroad.

F. The limitation on aggregate liability provided in this section shall be modified each year, beginning in January, 2011, and continuing each January thereafter, by adjusting the amount of the limitation by a percentage equal to the percentage change in the medical care component of the Consumer Price Index, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over that component published for the previous December.

G. The Virginia Division of Risk Management shall be designated to examine the history of claims made and amounts recovered against the Virginia Railway Express arising from or in connection with the provision of passenger rail service in the Commonwealth, and to provide a complete review of those findings to the General Assembly by November 30, 2010.

2006, cc. 774, 807.

§ 56-447. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-451.1. Keeping unused tracks in place.

If a railroad company discontinues operations on all or any portion of its line of railroad (other than yard tracks, passing sidings, or tracks unneeded because of the diversion of traffic over parallel or other substitute tracks), it shall notify the governing body of any city, town or county directly served by the portion of line so discontinued. Retention of such track in place shall be in accordance with federal rules and regulations.

1960, c. 443; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-451.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1987, c. 495.