Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 6. Transportation Companies Generally
5/28/2022

Chapter 6. Transportation Companies Generally.

Article 1. Rates and Charges.

§ 56-93. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-99.2. Commission authority over rates, rules, classifications and practices of railroad companies.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Corporation Commission shall have the authority to administer and prescribe the rates, rules, classifications and practices of railroad companies exclusively in accordance with the provisions of Subtitle IV of Title 49 of the United States Code, as amended by the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, Public Law 96-448. The Commission shall also have the authority to establish, by rule or regulation, standards and procedures to administer the rates, rules, classifications and practices of railroad companies exclusively in accordance with federal law.

1983, c. 443.

§ 56-100. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1970, c. 618.

§ 56-100.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-102. Unlawful to charge other than published tariff.

When rates, fares, and charges excluding those covered by contracts have been published in a tariff, it shall be unlawful for any such company to charge, demand, collect, or receive from any person a greater or less compensation for the transportation of passengers or property, or for any services in connection therewith, than is specified in such published schedule of rates, fares, and charges, unless it is determined that a rate, fare or charge has been recorded in error.

Code 1919, § 3910; 1979, c. 106; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-102.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

Article 2. Service.

§ 56-111. When railroads may operate by motor vehicle or aircraft.

Any railroad doing business in this Commonwealth may acquire, own and operate motor vehicles for the purpose of transporting persons or property over the public highways as a common carrier by motor vehicle as that term is defined by § 46.2-2000, subject to the laws of Virginia governing the operations and regulation of common carriers by motor vehicle and all lawful regulations of the Commonwealth made pursuant thereto and applying to other motor vehicles or other common carriers by motor vehicle, including the laws requiring the payment of registration and license fees and other taxes by common carriers by motor vehicle, when lawfully authorized in accordance with the provisions of such laws and regulations.

Any such railroad may also acquire, own and operate equipment for and engage in air transportation, subject to the provisions of the law regulating air transportation.

1938, p. 1000; Michie Code 1942, § 3857a; 1944, p. 537; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-112. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-117. Company to notify consignee of arrival of freight.

It shall be the duty of every railroad company, or carrier, upon the arrival of freight shipped to any of its depots or stations, to notify the consignee by mail, electronic data transfer, or otherwise when such freight is ready for delivery, and to give a reasonable time for the removal of the same, making due allowance for its class and bad weather and holidays.

Code 1919, § 3916; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-118. Freight bill; what to contain.

Every railroad company or line, doing business in this Commonwealth, shall, at the time when such company delivers any articles shipped or transported over its line, furnish to the owner or consignee thereof, or to his agent, a bill, plainly stating the class of freight to which the articles belong, the weight thereof, and the rate charged for transporting the same. Bills may be furnished by mail or contemporaneous electronic transmission.

Code 1919, § 3917; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

Article 3. Liabilities.

§ 56-119. Contracts, etc., limiting liability invalid.

No contract, receipt, rule, or regulation shall exempt any transportation company from the liability of a common carrier which would exist had no contract been made or entered into and no such contract, receipt, rule, or regulation for exemption from liability for injury or loss occasioned by the neglect or misconduct of such transportation company as a common carrier shall be valid. The liability referred to in this section shall mean the liability imposed by law upon a common carrier for any loss, damage, or injury to freight or passengers in its custody and care as a common carrier.

Code 1919, §§ 3926, 3930; 1979, c. 477.

§ 56-120. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1964, c. 219.

§ 56-122. When railroad, steamship, etc., companies not liable as a common carrier.

Whenever any corporation, company, or association not incorporated by or formed in the Commonwealth, or any person or partnership not a resident thereof, shall obtain from a railroad, steamship, or steamboat company the right or privilege of carrying articles upon the trains, steamships, or steamboats of such railroad, steamship, or steamboat company, such railroad, steamship, or steamboat company shall not in any manner be liable as a common carrier for any article thereafter delivered to such corporation, company, association, person, or partnership for carriage as aforesaid.

Code 1919, § 4031; 2014, c. 192.

§ 56-123. Adjustment of claims against carriers.

Every claim against a common carrier doing business in the Commonwealth for loss or damage to property while in its possession, and every claim for storage, demurrage and car service against such carrier under the rules and regulations prescribed by the State Corporation Commission, shall be adjusted and paid within 60 days in case of shipments wholly within the Commonwealth, and within 90 days in case of interstate shipment, and within 60 days in case of claims for demurrage or car service after the filing of such claim with the agent of such carrier at the point of destination of such shipment or with the claims department of such common carrier. No such claims shall be filed until after the arrival of shipment or some part thereof at the point of destination or until after the lapse of a reasonable time for the arrival thereof, when such claim is for loss or damage to freight. In every case such carrier shall be liable for the amount of such loss or damage to freight, or such penalty as is prescribed for failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the Commission, relating to storage, demurrage, and car service, together with interest thereon from the date of the filing of the claim therefor, until the payment thereof. Failure to adjust and pay such claim within the periods herein respectively prescribed shall subject such common carrier so failing to a penalty of $25 for each and every such failure, to be recovered by such claimant so aggrieved in the same action or proceedings in any court having jurisdiction in the Commonwealth; provided, that unless such claimant recover in such action the full amount claimed by him no penalty shall be recovered, but only the actual amount of the loss or damage to freight, or amount due for storage, demurrage or car service, with interest as aforesaid; and, provided further, that if in such action or proceedings such claim shall be found to be fraudulent the claimant shall pay to the carrier a penalty of $25, to be recovered along with the costs. If after such periods above prescribed, the carrier shall voluntarily pay the full amount so claimed, then such penalty alone may be recovered as aforesaid by the claimant.

1918, p. 467; 1922, p. 420; Michie Code 1942, § 3928a; 2005, c. 839.

§ 56-124. Procedure in action on such claims.

In any action which may be instituted pursuant to § 56-123 before a general district court for an amount not exceeding $300, either party at or before the return day of the warrant may, in lieu of or in addition to giving evidence at the hearing, file an affidavit relating to the subject matter and in such case the other party to such action shall have a right to a continuance for a reasonable time; provided, that any party to such action may give reasonable notice to the party filing such affidavit and take the deposition of the affiant, at such time and place as the court may prescribe, the taking of such deposition to be governed by the rules of law in force regarding the cross-examination of witnesses. Such affidavits and depositions shall be read with the same force and effect as if taken in the form of a deposition after due notice to the other party. In the event of appeal of any such action such affidavits and depositions shall be read in the appellate court with the same force and effect as before the general district court.

1918, p. 467; 1922, p. 421; Michie Code 1942, § 3928b; 2005, c. 839.

§ 56-125. Suits against unincorporated carriers.

When transportation lines are owned or operated by persons, partnerships, or associations, not incorporated, any one or more of them may be sued by his or their name or names only, and such suit shall not abate for want of joining any of the copartners or coproprietors.

Code 1919, § 3931.

Article 4. Lien.

§ 56-126. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1964, c. 219.

Article 5. State Corporation Commission; Surety Bonds on Employees; Transportation of Explosives, Convicts and Insane Persons.

§ 56-128. Commission's examination of all transportation companies, etc.

The Commission may examine all the railroads and other transportation companies, and the works and equipment thereof so that it may keep itself informed as to their physical condition, the manner in which they are operating with reference to the security and accommodation of the public, and whether they are in compliance with the provisions of their charters and the laws of the Commonwealth. The provisions of this section shall apply to all railroads and other transportation companies, and to the corporations, trustees, receivers, or other person owning or operating the same.

Code 1919, § 3718; 1987, c. 185.

§ 56-129. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-129.1. Participation in the Federal Railroad Administration Safety and Inspection Program.

The State Corporation Commission shall have the authority to participate in carrying out safety inspection activities in connection with any rule, regulation, order, or standard prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation of the United States under the authority of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (49 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.) as delegated to the Commonwealth by the Federal Railroad Administration, provided that the Commission shall comply with all the requirements imposed by the United States Code. The Commission shall employ such expert, professional or other assistance as is necessary to carry out the activities authorized by this section. Safety inspectors shall attain the Federal Railroad Administration qualifications necessary to qualify the Commonwealth for federal funds. A maximum of $200,000 paid to the State Corporation Commission under §§ 58.1-2660 through 58.1-2662 shall be allocated to this program.

The Commission shall have the authority to adopt such rules in conformance with the Federal Railroad Safety Act that are necessary for the promulgation of railroad safety within the Commonwealth.

1981, c. 363; 1987, c. 145; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-130. Penalty for failure to make necessary repairs, etc.

If any railroad, or other railroad company, when directed by a valid order of the Commission, refuses or fails to comply with any requirement imposed pursuant to § 56-129.1, such company shall, in the discretion of the Commission, be fined in accordance with federal guidelines.

Code 1919, § 3932; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-131. Accident Investigation and Reporting.

The Commission shall investigate the cause of any accident on any railroad which, in its judgment, requires investigation. The Commission shall require every common carrier by railroad doing business in this Commonwealth to file all reports required by the Federal Railroad Administration pursuant to the Federal Accidents Reports Act and regulations issued pursuant thereto to the Commission at its office in Richmond, Virginia, provided that neither such report nor any part thereof shall be admitted as evidence in any suit or action for damages growing out of any matter mentioned in such report.

Code 1919, § 3737; 1996, cc. 114, 157.

§ 56-132. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-133. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1956, c. 492.

§ 56-136. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 405.

§ 56-139. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-140. Penalty for violation of chapter, orders, rules or regulations.

Any transportation company which violates any of the provisions of this chapter, or refuses to conform to or obey any lawful rule, order, or regulation of the Commission relating to the provisions of this chapter, may, when not otherwise provided in this chapter, be fined by the Commission, in its discretion, in a sum not exceeding $500 for each offense, and each day such company continues to violate any provision of this chapter, or continues to refuse to obey or perform any lawful rule, order, or regulation prescribed by the Commission, shall be a separate offense.

Code 1919, § 3925.

§ 56-141. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 314.