State of Illinois
91st General Assembly

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SB1153 Engrossed                               LRB9106140KSmb

 1        AN ACT to amend the Illinois  Vehicle  Code  by  changing
 2    Sections 18c-7401 and 18c-7402.

 3        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,
 4    represented in the General Assembly:

 5        Section 5.  The  Illinois  Vehicle  Code  is  amended  by
 6    changing Sections 18c-7401 and 18c-7402 as follows:

 7        (625 ILCS 5/18c-7401) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 18c-7401)
 8        Sec.    18c-7401.    Safety   Requirements   for   Track,
 9    Facilities, and Equipment.
10        (1)  General  Requirements.  Each  rail  carrier   shall,
11    consistent with rules, orders, and regulations of the Federal
12    Railroad Administration, construct, maintain, and operate all
13    of  its equipment, track, and other property in this State in
14    such a manner as to pose no undue risk to  its  employees  or
15    the person or property of any member of the public.
16        (2)  Adoption  of  Federal  Standards.  The  track safety
17    standards and accident/incident standards promulgated by  the
18    Federal  Railroad Administration shall be safety standards of
19    the Commission.  The Commission may, in  addition,  adopt  by
20    reference  in  its  regulations other federal railroad safety
21    standards,  whether  contained  in  federal  statutes  or  in
22    regulations adopted pursuant to such statutes.
23        (3)  Railroad Crossings.  No  public  road,  highway,  or
24    street shall hereafter be constructed across the track of any
25    rail  carrier  at  grade,  nor  shall  the  track of any rail
26    carrier be constructed  across  a  public  road,  highway  or
27    street  at grade, without having first secured the permission
28    of the Commission; provided,  that  this  Section  shall  not
29    apply to the replacement of lawfully existing roads, highways
30    and  tracks.   The  Commission shall have the right to refuse
31    its permission or to grant it upon such terms and  conditions
SB1153 Engrossed            -2-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    as  it  may  prescribe.    The Commission shall have power to
 2    determine and prescribe the manner, including the  particular
 3    point  of crossing, and the terms of installation, operation,
 4    maintenance, use and protection of each such crossing.
 5        The Commission shall also have power, after a hearing, to
 6    require major alteration  of  or  to  abolish  any  crossing,
 7    heretofore or hereafter established, when in its opinion, the
 8    public  safety  requires  such  alteration or abolition, and,
 9    except  in  cities,  villages  and  incorporated   towns   of
10    1,000,000  or more inhabitants, to vacate and close that part
11    of the highway on such  crossing  altered  or  abolished  and
12    cause  barricades  to  be erected across such highway in such
13    manner as to prevent the use of such crossing as  a  highway,
14    when,   in   the   opinion  of  the  Commission,  the  public
15    convenience served by the crossing in question is not such as
16    to justify the further retention thereof;  or  to  require  a
17    separation  of  grades,  at  such  crossings; or to require a
18    separation  of  grades  at  any  proposed  crossing  where  a
19    proposed public highway may cross  the  tracks  of  any  rail
20    carrier or carriers; and to prescribe, after a hearing of the
21    parties,  the terms upon which such separations shall be made
22    and the proportion in which the expense of the alteration  or
23    abolition of such crossings or the separation of such grades,
24    having  regard  to the benefits, if any, accruing to the rail
25    carrier or any party in interest, shall  be  divided  between
26    the  rail  carrier  or  carriers  affected,  or  between such
27    carrier or carriers and the State,  county,  municipality  or
28    other  public  authority  in  interest.    However,  a public
29    hearing by the Commission to abolish a crossing shall not  be
30    required  when  the  public  highway  authority  in  interest
31    vacates  the  highway.   In  such  instance the rail carrier,
32    following notification to  the  Commission  and  the  highway
33    authority,  shall  remove  any grade crossing warning devices
34    and the grade crossing surface.
SB1153 Engrossed            -3-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1        The Commission shall also have  power  by  its  order  to
 2    require   the   reconstruction,   minor   alteration,   minor
 3    relocation  or  improvement  of  any  crossing (including the
 4    necessary highway approaches thereto) of any railroad  across
 5    any highway or public road, whether such crossing be at grade
 6    or   by   overhead  structure  or  by  subway,  whenever  the
 7    Commission finds after a hearing  or  without  a  hearing  as
 8    otherwise    provided    in    this   paragraph   that   such
 9    reconstruction,  alteration,  relocation  or  improvement  is
10    necessary to preserve or promote the safety or convenience of
11    the public or of the employees or  passengers  of  such  rail
12    carrier or carriers. For the purpose of this Section, a minor
13    alteration  shall  include  the  installation  of any type of
14    remote  control  track  switch,  technical   or   operational
15    improvement,  or  any  other  actions  the  Commission  deems
16    necessary  to reduce the occupancy of crossings by trains and
17    increase public safety. By its original order or supplemental
18    orders  in  such  case,  the  Commission  may   direct   such
19    reconstruction,  alteration, relocation, or improvement to be
20    made in such manner and upon such terms and conditions as may
21    be reasonable and necessary and may  apportion  the  cost  of
22    such  reconstruction,  alteration,  relocation or improvement
23    and the subsequent maintenance thereof, having regard to  the
24    benefits,  if  any,  accruing to the railroad or any party in
25    interest, between the rail carrier  or  carriers  and  public
26    utilities  affected,  or between such carrier or carriers and
27    public utilities and the State, county, municipality or other
28    public authority in interest.  The cost to be so  apportioned
29    shall  include  the  cost  of  changes  or alterations in the
30    equipment of public utilities affected as well as the cost of
31    the relocation, diversion  or  establishment  of  any  public
32    highway,  made  necessary by such reconstruction, alteration,
33    relocation or improvement of said crossing.  A hearing  shall
34    not be required in those instances when the Commission enters
SB1153 Engrossed            -4-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    an  order  confirming  a  written  stipulation  in  which the
 2    Commission, the public highway  authority  in  interest,  the
 3    rail carrier or carriers affected, and in instances involving
 4    the  use  of the Grade Crossing Protection Fund, the Illinois
 5    Department of Transportation, agree  on  the  reconstruction,
 6    alteration,  relocation,  or  improvement  and the subsequent
 7    maintenance thereof and the division of costs of such changes
 8    of  any  grade  crossing  (including  the  necessary  highway
 9    approaches thereto) of any railroad across any highway.
10        Every rail carrier operating in  the  State  of  Illinois
11    shall  construct and maintain every highway crossing over its
12    tracks  within  the  State  so  that  the  roadway   at   the
13    intersection   shall   be   as   flush   with  the  rails  as
14    superelevated  curves  will  allow,  and,  unless   otherwise
15    ordered  by  the Commission, shall construct and maintain the
16    approaches thereto at a grade of not more than 5% within  the
17    right  of  way  for a distance of not less the 6 feet on each
18    side of the centerline of such  tracks;  provided,  that  the
19    grades  at  the  approaches may be maintained in excess of 5%
20    only when authorized by the Commission.
21        Every rail carrier  operating  within  this  State  shall
22    remove  from  its  right of way at all grade crossings within
23    the State, such brush, shrubbery, and trees as is  reasonably
24    practical  for a distance of not less than 500 feet in either
25    direction from each grade crossing. The Commission shall have
26    power, upon its own motion,  or  upon  complaint,  and  after
27    having made proper investigation, to require the installation
28    of  adequate  and  appropriate  luminous  reflective  warning
29    signs,  luminous flashing signals, crossing gates illuminated
30    at night, or other protective devices in order to promote and
31    safeguard the health  and  safety  of  the  public.  Luminous
32    flashing  signal  or crossing gate devices installed at grade
33    crossings, which have been approved by the Commission,  shall
34    be deemed adequate and appropriate. The Commission shall have
SB1153 Engrossed            -5-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    authority to determine the number, type, and location of such
 2    signs,  signals,  gates,  or  other protective devices which,
 3    however, shall conform as  near  as  may  be  with  generally
 4    recognized  national standards, and the Commission shall have
 5    authority to prescribe  the  division  of  the  cost  of  the
 6    installation   and  subsequent  maintenance  of  such  signs,
 7    signals, gates, or other protective devices between the  rail
 8    carrier   or   carriers,  the  public  highway  authority  in
 9    interest, and in instances involving the  use  of  the  Grade
10    Crossing   Protection   Fund,   the  Illinois  Department  of
11    Transportation.
12        No railroad may  change  or  modify  the  warning  device
13    system   at  a  railroad-highway  grade  crossing,  including
14    warning systems interconnected with highway  traffic  control
15    signals,  without  having  first received the approval of the
16    Commission.  The Commission shall  have  the  further  power,
17    upon  application, upon its own motion, or upon complaint and
18    after  having  made  proper  investigation,  to  require  the
19    interconnection  of  grade  crossing  warning  devices   with
20    traffic  control  signals at highway intersections located at
21    or near railroad crossings within the distances described  by
22    the  State  Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices adopted
23    pursuant to Section 11-301 of this Code.  In addition,  State
24    and  local authorities may not install, remove, modernize, or
25    otherwise  modify  traffic  control  signals  at  a   highway
26    intersection   that  is  interconnected  or  proposed  to  be
27    interconnected with grade crossing warning devices  when  the
28    change  affects  the  number,  type,  or  location of traffic
29    control devices on the track approach  leg  or  legs  of  the
30    intersection   or  the  timing  of  the  railroad  preemption
31    sequence of operation until the Commission has  approved  the
32    installation,   removal,   modernization,   or  modification.
33    Commission approval shall  be  limited  to  consideration  of
34    issues   directly   affecting   the   public  safety  at  the
SB1153 Engrossed            -6-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    railroad-highway  grade  crossing.   The  electrical  circuit
 2    devices, alternate warning devices, and preemption  sequences
 3    shall   conform   as  nearly  as  possible,  considering  the
 4    particular characteristics of the crossing  and  intersection
 5    area,  to the State manual adopted by the Illinois Department
 6    of Transportation pursuant to Section 11-301 of this Code and
 7    such federal standards as are made applicable  by  subsection
 8    (2)  of  this Section.  In order to carry out this authority,
 9    the Commission shall have  the  authority  to  determine  the
10    number,  type, and location of traffic control devices on the
11    track approach leg or legs of the intersection and the timing
12    of  the  railroad  preemption   sequence  of  operation.  The
13    Commission  shall  prescribe  the  division  of   costs   for
14    installation  and maintenance of all devices required by this
15    paragraph between the railroad or railroads and  the  highway
16    authority  in  interest and in instances involving the use of
17    the Grade Crossing Protection Fund or a  State  highway,  the
18    Illinois Department of Transportation.
19        Any  person who unlawfully or maliciously removes, throws
20    down, damages or defaces any  sign,  signal,  gate  or  other
21    protective  device,  located  at  or  near  any  public grade
22    crossing, shall be guilty of a petty offense  and  fined  not
23    less  than  $50  nor  more  than  $200  for each offense.  In
24    addition to fines levied under the provisions of this Section
25    a person adjudged guilty hereunder may also  be  directed  to
26    make  restitution  for the costs of repair or replacement, or
27    both, necessitated by his misconduct.
28        It is the public policy  of  the  State  of  Illinois  to
29    enhance  public  safety by establishing safe grade crossings.
30    In order to implement  this  policy,  the  Illinois  Commerce
31    Commission  is  directed  to  conduct  public hearings and to
32    adopt specific criteria  by  July  1,  1994,  that  shall  be
33    adhered to by the Illinois Commerce Commission in determining
34    if  a  grade  crossing  should  be  opened or abolished.  The
SB1153 Engrossed            -7-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    following  factors  shall  be  considered  by  the   Illinois
 2    Commerce  Commission  in developing the specific criteria for
 3    opening and abolishing grade crossings:
 4             (a)  timetable speed of passenger trains;
 5             (b)  distance to an alternate crossing;
 6             (c)  accident history for the last 5 years;
 7             (d)  number of vehicular traffic  and  posted  speed
 8        limits;
 9             (e)  number  of  freight  trains and their timetable
10        speeds;
11             (f)  the type of warning device present at the grade
12        crossing;
13             (g)  alignments of the roadway and railroad, and the
14        angle of intersection of those alignments;
15             (h)  use of the grade crossing  by  trucks  carrying
16        hazardous  materials,  vehicles  carrying  passengers for
17        hire, and school buses; and
18             (i)  use  of  the  grade   crossing   by   emergency
19        vehicles.
20        The  Illinois  Commerce Commission, upon petition to open
21    or abolish a grade crossing, shall enter an order opening  or
22    abolishing  the  crossing  if  it meets the specific criteria
23    adopted by the Commission.
24        Except as otherwise provided in this subsection  (3),  in
25    no  instance  shall  a  grade  crossing be permanently closed
26    without public hearing first being held and  notice  of  such
27    hearing being published in an area newspaper of local general
28    circulation.
29        (4)  Freight   Trains   -   Radio   Communications.   The
30    Commission  shall  after hearing and order require that every
31    main line railroad freight train  operating  on  main  tracks
32    outside  of  yard  limits within this State shall be equipped
33    with a radio  communication  system.   The  Commission  after
34    notice and hearing may grant exemptions from the requirements
SB1153 Engrossed            -8-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    of this Section as to secondary and branch lines.
 2        (5)  Railroad   Bridges   and   Trestles  -  Walkway  and
 3    Handrail. In cases in which the Commission finds the same  to
 4    be  practical and necessary for safety of railroad employees,
 5    bridges and trestles, over and upon which railroad trains are
 6    operated, shall  include  as  a  part  thereof,  a  safe  and
 7    suitable walkway and handrail on one side only of such bridge
 8    or  trestle,  and such handrail shall be located at the outer
 9    edge of the walkway and shall provide a clearance of not less
10    than 8 feet, 6 inches, from the center line  of  the  nearest
11    track, measured at right angles thereto.
12        (6)  Packages   Containing  Articles  for  First  Aid  to
13    Injured on Trains. All rail carriers shall provide a  package
14    containing the articles prescribed by the Commission, on each
15    train  or engine, for first aid to persons who may be injured
16    in the course of the operation of such trains.
17        (7)  Abandoned Bridges, Crossings, and Other Rail  Plant.
18    The   Commission  shall  have  authority,  after  notice  and
19    hearing, to order:
20             (a)  The removal of any  abandoned  railroad  tracks
21        from roads, streets or other thoroughfares in this State;
22        and
23             (b)  The  removal  of  abandoned  overhead  railroad
24        structures crossing highways, waterways, or railroads.
25        The  Commission  may equitably apportion the cost of such
26    actions  between  the  rail  carrier  or   carriers,   public
27    utilities,  and  the  State,  county, municipality, township,
28    road district, or other public authority in interest.
29        (8)  Railroad-Highway  Bridge  Clearance.    A   vertical
30    clearance  of  not  less  than  23 feet above the top of rail
31    shall be  provided  for  all  new  or  reconstructed  highway
32    bridges  constructed  over  a railroad track.  The Commission
33    may permit a lesser clearance if it determines  that  the  23
34    foot   clearance   standard  cannot  be  justified  based  on
SB1153 Engrossed            -9-                LRB9106140KSmb
 1    engineering, operational, and economic conditions.
 2    (Source: P.A. 89-699, eff. 1-16-97; 90-691, eff. 1-1-99.)

 3        (625 ILCS 5/18c-7402) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 18c-7402)
 4        Sec.  18c-7402.    Safety   Requirements   for   Railroad
 5    Operations.
 6        (1)  Obstruction of Crossings.
 7             (a)  Obstruction   of   Emergency   Vehicles.  Every
 8        railroad shall  be  operated  in  such  a  manner  as  to
 9        minimize  obstruction of emergency vehicles at crossings.
10        Where such obstruction occurs and the train crew is aware
11        of the obstruction, the train crew shall immediately take
12        any action, consistent  with  safe  operating  procedure,
13        necessary  to remove the obstruction.  In the Chicago and
14        St. Louis switching districts, every railroad  dispatcher
15        or  other person responsible for the movement of railroad
16        equipment in a specific area  who  receives  notification
17        that railroad equipment is obstructing the movement of an
18        emergency  vehicle at any crossing within such area shall
19        immediately notify the train crew through use of existing
20        communication facilities.  Upon notification,  the  train
21        crew  shall take immediate action in accordance with this
22        paragraph.
23             (b)  Obstruction  of  Highway  at   Grade   Crossing
24        Prohibited.  It  is unlawful for a rail carrier to permit
25        any train, railroad car  or  engine  to  obstruct  public
26        travel  at a railroad-highway grade crossing for a period
27        in  excess  of  10  minutes,  except  where  such  train,
28        railroad or car is continuously moving or cannot be moved
29        by reason of circumstances over which  the  rail  carrier
30        has  no  reasonable control.  However, no employee acting
31        under the rules or orders of  the  rail  carrier  or  its
32        supervisory   personnel   may   be  prosecuted  for  such
33        violations.
SB1153 Engrossed            -10-               LRB9106140KSmb
 1             (c)  Punishment for Obstruction of  Grade  Crossing.
 2        Any   rail   carrier  violating  paragraph  (b)  of  this
 3        subsection shall be guilty of a petty offense  and  fined
 4        not  less than $200 nor more than $500 if the duration of
 5        the obstruction is in excess of 10 minutes but no  longer
 6        than  15  minutes.   If  the  duration of the obstruction
 7        exceeds 15 minutes the  violation  shall  be  a  business
 8        offense and the following fines shall be imposed:  if the
 9        duration  of  the  obstruction is in excess of 15 minutes
10        but no longer than 20 minutes, the fine shall be $500; if
11        the duration of  the  obstruction  is  in  excess  of  20
12        minutes  but no longer than 25 minutes, the fine shall be
13        $700; if the duration of the obstruction is in excess  of
14        25 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes, the fine shall
15        be  $900; if the duration of the obstruction is in excess
16        of 30 minutes but no longer than  35  minutes,  the  fine
17        shall be $1,000; if the duration of the obstruction is in
18        excess  of  35  minutes, the fine shall be $1,000 plus an
19        additional $500 for each  5  minutes  of  obstruction  in
20        excess of 25 minutes of obstruction.
21             (d)  Chronic   obstruction   of  a  grade  crossing.
22        Within the Chicago  switching  district,  the  Commission
23        may,  after  investigation,  make  a determination that a
24        railroad has engaged in the chronic obstruction of  grade
25        crossings.  A railroad engages in the chronic obstruction
26        of  a  grade crossing when its trains repeatedly and with
27        great rate of recurrence obstruct  a  grade  crossing  by
28        frequently  stopping  and causing disruption of vehicular
29        traffic and endangering  the  lives  and  safety  of  the
30        citizens  of this State by interfering with the operation
31        of ambulances and police and  fire  department  vehicles.
32        Once  a railroad is designated as chronically obstructing
33        a grade crossing, the penalty for obstructing that  grade
34        crossing  is a Class C misdemeanor for the first offense.
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 1        For a second or subsequent offense at the same  location,
 2        the  penalty  is a Class B misdemeanor and the fine shall
 3        be triple the fine amount of the first offense.
 4        (2)  Other Operational Requirements.
 5             (a)  Bell and Whistle-Crossings. Every rail  carrier
 6        shall  cause  a  bell, and a whistle or horn to be placed
 7        and kept on each locomotive, and shall cause the same  to
 8        be  rung  or  sounded  by the engineer or fireman, at the
 9        distance of a least 1,320 feet, from the place where  the
10        railroad  crosses  or  intersects any public highway, and
11        shall be kept ringing or sounding until  the  highway  is
12        reached;  provided that at crossings where the Commission
13        shall by order direct, only after a hearing has been held
14        to determine the public is  reasonably  and  sufficiently
15        protected,  the  rail  carrier may be excused from giving
16        warning provided by this paragraph.
17             (b)  Speed Limits. Each rail carrier  shall  operate
18        its  trains  in  compliance  with speed limits set by the
19        Commission.  The Commission may set  train  speed  limits
20        only  where such limits are necessitated by extraordinary
21        circumstances effecting  the  public  safety,  and  shall
22        maintain  such train speed limits in effect only for such
23        time as the extraordinary circumstances prevail.
24             The Commission and the Department of  Transportation
25        shall  conduct  a  study  of  the  relation between train
26        speeds and railroad-highway grade crossing  safety.   The
27        Commission  shall report the findings of the study to the
28        General Assembly no later than January 5, 1997.
29             (c)  Special  Speed  Limit;  Pilot   Project.    The
30        Commission and the Board of the Commuter Rail Division of
31        the  Regional  Transportation  Authority  shall conduct a
32        pilot project in the Village of Fox River Grove, the site
33        of the fatal school bus accident at a  railroad  crossing
34        on  October  25,  1995,  in  order  to  improve  railroad
SB1153 Engrossed            -12-               LRB9106140KSmb
 1        crossing  safety.   For  this  project, the Commission is
 2        directed  to  set  the  maximum  train  speed  limit  for
 3        Regional Transportation Authority trains at 50 miles  per
 4        hour  at  intersections on that portion of the intrastate
 5        rail line located in the Village of Fox River  Grove.  If
 6        the  Regional Transportation Authority deliberately fails
 7        to comply with this maximum speed limit, then any entity,
 8        governmental  or  otherwise,  that  provides  capital  or
 9        operational  funds   to   the   Regional   Transportation
10        Authority  shall  appropriately  reduce or eliminate that
11        funding. The Commission shall report to the Governor  and
12        the General Assembly on the results of this pilot project
13        in  January  1999,  January  2000,  and January 2001. The
14        Commission shall also submit a final report on the  pilot
15        project  to  the  Governor  and  the  General Assembly in
16        January 2001.  The provisions  of  this  subsection  (c),
17        other  than this sentence, are inoperative after February
18        1, 2001.
19        (3)  Report and Investigation of Rail Accidents.
20             (a)  Reports. Every rail carrier shall report to the
21        Commission, by  the  speediest  means  possible,  whether
22        telephone,   telegraph,   or  otherwise,  every  accident
23        involving its equipment, track, or other  property  which
24        resulted  in  loss  of  life to any person.  In addition,
25        such carriers  shall  file  a  written  report  with  the
26        Commission.  Reports submitted under this paragraph shall
27        be   strictly   confidential,   shall   be   specifically
28        prohibited from disclosure,  and shall not be  admissible
29        in  any administrative or judicial proceeding relating to
30        the accidents reported.
31             (b)  Investigations. The Commission may  investigate
32        all  railroad  accidents  reported  to  it or of which it
33        acquires knowledge independent of reports  made  by  rail
34        carriers,  and  shall  have  the  power,  consistent with
SB1153 Engrossed            -13-               LRB9106140KSmb
 1        standards and procedures established  under  the  Federal
 2        Railroad  Safety Act, as amended, to enter such temporary
 3        orders as will minimize  the  risk  of  future  accidents
 4        pending   notice,   hearing,  and  final  action  by  the
 5        Commission.
 6    (Source: P.A. 89-699, eff. 1-16-97; 90-187, eff. 1-1-98.)

 7        Section 99.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect  upon
 8    becoming law.

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