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Introduced Version House Bill 2115 History

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hb2115 intr
H. B. 2115


(By Delegates Brown and Hatfield)
[Introduced February 9, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]




A BILL to amend and reenact §31-2-8 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to authorizing counties and municipalities to apply to the Department of Transportation to require train locomotives to reduce noise at railroad crossings by sounding bells instead of horns or whistles.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §31-2-8 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. RAILROAD COMPANIES.

§31-2-8. Warning of approach of train at crossings; crossing railroad tracks.

A bell, horn or steam whistle shall be placed on each locomotive engine, which shall be rung, blown or whistled by the engineer or fireman, at a distance of at least sixty rods from the place where the railroad crosses any public street or highway, and be kept ringing, blowing or whistling for a time sufficient to give due notice of the approach of such the train before such the street or highway is reached, and any failure so to do comply with this requirement is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not exceeding of not more than one hundred dollars; and the corporation owning or operating the railroad shall be is liable to any party injured for all damages sustained by reason of such the neglect: Provided, That every railroad company that operates trains in this state shall place on each engine a bell, not less than thirty pounds, which is capable of ringing continuously when approaching a grade crossing of a highway: Provided, however, That the governing body of a county or municipality in this state that has employed supplementary safety measures approved by the Federal Railroad Administration or the secretary of transportation of the United States pursuant to 49 U.S.C. §20153 as fully compensating for the absence of the warning provided by the locomotive horn or whistle and which has received a waiver or exemption under 49 U.S.C. §20153(d) may make application to the secretary of transportation to exempt railroad companies that operate trains in the county or municipality from blowing a locomotive horn or whistle when approaching a grade crossing located in the county or municipality. For the purposes of this section, a "supplementary safety measure" means a safety system or procedure provided by the appropriate traffic control authority or law-enforcement authority responsible for safety at the highway-rail grade crossing, that is determined by the secretary of transportation of the United States to be an effective substitute for the locomotive horn in the prevention of highway-rail casualties: Provided further, That if the secretary in his or her discretion grants the application, he or she shall require that a railroad company whose train operates in the county or municipality order its locomotives to not sound a whistle or horn in the county or municipality between the hours of nine o'clock postmeridian and seven o'clock antemeridian, but instead require that a bell weighing not less than thirty pounds be rung. When the tracks, other than switch or sidetracks, of two railroads cross each other, or in any way connect at a common grade, the crossing shall be made and kept in repair, and watchmen maintained thereat at the joint expense of the companies owning the tracks; all trains or engines passing over such tracks shall come to a full stop not nearer than two hundred feet nor farther than eight hundred feet from the crossing and shall may not cross until signaled so to do by the watchman, nor until the way is clear; and when two passenger or freight trains approach the crossing at the same time, the train on the road first built shall have precedence has priority if the tracks are both main tracks over which all passengers and freights on the roads are transported; but if only one track is such the main track, and the other is a side or depot track, the train on the main track shall have precedence has priority; and if one of the trains is a passenger train and the other a freight train, the former shall take precedence; passenger train has priority; and regular trains on time shall take precedence have priority over trains of the same grade not on time, and engines with cars attached not on time shall take precedence have priority over engines without cars not on time: And provided further, That if such two railroads crossing each other, or in any way connecting at a common grade, by works or fixtures to be erected by them render it safe to pass over such the crossing without stopping, and such the works and fixtures first be are approved by the Public Service Commission, of West Virginia and the plan thereof for such for the crossing designating the plan of crossing has been filed with said the commission and approved by it, the provisions of this section relating to railroad crossings shall do not apply.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize counties and municipalities to apply to the Department of Transportation to require train locomotives to reduce noise at railroad crossings by sounding bells instead of horns or whistles.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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