Non-Emergency Rail Issues
According to Nebraska Code - A railroad company or a railroad track owner operating trains over tracks within the State of Nebraska shall not block a public highway-rail grade crossing, for a period of time in excess of ten (10) minutes, except if the train is moving in a continuous forward or backward direction, or if the train is stopped for an emergency condition, including an accident, derailment, critical mechanical failure, track or bridge washout, storm, flood, or other emergency situation.
A one-time exception of up to, but not exceeding, ten (10) additional minutes shall be authorized under the following conditions:
- When a train and its crew, operating under the rules of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is unable to complete a switching maneuver while setting out or picking up rail cars within the ten (10) minutes.
- When a train is stopped to allow the passage of a second train and the stopped train has exhausted the ten (10) minutes, if the arrival of the second train is imminent and separation and coupling of the stopped train would result in further unnecessary blocking of the highway-rail public grade crossing.
When a train is cut or separated to prevent blocking of a highway-rail public grade crossing, the time required for re-coupling a train and performing air tests as required by the FRA will not be considered a violation.
Every railroad shall be operated in such a manner as to minimize obstruction of emergency vehicles at highway-rail public grade crossings.
Trains blocking a public crossing for more than 10 minutes and not meeting the requirements of Nebraska code shall break the train to provide access to the public. A train cut to clear a public crossing shall not leave cars, engines or equipment within 250 feet of the crossing.
Citations for noncompliance may be issued by local law enforcement authorities, but issuing these citations is problematic and seldom effective. The best resolution is to work with the railroad to come to some kind of accommodation.
To report a violation call Union Pacific at 800-848-8715 or BNSF at 800-832-5452.
Contact the highway authority (village, city, county or state) responsible for the particular roadway and ask them to work with the operating railroad company to seek repairs to the crossing.
If the rough crossing is located on a state highway, you can also contact our team at 402-479-4434, 402-479-4515, or firstname.lastname@example.org.