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Rail Crossing Formal Applications

  1. Does a rail crossing project require a "formal application" or "GO 88-B" authorization from CPUC? 

    Authority to construct a new public rail crossing is typically granted by the CPUC through the "formal application" process outlined in the Rules of Practice and Procedure, Rules 3.7 to 3.11, which results in an Order signed by the Commission. 

    Authority to modify an existing public rail crossing is typically granted through the General Order 88-B  (GO 88-B) authorization process which results in an authorization letter from the Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch supervisor under authority delegated from the Commission, if General Order 88-B is applicable.

  2. When is a formal application required?

    Whenever a new public railroad crossing is proposed, including the establishment of a public crossing at an existing private crossing location.  A formal application may sometimes be required to authorize alterations to an existing crossing where all parties cannot agree on the alterations, or for projects not meeting the requirements of GO 88-B.

  3. What about minor alterations?

    A letter may be submitted to CPUC staff in the Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch to request authority to alter a crossing, pursuant to GO 88-B.  Forms and instructions are available on the General Order 88-B Projects page.

    Such alterations may include roadway widening within the existing right-of- way, approach grade changes, track elevation changes, roadway realignment within the existing or contiguous right-of-way, the addition of one track within existing railroad right-of-way, alteration or reconstruction of a grade-separated crossing, or construction of a grade-separation that eliminates an existing at-grade crossing.

  4. Are rail transit crossings authorized in the same way?

    Rail transit crossing projects may be authorized through the formal application or GO 88-B process discussed above, however, rail transit projects may choose to follow the process discussed in General Order 164-D Section 10, which requires the transit agency to prepare a Rail Crossings Hazards Analysis Report.

  5. Who can file an application?

    Rules 3.7 to 3.11 discuss this. Generally speaking, the road agency (city, county, or state), railroad, or rail transit agency.

  6. Is it necessary to contact the CPUC prior to filing an application?

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact and work with the Commission’s Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch prior to making any formal application for a rail crossing.  Staff will be able to advise and assist in assuring the application is complete and minimize the chances of other parties protesting the application, or it being rejected by the CPUC Docket Office.  Additionally, a copy of the application mailed directly to CPUC staff in the Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch may expedite processing.

    Please see item 11 below.

  7. How do I file a formal application?

    Follow the Rules of Practice and Procedure, Rules 3.7 to 3.11 regarding the specific items that must be included in formal applications to establish or modify rail crossings.

    Please be aware that the application must meet the formatting and other requirements of Rule 1 (in particular see Rule 1.5 et seq.).

    It is highly recommended that the applicant use the CPUC's electronic filing system (e-filing).  Alternatively, the application and scoping memo may be sent by U.S. Mail to the docket office.

    Docket Office
    California Public Utilities Commission
    505 Van Ness Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 703-2121

  8. What is a scoping memo?

    Applications are required to include the following information: 1. Category 2. Need for Hearing 3. Issues 4. Schedule. Please review additional information on the Scoping Memo, which includes a sample. Rail crossings applications are considered "rate setting".

  9. How many copies are required?

    If application is filed electronically, then follow the e-filing instructions.

    If application is filed by paper, Rule 1.13(b) requires an original and six exact copies (of application and all attachments) to be submitted to the Commission Docket Office.

  10. Should I e-file or submit hard copies?

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to file electronically ("e-file"). Please follow the e-filing instructions.

  11. How do I make sure the filing is acceptable to the CPUC?

    Applicants should ensure that the content and filing procedure is consistent with the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure in order for an Application to be accepted by the Commission's Docket Office.  This should be carefully reviewed prior to submitting a hardcopy Application.  Common issues include captions improperly formatted, incorrect number of copies, maps not being folded or reduced to 8 1/2 x 11 inches, and failure to get prior permission for any deviations from the rules, such as filing environmental review documentation on CD-ROM.

    PRIOR TO FILING an application with the Commission's Docket Office, after review by the Commission's Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch, CONTACT MARTIN NAKAHARA, Senior Legal Analyst, at (415) 703-2291.

Last Modified: 10/14/2014

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