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TACnet: History: Railroads of Henry County
FRA Track and Signal Speed Limits


Operating Speed Limits by Class of Track

                     49 CFR 213.9 and 213.307

Sec. 213.9  Classes of track: operating speed limits.

     (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and 
Secs. 213.57(b), 213.59(a), 213.113(a), and 213.137(b) and (c), the 
following maximum allowable operating speeds apply--
                            [In miles per hour]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       The maximum        The maximum
 Over track that meets all of the       allowable          allowable
  requirements prescribed in this    operating speed    operating speed
            part for--                 for freight       for passenger
                                       trains is--        trains is--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Excepted track....................           10                N/A
Class 1 track.....................           10                 15
Class 2 track.....................           25                 30
Class 3 track.....................           40                 60
Class 4 track.....................           60                 80
Class 5 track.....................           80                 90
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec. 213.307  Class of track: operating speed limits.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and 
Secs. 213.329, 213.337(a) and 213.345(c), the following maximum 
allowable operating speeds apply:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Over track that meets all of the          The maximum allowable
  requirements prescribed in this subpart    operating speed for trains 
                   for--                                 is--
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Class 6 track............................  110 m.p.h.
 Class 7 track............................  125 m.p.h.
 Class 8 track............................  160 m.p.h. 
 Class 9 track............................  200 m.p.h.
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------
       

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Definition of FRA Excepted Track

			    

Sec. 213.4  Excepted track.

    A track owner may designate a segment of track as excepted track 
provided that--
    (a) The segment is identified in the timetable, special 
instructions, general order, or other appropriate records which are 
available for inspection during regular business hours;
    (b) The identified segment is not located within 30 feet of an 
adjacent track which can be subjected to simultaneous use at speeds in 
excess of 10 miles per hour;
    (c) The identified segment is inspected in accordance with 
213.233(c) and 213.235 at the frequency specified for Class 1 track;
    (d) The identified segment of track is not located on a bridge 
including the track approaching the bridge for 100 feet on either side, 
or located on a public street or highway, if railroad cars containing 
commodities required to be placarded by the Hazardous Materials 
Regulations (49 CFR part 172), are moved over the track; and
    (e) The railroad conducts operations on the identified segment under 
the following conditions:
    (1) No train shall be operated at speeds in excess of 10 miles per 
hour;
    (2) No occupied passenger train shall be operated;
    (3) No freight train shall be operated that contains more than five 
cars required to be placarded by the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 
CFR part 172); and
    (4) The gage on excepted track shall not be more than 4 feet 10 1/4 
inches. This paragraph (e)(4) is applicable September 21, 1999.
    (f) A track owner shall advise the appropriate FRA Regional Office 
at least 10 days prior to removal of a segment of track from excepted 
status.

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Track Gauge Limits by Class of Track

			    
                        49 CFR 213.53 and 213.323
Sec. 213.53  Gage.

    (a) Gage is measured between the heads of the rails at right-angles 
to the rails in a plane five-eighths of an inch below the top of the 
rail head.
    (b) Gage shall be within the limits prescribed in the following 
table--

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class of track                 The gage must be at least--             But not more than--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Excepted track..........................  N/A............................  4'10 1/4".
Class 1 track...........................  4'8"...........................  4'10".....
Class 2 and 3 track.....................  4'8"...........................  4'9 3/4"..
Class 4 and 5 track.....................  4'8"...........................  4'9 1/2"..
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec. 213.323  Track gage.

    (a) Gage is measured between the heads of the rails at right-angles 
to the rails in a plane five-eighths of an inch below the top of the 
rail head.
    (b) Gage shall be within the limits prescribed in the following 
table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  The
                                                                change
                                                               of gage
                                                                within
Class of track             The gage must      But not more     31 feet
                           be at least--         than--          must
                                                                not be
                                                                greater
                                                                 than--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
6............................  4'8"...........  4'9 1/4".....   1/2"
7............................  4'8"...........  4'9 1/4".....   1/2"
8............................  4'8"...........  4'9 1/4".....   1/2"
9............................  4'8 1/4".......  4'9 1/4".....   1/2"
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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FRA Signal Related Speed Limits

     In simple words:
No signals                    49 mph Freight        59 mph Passenger
Block signals or TCS                 79 mph Freight or Passenger
Automatic Train Stop                 80 mph or more as determined by
                                       characteristics of signal system
           ---------------------------------------------------
     In the words of Code of Federal Regulations:
     
                               49 CFR 236.0
Sec 236.0

    (c) Where a passenger train is operated at a speed of 60 or more
miles per hour, or a freight train is operated at a speed of 50 or more
miles per hour, a block signal system complying with the provisions of
this part shall be installed or a manual block system shall be placed
permanently in effect which shall conform to the following conditions:
    (1) A passenger train shall not be admitted to a block occupied by
another train except under flag protection;
    (2) No train shall be admitted to a block occupied by a passenger
train except under flag protection;
    (3) No train shall be admitted to a block occupied by an opposing
train except under flag protection; and
    (4) A freight train, including a work train, may be authorized to
follow a freight train, including a work train, into a block but the
following train must proceed prepared to stop within one-half the range
of vision but not exceeding 20 miles per hour.
    (d) Where any train is operated at a speed of 80 or more miles per
hour, an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop or automatic train
control system complying with the provisions of this part shall be
installed.

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Last modified: Monday, 02-Jun-2008 14:06:28 CDT