Clearances

The following information reflects an abbreviation of the Commission's regulations Title 52 33.121-33.127.   An unabridged version can be found in the Pennsylvania Code, Title 52 Chapter 33.

Overhead Clearances


  • Minimum overhead clearances above top of rail of tracks, shall be twenty-two feet (22').
  • Overhead clearance above the top of rail of tracks located at the entrance and inside of building may be reduced to eighteen feet (18').

Side Clearances


  • All structures and obstructions above the top of the rail, except those specifically exempted in these regulations, shall have a minimum side clearance of twelve feet (12') from the center line of the track. 
  • Platforms, (except platforms adjacent to main or passing tracks), four feet (4') or less above the top of the rail may have lesser clearance than eight feet, six inches (8'6"), from center line of tracks on one side of such tracks only if a full clearance of eight feet, six inches (8'6"), is maintained on opposite side of track or track centers to adjacent track are not less than 14 feet (14').
  • Platforms four feet, six inches, (4'6") or less above the top of the rail, used principally for loading or unloading refrigerator cars, may be constructed eight feet (8') from the center line of the track.
  • Low passenger platforms not over eight inches (8") above the top of the rail may be five feet, one inch, (5'1") from the center line of the track. High passenger platforms not over four feet (4') above the top of the rail may be five feet, seven inches, (5'7") from the center line of the track.
  • Side clearances, on sidings only, at entrances to and inside of buildings, shall not be less than eight feet ( 8') from the center line of the track.
  • The side clearances specified in this section do not apply to intertrack fences located on the center line between tracks.
  • The clearances provided in this section do not apply to engine houses, engine house facilities, tipples, or facilities used for servicing cars or for loading or unloading of bulk commodities, if such compliance is not reasonably practicable.
  • All minimum side clearances prescribed in this section are for tangent tracks. Structures adjacent to curve tracks shall have additional minimum side clearance compensating for curvature.

Overhead & Side Clearances


  • The overhead and side clearances prescribed in the Commission regulations may be decreased to the extent of a line extending diagonally downward from a point four feet (4') from the center line of the track twenty-two feet (22') above the top of the rail to a point eight feet (8') from the center line of the track at sixteen feet (16') above the top of the rail.
  • For tracks located entrances to and inside buildings with eighteen feet (18') overhead and eight feet (8') side clearances, such overhead and side clearances may be decreased to the extent of a line extending diagonally downward from a point four feet (4') from the center line of the track at eighteen feet (18') above the top of the rail to a point eight feet (8') from center line at fourteen feet (14') above top of rail.
  • Canopies at one side of the track at freight platforms may be constructed not less than four feet (4') from the center line of the track if the height of such canopies is a least seventeen feet, six inches, (17'6") above the top of the rail and if the full clearance of eight feet, six inches, (8'6") is maintained on the opposite side of the track from such canopy or track centers to adjacent track are not less than fourteen feet (14').
  • Shelters over platforms used for passenger car operation may be constructed not less than four feet, six inches, (4'6") from the center line of tracks if the height is not less than fifteen (15') above the top of the rail.

Clearances between Parallel Tracks


  • The minimum distance between the center lines of parallel tracks shall not be less than 13 feet, six inches, (13'6") for main tracks and not less than thirteen feet, six inches, (13'6") for yard and side tracks. 
  • The center line of any track, except a main track or a passing track, parallel and adjacent to main track or a passing track, shall be at least fifteen feet (15') from the center line of such main track or passing track, except that if a passing track is adjacent to and at least fifteen feet (15') distant from the main track, such other track may be constructed adjacent to such passing track with a clearance of not less than thirteen feet, six inches (13'6").
  • The center line of any ladder track, constructed parallel to any other adjacent track, shall have a clearance of not less than eighteen feet (18') from the center line of such other track, except that parallel ladder tracks shall have a clearance of not less than nineteen feet (19') from center line to center line.
  • The minimum distance between the center line of parallel team and house tracks shall not be less than thirteen feet, six inches (13'6").

Other Conditions & Obstructions Adjacent to Tracks


  • No merchandise, material, or other articles shall knowingly be permitted to remain piled or assembled on ground or on platforms adjacent to any track at a distance of less than eight feet, six inches, (8'6") from the center line of such track.
  • The space between tracks used by train and yardmen and other employees as a walkway and the space beside such tracks within eight feet, six inches, (8'6") of the center line of such tracks, shall be kept in reasonably suitable condition for such purpose.

Lesser Clearances


  • If overhead or side clearances between a track and any building, structure, or facility are less than the minimum prescribed in these regulations were created prior to the adoption of such provisions such minimum clearances shall be provided whenever such a building, structure, or facility is relocated or reconstructed. The Commission may grant specific requests for the future continuance of prior clearances at such reconstructed buildings, structures, or facilities, if application is made with the Commission.

Exemptions


  • If exemption from any of the requirements of the regulations is deemed necessary by the carrier concerned. The Commission may grant an application by such carrier for such exemption if accompanied by a full statement of conditions existing and the reason why such exemption is requested. Any exemption granted will be limited to the particular case covered by the application.