There is no obligation to maintain a fence on a railroad right-of-way when it is being used as a recreational trail and not to operate a railroad. May v. Tri-County Trails Commission, 220 Wis. 2d 729
, 583 N.W.2d 878
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-0588
Fences; complaint of insufficient; hearing; order.
Upon complaint by the owner or occupant of any land contiguous to the right-of-way of any railroad that the railroad company operating the line has failed to construct or keep in good repair fences along its right-of-way opposite to the complainant's land as required under s. 192.33
, the office shall proceed on the complaint in the manner provided in s. 195.04
. If it shall appear that the complaint is well founded, the office may order and direct the railroad company to repair the complained of fences so that the fences will be sufficient or to construct legal fences.
Interference with fences; trespassers on track. 192.35(1)(1)
Any person who does any of the following shall forfeit not less than $10 nor more than $50 and, in addition, be liable to the party injured for all damages resulting from the act or omission:
Willfully takes down, opens or removes any railroad fence, cattle guard or crossing, in whole or in part.
Allows a railroad fence, cattle guard or crossing to be taken down, opened or removed.
Having lawfully taken down bars or opened gates in a railroad fence for the purpose of passing through the fence, does not immediately replace the bars or close the gate.
Any person who without the consent of the party owning or having control of the road rides, leads or drives any horse or other animal upon a fenced railroad right-of-way, or who rides, leads or drives any horse or team lengthwise of an unfenced railroad track, other than at the farm crossings or upon depot grounds or where the track is laid along or across a public highway shall, for each occurrence, forfeit not more than $10, to the party owning or having control of the railroad right-of-way, and shall also pay all damages that shall be sustained by the aggrieved party.
History: 1997 a. 254
Fences, occupant of land may build or repair. 192.36(1)(1)
Whenever a railroad corporation fails to build or repair any fence, which the law requires it to erect, the owner or occupant of the land adjoining may, between April 1 and October 1, give notice in writing to the railroad corporation to build the fence within 60 days, or repair the fence within 30 days, after service of the notice.
The notice under sub. (1)
shall describe the land on which the fence is required to be built or repaired. Service of the notice may be made by delivering the notice to any station agent of the railroad corporation.
In case the railroad corporation fails to build or repair the fence within the required time, the owner or occupant of the adjoining land may build or repair the fence and recover from the railroad corporation the cost of building or repairing with interest at the rate of 1 percent per month from the time that the fence shall have been built or repaired.
History: 1997 a. 254
; 2009 a. 177
Fences, farm crossings; railroads to provide. 192.37(1)(1)
Whenever any corporation operates a railroad through enclosed lands and fails to construct the fences, farm crossings or cattle guards required by law, proper for the use of the enclosed lands, the owner or occupant of the lands may give notice to the railroad corporation of its failure to construct the necessary fences, farm crossings and cattle guards on the owner's or occupant's enclosed lands.
The notice under sub. (1)
shall meet all of the following requirements:
It shall be in writing, signed by the owner or occupant of the enclosed lands.
It shall contain a description of the owner's or occupant's enclosed lands.
It shall be served in the manner provided for the service of summons in the circuit court.
If a railroad corporation, after being notified under this section, neglects for 3 months to construct the necessary fences, farm crossings and cattle guards on the lands described in the notice, it shall be liable to pay to the owner or occupant of the described lands $10 for each day after the expiration of the 3 months until the necessary fences, farm crossings and cattle guards are constructed. No time between November 1 and April 1 shall be included in the calculation of the 3-month period under this subsection.
History: 1993 a. 482
; 1997 a. 254
Contracts not affected.
shall not affect any contract entered into between any railroad corporation and the proprietors and occupants of lands adjoining for the construction and maintenance of gates, bars, cattle guards and railroad crossings.
Liability of carrier of passengers made absolute.
No contract, receipt, rule, or regulation shall exempt any corporation or person engaged in transporting persons for hire, within this state, from the liability of a common carrier, or carrier of passengers, which would exist had no contract, receipt, rule, or regulation, been made.
Fires; railroad liability; action for damages. 192.44(1)(1)
Each railroad corporation owning or operating a railroad shall be liable to the owner of property injured or destroyed by fire communicated directly or indirectly by locomotives in use upon such railroad, or by the burning of grass, weeds or rubbish on the right of way by employees of such corporation; and such railroad corporation may procure insurance in its own behalf for its protection against such liability.
To recover such damages, it shall only be necessary for the owner to prove the loss of or injury to the owner's property, and that the fire originated in the manner hereinbefore stated.
History: 1993 a. 482
Railroad police; oath; powers.
Any railway company may, at its own expense, appoint and employ railroad police officers at the stations or other places on the line of its road within this state as it deems necessary for the protection of its property and the preservation of order on its premises and in and about its cars, depots, depot grounds, yards, buildings or other structures. Each police officer shall take an oath to support the constitution of the United States and claiming to be a citizen of the United States and shall file it with the office. Each police officer shall, when on duty, wear a shield furnished by the company bearing the words “Railroad Police" and the name of the company. These police officers may arrest, with or without warrant, any person who in their presence commits upon the premises of the company or in or about its cars, depots, depot grounds, yards, buildings or other structures any offense against the laws of this state or the ordinances of any town, city or village, and shall also have the authority of sheriffs in regard to the arrest or apprehension of these offenders in or about the premises or appurtenances. In case of the arrest, by a railroad police officer, of any person without warrant the officer shall immediately take the offender before a judge having jurisdiction and make complaint against the offender. Every railway company shall be responsible for the acts of its police officers.
Terminals and shops, removal. 192.52(1)(a)
The term “shops" shall mean and embrace plants and locations where railroads engage in the general work of repairing, painting, overhauling or constructing locomotives, cars, coaches and other rolling stock and appurtenances thereto.
The word “terminal" as employed in this section shall mean where trains are customarily and normally made up, or where train and engine crews on through trains are normally and customarily changed on the main line of any railroad operating in this state.
No railroad company operating in this state shall remove its shops from the place where the same are now located to any other point within or without this state or permanently close any shops in this state without first having secured the consent and permission of the office for such removal, after due notice and public hearing, and in all other respects as provided for hearings in ch. 195
. The office shall render its decision within 30 days after such hearing.
No railroad company operating in this state shall remove or transfer its terminals or permanently close any terminals in this state without the permission or consent of the office after due hearing had on the matter, in compliance with ch. 195
Before any railroad company operating in this state shall make any removal or transfer of shops or terminals or abandons the same, it shall file notice of intention so to do with the office, and the office shall have the power to investigate whether such proposed removal, transfer or abandonment, as the case may be, is in the public interest and is not unreasonable or unfair as to the employees of such railroad company. No such removal or transfer shall be made during such investigation, or thereafter, if the office finds such removal, transfer or abandonment is not in the public interest or is unreasonable or unfair as to the employees of such railroad.
Railroad track clearance. 192.53(1)(1)
Except as otherwise provided in this section, no building or loading platform shall be constructed nor shall any addition to or reconstruction of an existing building or loading platform, excluding ordinary repairs necessary for maintenance, be made that shall have a horizontal clearance of less than 8 feet 6 inches between it and the center line of any railroad track. The same clearance shall be maintained between the center line of the railroad track and any material used in and about the construction of any such building or loading platform.
Platforms at passenger stations used for loading and unloading passengers, baggage, mail and express may be constructed and maintained as follows:
A platform that is not higher than 4 inches above the top of the rail shall be not less than 4 feet 6 inches from the center line of the adjacent track.
A platform that is more than 4 inches but not higher than 8 inches above the top of the rail shall be not less than 5 feet one inch from the center line of the adjacent track.
A platform that is more than 8 inches but not higher than one foot 9 inches above the top of the rail shall be not less than 6 feet from the center line of the adjacent track.
A platform that is higher than one foot 9 inches above the top of the rail of a main track shall be not less than 8 feet from the center line of the main track.
Notwithstanding par. (b)
, high platforms for handling baggage, mail, express and freight to and from cars on other than main tracks, where an unobstructed working space at ground level is maintained on the opposite side of the track from the platform, which have a face or edge at least 5 feet 8 inches from the center line of such track, which were in existence on July 1, 1949, may be maintained.
No platform of the type described in par. (a)
may be constructed which provides a clearance of less than 6 feet 4 inches between the face or edge thereof and the center line of any such track or which is more than 5 feet above top of rail level.
Upon finding that any structure that is subject to the provisions of this section will not imperil life or limb, and that the public interest requires or permits the structure to be constructed or reconstructed otherwise than as permitted by the provisions of this section, the office may exempt the structure from the provisions of this section.
The office shall make the findings described in par. (a)
only upon written application to it to exempt the construction or reconstruction of a structure from the requirements of this section, setting forth fully the grounds therefor, and only after public hearing held upon notice to all interested parties except that, if no objection is filed with the office within 20 days of the notice, the office may authorize the exemption without hearing. The office's findings and order granting the exemption shall be in writing and shall contain complete provisions and requirements as to the horizontal clearance to be maintained in the construction or reconstruction. The structure shall be constructed or reconstructed only in compliance with the office's order.
Except as otherwise provided in this section and subject to the power of the office to make exceptions to this section in a manner similar to the power given it in sub. (4)
, no railroad or shipper may do any of the following:
Place or construct, within 8 feet 6 inches of the center line of any railroad track, any retaining walls, fences, signs, stand pipes, conveyors, or any other like obstruction, except railroad bridges, switch stands, mail cranes, coal, ice and water stations, intertrack fences and signals and other necessary interlocking mechanisms.
Permit, within 8 feet 6 inches of the center line of any railroad track, the accumulation of any rubbish, waste or material of any sort, except material used for repair or construction work by the railroad company.
The intent of this subsection is to afford proper clearance between railroad cars and obstructions and to promote the safety of railroad employees in switching cars.
Any railroad or shipper to which this section applies, who violates any provision of this section or who fails, neglects or refuses to obey any lawful order made by the office under this section, shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $200.
See also ss. RR 2.14
, and 2.16
, Wis. adm. code.
General penalty for this chapter.
If any railroad corporation, its officers, agents or servants violate or fail to comply with any provision of this chapter the corporation shall, for every violation or failure, unless some other penalty is specifically provided, forfeit not less than $10 nor more than $1,000, and be liable to the person injured for all damages sustained thereby.
History: 1981 c. 390
; 1995 a. 225
Special penalties for this chapter. 192.55(5)(5)
Any corporation or person operating a railroad that shall fail to erect the telltales required by s. 192.31
for the space of 60 days after notice from the office requiring such erection shall forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $100, and each 20 days' delay thereafter in erecting such telltales shall be a separate offense.
Any person violating s. 192.32
shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $200.
Any railroad which violates s. 192.15
shall forfeit to the state $100 for each violation and each day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
Abandoning of railroad stations. 192.56(1)(1)
It is unlawful for any railroad company owning or operating any railroad in whole or in part in this state, to abandon any station in any town, village or city on its line of railroad, within this state, or to remove the depot therefrom, or to withdraw agency service therefrom, without first obtaining from the office an order authorizing such action.
At a station where agency service is provided the application to the office for such authorizing order shall set forth the facts showing the necessity for such action by the railroad company, and if the office finds that the application is sufficient presumptively to justify the order prayed for, it shall enter an order fixing the time and place of hearing on the application, which time shall not be less than 20 days after the posting provided for in sub. (3)
Notice of the time and place of the hearing and of the purpose thereof shall be given, by the office, by posting the notice in 5 conspicuous places in the town or village.
Any public body, or citizen, or group of citizens affected may appear at said hearing and prior to or at said hearing, file objections to the granting of the order prayed for.
The hearing shall be held as other hearings before the office are held as far as applicable. The office may dismiss the application or may grant it in whole or in part and under such conditions as it may deem equitable.
At a station where no agency service is provided, the application to the office for such authorizing order shall set forth the facts showing the necessity for such action by the railroad company. Notice of proposed removal or abandonment shall be given by the office by posting notice in 5 conspicuous places in the town or village concerned; and if within 20 days after the posting of notice no objections in writing are filed with the office by persons directly affected, an order authorizing the abandonment of the station may be issued by the office. If such objections to the granting of the order are filed with the office, the office shall proceed to hold a hearing in the matter as provided in subs. (4)
Sale of abandoned rail property after release by state. 192.73(1)(a)
“Abandoned rail property" means rail property that is determined to be abandoned as provided in s. 85.09 (3)
“Condemnation commission" means the office of the commissioner of condemnation under s. 32.08
for the county in which abandoned rail property is located.
“Lessee" means a person occupying abandoned rail property under a lease.
“Owner" means a person that owns abandoned rail property but “owner" does not include any of the following:
A railroad operating as a common carrier in this state on May 11, 1990.
A railroad corporation that owns a controlling interest on May 11, 1990, in a railroad operating as a common carrier in this state.
A railroad corporation that is under common control on May 11, 1990, with a railroad operating as a common carrier in this state.
If the department determines not to acquire abandoned rail property under s. 85.09 (4)
and issues a release of its first right to acquire the property under s. 85.09 (2)
, an owner may not sell or offer to sell abandoned rail property to a person other than the lessee of the abandoned rail property unless the owner first offers to sell that property to the lessee under this subsection.
The owner shall send by certified mail a written offer to sell abandoned rail property at a fair market price to the lessee of that property. The lessee relinquishes the right to acquire abandoned rail property under this section if it does not respond to the offer by certified mail within 60 days after receipt of the offer to sell.
If the owner and the lessee do not agree on a purchase price within 60 days after the lessee's response, the lessee or the owner may request that the condemnation commission determine the fair market value for the abandoned rail property. The condemnation commission shall determine the fair market value for the abandoned rail property on the basis of 3 independent appraisals. The owner and the lessee shall each select one appraiser and shall pay the cost of that appraisal. The condemnation commission shall select one appraiser and shall divide the cost of the appraisal equally between the owner and the lessee. The condemnation commission shall inform the owner and lessee by certified mail of its determination of the fair market value for the abandoned rail property.