The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) was established as a joint authority in 1984 for the primary purpose of preserving rail lines serving central Pennsylvania. The JRA’s priority is to ensure safe, efficient, and quality rail freight service to industries along the JRA’s railroads. The JRA recognizes, however, that requests by others for use of JRA property may arise from time to time. Accordingly, these policies and procedures shall apply to applications for use or occupation of JRA property.
All applications for requested occupation of JRA property should be directed to the JRA Property Management Staff (See Additional Contacts). After receipt, each application will then be reviewed by the JRA’s Property Management Committee or other appropriate JRA committee, as determined by the JRA Property Management Staff. If the reviewing committee decides to recommend approval of the application, the application shall then be presented to the JRA Board for approval or rejection, in the Board’s discretion. If the application is approved by the Board, the JRA will charge fees for the requested occupation in accordance with its fee schedule in effect from time to time, as set forth below.
Below is a more detailed list of the procedures employed by the JRA when reviewing applications for requested occupation of JRA property. In all such cases, it is the responsibility of the applicant to comply with all federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations that may apply to the proposed occupation. The JRA shall have the right, in its sole discretion, to approve, deny or otherwise take such action as it deems necessary in response to any application for occupation of JRA property.
1. If the proposed occupation is within a public right-of-way, the application for proposed occupation must first be filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
2. If the proposed occupation is solely on JRA property, the applicant must submit an application letter to the JRA describing the requested occupation, including the information described below. The letter should be submitted by email to the JRA’s Property and Maintenance of Way Manager at the following email address ([email protected]), or if applicant is unable to submit the application by email, by mail to SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority, 201 Furnace Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837 Attn: Property and Maintenance of Way Manager. Please note that electronic submissions are preferred, and will increase the likelihood of expedited review of the application. The letter should include the following information:
- A brief narrative description of the requested occupation, including the objective of the occupation, pertinent background, and any other specific facts the JRA should consider in its review of the application.
- The applicant’s legal name, address, authorized representatives (who will execute any agreements on behalf of the applicant), and, in the case of any entity, the type of entity (i.e., corporation) and jurisdiction of the entity.
- The latitude and longitude of the proposed occupation (a Google Earth map with pin marking the proposed occupation is preferred); drawings — plan and profile views.
- If the application concerns a modification of an existing JRA-approved occupation, the existing easement, license, or lease agreement number and the purpose of the modification.
- If the requested occupation involves a utility, a description of the purpose of this utility, and the expected number and nature of end users.
- The name and contact information of any other individuals interested in the application, and project, the name and contact information of the project sponsor.
- If the proposed occupation will traverse the JRA railroad track and/or run along the JRA railroad track, detailed plans and profile and a site location map must be submitted with the application letter. The plans and profile must clearly indicate property lines, distances from centerline of track, zone of influence, and depth and height below or above the JRA’s railroad track, along with a pipe data sheet (if applicable). The JRA has adopted, subject to certain modifications, the engineering specifications of CSX Transportation and the former Conrail. The JRA’s specifications may be viewed by clicking on “Doing Business with JRA” under “Engineering Specifications”. Also, the applicant may wish to refer to the PUC’s website for minimum clearances of permanent obstructions near a railroad.
3. The JRA will determine the appropriate agreement that applies to any particular requested occupation, which may be a license agreement, easement agreement, or lease agreement, depending on the particular circumstances involved with the requested occupation. The agreement will be presented to the applicant for review, and shall be subject to approval of the JRA Board. Any requested occupation shall not be effective and binding upon the JRA until the JRA has approved the agreement and both the applicant and the JRA have executed such agreement.
4. The JRA may require a site visit with the applicant and the JRA’s railroad operator. The applicant must provide proof of applicable insurance, including general liability and workmen’s compensation. In most cases, the applicant will be required to obtain Railroad Protective Insurance. In addition, in some instances, the JRA may require addition security, such as a performance bond.
5. In the case of utilities, the applicant must coordinate construction of the utility with the JRA’s operating railroad (See Additional Contacts) prior to entering upon the JRA’s railroad property. Any required flagging services by the railroad operator, in accordance with its safety regulations, will be charged by and paid directly to the operator, separate and apart from any fees imposed by the JRA with regard to the requested occupation. The operator will have a sole discretion in determining whether flagging is required with regard to any particular requested occupation.
An easement may be granted for a requested occupation of a long-term nature, such as a utility occupation. The term of the agreement may be established as an annual term or as a permanent easement, based on the particular circumstances involved and the JRA’s review of the application. Easement fees shall be assessed based on the JRA’s Fee Schedule in effect from time to time. (Please refer to the “2021 Fee Schedule” for the fee associated with any proposed occupation.) The payment of the easement fees can be made on an annual basis or on a 10-year term basis, subject to the applicant’s election and the JRA’s approval. The easement fee may be adjusted for inflation in each subsequent year of the term based on the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor. In no event shall there be any decrease to the easement fee.
TEMPORARY USE OF RAILROAD PROPERTY
Requests for temporary use of railroad property are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and if approved will be in the form of a license to access JRA property. When deemed appropriate by the JRA, the insurance and bonding requirements required for easements will also be required for temporary use. Charges for temporary use of JRA property are decided on a case-by-case basis, and the JRA reserves the right to reject any request for temporary use.
PRIVATE CROSSINGS (VEHICLE/PEDESTRIAN)
In accordance with FRA safety policy and the railroad industry, the JRA strongly discourages the creation of new at-grade crossings on the railroad. Accordingly, in order to support a requested need for a crossing, the applicant must submit with its application, in addition to any other general application requirements above, (i) an explanation of the need for the crossing; (ii) a map showing the location of the proposed crossing, along with an explanation or depiction of the lack of access by other means. The applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with the construction, maintenance, and liability of the crossing. If the request is approved by the JRA, the crossing will be installed by the JRA’s railroad operator, in accordance with railroad specifications, at the applicant’s sole expense. This includes all warning signs mandated by the 2009 MUTCD and JRA, and future maintenance.
The JRA will consider requests for leases of land owned by the JRA. The rent for land leases will be determined on a square footage basis. The term of such leases will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be subject to the approval of the JRA.
To the extent the JRA elects to sell JRA property, the sale price will be at no less than appraised value. All JRA property is conveyed by quitclaim deed only. A site location map must be submitted along with a letter of request explaining the reason the proposed buyer is interested in purchasing JRA property. The JRA will normally schedule a site visit with the interested party. If the request is approved by the JRA Board, the buyer will be responsible for obtaining the appraisal, using the appraiser of the JRA’s choice, at the buyer’s sole expanse. Buyer will also obtain a survey at his/her sole expense. The survey must be performed by a registered surveyor and must include a metes and bounds description with notation of adjacent land owners. Appropriate property markers must be placed in the field, and the survey must comply with standard error of closure and all Pennsylvania land survey standards. For a list of surveyors familiar with JRA railroad property, please contact the JRA Property Manager ([email protected]). The buyer will also be responsible for any other fees associated with the purchase of property (e.g., transfer taxes, etc.).