Article 2. Powers And Duties of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 4. >> Chapter 1. >> Article 2.
Every railroad corporation has all of the following powers:
(a) To make such examination and surveys as are necessary to the
selection of the most advantageous route for the railroad. The
officers, agents, and employees of the corporation may enter upon the
lands or waters of any person, for this purpose, subject to
liability for all damages which they do thereto.
(b) To receive, hold, take, and convey, by deed or otherwise, as a
natural person, such voluntary grants and donations of real estate
and other property as are made to it to aid and encourage the
construction, maintenance, and accommodation of the railroad.
(c) To purchase, or by voluntary grants or donations to receive,
enter, take possession of, hold, and use all such real estate and
other property as is necessary for the construction and maintenance
of such railroad, and for all stations, depots, and other purposes
necessary to successfully work and conduct the business of the road.
(d) To lay out its road, not exceeding 10 rods wide, and to
construct and maintain it, with one or more tracks, and with such
appendages and adjuncts as are necessary for the convenient use of
(e) To construct its roads across, along, or upon any stream of
water, watercourse, roadstead, bay, navigable stream, street, avenue,
or highway, or across any railway, canal, ditch, or flume which the
route of its road intersects, crosses, or runs along, in such manner
as to afford security for life and property. The corporation shall
restore the stream or watercourse, road, street, avenue, highway,
railroad, canal, ditch, or flume thus intersected to its former state
of usefulness as near as may be, or so that the railroad does not
unnecessarily impair its usefulness or injure its franchise.
(f) To cross, intersect, join, or unite its railroad with any
other railroad, either before or after construction, at any point
upon its route, and upon the grounds of the other railroad
corporation, with the necessary turnouts, sidings, and switches, and
other conveniences in furtherance of the objects of its connections.
Every corporation whose railroad is intersected by any new railroad
shall unite with the owners of the new railroad in forming the
intersections and connections, and grant facilities therefor. If the
two corporations cannot agree upon the amount of compensation to be
made therefor, or the points or the manner of the crossings,
intersections, and connections, such matters shall be ascertained and
determined as is provided in Part 1 (commencing with Section 201) of
(g) To acquire lands, timber, stone, gravel, or other materials to
be used in the construction and maintenance of its road, and all
necessary appendages and adjuncts.
(h) To change the line of its road, in whole or in part, whenever
a majority of the directors so determine, as provided in Section
7531, but the change shall not vary the general route of the road, as
contemplated in its articles of incorporation.
Every railroad corporation also has all of the following
(a) To carry persons and property on its railroad, and to receive
tolls or compensation therefor.
(b) To erect and maintain all necessary and convenient buildings,
stations, depots, fixtures, and machinery for the accommodation and
use of its passengers, freight, and business.
(c) To regulate the time and manner in which passengers and
property shall be transported, and the tolls and compensation to be
paid therefor within the limits prescribed by law and subject to
alteration, change, or amendment by the Legislature at any time.
(d) To regulate the force and speed of its locomotives, cars,
trains, or other machinery used and employed on its roads.
(e) To establish, execute, and enforce all needful and proper
rules and regulations for the management of its business transactions
usual and proper for railroad corporations.
(f) To purchase, lease, or acquire the franchises, rights, and
property, or any part thereof, of any railroad corporation, leasing
or owning any railroad outside of the State, to operate it and use
the franchises of any such road, and to build and operate extensions
(g) To purchase, acquire, and hold the stocks, bonds, or other
securities of any railroad corporation organized under the laws of
this State or of any other state or territory, with full power to
Every person or corporation authorized to operate a railroad
is authorized to use steam, diesel, electricity, compressed air, or
any other suitable motive power, for the purpose of propelling cars
or trains on the railroad or upon any portion thereof.
Railroad corporations doing business in this State and
organized under any law of this State or the United States, or of any
state or territory thereof, may enter into contracts with one
another, whereby the one may lease of the other the whole or any part
of its railroad, or may acquire of the other the right to use, in
common with it, the whole or any part of its railroad.
Every railroad corporation in this State shall, within a
reasonable time after its road is finally located, make a map and
profile thereof, and of the land acquired for the use thereof, and
the boundaries of the several counties through which the road may
run, and file it in the Office of the Secretary of State. Every
railroad corporation shall file like maps of the parts of the
railroad located in different counties in the office of the clerk of
the county in which such parts of the road are, there to remain of
record forever. The maps and profiles shall be certified by the chief
engineer, the acting president, and the secretary of the company.
Copies of the map and profiles, so certified and filed, shall be kept
in the office of the secretary of the corporation, subject to
examination by all parties interested.
If, at any time after the location of the line of the
railroad and the filing of the maps and profiles thereof, it appears
that the location can be improved, the directors may alter or change
the location of the line, and cause new maps and profiles to be
filed, showing such changes, in the same offices where the originals
are of file. The directors may proceed, in the same manner as the
original location was acquired, to acquire and take possession of the
new line, but shall sell or relinquish the lands owned by them for
the original location, within five years after such change. No new
location, as herein provided, shall be so run as to avoid any points
named in their articles of incorporation.
Upon receipt by it of an application, filed with either the
federal Surface Transportation Board or the Public Utilities
Commission, to abandon a line of railroad, the Public Utilities
Commission shall forward a copy of the application to the Department
of Transportation within 10 days.
The board of directors of any railroad corporation may at any
time after the original location and construction of its railroad,
in order to provide better facilities for the public service,
construct an additional main line track or tracks either adjacent to
the located and operated line or otherwise, but always in whole or in
part between the same termini. The railroad corporation may, without
abandoning the original location, acquire such rights of way as are
necessary for the additional track or tracks, with their appendages
and adjuncts, of a similar width as provided in Section 7526 for the
original location, either by purchase or condemnation, as therein
provided, and may operate the additional tracks in conjunction with
any tracks previously constructed, as additional facilities for the
railroad system. Nothing herein supersedes or repeals any law
relating to the regulation of railroad corporations by the
commission, or any law requiring railroads to obtain franchises from
the cities or counties through which the additional tracks may pass.
Whenever the track of one railroad intersects or crosses the
track of another railroad, whether it is a street railroad, wholly
within the limits of a city, or other railroad, the rails of either
or each road shall be so cut and adjusted as to permit the passage of
the cars on each road with as little obstruction as possible. If the
persons or corporations owning the railroads cannot agree as to the
compensation to be made for cutting and adjusting the rails, the
condemnation of the right of way over the one for the use of the
other road may be had in proceedings under Title 7, Part 3 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, and damages assessed and the right of way
granted as in other cases.
Whenever the track of a railroad crosses another railroad or
a highway, such railroad or highway may be carried under, over, or on
a level with the track, as is most expedient. Where an embankment or
cutting necessitates a change in the line of such railroad or
highway, the corporation may take such additional lands and material
as are necessary for the construction of the road or highway on the
new line. If the necessary lands cannot be had otherwise, they may be
condemned as provided in Title 7, Part 3 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, and when compensation is made therefor the lands become
the property of the corporation.
The owner of any lands along or through which any railroad is
constructed or maintained, may have such farm or private crossings
over the railroad and railroad right of way as are reasonably
necessary or convenient for ingress to or egress from such lands, or
in order to connect such lands with other adjacent lands of the
owner. The owner or operator of the railroad shall construct and at
all times maintain such farm or private crossing in a good, safe, and
passable condition. The commission shall have the authority to
determine the necessity for any crossing and the place, manner, and
conditions under which the crossing shall be constructed and
maintained, and shall fix and assess the cost and expense thereof.
At every farm or private grade crossing of a railroad where
no automatic grade crossing protective device is in place there shall
be installed, as a means of protecting the crossing, one or more
stop signs of the type described in Section 21400 of the Vehicle Code
or of such other design as the commission may prescribe unless,
after a hearing, the commission shall find that the installation of
such sign or signs at a particular crossing would create a hazard or
dangerous condition that would not otherwise exist. At any grade
crossing where stop signs are installed or in place, before
traversing such crossing the driver of any vehicle shall stop such
vehicle not less than 10 nor more than 50 feet from the nearest rail
of the track and while so stopped shall listen, and look in both
directions along the track, for any approaching train or other
equipment using such rails. The vehicle shall remain standing while
any train or other equipment using such rails is approaching the
crossing and is close enough to constitute a hazard. A driver of any
vehicle who fails to keep his vehicle standing while any train or
equipment using such rails is approaching the crossing and which is
so close as to constitute a hazard is guilty of a misdemeanor.