How Close Can You Build a Fence to Rail Tracks | Guide and Regulations

It’s essential to strike a balance between security and maintaining a safe distance that allows for the smooth operation of the railway system.

What Is the Minimum Distance Between Two Railway Tracks?

The minimum distance between two railway tracks is determined by various regulations and safety guidelines. According to Section 339 of the regulation, it’s essential to maintain a distance of at least 14 feet from the center line of each railroad track when parallel railroad tracks or adjacent sidetracks are involved. This distance is crucial as it allows sufficient clearance and space for train operations and ensures proper safety measures are in place.

However, it’s important to note that this specific minimum distance requirement may be subject to change or special considerations. In some cases, written approval from MDOTs Office of Rail is required to deviate from the standard distance requirement. This written approval is crucial to ensure that any modifications or adjustments made to the minimum distance between tracks don’t compromise safety or operational efficiency.

Safety is the utmost priority when it comes to railway operations, and adherence to these regulations helps to ensure that both train operators and nearby communities are protected from potential hazards. Any modifications or exceptions to the minimum distance requirement must be carefully evaluated and authorized to avoid compromising the safety of rail operations.

By adhering to the minimum distance requirements, they can contribute to creating a secure and efficient railway system that minimizes the risk of accidents while facilitating the seamless movement of trains.

Factors That Influence the Determination of the Minimum Distance Between Railway Tracks

Factors that influence the determination of the minimum distance between railway tracks include safety regulations, local laws, type of train traffic, track speeds, track elevation, proximity to platforms or stations, visibility requirements, emergency access, and clearance for maintenance activities. These factors ensure the safety and efficient operation of both the rail system and nearby properties. It’s important to consult the specific regulations and guidelines in your area when planning to build a fence near railway tracks.

The minimum vertical clearance for railroad overpasses is crucial to ensure safe and efficient transportation. With a requirement of at least 23 feet between the top of the rail and the bottom of the overpass, along with a 6-feet extension on either side of the outside tracks, the clearance provides sufficient space for trains passing underneath, minimizing the risk of collision or damage. However, this clearance standard is just one aspect of a larger safety framework that governs railroad infrastructure.

What Is the Minimum Railroad Vertical Clearance?

When it comes to building a fence near rail tracks, it’s crucial to consider the minimum vertical clearance required by regulations to ensure safety and avoid any potential accidents. The minimum railroad vertical clearance specifies that there should be a distance of at least 23 feet between the top of the rail and the bottom of any overpass structure. This clearance is measured from the centerline of the outside tracks and extends six feet on each side.

The purpose of this vertical clearance requirement is to provide sufficient space for trains to pass smoothly beneath any overpassing structures without causing any interference or risking damage to the train or the structure itself. By incorporating this minimum clearance, the potential for accidents due to low clearances can be significantly reduced.

Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to severe consequences, potentially resulting in accidents, legal penalties, or the requirement for costly modifications to meet the required clearance.

Moreover, this minimum clearance also accounts for potential variations or deviations in the height of train cars and tracks. By providing a generous clearance of 23 feet, it allows for a safety margin to accommodate any variations in height that may arise due to factors such as uneven tracks, different train car designs, or variations in load distribution.

Adhering to these regulations is crucial to ensure the safety of trains and pedestrians, avoid accidents and legal penalties, and prevent the need for costly modifications to meet the required clearance.

It’s important to maintain a safe distance from railroad tracks to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of others. When coming to a stop near train tracks, it’s recommended to keep a distance of 15 to 50 feet between your vehicle and the tracks. Considering the width of the tracks and the overhang of the train, it’s crucial to leave enough space for a safe maneuver.

How Many Feet Should You Be Away From a Railroad Track?

When it comes to building a fence near rail tracks, it’s essential to keep a safe distance to ensure the safety of both the fence and the passing trains. So, how close can you build a fence to rail tracks? Well, according to regulations, it’s recommended to maintain a distance of 15 to 50 feet from the tracks. This range allows for sufficient space to prevent any potential accidents or damage.

This distance allows proper visibility, reduces the risk of accidents, and avoids any potential obstructions that could affect the smooth flow of train traffic.

Your local authorities or transportation department may have additional regulations that need to be followed to guarantee the safety of everyone involved. It’s always best to consult with these authorities or seek professional advice before proceeding with any construction near rail tracks.

By maintaining an appropriate distance of 15 to 50 feet, you’re ensuring the well-being of both the train passengers and those residing nearby.

How Are the Recommended Distances for Building a Fence Near Rail Tracks Determined?

The recommended distances for building a fence near rail tracks are typically determined by local government regulations and railway safety guidelines. These guidelines take various factors into consideration, such as the speed of trains passing through the area, the type of rail track (e.g. mainline, commuter, industrial), and the potential risks associated with the proximity of the fence to the tracks.

The primary objective of establishing these recommended distances is to ensure the safety of both pedestrians and train passengers. By setting minimum distance requirements, authorities aim to reduce the risk of accidents, such as collisions between trains and fences, or pedestrians trespassing onto the tracks.

In some cases, the recommended distances may also be influenced by aesthetic or maintenance considerations. For example, a fence placed too close to the rail tracks could obstruct the view, hindering the visibility of train signals or impeding maintenance activities.

It’s important to check with the local government or railway company to determine the specific regulations and guidelines regarding fence placement near rail tracks in your area. Following these recommendations helps ensure the safety and functionality of both the fence and the railway infrastructure.

Railroad right of way refers to the area of land required for the safe and efficient operation of train tracks. Typically, the basic width of a railroad right of way is around 50 feet, with 25 feet allocated on either side of a single track. For multiple tracks, the right of way extends 25 feet beyond the outermost tracks. However, it’s important to note that the actual width of a railroad right of way can vary, with additional space needed for cuts and fills. In some cases, railroad right of ways can reach widths of 100 feet or even more.

What Is the Width of Railroad Right of Way?

When it comes to the width of railroad right of way, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. This typically includes 25 feet on each side of a single track.

It isn’t uncommon for the right of way to extend up to 100 feet in width. This additional width is often necessary to accommodate various infrastructure needs such as cuts and fills. These additional widths allow for the construction and maintenance of bridges, tunnels, and other structures that are essential for the safe and efficient operation of the railroad.

The width of the right of way also takes into account safety considerations. It provides enough space for proper clearance between the tracks and any structures or obstacles nearby. This ensures the safe passage of trains and reduces the risk of accidents or damage to the trains, tracks, or surrounding properties. The width of the right of way may also include areas designated for utility lines and other support systems required for the operation of the railroad.

In addition to the width of the right of way, there are also certain regulations and guidelines in place regarding the proximity of fences to rail tracks. These regulations aim to ensure the safety and security of both the railroad operations and the adjacent properties. It’s important to consult with local authorities and adhere to these regulations when considering the construction of a fence near railroad tracks. This will help ensure compliance with the applicable guidelines and maintain the safety of everyone involved.

The Process and Challenges of Acquiring Land for Railroad Right of Way

  • Identifying potential land parcels for railroad right of way
  • Conducting feasibility studies and surveys to assess suitability of land
  • Engaging in negotiations with landowners to acquire necessary land
  • Reviewing legal and property documentation for land transfers
  • Ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and permits
  • Mitigating challenges related to land valuation and compensation
  • Resolving disputes and conflicts with landowners or other stakeholders
  • Securing funding for land acquisition costs
  • Coordinating with local and state government agencies
  • Managing public relations and community engagement


While specific guidelines and restrictions may vary in different regions, the overarching goal remains the same – to maintain a safe distance from the tracks to ensure the well-being of both rail passengers and the general public. By understanding the local laws, consulting with railway officials, and engaging in proactive measures, individuals can create effective barriers without compromising safety. It’s imperative to remember that the consequences of disregarding these regulations can be severe, thus emphasizing the importance of careful planning and responsible decision-making when building fences near rail tracks.

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