RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY
25
IV.
RAIL-WITH-TRAIL SURVEY FINDINGS
Setback
The lateral distance between the centerline of the nearest
track (track located closest to the rail-with-trail) and the nearest edge of
the trail or the separation feature (fence, wall, etc.).
Whether the trail is within the railroad right-of-way or immediately
adjacent, the actual distance between the railroad tracks and the trail
may determine how design features address trail user safety. Several trail
managers reported setback requirements enforced by the railroad, usually
ranging from a 25 to 30-foot minimum. Nearly 60 percent of trails were
30
feet or less from the railroad tracks and more than a quarter of trails
reported a minimum distance of between 11 and 20 feet. Some trails are
extremely close to the tracks; the Frisco Trail in Fayetteville, Ark. comes as
close as two feet from the tracks.
Existence of barriers between trail and rail
70%
15%
15%
Barriers exist on all or a portion
of the trail corridor
No barriers between trail and
railroad tracks
No answer
Barrier type
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
Fence Vegetation Grade
separation
Ditch
Concrete
wall
Represents results from 62 trails that reported existing barriers; some trails have
more than one type of barrier.
Separation
Separation refers to constructed or natural barriers between the trail and railroad. Survey results indicated that a vast majority (70 percent) of rails-with-
trails have installed some type of barrier or were designed to be grade-separated for all, or a portion of, the trail’s length. The most common barrier used
is fencing, with a variety of fencing types and heights reported (e.g., chain link, wire fence with wood post). In some instances, railroads required that
their fencing standards were met.
Crossings
Designing safe rail crossings is critical to creating a safe and accessible rail-with-trail. Fifty-four trails (61 percent) reported at least one crossing; the
average number of crossings was 1.6 and 70 percent of those crossings are at grade. The Camp Chase Trail in Ohio reported seven crossings, the most
of any trail. Several trail managers indicated that no new crossings would be considered by the railroad, and nearly a third of trails studied do not have a
single crossing.
Trail/Rail crossing type
At grade crossing
Grade separated, bridge
Grade separated, tunnel
(
or under trestle)
70%
12%
18%
Number of times trail crosses railroad tracks
0
1
2
or 3
4
or more
No answer
30%
26%
17%
7%
20%
Distance between trail and railroad tracks
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
0–10
ft.
11–20
ft.
21–30
ft.
31–50
ft.
51–75
ft.
76–100
ft.
>100 ft.
No answer