Frequently Asked Questions

The following Q&A provides a significant portion of the information needed to work on the Caltrain right of way. After reviewing this and the other pages of the Public Third-party website, please contact Third-party staff with any additional questions. Third-party contact information can be found HERE.

  1. When do I need a Caltrain Property Access Agreement?
  2. How long does it take for the total process, from the first contact with Caltrain to getting access to railroad property?
  3. What types of agreements are required to obtain the appropriate property access?
  4. How much time is required to prepare an agreement?
  5. What are the costs to obtain a Property Access Agreement, Inspections and Flagging?
  6. What types of projects are considered to be low hazard?
  7. What are the insurance requirements for low hazard projects?
  8. What types of projects are considered to be high hazard?
  9. What are the insurance requirements for high hazard projects?
  10. I have General Liability Insurance. Why is Railroad Protective Liability Insurance needed?
  11. What is covered by a Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?
  12. Who is covered by a Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?
  13. What other coverage is provided by the Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?
  14. Does Caltrain allow self-insurance or endorsements to the Commercial General Liability policy in lieu of obtaining Railroad Protective Liability Insurance?
  15. Why does Caltrain require that all permit Applicants delete the contractual liability exclusion for liability assumed for demolition or construction within 50 feet of the railroad tracks, in their Commercial General Liability insurance?
  16. Where can I find the procedures for obtaining a Property Access Agreement?
  17. Can I work on the Caltrain right of way anytime? What is a work window?
  18. What is a “Site Specific Work Plan”?
  19. Will Underground Service Alert identify all utilities within Caltrain right of way when they are notified to mark subsurface utilities for a Third-party project?

  1. Q: When do I need a Caltrain Property Access Agreement?

    A: Whenever you enter or impact property owned or controlled by Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board commonly referred to as Caltrain. Back to Top

  2. Q: How long does it take for the total process, from the first contact with Caltrain to getting access to railroad property?

    A: The total process can take a minimum of two months. Factors beyond Caltrain control are how long it takes the Applicant to provide funding (after receiving an estimate) and legal review of agreements. Back to Top

  3. Q: What types of agreements are required to obtain the appropriate property access?

    A: One or more of the following agreements may be required for property access:
    License Agreement: This agreement provides limited property rights semi-permanent installations to a third party, contains a 30-day termination clause, and is normally executed by Caltrain with the Third-party owner.

    Right of Entry Agreement: This agreement permits a Third Party temporary use and access to Caltrain property for construction purposes and is normally executed with the contractor performing the construction.

    Construction and Maintenance Agreement: This agreement is normally reserved for large projects (i.e. grade separation projects, bridge structures, etc.) and is normally executed with the Third-party owner.
    Back to Top

  4. Q: How much time is required to prepare an agreement?

    A: In general, an agreement can be prepared within approximately 4 weeks after project plans and specifications have been approved by Caltrain staff.
    Back to Top

  5. Q: What are the costs to obtain a Property Access Agreement, Inspections and Flagging?

    A: Current Caltrain policy mandates that all Third-party Projects are re-collectable from the owner/contractor. Therefore, the Permit Application Fee and a Service Agreement must be executed and the permit fee and estimated expenses deposited with Caltrain at the inception of a project. The costs of inspection and flagging are estimated based upon the expected length of time of the work and is required to be paid in advance (see additional cost information below). For property agreements, permit costs and fee schedule click HERE. (1.41MB, PDF)

    Additional Cost Information:
    • TASI Flaggers cost approximately $1,500 day. Signal protection support (marking underground cables not covered by USA) cost approximately $1,500/day.
    • Caltrain staff’s administrative cost for processing agreements and permits and for arranging for TASI safety support is approximately $250/hour.
    • Inspections, when necessary, cost approximately $250/hour.
    • Cost of legal support varies with the complexity of project.
    • Railroad Protective Liability Insurance (RPLI) is mandatory for any project within 50 feet from active tracks. Applicant may obtain RPLI through Caltrain insurance carrier. To generate a cost estimate for RPLI from Caltrain’s underwriter, we need the total project construction cost, and the percentage of the project that is proposed within 50 feet of the track. The premium will be based on the total project construction costs.
    Back to Top

  6. Q: What types of projects are considered to be low hazard?

    A: Caltrain considers leases, station usage, projects with no special hazards, and wire and pipeline utility projects as low hazard projects.
    Back to Top

  7. Q: What are the JPB insurance requirements for low hazard projects?

    A: Caltrain requires $2 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate Commercial General Liability insurance coverage for low hazard projects. Railroad Protective Liability Insurance requirements are $2 million per occurrence and $6 million aggregate for low hazard projects and should be obtained through Caltrain insurance carrier.

    The following sample insurance language is normally required for “low risk” project (ones that don’t pose any risk of construction equipment entering the safety envelope for train operations or that could undermine or otherwise interfere with train operations or affect the tracks or track ways). Work that involves drilling or other engineering decisions may require professional liability insurance coverage, and work involving the handling of hazardous materials may require special coverage relating that work. (Example language for such coverage is included in this sample, but not indicated as being required.) In addition, permits for member agencies of the JPB (the City and County of San Francisco, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the San Mateo County Transit District) will have different wording to reflect the legal relationship with those agencies. Caltrain reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to require whatever insurance coverage or language it deems appropriate for a particular project. For an Insurance document example go to Insurance Terms. (103KB, PDF)
    Back to Top

  8. Q: What types of projects are considered to be high hazard?

    A: Caltrain considers projects with track work, tunneling, blasting or other projects which have the potential to collapse onto tracks, grade separations, projects with derailment potential, and projects determined to have significant hazards by Caltrain Engineering staff as "high hazard projects”.
    Back to Top

  9. Q: What are the insurance requirements for high hazard projects?

    A:. Caltrain requires at least $10 million per occurrence and $10 million aggregate Commercial General Liability insurance coverage for high hazard projects. Railroad Protective Liability Insurance requirements are at least $10 million per occurrence and $10 million aggregate for high hazard projects and should be obtained through Caltrain’s insurance carrier.
    Back to Top

  10. Q: I have Commercial General Liability Insurance. Why is Railroad Protective Liability Insurance needed?

    A: Construction work along Caltrain’s rail corridor represents an increased hazard to Caltrain. Not only would Caltrain like to avoid increased hazards affecting operations, but we also do not want to assume the accompanying financial risk. Because of the increased hazard and benefit accruing to the permit Applicant, the encroachment permit requires that the permit Applicant assume Caltrain's liability for the project. This assumption of liability needs to be backed up by insurance. However, the standard Commercial General Liability policy excludes liability assumed under contract involving construction or demolition work within 50 feet of a railroad track. Thus, the permit Applicant's own liability is covered under its Commercial General Liability policy; but the liability of Caltrain, which the permit Applicant assumes when obtaining the encroachment permit, is not covered.

    Railroad Protective Liability Insurance was designed to fill this gap in coverage. It benefits Caltrain by providing first dollar liability coverage, thus protecting Caltrain's self-insured retention, and by immediately paying a claim on Caltrain’s behalf. Thus, by freeing Caltrain of liability, it benefits contractors and private third parties so their construction work can be done.

    Railroad Protective Liability Insurance shall be obtained from Caltrain’s insurance carrier.
    Back to Top

  11. Q: What is covered by a Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?

    A: Two types of coverage are included in the policy: A) bodily injury and property damage, and B) physical damage to Caltrain property. For both, the coverage applies at the Applicant's work site on Caltrain’s right of way. Bodily injury liability covers Caltrain for claims for physical injury to any person, including an employee of the permit applicant. Property damage liability coverage applies to any property damaged or destroyed as a result of the work. Physical damage to Caltrain property coverage applies to property owned or leased by Caltrain which is damaged during the work.

    The JPB has developed two Railroad Protective Liability Insurance Programs: the Wire and Pipeline Policy and the Blanket Policy for major projects. Projects that are considered low hazard qualify for the Wire and Pipeline Policy. Any project considered to be high hazard must go on the major project Blanket Policy and be individually quoted.
    Back to Top

  12. Q: Who is covered by a Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?

    A: Caltrain’s policies name itself, each of its member agencies, TASI and Union Pacific as named insured. Also, any other railroad on the tracks is covered. The permit Applicant is not covered under the policy.
    Back to Top

  13. Q: What other coverage is provided by the Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy?

    A: The policy covers pollution (limited to fuels and lubricants) and Federal Employers Liability Act. Railroad workers are not subject to Workers Compensation. If they are injured on the job, they have the right to sue Caltrain under FELA.
    Back to Top

  14. Q: Does Caltrain allow self-insurance or endorsements to the Commercial General Liability policy in lieu of obtaining Railroad Protective Liability Insurance?

    A: No, all permit Applicants are required to obtain Railroad Protective Liability Insurance policy coverage, either through Caltrain’s carrier or through their own insurance carrier.
    Back to Top

  15. Q. Why does Caltrain require that all permit Applicants delete the contractual liability exclusion for liability assumed for demolition or construction within 50 feet of the railroad tracks, in their Commercial General Liability insurance?

    A. To participate in the Caltrain’s Railroad Protective Liability Insurance program, the RPLI insurer requires deletion of the contractual liability exclusion for demolition or construction within 50 feet of the railroad tracks, on the permit Applicant’s Commercial General Liability insurance policy.
    Back to Top

  16. Q: Where can I find the procedures for obtaining a Property Access Agreement?

    A: Select either "Procedure for Obtaining Work Permit for Semi-Permanent Installations or "Procedure for Obtaining Work Permit for Temporary Installations (whichever is applicable to your project).
    Back to Top

  17. Q: Can I work on the Caltrain right of way anytime? What is a work window?

    A: No, you may not work anytime on the right of way. The approved Site Specific Work Plan will state the dates and times you may work, and these dates and times are called "Work Windows".
    Back to Top

  18. Q: What is a “Site Specific Work Plan”?

    A: The Site Specific Work Plan explains the type of work proposed, including the types of tools/equipment and process needed to perform the work. More information about the SSWP can be found in the Operational System Interface document (PDF, 155KB).
    Back to Top

  19. Q: Will Underground Service Alert identify all utilities within Caltrain right of way when they are notified to mark subsurface utilities for a Third-party project?

    A: No, USA will not mark out the railroad signal subsurface utilities. The permit Applicant must also notify Caltrain in advance of when the railroad signal utilities need to be marked in the field. The Third Party group will then schedule a TASI Signal Maintainer to identify and mark the railroad signal subsurface utilities at the project site.
    Back to Top

12/06/13 - rjc/rw