California: Blocking of Railroad Grade Crossings
Adopted September 11, 1974. Effective November 1, 1974. Decision No. 83446 in Case No. 8949.1. TRAIN MOVEMENTS--Except as provided in Paragraph 5, a public grade crossing which is blocked by a stopped train, other than a passenger train, must be opened within 10 minutes, unless no vehicle or pedestrian is waiting at the crossing. Such a cleared crossing must be left open until it is know that the train is ready to depart. When recoupling such a train at the crossing, movement must be made promptly, consistent with safety.
2. SWITCHING MOVEMENTS--Switching over public grade crossings should be avoided whenever possible. If not reasonably possible, such crossings must be cleared frequently to allow a vehicle or pedestrian to pass and must not be occupied continuously for longer than 10 minutes unless no vehicle or pedestrian is waiting at the crossing.
3. GRADE CROSSING PROTECTION CIRCUITS--Cars or locomotives must not be left standing nor switches left open within the controlling circuits of automatic gate protection devices unless time-out features are provided to allow the gate arms to rise.
4. There are no time restrictions for crossing occupancy for a moving train continuing in the same direction.
5. These time limit provisions shall not apply to any blocking resulting from compliance with State and Federal laws and regulations, terrain and physical conditions, adverse weather conditions, conditions rendering the roadbed or track structure unsafe, mechanical failures, train accidents, or other occurrences over which the railroad has no control, except that such crossing shall be cleared with reasonable dispatch.
6. In the event of any uncontrolled blockage involving more than one grade crossing and a peace officer is on the scene, primary consideration shall be given to the clearing of that crossing which, in the peace officer's judgment, will result in the minimum delay to vehicular traffic.
7. A crew member of a train blocking a public crossing shall immediately take all reasonable steps, consistent with the safe operation of such train, to clear the crossing upon receiving information from a peace officer, member of any fire department, as defined in Section 2801 of the Vehicle Code, or operator of an emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165 of the Vehicle Code, that emergency circumstances require the clearing of the crossing.
For more information: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/industry/transportation/crossings/genorders.htm