Right of Entry Requests

Right of Entry & Construction Requests

photo of railroad tracks

The Santa Cruz Branch Line is an active short line railroad that travels through Santa Cruz County along a right-of-way (ROW) of varying width between Pajaro and Davenport. The short line railroad operator, Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad, owns rights to the railroad infrastructure and currently operates freight service on part of the line. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) imposes safety requirements for any activity within 25 feet of the center line of track.

Uses of the Branch Line ROW are subject to the following policies:

For any construction or access needed within the Branch Line ROW, public and private entities and individuals should contact the RTC well in advance of the activity to determine the type of agreement needed, and to execute the agreement prior to the activity occurring. The RTC requires a right of entry (ROE) agreement be in place prior to entering the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line right-of-way for any access or minor construction purposes (example: replacement of a fence bordering the Branch Line ROW). The ROE agreement requires the applicant to notify the short line railroad operator 30 days in advance of entry or encroachment with the date, time, location, duration, and nature of the activity in the vicinity of the railroad track and its appurtenant equipment and structures. A separate, more basic right of entry agreement will likely be required from the short line railroad operator. RTC and/or short line railroad operator representatives may require a field meeting prior to consideration of an ROE agreement. For access, submit an application online to the RTC at least 45 days in advance.

Online Permit Application and Management System

Utilities and Other Construction – additional information

The RTC requires a license agreement for new underground and overhead utilities that cross or enter the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line right-of-way. The lead time for a crossing agreement or other new construction project is typically 4 to 6 months. It is important to contact the RTC well in advance of planned access in order to allow sufficient time to execute the agreement and make the necessary notifications. Any utility or other construction work that traverses the railroad infrastructure or is in the vicinity of railroad infrastructure within the Branch Line ROW must conform to the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) standards as well as RTC requirements, as described in the RTC General Procedures document available on our online application site.