The New York State Assembly and Senate passed a new bill that strengthens previous laws and prohibits trespassing on all railroad properties.
Section one of the law prohibits individuals on foot from all railroad properties. Previously, the law only applied to railroad property located in New York City, Long Island and Monroe County. The penalty for violating this strengthened law is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum three months in jail and , or a $500 fine.
Section 2 of the law covers trespassing on railroad property while riding a motor vehicle, recreational vehicle (snowmobile, ATVs, motorcycles), or horse or any other animal.
Previously this law only applied to persons riding on snowmobiles. A sepaarte section of the law prohibited the riding on animals on railroad property, but imposed only a $10 fine, plus damages.
The penalty for violating the updated law increased from $100 per offense to a $100-$250 fine for first offenses and a $250-$500 fine for each subsequent offense.
Previous versions of the bill included language to prohibit defacing and tampering with RR property, including tampering offenses that result in a disruption of service. After negotiations, it was determined that these offenses are already covered under Article 145 of the Penal Law as follows:
• Defacing RR Property – Section 145 of the Penal Law (Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree) prohibits any intentional damage done to RR property. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor (Max. 1 year jail, $1,000 fine)
• Tampering with RR Property – Section 145.15 of the Penal Law (Criminal Tampering In The Second Degree) prohibits tampering with the property of common carriers, which are defined in the Railroad Law as all RRs doing business in NYS. This Offense is a Class A Misdemeanor (Max 1 year jail, $1,000 fine)
• Tampering with RR Property that disrupts Service – Section 145.20 of the Penal Law (Criminal Tampering in the First Degree) prohibits tampering activities that cause a substantial interruption or impairment of service provided by common carriers (all RRs doing business in NYS). This offense is a Class D Felony (1-7 years jail, Max. $5,000 fine)
In addition, previous versions also contained language that would prohibit tampering activities that result in the serious injury or death of another person. Again, it was determined that these offenses are already covered by the Penal Law as follow:
• Actions that Cause Serious Injury – Section 120.05 of the Penal Law (Assault in the Second Degree) prohibits intentional or reckless actions that result in serious injury to another person. This offense is a Class D Felony (1-7 years jail, Max. $5,000 fine)
• Actions that Result in Death- Section 125.15 of the Penal Law (Manslaughter in the Second Degree) prohibits reckless actions that cause the death of another person. This offense is a Class C Felony (1-15 years jail, Max $5,000 fine)
According to Sandi Saracen, spokesperson for the Wayne County based Ontario Midland Railroad Corp., it is mostly snowmobiles and ATVs causing problems. “Before I started we had two different derailments due to ice buildup where snowmobiles created a cross over. Another problem is when the snowmobiles go between the rials, get a ski stuck, damage the rails and don’t tell us about it.”
According to Sarasen, snowmobiles and ATVs also tear down track improvements the local rail service has completed. There is one section of track where someone is dumping old electronics on riairoad property.