Railroad Fencing Reporting Policies

BNSF & Union Pacific

Below is the reporting policy as it relates to railroads (BNSF & Union Pacific); this covers fencing issues, right of ways and securing of gates, reports of livestock loss and any other issues arising from neighboring railroads.


Landowners contact:
Lindsay Mullins
Executive Director, State Government Affairs
BNSF Railway

Landowner will need to provide: 

Personal Contact information
City, State, Zip

Properly identify the non-constructed fence location.
• Include mile marker if at all possible.

Mr. Sloan will provide you with the road master’s name and contact information and will call the area road master to report the issue.

Road master will contact the landowner in one (1) week or less.

If road master does not contact landowner within one week, then the landowner can contact the road master directly to seek a solution to the problem.

If you have exhausted all efforts above and still have not seen any results, please contact me at 505-379-9847 or chad.smith@nmfarmbureau.org.

Remember, it is the railroad’s responsibility to erect and maintain its fences. It has been a common practice to attempt to only provide materials to landowners to fix
fences; however, this contradicts statute and a landowner should not be responsible for providing the labor to maintain a railroad’s fence. Below is statute 77-16-16,
which reads as follows:

Every railroad in this state whose lines of road, or any part thereof, are open for use, and every railroad company formed or to be formed, shall, within six months after the lines of such railroad or any part thereof are open, erect and thereafter maintain fences on the sides of their said railroad, or the part thereof so open for use, suitably and amply sufficient to prevent cattle, horses, sheep, mules, burros and hogs from getting on the said railroad, except at the crossings of public roads and highways, and within the limits of towns, cities and villages, and shall also construct, where the same has not already been done, and maintain, at all public road crossings, now existing or hereafter established, cattle guards suitable and sufficient to prevent cattle,horses, sheep, burros, mules and hogs from getting onto said railroad. If any railroad shall fail to construct and maintain such fences and cattle guards as herein directed, such railroad shall be liable to the owner for all damages resulting from injury or death caused to any such livestock, including a reasonable attorney fees [attorney's fee] on order of the court should legal proceedings be commenced by such owner; provided, further, that should the cattle sanitary board [New Mexico Livestock Board] be unable to determine ownership of livestock crippled or killed by the railroad within thirty (30) days of the date it first receives notice of such injury or death, by report or otherwise, then the board may institute legal proceedings in the name of such unknown owner in any court of competent jurisdiction and recover damages as herein provided, and the proceeds disposed of as provided for under the laws pertaining to estrays.

If you are having issues please let me know. If you are given the option by the RR to receive fencing materials and do the work yourself, that is of course your prerogative, however I would like to know as that is not what the law states.

We have been fighting these issues for some time now and recently presented the issue to the Water and Natural Resources Interim Committee, along with a representative from both BNSF and Union Pacific. It was made very clear by the legislators that the RR’s must abide by the current law otherwise the legislature will be forced to make them abide by it.

We are going to attempt to work with the railroads and give it a trial run. If we do not get the results we are hoping for, then we will return to the legislature and ask them to tighten and enforce current law, however we have to give them an opportunity. 

Union Pacific

If your case involves Union Pacific Rail Road please contact their claims department at 877-877-2567 and if you have any trouble give me a call. Union Pacific seems to have the least amount of reported issues, however if you have had or continue to have issues we would like to hear about them.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I have included a map linked below courtesy of the NMDOT Railroad Bureau to help in identifying the railroads. We will be having a follow up meeting in the near future to determine how effective the above processes are, so please communicate any issue you have with me.

Click below for a printable version of the Railroad Policy or to view a map of New Mexico Railroads.

Railroad Policy