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Union Pacific Railroad Bridge
Tugboat Communications with the Bridge


The purpose of the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge (UPRRB) Communications Protocol (also called the “UPRRB Protocol”) is to facilitate predictable, safe, and efficient passage underneath the UPRRB drawbridge lift span. The UPRRB Protocol works by standardizing radiotelephone communications between the bridge and approaching vessels.
When used properly, the protocol has proven to aid in increasing safety and in preventing unnecessary delays to vessel and train traffic.


There have been several recent incidents involving confusing radio communications between tugboats and the UPRRB. These incidents caused potential delays for the tugboats attempting to transit underneath the railroad drawbridge and could have resulted in a more serious situation.
These recent incidents would not have occurred if the UPRRB Communications Protocol had been used properly.

Solution: Follow the UPRRB Communications Protocol

When a UPRRB drawbridge lift is necessary, follow the steps and use the precise verbiage described in the UPRRB Communications Protocol.

Click below to download a copy of the UPRRB Communications Protocol.
Download the full-size manual (Adobe PDF)
Download the pocket-size manual (Adobe PDF)

Two Key Regulations


Example Communications

Advance Call Lift Request Cancel Lift Request
“UP Railroad Bridge this is the tug Ranger making an Advance Call. I will call you at thirteen-thirty to request a full lift. Over.” “UP Railroad Bridge this is the tug Ranger at the Martinez Marina making Lift Request. Request a full lift now.” “UP Railroad Bridge this is the tug Ranger at the Martinez Marina canceling the Lift Request. No bridge lift is required.”
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Last Modified 1/12/2016