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 Post subject: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
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Location: MA
If a railroad museum buys a parcel of land right next to a Railroad and that track is abandoned is there any way the Railroad Museum could acquire it?
Speach to text failed me again.


Last edited by RCD on Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:08 pm
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Location: Amherst, Oh
I'm basically reading: if a railroad museum buys a piece of land next to a railroad and then the railroad abandons the track is there a way for the museum to acquire the abandoned track?


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:22 pm 

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I think you're right, and that "of the bandit" was meant to read "abandoned".

In theory this could happen, and has in the past. There are lots of railroad museums that operate on lines that were once branchlines, or even mainlines in some cases.

Of course, every situation is different, and something like that would take serious money to both acquire and maintain. Also, these days you'll face stiff opposition from the "rails to trails" folks who want to tear out the tracks and put in a trail.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hi RCD: Could you go back and edit your text? Not sure what you are saying. Are you using voice dictation to enter the comment?

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
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Based on the severely limited information you have provided, the short answer is yes. I am not going to write a thesis paper on all of the ways that scenario could play out.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
The OP either used the cell and talked into it, or used a translation service from another language.
I can't tell what the heck is being asked...

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Maybe, depending on circumstances, definitely not absolutely.

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
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Location: western Maryland
The STB processes are available to any organization or individual once the owning entity has filed a petition (exemption) for abandonment.

https://www.stb.gov/stb/index.html

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
I think the truly relevant question is, are you talking 250 feet or ten miles?

I have seen, and even been a part of (and still a member of, in one case) several groups that have done this or similar in the past. One example was an NRHS Chapter that bought a station, then ended up having to buy about 1.5 miles of track to maintain a connection to the rest of the rail system; that group now leases its track to a new operator as part of a short-line and car-storage operation. (A wealthy benefactor managed to buy more of the track to the north, which eventually made this "through" operation possible.)


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
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I am pretty sure part of the abandonment procedure is that it must be available to other potential rail users. Far as I know however, they can ask fair market value (or even unfair fantasy prices).


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Pittsburgh
“If a railroad museum buys a parcel of land right next to a Railroad and that track is abandoned is there any way the Railroad Museum could acquire it?”

If the words “acquire it” are followed by “for free”, the answer is virtually certain to be “No”. Even if the tracks are *abandoned*, regardless of how that word is defined, somebody owns them and will likely want money for the tracks, bridges, etc. and likely for the real estate as well.

In general, if the tracks are still in place, the railroad’s title to the property is maintained but there can be exceptions as explained below. If the tracks are removed, then it depends on how the real estate was originally procured by the railroad. If they bought the property in “fee simple” (lawyer-speak for actually buying the land like you would buy the land under your house) the railroad will own it regardless of whether there are any tracks present. On the other hand, if the railroad has only a “right-of-way”, that might expire when the tracks are removed. Or might not. It depends on the language in the original deed. This assumes, of course, that the original deed can still be found. In many cases, it can’t. In other cases, the language in the deed will be so vague that interpretation is in conjecture. For these reasons, whenever a railroad sells property, they will usually only give a “quit-claim deed”. A quit-claim deed effectively says: “I don’t know whether or not I really own this property, but I hereby transfer to you whatever I might own. Good Luck.”

Acquisition of railroad property should not be a “do-it-yourself” project. Professional advice, including both a lawyer specializing in land title work and a licensed professional land surveyor should be engaged to closely examine the details of your hypothetical instance to be certain what it is you are buying. Fifty years ago, the Valley Forge Scenic Railroad thought they were buying a branch line from the Reading Company. The suburban neighbors didn’t appreciate the beauty of seeing GM&O 425 (yes, THAT 425) running in their backyards and sued. The courts determined that when RDG discontinued operation of the Pickering Valley Branch, the land had reverted to the successors of the persons who had granted the original right-of-way a century before, the remaining presence of tracks notwithstanding. Valley Forge Scenic had to vacate the land. Fortunately, they didn’t have anywhere near as much to haul away as the guys at the Indiana Transportation Museum. The 425 and another steam locomotive on site were reclaimed by whomever owned them at that time and moved to safe locations. The coaches went to the New Hope & Ivyland. The “Ironsides” Station, which had been built new by the VFS, was dismantled and moved to the NH&I, where it survives as the station building at Buckingham Valley. Nearly all of what had briefly been the VFS right-of-way reverted and lies fallow today – no tracks and, except for a extremely short segment, no hiking/biking trail either.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:06 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
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Location: western Maryland
"In general, if the tracks are still in place, the railroad’s title to the property is maintained . . . "

Categorically false.

When a purchaser submits an OFA in an abandonment proceeding, the seller will negotiate the sale price with the buyer. Once that amount has been agreed upon, and the transaction consummated at the STB, the seller is obligated to issue a deed to the buyer. There is no retention.


If the buyer is not using the right-of-way for use in the national rail network, an agreement known as a NITU (Notice-of-interim- trail-use) is negotiated in which the seller retains the ability to reclaim the right-of-way at a future date is so desired.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36464&p=213710&hilit=rowlesburg

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:40 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
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Back in about 1960 the Puget Sound Ry Historical Assn. leased property next to the Northern Pacific Snoqualmie Branch. When the BN abandoned the branch in the 70s they donated a few miles to the museum. Eventually they moved everything off the leased site and are now known as the Northwest Ry Museum.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Hypothetically, look up "Stillwater, Minnesota and Minnesota Transportation Museum".

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypothetically...
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:32 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2528
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Yes, the railway museum can just buy it. Selling/abandoning railroads are normally quite friendly to such deals. Partly becuase it may relieve them of certain legal entanglements. I have seen deals where the RR donated the land but sold the rail at a sane price... Or carried paper... Or told the museum a few years in advance to start saving their pennies.

The result is usually an upgrade for the museum.

Of course, this can be botched.

Quote:
Acquisition of railroad property should not be a “do-it-yourself” project.


This is me agreeing with that 100%. You need very sharp and experienced counsel. Not the local friendly guy with a shingle who's never touched railroad law, but a big-city top shooter who's done a dozen comparable cases.

Don't worry though, you'll have plenty of chance to practice self-help law, because his advice will be very cautionary, and selectively ignoring parts of their advice will be necessary for your project to succeed.


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