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Stupid Rail -Trail idea

Old 12-05-15, 09:57 PM
  #1  
Squeezebox
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Stupid Rail -Trail idea

So here's my stupid idea no one who I ever mentioned to agreed with me. They just roll their eyes.
Fact 1 - A lot of railroads have or are being abandoned.
Fact 2 - We need more rail- trails. (maybe that's an opinion, but at least we agree) They do seem to improve local economics in rural areas.
Fact 3 - Conversion is kinda expensive. State parks really have limited funds to develop or maintain these, if any $$
Am I okay so far? So here is where the stupid idea comes in.
Corporate America does have the funds for this if they get a carrot. So here's the carrot. The govt. (or such) give the railroad right of way to a corporation, I'm thinking telecommunications. They could use/need a narrow right of way from point A to point B over long distances. They would need to develop a narrow roadway for installation of their conduit(s) and then maintain them from time to time. Maintain conduit as well as the roadway to get to it. For giving them the free right of way they will develop a gravel roadway they can use for installation and maintenance. And we get to use the gravel path when they are not.
If you still think I'm stupid I'll go surf Yugio for a while.
Thanks for listening, I feel better.
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Old 12-05-15, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
If you still think I'm stupid I'll go surf Yugio for a while.
Thanks for listening, I feel better.
Is that a promise? Since you asked, I'll say yes, go surf. Anyone else?
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Old 12-05-15, 10:14 PM
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How much fiber optic needs to be laid along rural railway lines?
I don't know, but id guess it's low.

Can't think of an industry that would need long gravel roads in rural areas. Maybe oil? Good luck with getting enough to agree to that.

Not sure what Yugio is, but hopefully it's enjoyable.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
...my stupid idea ...The govt. (or such) give the railroad right of way to a corporation, I'm thinking telecommunications.

um....railroads are corporations, too.
and they own the rightaway.

where's the money come from to
buy the rightaway from the railroad
corporation and then give it to the
telecoms corporation?

this some weird form of socialims?
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Old 12-06-15, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
How much fiber optic needs to be laid along rural railway lines?
....
Maybe oil? Good luck with getting enough to agree to that. .
how much? lots, or at least lots when i was doing the surveying and route design.
laid a heckuvalotta fiber along railways. fiber companies like railways. can get
rightaway rights from one owner, they often have uptodate maps of the underground
utilities along the full length, easy access as most railways (especialful out west) have
an access road next to the tracks, easy to get permission for drilling under stuff or
hanging off bridges.

forget oil rightaways. homeland insecurity would have a fit.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:23 AM
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Huh, interesting. I now have a random topic to learn about- our fiber optic network in rural areas.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:45 AM
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First as Saddlesores mentioned, the gubberment most often doesn't own the rail lines nor the land beneath. In fact, this can be one of the most difficult things to overcome as often times it is extremely difficult to determine just who owns what segment, because these parcels have been bought and sold so many times over the last 100+ years. The red tape, discovery, and legalities are crazy and the process moves like molasses.

In my community we have been trying to get two long time abandoned rails converted. Finally after over 20 years of work we get to begin the actual digging this spring. Oh and did I mention how much money this will involve even after purchasing the 30 miles of land and grants. The other abandoned line is still going nowhere because the train company is not sure they want to give it up, even though it hasn't been used in many decades. Just when we thought we had it, a small community 20 miles to the south opened up a coal mine and the train's execs stated that they couldn't give it away in case they wanted to reopen it for the transport of the coal. Well they never did and the mine closed after only about 7 years but it set the whole process back to the start. It can all be very frustrating.

Last edited by robow; 12-06-15 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 12-06-15, 02:02 AM
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I don't know much about railroad right of ways, but I do know what has happened locally. The rail line from the coast of Oregon into Eugene was abandoned. Apparently there is something in either state of federal law that requires the rail company to either operate trains on it or lose the thing. Since it wasn't worth the cost of fixing it, the rail company ceded the right of way. According to the newspaper, the government had to either fix it and run trains on it or give the land back to the property owners from whom the right of way was originally taken. In this case, the state gave a huge grant to the Coos Bay Port to rehab the rail and run trains on it. A second line near Corvallis is in the same situation and the state is trying to find some legal jiu jitsu that lets them turn it into a rail-to-trail.
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Old 12-06-15, 05:30 AM
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On the topic of rail trails ...

http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car...paths-etc.html
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Old 12-06-15, 06:33 AM
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There is actually quite a bit of fiber laid along rail roads. In the 90's it was going pretty big. There were even special cars designed to cut the trench and lay the cable in one pass.
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Old 12-06-15, 06:49 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
....... The govt. (or such) give the railroad right of way to a corporation, ......
There is no "railroad right of way". The land that railroads run on... are owned by the railroads. Many if not most rails-to-trails MUPs are actually still owned by railroads (who often continue to pay taxes on the properties) but are granted a release from liability. And managed by state and/or local park systems.

In Ohio, the current federal administration (Obama) has plans to re-rail many of the rails-to-trails for high speed rail lines. As I understand it... this is a national plan.

The rails-to-trails was never intended to be anything other than a suitable "temporary use" of otherwise decaying rail lines. If high speed trains are ever going to be a part of the American landscape... much the current rails-to-trails system will necessarily be part of those lines.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 12-06-15 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 12-06-15, 07:04 AM
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Is this the sort of thing you're talking about?

Home | nbn - Australia's new broadband network
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Old 12-06-15, 07:07 AM
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In Vermont, the state owns the rail lines (or most of them) which they lease to the rail companies. We have an abandoned rail line that goes across the state and the permits and permissions are in place to develop it as a rail trail, but the money is not there. I've thought of a similar idea related to power corridors. These corridors have to be brush hogged or mowed by the power company and often there is a primitive road running under the lines. To me this is an asset that's being under utilized. It could be developed for bike trail riding in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter.
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Old 12-06-15, 07:10 AM
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Well you're not the only one that thinks this: see Rails to Trails Conservancy

Last edited by BigAura; 12-06-15 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 12-06-15, 08:25 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
There is no "railroad right of way". The land that railroads run on... are owned by the railroads.
Not always. Sometimes the railroad only has an easement in places that reverts upon abandonment. Something like a defeasible fee is also possible. Same result. The road loses its interest upon abandonment.
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Old 12-06-15, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
If you still think I'm stupid I'll go surf Yugio for a while.
Thanks for listening, I feel better.
Fiber optics is pretty much dead. What long distance fiber there is along railroad rights of way, both active and abandoned, was laid some time ago and there is not much new being installed. Also, I don't believe there are any/many long distance abandonments anymore. That ship has pretty much sailed as the nation's network was seriously cut back starting in the late 70s through the 80s and 90s. In many areas, railroads need to add capacity. Unprofitable branch or secondary lines are more likely to be sold to shirt line or regional railroads. In areas undergoing redevelopment, a railroad can get an inflated price for a strip of land where it breaks up a larger tract that someone wants to develop. So there is that. You also have environmental concerns.
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Old 12-06-15, 10:11 AM
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USA the rail road right of ways are already owned by a Corporation , The Rail Corporations .. always Have been .
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Old 12-06-15, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Fact 1 - A lot of railroads have or are being abandoned.
Fact 2 - We need more rail- trails. (maybe that's an opinion, but at least we agree) They do seem to improve local economics in rural areas.
Fact 3 - Conversion is kinda expensive.
I think what people tend to forget is this stuff is NOT static.

1. The rail system as well as the entire transportation system(s)... have always... and will continue to evolve and change.

2. Where as the trails system is being well used at this time... todays use is NOT an accurate prediction of future use.

3. Conversion to and/or from rails to trails or working rail lines.... will likely always be cheaper than new construction.

Right now.... bicycling is enjoying a period of popularity. I love cycling... but that doesn't means todays popular sport will remain popular tomorrow. Cycling (velodrome) racing used to be pretty popular in the Midwest. I've never even seen a velodrome. I ride a lot and I see all sorts of people out cycling as well. But mostly.... I see older men like myself. Things may change for the better as far cycling is concerned when the "boomers" past on. But for better or worse... the boomers will leave.... and cycling will change.

No one knows what demands are going to be made of the park departments in the future. But I can pretty much promise that the budgets will be limited. And that cycling paths will some day... be cut back.
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Old 12-06-15, 01:39 PM
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With directional drilling, there's a lot of lines installed alongside roads, and lines along railroads aren't really needed.
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Old 12-07-15, 08:53 AM
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I don't get the point of the OP. This is already being done. Many rails to trails are rights of way for utility companies. The companies help with maintenance on the trail so they have access to their lines.

In Italy on the Imst bicycle trail, they have pieced together paths used for farming and they are continued to be shared with farmers.
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Old 12-07-15, 09:38 PM
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I'm glad to see that things are farther along than I thought they were.
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Old 12-07-15, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
um....railroads are corporations, too.
and they own the rightaway.

where's the money come from to
buy the rightaway from the railroad
corporation and then give it to the
telecoms corporation?

this some weird form of socialims?
eggsactly
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Old 12-09-15, 01:15 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
There is actually quite a bit of fiber laid along rail roads. In the 90's it was going pretty big. There were even special cars designed to cut the trench and lay the cable in one pass.
And how much did AT&T end up having to pay land owners for burying fiber in railway easements?
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Old 12-09-15, 01:23 AM
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The Columbia Gas Company did this with one of their pipelines. The counties get parkland that they otherwise don't own and the gas company gets the counties to maintain their access road.
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Old 12-09-15, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
First as Saddlesores mentioned, the gubberment most often doesn't own the rail lines nor the land beneath. In fact, this can be one of the most difficult things to overcome as often times it is extremely difficult to determine just who owns what segment, because these parcels have been bought and sold so many times over the last 100+ years. The red tape, discovery, and legalities are crazy and the process moves like molasses.
A buddy of mine had a summer job where all he did was walk around the woods with a GPS, demarcating town lines for one of the hundreds of townships in Massachusetts that doesn't know where their borders are.
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