Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Riding on neglected rails

Above is a video of a train crawling along a poorly maintained stretch of track. That got me wondering, especially with legislation about infrastructure repair on the horizon, what is the ownership of railroad tracks -- public or private?

It turns out railroad tracks are privately owned. I guess the whole issue of land grants to RR companies back in the 19th century should have been a clue to me about that fact. Regardless, the laws surrounding RR tracks must be complex. I suppose trains from other companies must have to lease time to travel on tracks, and who knows how RR right-of-ways impact local zoning, etc.

It seems like a railroad would be a utility, but I guess they are something different.

This section of neglected railroad track is owned by Pioneer RailCorp. They bought it from Maumee and Western Railroad and, from the comment accompanying the video, Pioneer had upgraded most of the rest of the track they had bought from Maumee and Western. This little section sure looks harrowing to run on.


talnik said...

Ouch. It ain't fun getting those engines back on the track when they fall off, either. I did a bit of that in the 80s.

ambisinistral said...

Pretty hair raising watching that train wobble along on those tracks. Yea, I imagine getting those things back on their tracks isn't easy at all.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 70’s someone at The New Republic wrote a fine series on the railroad land grants of the 19th century. One thing I remember is RR’s being awarded every other square mile next to the track, which could then be sold to raise funds for construction.

ambisinistral said...

I wonder how much money those land grants are worth today. I suppose many as toney family owes their present day mansions to them.