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Thread: Rails to trails

  1. #1
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    Default Rails to trails

    Saw on the news this morning that the state is currently meeting on converting abandoned and vacant rails/railways into multi use trails and that there are currently at least 300 miles of trails that could be easily converted at very little cost, which would also connect and access to over 700 miles of existing trails, towns....etc. This would be a very good thing for snowmobiling, state, towns, local businesses i.e. bars, restaurants, gas stations during the winter months. With massive budget shortfalls we will see if this will actually transpire, but lets hope it does.

  2. #2
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    Yeah for bikes and cross country skiers......

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by srt20 View Post
    Yeah for bikes and cross country skiers......
    Don't forget fat tire bikes!! It seems like all the things that don't pay registration $$ get the nice trails/bridges/access....

  4. #4
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    Do we know of the locations of these old rail lines that are being converted? Snowmobiles users have had success at getting some old rails converted to our use during the winter and wondering is this was even considered for these specific rail lines.

  5. #5
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    durphee, they did not say where, we too have a bunch of abandoned or vacant rail in my neck of woods some of which is used for multi purpose trail and some not, and in response to post above they said it would be multi use trail including snowmobiles, they stated that there was a bunch of vacant railways and that 300 miles of it could be easily converted for little cost, suggestion that there was much more, was surprised to hear that on morning news, hopefully it comes true.
    Quote Originally Posted by durphee View Post
    Do we know of the locations of these old rail lines that are being converted? Snowmobiles users have had success at getting some old rails converted to our use during the winter and wondering is this was even considered for these specific rail lines.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by euphoric1 View Post
    easily converted for little cost
    "If it sounds too good to be true...."

    Call me the skeptic here but for anyone that has brushed trails the word "easy" probably doesn't come up in conversation. Realize that Mother Nature quickly over takes anything man has built and abandoned with copious amounts of brush, downed trees, rocks and debris. Let's also remember the bridges that will be required with such a project.

    Just playing Devil's Advocate here but it sounds like the media pulled this one out of a dark place.....

  7. #7
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    I'd watch this one to see where the funds will come from....can you say highway transportation funds as an "alternate" form of transportaion?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary_in_neenah View Post
    "If it sounds too good to be true...."

    Call me the skeptic here but for anyone that has brushed trails the word "easy" probably doesn't come up in conversation. Realize that Mother Nature quickly over takes anything man has built and abandoned with copious amounts of brush, downed trees, rocks and debris. Let's also remember the bridges that will be required with such a project.

    Just playing Devil's Advocate here but it sounds like the media pulled this one out of a dark place.....
    Yup, ever see the Walking Dead; overgrowth brush everywhere.

    Bear

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimcake View Post
    Don't forget fat tire bikes!! It seems like all the things that don't pay registration $$ get the nice trails/bridges/access....
    Not much economic impact with these bicycle folks. They bring tuna fish, and water. And hope they put the trash where it belongs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by old abe View Post
    Not much economic impact with these bicycle folks. They bring tuna fish, and water. And hope they put the trash where it belongs.
    That was my exact lunch today from Panera Bread. Wish it has cheese on it though.

    Bear

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by old abe View Post
    Not much economic impact with these bicycle folks. They bring tuna fish, and water. And hope they put the trash where it belongs.
    Yep. Lanesboro MN. Epicenter for bike trails in rural SE MN. Last winter a group of us on snowmobiles showed up in Lanesboro about 11 am. Hungry we thought we would get lunch. Walked up to this pizza joint and pulled on a locked door. Before we could get 5 steps away the door flew open and this young lady said "COME ON IN!!" We love snowmobile season. Them bike riders all they want to do is fill their water bottle and use our bathroom!!" Needless to say the 4 of us ate and drank and left over 100 bucks on the table. Tell me whats better for the economy. Oh and bear why didn't you ask for cheese?

  12. #12
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    in Mi , I for one would love to see the abandoned rail line from Sidnaw to Covington cleared for sleds.....they've been talking about it for years....would be another option, especially with all the recent washouts on 8/15

  13. #13
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    Wasn't that one of the reasons to increase the trail permit? To get more easements, hence more trails? I was looking at some of my old maps and the trail lines are disappearing with nothing new to replace them. How many new trails have been added since the trail pass increase?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by venturenorth View Post
    in Mi , I for one would love to see the abandoned rail line from Sidnaw to Covington cleared for sleds.....they've been talking about it for years....would be another option, especially with all the recent washouts on 8/15
    Now that would be sweeeet especially with the steak house and gas station in Covington. My understanding is all that has to happen is groom it. You can ditch bang it but too old for that stuff.

  15. #15
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    I know Northwestern tracks south of Lake Geneva would have been ideal for snowmobile trails going thru swamps but private land owners bought it. It was great walking thru there pheasant hunting before it was privately owned. I hope the state can acquire some of these rail grades but big money usually gets there first with their money.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by venturenorth View Post
    in Mi , I for one would love to see the abandoned rail line from Sidnaw to Covington cleared for sleds.....they've been talking about it for years....would be another option, especially with all the recent washouts on 8/15
    X2

  17. #17
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    Word is the Railroad plans to tear out another 10 miles of Track from Rockland to south of Mass City. I don't know if its been announced yet. I do know there is a very bad section just SE of the Mass Wood yard. There is a Culvert that is washing out and the track is sinking. You can not see it from the Road. I was told that there are worse spots than that on that section. The Train is limited to 10 mph on that section and the only customer is LP shipping out of the Mass City Wood Yard. They are storing some Frack Sand Cars on the Track up to Hwy 45. I don't think there is enough Rail traffic to fix that section up and it needs fixing if they are going to use it for Rail traffic.

    That would get Trail 12 off the Fields and Private Land.

    Maybe they plan to start using the Yard at Russo instead, that pretty much gets them out of Clay Country and it is probably 10 miles south of Rockland.

  18. #18
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    Its a long drawn out process to abandon RR right of way, lots of possible objections. RR ROW come under federal law, Surface Transportation Board. For those interested here is some info

    Public Information > Resources: Abandonment
    Applications for abandonment are normally handled under a "modified procedure." Cases are decided based on the written submissions of the parties.
    Most abandonment applications are filed by the rail carrier owning the track to be abandoned. The most frequent type of abandonment requests the STB receives is from a railroad stating that the track has not been used for two years or more (such a case is entitled "Notice of Exemption") or that the track has so little traffic on it that it is clear that the carrier could not be making a profit on it (such a case is entitled a "Petition for Exemption").
    Pleadings filed in opposition to abandonments are usually filed by shippers or receivers who are stationed along the line to be abandoned, but other persons may also file in opposition provided that they either challenge the railroad's statements as filed or offer evidence to show that the shippers and receivers on the line would suffer more harm by losing the rail service than the carrier would suffer by continuing to provide the service.
    Procedures are available for those who would like to purchase the line and assume the common carrier obligation to provide service (contract or non-contract) over the line, or who would like to offer the carrier a subsidy to continue to provide the service. This is called an "Offer of Financial Assistance."
    Procedures are also available for those who would like to see the rail corridor made into a public trail or who would like to put the right-of-way to another public use.
    To learn about past abandonments please contact the Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance (OPAGAC). Be prepared with the docket number if you have it, the name of the railroad that last provided service over the line, the location of the line (State and County), the end points of the line, and direction of the line (north-south or east-west).
    To learn more about the abandonment processes please contact the Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance (OPAGAC).
    The STB's rules governing abandonments are at 49 CFR Part 1152.

    You can view recent abandonments using the Railroad Map Depot.
    Last edited by eao; 09-27-2019 at 01:06 PM.

  19. #19
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    I remember reading somewhere that some of the old railroad trails are still owned by the railroad and that they can be returned to railroads if the owner wants. I thought that was interesting.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xsledder View Post
    Wasn't that one of the reasons to increase the trail permit? To get more easements, hence more trails? I was looking at some of my old maps and the trail lines are disappearing with nothing new to replace them. How many new trails have been added since the trail pass increase?
    Tons of unfunded trails are now funded because of the trail pass. Not sure of "new" trails yet, but once unfunded trails are funded, new trails can be made. A club can only have so many miles of unfunded trails.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by blkhwkbob View Post
    I remember reading somewhere that some of the old railroad trails are still owned by the railroad and that they can be returned to railroads if the owner wants. I thought that was interesting.
    Railroad companies can do whatever they want. They do whatever is best for them. If we can use abandoned beds thats great. It needs to be done a certain way and I'm not sure what the process is, but easements need to go to the state, or the land owners around these trails will possible be a problem, and it only takes one. Iron county is a good example, along with Ashland county and the Reservation. So hopfully these rails to trails is done properly with no issues along with not getting paved.

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