Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

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Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:26 am

http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2013 ... trail.html

RUTHERFORD — The signs appeared Wednesday.

"No Trespassing," they said. "Norfolk Southern Corp."

The signs mark the entrances to a rail line known as the Carlton Hill Branch, running roughly from the Rutherford NJ Transit station to the Passaic River. Norfolk Southern has owned the land for decades.

But residents say the company hasn't maintained the line in at least 30 years. Until recently, trees and brush grew thick over the tracks.

But about two-and-a-half years ago, a Rutherford resident named Phil—people seem to only know his first name—has been clearing the foliage, constantly and tirelessly, creating a working trail more than two miles long and covering it with wood chips from Irene- and Sandy-felled trees.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby mainetrain » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:01 am

Enjoyed when we traveled from Cresskill to Rutherford to play football back in the late '70's. Usually an ex EL GP7 or NW2 shoving cars around on that line.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby kamerad47 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:58 pm

Their going to buy that with Taxpayer $$$ when they can't find the $$$$ to pave the roads !!!!! Have you driven in Rutherford lately !! They want it for free!!!!
Last edited by kamerad47 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby RussNelson » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:12 am

My understanding is that adverse posession never applies to railroad land. The principle behind adverse posession is that it starts from a simple confusion over the location of the property lines, with the idea that if everyone has an understanding of where the property lines are, then that IS where the property lines are. That said, the law differs from state to state, and I'm not familiar with New Jersey's laws on adverse possession.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby Ken W2KB » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:54 am

Trainlawyer wrote:This may well prove interesting.
The line has not been 'stolen' as stealing requires a physical removal The rail and OTM removed by the contractor may well be stolen however there seems to be a very strong defense of mistake. I see an adverse possession claim here on the part of the town as the line has been treated by the general public as public land for some years and though there has apparently been some discussion with the town NS has not asserted its claim against the public-at-large until they posted the signs. This would be buttressed by a claim of de facto abandonment as there are no customers, there is has been no traffic for over two years and from what I can see it is not even connected. I think the solution here is for the municipal attorney to sit down with the railroad attorney and pull out the chequebook.
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I am much more versed in federal and NJ electric and gas law than railroad law so will defer you answer to this question. Is federal approval required to transfer ownership of a rail right of way or would an easement by prescription under NJ law be applied? That requires 20 years of non-permissive notorious use if I recall correctly. Or would the easement be limited in time or space to that which would not interfere with (in this case any future) railroad activities thus reconciling the policy of state and any federal law?
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Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: My Personal Site
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby toptrain » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:11 pm

Has the N&W been paying its taxes on the property. If not then it how can they control it. To own property taxes must be paid.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby Ken W2KB » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:17 pm

toptrain wrote:Has the N&W been paying its taxes on the property. If not then it how can they control it. To own property taxes must be paid.
toptrain


Failure to pay taxes does not automatically eliminate ownership. The taxing entity must affirmatively assert tax liens and seek collection. If payment is not made, the tax liens must be sold at a public auction after which the purchaser can seek to acquire ownership if the taxes are not paid. In any event it is likely that the railroad is not delinquent in payment of taxes. The property may be held for future use, which could be an active railroad or sale of utility easements.
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby carajul » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:01 am

The 1979 arials (which are crisper than the 2013 ones) show the line was double tracked thru Rutherford. The factory just before Jackson Ave (now replaced with condos) has 4 covered hoppers spotted. Past Jackson Ave the square building (still there today) has a single tank car spotted. Hard to believe that in 1979 it was all industrial factories and today it's condos and strip malls.

What really gets me is the mentality of these people. They just decide to up and use someone elses property then complain when the owner says they can't do it and they demand they can? WTF?

Doesn't seem any reason for NS to keep the land. No more customers to serve just condos!
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Re: Rutherford, NJ residents steal NS line for use as trail

Postby GSC » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:33 pm

Somewhere there must be something written that says the line is "inactive", meaning it is still a viable piece of railroad. Like a locomotive "stored serviceable", it might sit inactive for years, but still considered to be available for service if needed.

Are there road crossings? if so, are they marked "exempt", meaning school buses and other passenger vehicles don't have to stop before crossing the tracks? If not marked as exempt, they are still considered active.
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