• Bridge over long-abandoned line causes problems

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by nydepot
CSX. I like the CSX quote that says NYS law says it's not them anymore that pays for it.
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  by NYCRRson
I believe those tracks went OOS in the late 1980's. And they where abandoned/torn up in 1994. All under Conrail.

The line/rails from Lockport to Brockport was spun off to the Falls Road Railroad in 1996 after the tracks where removed East of Brockport. That was under Conrail. I doubt Conrail would have kept the property rights/liabilities on a roadbed they could no longer use as a through route.

"Sen. Chuck Schumer visited town Monday, joining local leaders to call on CSX act now to fix the bridge after failing to properly maintain it."

Hey Senator Schumer, here's a CLUE - It's a ROAD bridge owned by New York State, the RR has no obligation to "properly maintain it"..... CSX ought to sue NYS for allowing a NYS road bridge to potentially fall onto CSX property...

And you should see the bridge over the NYS Barge Canal about 300 feet North of this location.... 1920's vintage with a steel grate road surface and One Way with traffic signals on each end to enforce traffic direction. Talk about "properly maintaining" stuff, that bridge was built for Model T's.

Several "low road clearance" RR bridges carrying the now long removed rails over local roads (Manitou, Elmgrove and in Spencerport) where removed about 10 years ago with Federal Dollars that Senator Schumer brought back from Wash DC.

If CSX was not liable to remove those unused railroad bridges, I don't see how they are liable to repair a NY State roadway bridge over a roadbed CSX likely no longer owns.

Gillette Rd is on pretty high ground over that roadbed, I think they just need to scrap the bridge, fill in the cut and pave over it. Could be done in a few weeks, there are stone quarries within 10 miles for fill material and you could throw in a temporary gravel top surface until the asphalt plants fire up again in April.

Given NYS that's about a decade long project, first need to make sure there are no endangered Bats/Fleas/Rats/Moles/Voles/Crickets etc. living under the bridge, then excavate to check for ancient artifacts from folks living in the area 500 years ago, then do a study of the dirt in the the area to make sure you fill in the cut with identical dirt like what was removed when the rails where installed back about 1850 or so. And a full environmental remediation to capture any stray asbestos fibers that escaped from NYCRR steam locos that passed that location from 1850 to 1950...

Sounds like the locals will have a long wait.
  by BR&P
NYCRRson wrote:
If CSX was not liable to remove those unused railroad bridges, I don't see how they are liable to repair a NY State roadway bridge over a roadbed CSX likely no longer owns.
See nydepot's post above - looks like a subsidiary of CSX does still own the ROW.
Gillette Rd is on pretty high ground over that roadbed, I think they just need to scrap the bridge, fill in the cut and pave over it. Given NYS that's about a decade long project[
I agree. Just speculation but maybe they would not be able to open it as a gravel road due to various liabilities. But if they address the various legalities now, once spring arrives tear it out and level the road. They could even use the fill from the approaches to level off some other road where the highway went under the Falls Road - where the bridge is gone but the dip remains.
  by NYCRRson
"They could even use the fill from the approaches to level off some other road"

I have driven over the now OOS roadway bridge over the Falls Road at that location many times. The topography around that area North and South of the New York State Barge Canal is very "hilly" (caused by retreating glaciers as I learned in grade school).

From my observations I believe that location where Gillette Rd crosses over the Falls Road ROW is a man made "cut" through a small North/South ridge of dirt that was perhaps 25 feet high and a few hundred feet long. The dirt removed from the "cut" was likely used to fill in low spots on both sides of the ROW East and West of the Bridge where there are "swampy" areas on both sides of the ROW. Seems like the folks that laid out that railroad in ~1850 found the spots that required the least amount of digging to get a level ROW through.

Thus there are no "man made" ramps/approaches leading up to the road bridge.

Interesting to note the "Falls Road" (Rochester to Niagara Falls) and the "Niagara Branch" (Niagara Falls to Buffalo) was the first East to West railroad connection between NYC and Buffalo and predates the NYC "Mainline" (Rochester/Byron/Batavia/Corfu/Buffalo) by about 5 years. For a short time Rochester was the Major Railroad "hub" in WNY about 1850 or so.
  by lvrr325
Conrail had some interest in preventing the line from being used as a through route again which has apparently continued to CSX. I don't quite see why as it doesn't gain anyone anything anymore with no Canada Southern on the west end and only CSX at the other end.
  by BR&P
Agreed. At the time they severed the line, both Kodak and Rochester Gas & Electric were still receiving coal. They may have been concerned that if the entire line was ever sold, it could provide access to Rochester for Norfolk Southern or whoever. By removing the segment with no on-line customers (which would be met with almost no local opposition) they may have figured the eventual disposition of the rest - to (Falls Road RR) could not be used against them.

These days there's almost nothing left in Rochester anyway.
  by eolesen
I'm struggling to understand why CSX as landowner would be expected to pay for a public bridge that exists on an easement across their property. If the railroad was there first, the state foots the bill.
Everyone: Interesting WHAM report about this bridge over an abandoned CSX route...

There was just ONE photograph showing the condition of the bridge structure underneath on a placard
being held up by Senator Schumer which shows damage most likely from corrosives such as road salt...

This bridge is a 1970s era NYS DOT design taking note to the distinct supports and guard rails used
in the construction...Most noteable is the exposed rusted rebar on one support column...

All NYS DOT maintained bridges have a serial bridge number which consists of six or seven numerals
in white on a rectangular green sign-type background plate that is affixed at or near end abutments.
This number identifies the bridge - NYS DOT records should show pertinent information such as
when it was constructed and the maintenance history...On this bridge the number plate should be
placed underneath and out of sight of anyone either driving over or walking on the bridge roadway...

This bridge should be the responsibility of NYS DOT if constructed on a State route - or Monroe County
if this is a County route...Why CSX would have any responsibility for a public road bridge over a clearly
abandoned right of way is beyond all of us here...MACTRAXX
  by RandallW
Depending on what on the bridge needs to be fixed, it may be Conrail's problem:

Laws of New York, Railroad (RRD) CHAPTER 49, ARTICLE 3, SECTION 93: Repair of bridges and subways at crossings
When a highway crosses a railroad by an overhead bridge, the framework of the bridge and its abutments shall be maintained and kept in repair by the railroad corporation, and the roadway thereover and the approaches thereto shall be maintained and kept in repair by the municipality having jurisdiction over and in which the same are situated[...]
Laws of New York, Railroad (RRD) CHAPTER 49, ARTICLE 3, SECTION 93-B Maintenance and removal of highway-railroad separation structures
The responsibility of a railroad corporation to maintain and keep in repair highway-railroad separation structures as provided by law shall not terminate upon the abandonment of the railroad or a portion thereof, but such responsibility, with respect to state highways, shall continue unless otherwise agreed upon by the railroad corporation and the state, and shall continue with respect to highways other than state highways unless otherwise agreed upon by the governing body or its designee, of the municipality having jurisdiction over the highway, until the separation structure is removed as hereinafter provided.
  by BR&P
So now the lawyers can argue whether Conrail transferred that liability to CSX with the property, or if there was somehow some clause retaining that issue for CR, or if somehow it's the state's problem after all. Face it - if there was a simple, black-and-white answer. it would have been decided by now.
  by NYCRRson
The CSX lawyers stated in a public letter that;

The bridge was "upgraded" in 1966 with funding from NYSDOT (70%), Monroe County (15%) and NYCRR (15%).

According to the CSX lawyers reading of NY Railroad law the "Superintendent of Public Works" was responsible for all future maintenance.

Possibly part of an agreement NYCRR signed when providing their 15% of the cost ? NYCRR could have insisted that the State takes over all future maintenance as a condition to get $ from NYCRR.

And maybe those agreements are null and void after the PC Bankruptcy....

There might be enough lawyering involved with this one to buy a nice Mercedes.
  by NYCRRson
There is a common sense solution, but I doubt this will occur,

NYSDOT issues a declaration that CSX (and any future owners of that ROW) are not responsible for any maintenance of the bridge or any property around it.

CSX issues a "quit claim deed" ceding that ROW to NYS and stating that they have no property interests in any future use of the ROW from Brockport NY to Gates NY while asserting that CSX is not responsible for maintaining any road bridges over that ROW.

NYS, CSX and the Federal Gubermint agree to a common sense solution where the elimination of this public nuisance is a shared cost something like 70% NYSDOT, 29% Monroe County and 1% CSX (since CSX has gained NOTHING from the use of this property in 30 years).
  by BR&P
One critical question would be whether there is currently a non-rail use of that ROW, for which CSX is deriving revenue. Examples would be buried fiber optic lines or a pipeline.

With the direction the nation's industrial base is going, there would seem to be little need for CSX to keep the ROW to prevent rail competition. Maybe they're going to line it with solar cells or windmills. :wink: