• Pulling Up Abandoned Rails

  • General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.
General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.

Moderator: railtrailbiker

  by l008com
 
This isn't about rail trails directly, but it is related.

Iron is the most common element on earth. So it's no surprise that it's about the least valuable scrap metal you could get.

It seems like railroads very often want to tear up their track when they abandon a line. Why is that? It can't possibly be profitable to pay crews and heavy equipment to tear up rail and spikes that are worth just a few cents per pound.

I'm not talking about when it's done for a reason... in other words if they're digging it up specifically to clear the RoW for use as a rail trail. I'm talking about all the times it's done apparently just for the hell of it, DECADES before the line ultimately becomes a trail.

It certainly doesn't happen to every abandoned line but it does seem to happen to many of them.

I know those cents-per-pound add up, but so don't those hourly wages of the group of construction workers, and the lease rates of those excavators.
  by nomis
 
Taxes are a larger reoccurring expense that the cost of the rails & OTM, or the liability insurance of trespassers.
  by l008com
 
Taxes and insurance are dependent on rails being down vs no rails being down?
  by RandallW
 
The value of a property that "just needs to be cleaned up" to be a functioning railroad is much higher than the value of a property that is too narrow to use for any other purpose, but would take major investment to be rebuilt into a railroad.