Thoughts on Minneapolis' Stone Arch Bridge and the Hiawatha Line’s Downtown East – Metrodome station
I've got a long comment I'll copy here in full:
I guess what I'd like to discuss is:
This is where my preoccupation with the Beacon line comes in. They’ve allowed most if not all of it (at least the Beacon to Dykemans portion) to have a trail alongside it. Although the line still has rails, it is OOS. I guess you could say in a way it’s been “railbanked”. This is the term CDOT uses for the lines it’s purchased in CT, but are OOS with rails still in place.
There’s been talkin of continuing the trail north of Dykemans along the Wassaic extension. I’m not familiar with how this would work, but there have been train-ped fatalaties up there, so I would assume they’d need additional land and fencing. This presents safety issues to trains and passengers in case of mechanical breakdown, fire, etc. and the ability of passengers and crew to evacuate and rescue crews to reach the train.
North of Wassaic (AMENIA!) is the old ROW, now a rail trail. I think this must run all the way to Chatham, or is close to doing so. I don’t knokw who owns this ROW. The rails to Millerton were extant for a while after the MNRR takeover and I guess there was freight service up there for some time. Has the title been transferred, or is the ROW “land-banked”, to use another railroad/CDOT term? That gives the “right” to restore rail service. But as you’ve said, it would be extremely difficult to restore service along a popular trail.
Which brings me lastly to the North/South County trailway on the old Put division. Clearly, rail will never run there again, as I’m sure it’s abandonment pre-dated rail trail laws. There are only stub tracks/wyes left at each end. But could Putnam county decide it wants a rail trail to connect from the top of the North County trailway to the Dutchess rail trail via Dykemans? Pretty tough with the yard right there.
=What if MNRR wanted Millerton back? Although highly doubtful, could they do it?
=What happens when a rail trail runs along an inactive rail line, rails still in place, and they want to reactivate it?
=What provisions are there when someone wants to put a rail trail next to an ACTIVE line?