Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

North Carolina clearning the way.

This is a strange and ongoing story. Bottom line, the railroad was there first. Of course, in the real world one can not be so insensitive. The railroad is a public asset and needs to be preserved.
The News-Observer reports.

Using flyover photography, the N.C. Railroad has identified about 1,500 businesses and institutions encroaching on its 317-mile, 200-foot-wide corridor from Morehead City to Charlotte. Despite the sometimes bone-rattling noise, numerous businesses — from lumberyards to auto-repair shops — have crept over the years toward the iron pathway.

Some have gotten too close. Sparks from tracks set cars on fire in a Durham used-car lot last year, and a freight train crashed into a building near the State Fairgrounds 2 1/2 years ago.

The N.C. Railroad has become more active about policing its right of way, citing safety and the need to preserve the corridor for future uses such as a commuter rail. Since 2004, the line has secured about 127 license agreements governing how encroaching property owners can use the buffer zone. That is more agreements than the railroad has from negotiations the previous 150 years.

Some property owners have been eager to comply with agreements, but others are balking. In many cases, the property owners have been mowing the grass and paying taxes on land that they thought was theirs.


Filed under: Regional USA Passenger Rail

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November 2007


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