Tag Archives: Railroads

Administrative – Real Property – Railroad Right-of-Way – Conversion – Indemnity – Sovereign Immunity (access required)

Maryland Transit Administration v. Surface Transportation Board The 4th Circuit upholds a federal agency’s interpretation of its regulation under the National Trails System Act to require a state agency that wants to sponsor conversion of a railroad right-of-way to a public trail to indemnify the railroad against “any potential liability”; the regulation does not require a state agency to waive its sovereign immunity, and the agency’s petition for review is denied.

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Real Property – Easement – Railroad Right-of-Way – Necessity – River Access – 1878 Severance – Equitable Estoppel – Prescriptive Easement – Laches (access required)

Paine Gayle Properties, LLC v. CSX Transportation, Inc. Although South Carolina requires only “reasonable necessity” to imply an easement, the reasonable necessity must have existed at the time of the severance of title. The defendant-railroad’s predecessor-in-interest obtained its right-of-way -- leaving the 15.6 acres now owned by plaintiff accessible only by the Savannah River – in 1878. At that time, it would not have been unreasonable to require a landowner to access his property by water.

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Railroad beats fine for ugly bridge (access required)

The Midlands city of Cayce fined a freight carrier under a criminal ordinance for not painting a railroad bridge (pictured), but the company hadn't violated the ordinance because a federal law preempted it, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled. The law trumped the ordinance even though the two were not in direct conflict, the court said.

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