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If railroads only acquired easements from property owners how can the railroad give the abandoned railroad corridors to the state without a deed?
This is a complicated area of law. Some states have passed legislation that allows the taking of former railroad corridors for the purpose of constructing public bike and hiking trails. See related questions and link.
Asked in Property Law, Deeds and Ownership
Where can you obtain easement info on a neighbor's property?
Asked in Deeds and Ownership
Who owned the land where railroad tracks were laid?
When the railroads were first laid out in the 1800s the lines ran over both private land (farms, ranches, businesses in towns, homeowners, etc.) and government land. When railroads were first constructed there were different ways by which the railroad acquired their rights in the land: by deed in fee, by grant of easement, by eminent domain takings and by congressional grants. It requires extensive research to determine who owns an old railroad right of way. This is a contentious topic right now in the United States where states are acquiring old railroad corridors to construct bike and hiking trails for public use. Ownership is in question and some states have passed laws to transfer title to those old railroad corridors to the state. Some general possibilities: If the right of way was acquired by deed the railroad owns the land and may have the right to sell it when the ROW is no longer in use. If grants of easement rights to construct the ROW were acquired from the abutters then the land may revert to those abutters when the ROW is discontinued. If the land was taken by eminent domain for the layout of the railroad then the land may revert to the abutters when the ROW is discontinued. In Massachusetts the state has the right of first refusal when railroad land is conveyed in fee.
Asked in Property Law
Can a power utility run distribution lines over my property without an easement agreement?
Generally, no, unless the rights were taken by eminent domain. However, it may have acquired easement rights many years ago. If no easement rights are recited in your deed that does not mean there are no easement rights. Ancient easements are often dropped from property descriptions especially when the current configuration was derived from a much larger tract in the past. Ancient utility easements and takings would be revealed by a comprehensive title examination.