Rte 1 Peabody crossing

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Cseries
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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:39 pm

Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by Cseries » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:19 pm

As I crash over this twice a day, I have to wonder why this "grade crossing" (really just 2 sticks of metal embedded in the highway) is still here. The line is severed just a few hundred feet away by the rail trail, and I'm sure it's severed on the other end somewhere in Wakefield or Lynnfield. Is this just a case of someone not wanting to pay the removal expense?

b&m 1566
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Location: Hudson, NH

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by b&m 1566 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:27 am

It's a state highway, so it's the responsibility of MADOT.

highrail
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Location: Salem, MA

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by highrail » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:36 am

My guess is that you are correct. There is no connection on either side, and has not been connected in about 20 years. The north side, toward Lowell Street, connects to Danvers rail trail that goes all the way to Topsfield. There was a connection to Salem via Danvers, but again cut many years ago. The South, or west side is tied to a rail trail that goes a couple miles to Middleton. Another branch, with most rail in place through Lynnfield used to tie to the main in Wakefield.

There are a couple great videos on you tube of this line, posted by "nhrrman" with the notation that the films were made by the late Richard "Moose" Ouellette. Rare, wonderful, footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcNPFhUNyO8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Steve

tom18287
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by tom18287 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:19 pm

i always thought it was because it's a highway, and once they take the rails out there is no way they could ever go back ever, they would need grade separation. so if the rails stay, it reserves the right for the rails to come back. thats just my guess. but it makes sense. they removed all the lights and kept the rails.

b&m 1566
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Location: Hudson, NH

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by b&m 1566 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:57 pm

I've never heard of such before but I wouldn't put it passed me for the state to try and come up with a rule like that. Technically the rail line is railbanked not abandoned, so if it ever became active again, either there will be a grade separation or there won't be, no mater how much the state dislikes having a grade crossing on rte 1.

tom18287
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by tom18287 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:39 am

who really knows. this is one of the rare cases where the road is older than the rails

ferroequinarchaeologist
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Location: Darkest Atkinson, NH

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by ferroequinarchaeologist » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:48 pm

When the original right-of-way was established, common legal practice was that the ROW would exist as long as it was used for railroad purposes. The existence of the rails probably meets the statutory requirement, otherwise ownership of the ROW would revert to the original landowner or the successor.

edbear
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by edbear » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:41 pm

That is not so. Virtually all conventional railroad property in Massachusetts was obtained through state legislation which dictated methods of property acquisition. They were gift, negotiated purchase or eminent domain. Once the railroad obtained title to the land, it owned it just like any other property owner. It does not revert to any entity unless at the time of acquisition this was incorporated into the deed. In Massachusetts, reversion is extremely rare. Once in a while it cropped up on property in New Hampshire. Now Route 1 today is a public highway. When the line through Peabody and Middleton was constructed, it had been a private turnpike, although just about all of the private turnpikes in Massachusetts were financial failures. Unlike railroads, the legislation authorizing turnpikes was pretty restrictive and usually specified that after so many years or recovery of investment plus dividends, the turnpikes would fall into the public domain. Almost all of them fell into the public domain because they went out of business and/or were outright abandoned. If the turnpike was already publicly owned, the railroad would negotiate with the public owner on an easement to cross the roadway. Almost all highway crossings at grade, overpasses or underpasses (waterways too) are easements. When a railroad goes out of business and does not intend to go back. the company notifies the grantor of the easement that its finished and if anything has to be removed (rails in a crossing) or filled in (like an overpass or underpass) the terms are settled at the time the railroad releases its use of the easement. Usually, the railroad is released free and clear because it is one less obstacle the public entity (Mass. DOT usually) has to worry about. I managed B & M property records from 1973 up until the mid-1980s.

b&m 1566
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by b&m 1566 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:11 pm

ferroequinarchaeologist wrote:When the original right-of-way was established, common legal practice was that the ROW would exist as long as it was used for railroad purposes. The existence of the rails probably meets the statutory requirement, otherwise ownership of the ROW would revert to the original landowner or the successor.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the line is Railbanked not abandoned, so the easments across, over or under public roadways stay intact and should the line ever be reactivated again, easments would not need to be negotiated again. In regards to the rte 1 grade crossing, I think it's just a matter of priority and money for the state. I haven't been over that crossing in a few years but I don't remember it being a tire blowing, rim braking, need new alignment issue for cars, so its probably just low on the states priority to remove the rails.

ferroequinarchaeologist
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Location: Darkest Atkinson, NH

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by ferroequinarchaeologist » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:38 pm

I'm not surprised that there were several methods of securing a ROW historically, I'm only familiar with certain areas of New Hampshire and Maine. Unfortunately, none of this discussion definitively answers the original question of why these specific rails are still there, although I lean towards the "nobody gives a rat's" suggested in the earlier postings.

Arborwayfan
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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by Arborwayfan » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:51 am

One guess, maybe optimistic, is that the state is waiting for a planned major rebuilding of the highway -- the kind where they dig up all the old pavement, eliminate voids, fix drainage, add new gravel, etc., not just a repaving. I can't imagine that the anyone would be very happy if Rte 1 were closed for a week, or down to half its width for a week or two, even if they knew that the end result would be a nice smooth patch where the tracks used to be. When the road comes up for a major rebuilding, they can get the tracks out as part of the general disruption, and not even have a patch in the road when they are done.

arthur d.
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by arthur d. » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:18 pm

Mass. wouldn't do anything that logical. Had a customer about 20 years ago that won a contract to remove all the pavement, regrade and compact the parking lots at all the rest stops on I-495. Contract was to take effect and work to begin once another contractor had fulfilled their contract; the paving of said lots.

Arborwayfan
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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by Arborwayfan » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:24 am

Ha! But just because it happened once, or more than once, doesn't mean someone somewhere 20 years later can't think logically.

But maybe it's more probably that Massdot just knows that tearing out the crossing would snarl up traffic for days and is just putting it off to no particular time.

tom18287
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by tom18287 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:17 pm

days? they could take those out and repave overnight. one side per night. easily.

ceo
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Re: Rte 1 Peabody crossing

Post by ceo » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:00 pm

I'm hoping that someday they come up with the money to put a bridge across Rte 1 in that location to connect the bike paths. Between the Danvers Rail Trail and the one they're building from Wakefield to Lynnfield, conceivably you could end up with a multi-use path from Wakefield to Newburyport and/or Haverhill, which would be awesome. (And the chance of that becoming active rail corridor again is precisely zero, so calm down, you foamers. :-) )

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