• Grafton & Upton Railroad (G&U) Discussion

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by wilfred
jamoldover wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:54 pm Nobody seems to have noticed this filing (on the 16th) from Hopedale Properties, LLC with the STB regarding the private crossings at the former Draper site:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 302743.pdf

Some interesting history and discussion in this one.
two millionaires squabbling.
  by RenegadeMonster
So, what's the issue at hand here they are actually complaining about.

I couldn't tell whether the grade crossing was removed or just raised. Then at the very end it talks about GU not providing proper drainage causing damage to their property.
  by MaineCoonCat
The way I read it, it seems it has been obstructed.

Plaintiff property owners bring this declaratory judgment action to confirm two deeded, century-old and continually existing easements across railroad tracks owned and controlled by
defendant Grafton & Upton Railroad Company and Jon Delli Priscoli (“Railroad Defendants”). The right of way at-grade easements are the only direct connections between properties assembled and owned by Plaintiffs on either side of the tracks. This action also seeks injunctive relief to order the Railroad Defendants to restore Plaintiffs’ unobstructed access and right to use those easements. On or before May 6, 2021, the Railroad Defendants, without notice to or permission from Plaintiffs, unilaterally, knowingly and intentionally obstructed two of Plaintiffs’ easements, entirely blocking Plaintiffs’ access from and through Plaintiffs’ adjoining properties. The Railroad Defendants then commenced construction of new above-grade railroad tracks across the easements. The Railroad Defendants have affirmatively refused to restore Plaintiffs’ access following Plaintiffs’ demand that the two crossings be restored to prior existing at-grade level.

This despite the Railroad Defendants’ acknowledgement of Plaintiffs’ easement rights and restoration of access in prior years. In 2013, the Railroad Defendants similarly obstructed Plaintiffs’ rights of way across the tracks during another track reconstruction. At that time, upon Plaintiffs’ request and demand, the Railroad Defendants restored the at-grade crossings, recognizing and acknowledging Plaintiffs’ property rights. Now, however, the Railroad Defendants foster an ongoing personal grudge against Plaintiffs, and flatly refuse to restore Plaintiffs’ access and continue to obstruct and interfere with Plaintiffs’ property rights, without justification. Because the Railroad Defendants as well as defendant First Colony Development and Rail Holding Company (together, “Defendants”) refuse to honor Plaintiffs’ easements and continue to block Plaintiffs’ right to access and use Plaintiffs’ properties, relief is necessary and appropriate from this Court. In addition to declaratory and injunctive relief, Plaintiffs also seek damages from Defendants caused by their unlawful intrusions on Plaintiffs’ property rights and for Defendants’ interference with Plaintiffs’ easements."
Last edited by nomis on Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total. Reason: Removed unnecessary quote & removed erroneous carriage returns
  by bostontrainguy
Can anyone nearby get some pics of this? Thanks in advance.
  by johnpbarlow
Here are two Google Earth aerials captured October 17, 2020. The first aerial shows the two pieces of Hopedale Properties land (circled in red) that are separated by the G&U. Note that both properties have substantial access to roads. The 2nd zoomed in aerial shows what I believe Hopedale Properties' complaint is: while a series of concrete blocks cordoned off G&U's property, two crude driveways permitted vehicles to cross the Mill River and G&U tracks. In my visits to the area, I never saw a vehicle do that. I'm guessing now that G&U has been adding track to the yard including switches at the throat of the yard, additional concrete blocks have been added to close off the 2 easements circled in red.
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  by MaineCoonCat
johnpbarlow wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:10 am (circled in red)
I'm wondering what that smudge in the middle of the crossing is..

  by johnpbarlow
For of those you who are FaceBook users, a very recent drone photo of the newly expanded Hopedale Yard has been posted to the RCS Aerials FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/rcs.aerials/ as well as to the G&U FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=101 ... 9694898649

There are already a lot of cars using the 3 new yard tracks. Impressive growth in business for G&U!
  by MaineCoonCat
Thanks for the tip, johnpbarlow. It definitely looks obstructed to me.

  by NHV 669
They hauled a 27 car train within the last few weeks, certainly doing a good stroke of business.
  by johnpbarlow
G&U filed a reply to Hopedale Properties' filing at the STB on 7/28/21:
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 302792.pdf

Relevant excerpt:
II. The Evidence Presented by GU Shows an Unreasonable Burden on Transportation.

As discussed in the GU Petition and below, the uncontroverted record provided by GU in this matter demonstrates that restoration of the crossings in Hopedale would result in an unreasonable burden on and interference with rail transportation provided by GU. The facts presented in the GU Petition and Mr. DeWaele's Verified Statement provide a record that demonstrates the urgent need for maintenance to the rail line in the area of the crossings and the closing of the crossings as part of such maintenance. Rather than "vague references" or maintenance actions undertaken by GU "wholly at its own discretion such as running longer trains and installing a switch", Properties Reply at 7, the actions by GU were based upon safety concerns, operating efficiency and providing rail transportation service in order to meet the needs of its customers.

These maintenance actions, including removal of the crossings, were not "post-hoc attempts to rectify self-created operational hardships", as argued by Properties. Properties Reply at 8. This contention may be a nice rhetorical flourish, but it ignores the evidence presented by GU concerning the continuing increase in rail traffic on the line, the expansion and upgrading of the track and facilities at the GU yard in Hopedale, which is immediately south of the crossings and, most importantly, the safety hazard created by the previous elevation differences between the line on either side of the bridge and the bridge itself prior to closing the crossings.

The primary reason for closing the crossings was the difference in elevation between the bridge and the track on either side of the bridge. As explained in the Petition and by Mr. De Waele, the 2.1 % downhill grade approaching the bridge from the north and the difference in elevation of the track and the bridge caused locomotives to strike the asphalt in the grade crossings. This, in turn, created the risk of derailments and uncoupling of cars. Elevation of the track on either side of the bridge provides a gradual approach and better alignment of the track for safer movement of trains, but it also means that the crossings could not be kept open. Petition at pages 4-6 and DeWaele Verified Statement at ~ 5. Closing the crossings and removing the asphalt crossing material also permits GU to more easily perform weekly inspections of the track and ties, including the new switch, in accordance with 49 CFR § 213.4, which requires that the track for 100 feet on each side of the bridge be in Class 1 condition. In response to the evidence presented by GU, Properties has introduced no evidence.
  by MaineCoonCat
This is going to be interesting..
  by BandA
So, these crossings have been in existence for 100 years, and railroad argues that they are inconvenient so they can remove them, even though they are called out in the property deed? Am I missing something? How would the railroad not be aware of the property deed, and how is that relevant?
  by Trinnau
To sum up what I read briefly and what my understanding is: the property owner retained the right to cross the railroad track where they want provided it doesn't interfere with the railroad. G&U is claiming because conditions have changed on their railroad, the crossings interfered with the railroad, so they closed them.
  by MaineCoonCat
Tried to pull a copy of that deed but stuff that old hasn't been scanned yet.. :(

  by MaineCoonCat
Trinnau wrote: Fri Jul 30, 2021 8:11 pm To sum up what I read briefly and what my understanding is: the property owner retained the right to cross the railroad track where they want provided it doesn't interfere with the railroad. G&U is claiming because conditions have changed on their railroad, the crossings interfered with the railroad, so they closed them.
That's how I read it. My feeling is it amounts to an uncompensated taking. I love the railroad but I'm thinking Hopedale Properties has a valid claim here.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer although I used to watch Ally McBeal back around the turn of the century..
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