• landlocked

  • 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 MaineCoonCat
mikecoast wrote:Hello - I know it's been a while but I finally did the leg work (hired a title examiner) Cutting to the chase - it looks like the first railroad railroad and subsequent railroads owe us a crossing that is 99 feet wide. Without it the 36 acres is landlocked. Things could get very interesting with the commuter rail eventually coming thru - any thoughts
jbvb wrote:Who owns the RR right of way as of this moment? CSX or the Commonwealth? In either case, I expect you'll need to bring a carefully prepared case to the owner, which may extend to having a development plan prepared so they can judge what kind of crossing will be required by the use, and exactly where it will be best located. If it's the Commonwealth, your State Rep. might also be useful.
If it's any help (hopefully), the Freetown Assessor's Map shows the line crossing Slab Bridge Road, Richmond Road etc. and the line in East Freetown as being owned by CSX.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
MassDOT is the owner. CSX sold all of its South Coast lines to the state with exception of the Taunton Industrial Track (up near Norton), and that sale is logged with the Surface Transportation Board by looking for the docket number from 2008 or '09 for that sale. The state rail map was updated last year to reflect, but the datasets in all the searchable state and municipal GIS databases (like the Town of Freetown one papabarn linked) have data predating the ownership handoff. The way that searchable system works is that all towns which have deployed it collect the data then feed it to MassDOT for the statewide master property map layer. But because the state has to collect from every town and umpteen different state agencies they only ask each contributor for refreshed data once every couple of years. Therefore your experience may vary town-to-town on how current their searchable data is. Large municipalities like Cambridge employ full-time GIS specialists who keep their assessor map layers updated almost in real-time. But tiny towns like Freetown probably don't have anyone updating it except when they're on-deadline to submit an new dataset to the state every few years.

I'd call MassDOT to get a definitive answer. Calling the town may just involve whoever's on the line punching up the same map search and same dated info available from that link, so you'd probably have better luck trying the state. If there were any quirks in that CSX line sale that left small strips of ROW owned by other entities they'd be able to give a more precise answer than the town.
  by Bill Reidy
In case it's helpful, the University of Connecticut has also digitized New Haven Railroad valuation maps from the 1915 time period. Included in this set is the line to Newport, including Freetown. The specific maps of interest can be found at:

http://images.lib.uconn.edu/cdm/singlei ... ps/id/1298" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

- through -

http://images.lib.uconn.edu/cdm/singlei ... ps/id/1304" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Walk through 1298, 1299, 1300, 1301, 1302, 1303 and 1304 by changing the last four digits of the URL to see the entire set.

Each map includes a "Schedule of Title" which might contain useful information.
  by MaineCoonCat
Please keep us posted as this progresses!
  by mikecoast
Thanks for all your input. I have retained an attorney to write a letter to Massdot about my situation. I will keep you posted.
  by mikecoast
Made some headway - I had an extensive title report done going back to 1931. It supported my claim that I had the ROW over the tracks to the landlocked parcel (36 acres) and that the railroad was responsible for making and maintaining one good and sufficient cartway across said RR on said premises. I then the took advice posted here and contacted the state rep for East Freetown. The rep put me in touch with MassDot. I provided the documentation and this is the response I got - "We discussed your inquiry in some depth at our team meeting this week, after the engineers and consultants had an opportunity to review the documents that were forwarded to us in connection with your property. I wanted to let you know that the team concluded that the MBTA real estate team would be best equipped to help us generate an appropriate response to your inquiry. There are a number of crossings that we expect to close, and others that will be completely revamped, but we are not yet at that point. Design must be advanced further before any acquisition process would commence." My question - Should I be waiting for them to do something, or is it time to force the issue?
  by newpylong
Their long term master plan for grade crossings is not your problem. Push the issue.
  by mikecoast
Yeah. I think you're right. Thanks
  by MaineCoonCat
newpylong wrote:Their long term master plan for grade crossings is not your problem. Push the issue.
mikecoast wrote:Yeah. I think you're right. Thanks
I think if you wait for them, your grandchildren will be dealing with this..
  by mikecoast
Looks like I'm gonna be able to get the farm crossing. Is it plausible to think I can bump a farm crossing up to a public crossing?
  by Safetee
it would be cheaper and safer probably to build a tunnel.
  by MaineCoonCat
Anything new? How'd you finally make out?