F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Does make complete sense that Mellon's going to want this property scraped off the books at long last before he ever puts the company up for sale. Here, Hampton Branch in NH, and Lowell Industrial Track in MA are the 3 abandoned properties in D1/D2 that have had longstanding public sale negotiations slow to an impasse. All three (plus Pennacook if that abandonment filing is imminent) he's going to want scrubbed before entertaining acquisition bids, because I'm sure an internal property audit is going to throw up some other surprises to address of other long-forgotten ROW flotsam from the last 30 years (or even prior) they had no idea they still owned...and haven't been paying property taxes on.
Most of the post made me laugh but this part in particular ... not because I disagree but because I can only just imagine the kinds of things they might discover ...
Joking aside, it's not all that rare since you're dealing with record-keeping of land deeds dating back to mid-19th century. Guilford's only been Guilford for 33 years...before that B&M and MEC were in/out/teetering-around bankruptcy for decades with internal turmoil no doubt taking its toll on internal record-keeping efficiency. In the 13 years between Conrail's gov't formation and it's spin-off to IPO they had to deal with thousands of lost or disputed property records from their bankrupt predecessors and predecessors' predecessors uncovered during internal audit. And it led to constant stream of oddball ICC filings to clean up botched or unclosed past dockets, discontiguous chunks of abandoned lines that were never formally abandoned, discontiguous chunks of active
lines thought to be sold to other RR's but actually putting them in an unwelcome landlord situation, and land disputes out the wazoo where somebody comes out of the woodwork with a shriveled piece of 19th century contract whose authenticity can't be verified.
Granted, the scope of Conrail and its constituent parts are nothing compared to PAR where D1/D2 are almost exclusively lifelong B&M and MEC holdings passed intact, and Guilford has been Guilford entirely inside the era of computer record-keeping. PAR being a private entity also means they don't have to self-audit the property files with nearly as fine-toothed a comb as a quasi-gov't holding like Conrail did in its prep-for-IPO. Some records management liability is going to be on the buyer's side in take-it-or-leave-it fashion, because the stakes for an "Oops...I guess we never sold that disconnected 2 miles in Winchendon" moment are so low within the scope of the merger. It's mainly going to be about whose butt is covered by whom in the transaction for surprise property tax bills greater than X decimal places.
But it will happen. That's simply inevitable when very old RR record-keeping pockmarked by periods of company instability over 150 years get dealt in-bulk. There will be a few STB brain-teasers that provoke a bemused "Really? They still have that? How does one forget they own that?!?" reaction. Only betting odds to wager on is whether it's going to be a MellonFink-era delinquent tax bill or an MEC-era trivia question for the history buffs.