ewh wrote:Just being picky, but the right of way below Fall River, MA was abandoned in 1980 and now is overgrown by 3 foot tall grass. The swing bridge over the Sakonnet River, linking Newport, RI with the mainland, was removed early in the 2000's. The State of Rhode Island says it might restore traffic sometime after 2030.......
No, it is not abandoned. P&W never petitioned the STB to abandon its freight rights to Newport, so there is still an "active" operator with trackage rights on the entire dead section of the branch. Including over the missing bridge. Official status is railbanked, not landbanked, with P&W having rights to file (30 days?) due notice to Town of Tiverton for reactivation whenever it wants. No different than what Grafton & Upton has done to restore its mainline. The only wrinkle here is that P&W wouldn't be filing the reactivation to run freight to Newport; they would be filing reactivation on behalf of RIDOT to run passenger service between Newport and Fall River. Not filing for abandonment of freight trackage rights was a loophole P&W retained at RIDOT's request so they can sidestep the NIMBY's on a reactivation. The beachfront owners can scream and holler and Operation Chaos the upgrading
of track to Class 3 passenger grade, but they are powerless to prevent reactivation with rehab up-to-spec to its most recent Class 1 active operating condition.
Fall River Branch in MA also isn't abandoned. It's embargoed south of the docks to Gold Medal Bakery, and then the last half-mile to the RI state line and the tank farm is railbanked. Mass Coastal has local rights to both those customers (Gold Medal is an active customer, but they take deliveries at the port instead of their old siding), and P&W has overhead rights through here. There's one missing grade crossing, but tracks will never be pulled up as long as MC has its finger on that state-line tank farm for future considerations.