Local Government Practice

Local Government Forum 2022: Railroad Crossing Issues in Road and Utility Projects


Public road and utility projects often require crossing existing railroad lines. To acquire the necessary right of way from a railroad, government agencies must address the following issues:

1. The nature of the railroad’s title.  Is it charter right of way?  Is it a fee interest or an easement interest?

2. The right to acquire the necessary right of way pursuant to eminent domain.

3. The compensation for the necessary right of way.

4. The railroad’s request for annual fees, insurance requirements, etc.

5. Consideration of safety issues and interference with railroad operations.

6. Railroad’s assertion of federal preemption as to a state eminent domain action.


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Never knew how often railroads would come up until I began municipal law!

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