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RTC Helps Score Big Victories for Railbanking and Trail Development

Armstrong Trai, Pa., courtesy of Armstrong Valley Land TrustOn February 22, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition filed by adjacent landowners seeking review of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s previous decision in Moody v. Allegheny Valley Land Trust.

In that initial July 20, 2009, ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had affirmed that the 52.5-mile Armstrong Trail in western Pennsylvania is entitled to the protections of “railbanking”—the federal law that allows out-of-service railroad corridors to be converted for interim trail use. The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of this petition finally terminates a long-running challenge to the right of the Allegheny Valley Land Trust to develop the Armstrong Trail, and an important precedent upholding “private railbanking” has been firmly established.
On February 25, 2010, in another Pennsylvania case, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania rejected a “takings” challenge filed by adjacent landowners concerning a 19-mile corridor in Elk and Cameron County, Pa., which was railbanked by the West Creek Recreational Trail Association. The court relied heavily on the Moody decision in reaching this result.
RTC, with the assistance of pro bono counsel William Semins and Neal Brendel from the Pittsburgh firm of K&L Gates, along with RTC General Counsel Andrea Ferster, was very involved in securing both of these important victories.

Railbanking has allowed for the development of more than 100 rail-trails, including the 161-mile Cowboy Nature and Recreation Trail in Nebraska and the 225-mile Katy Trail State Park in Missouri.

For more information about the Armstrong Trail, contact RTC’s Northeast Regional Office.

Photo by Armstrong Valley Land Trust

Posted Mon, Mar 1 2010 9:40 AM by Todd Christopher (RTC)


Fred Hammett wrote re: RTC Helps Score Big Victories for Railbanking and Trail Development
on Thu, Mar 4 2010 5:26 PM

Congratulations, but you lost the one in Sarasota County Florida. I have tried and tried to get you and my legislative delegation to ammend the Rail Banking legislation to avoid even having a lawsuits even brought to the Courts, with no takers on the task. Win the battle there and stop wasting money on defense.


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