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Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Etowah County, Alabama


On or about February 13, 2013, Alabama Great Southern Railway Company (AGS) and Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railway Company (TAG) -- both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Norfolk Southern Railway Company -- jointly filed for the abandonment of 4.25 miles of interconnected track in Gadsden, Etowah County, Alabama. We are providing this information because it presents an opportunity to develop a real regional asset: a multi-use trail that can accommodate hikers, bikers, equestrians and other appropriate uses.

NEXT STEPS: If these corridors are suitable for trail use, we strongly urge local trail advocates, or an appropriate local, regional or state agency or organization, to take action now. A "boiler plate" letter (found here) can be filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the abandoning railroads using STB docket numbers AB-290 (sub-no. 335x) and AB-290 (sub-no. 340x). Filing this letter does not commit its authors to acquire the corridors; it merely gives time to develop a rail-trail proposal and undertake negotiations with the railroads. According to the information we have received, the deadline for filing this letter is March 15, 2013. Even if this deadline is missed, there is probably still time to contact the relevant parties, since the railroads may have experienced a delay in filing all of the paperwork, or the STB may still have jurisdiction over the corridors. However, it is important to take prompt action. The STB posts all abandonment decisions and filings on its Web site, including the complete filing for these two corridors. More information on the rail corridors, including several maps, can be found in this filing.

The STB has imposed a $200 filing fee for all railbanking requests. Entities filing a railbanking request may request a fee waiver or reduction, and government agencies will receive an automatic fee waiver. Throughout the process, make sure local government officials and citizen activists are kept informed of the project's progress. We also recommend contacting your state trails coordinator or your state bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

Both of these individuals are knowledgeable about state laws and resources and may be able to assist your community with this rail-trail project. Also, you may want to contact the abandoning railroads to add your name to their service list.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE: RTC's Web site may provide valuable tools as you plan for a rail-trail, including how-to manuals, the Trail-Building Toolbox, our Publications Library and the Trails & Greenways Listserv for trail advocates and professionals. These resources can be found within the "Trail-Building" section of our Web site. If you take advantage of this information and other resources promptly, you will be well on your way to creating a successful rail-trail in your community. For more information, or if you decide to pursue railbanking, please contact Kelly Pack at kellyp@railstotrails.org.

Posted Tue, Feb 26 2013 9:40 AM by Jake Lynch

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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