Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

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Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby RailfanVBC » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:50 pm

I have been researching this issue for a while but have never been able to come up with a straight answer. I live in South Haven and locally have two rail trails, Kal Haven, and Van Buren, with the latter only having the railroad abandoned a few decades ago. Would it ever be remotely possible for the rail line from Hartford to South Haven to be rebuilt if there was business to warrant it?
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby chapmaja » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:42 am

That is a very complicated issue. A lot would have to do with the terms of the decision to pull up the tracks.

From my understanding if the line was rail banked then the tracks removed, the ROW still technically is a railroad ROW and the tracks could be replaced and the line reactivated. If the ROW was sold to a trail organization then it would be very difficult to reinstall the line.

The reality is that the business needing rail service would have to use such a massive amount of rail service to justify the costs of reinstalling the tracks and the legal fights that would go along with it. That business would most likely choose to located near an existing rail line or use trucks to connect to an existing rail line, much like the proposed mines in the UP will do.

Have lines been reinstalled? Yes, but it is rare.
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby NS3322 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:07 am

Has the "new" West Michigan Railroad looked at going to South Haven?
I feel like there are no major customers to warrant a re-lay.
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby AARR » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:59 am

I viewed the satellite image of the old ROW and there are no potential major customers on the South Haven segment. Although, I think the small plastic plant in SH uses the WMI team track in Hartford to unload their plastic pellets.
NS3322 wrote:Has the "new" West Michigan Railroad looked at going to South Haven?
I feel like there are no major customers to warrant a re-lay.
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby NS3322 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:47 pm

AARR wrote:I viewed the satellite image of the old ROW and there are no potential major customers on the South Haven segment. Although, I think the small plastic plant in SH uses the WMI team track in Hartford to unload their plastic pellets.
NS3322 wrote:Has the "new" West Michigan Railroad looked at going to South Haven?
I feel like there are no major customers to warrant a re-lay.


And with the nuclear power plant eventually closing (moving the waste by rail), there were will be no need to reopen the line.
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby PatAzo » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:05 pm

Remotely possible if there was traffic to warrant it? Sure but it would depend on the prevailing viewpoint on the traffic to warrant it.

The rails to trails preserved right of ways but a switch back to rails wouldn't be automatic. The economic gain for the community would have to override the desire to keep the trail.

Large manufacturers would go somewhere else. It would have to be a natural resource and truck traffic would have to be obnoxious enough for the locals to want it off the highways.
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Re: Potential for Rail Trails to Become Railroads Again

Unread postby Farmboybello » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:28 pm

Who were the last customers along the Hartford to South Haven line before it was abandoned?
Railroad right of ways are for railroads, not bikes.
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