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64 Articles 411 D. Benefits of Using a Confidential Close Call Reporting System 411 A report by FRA addresses the C3RS Demonstration Project and its importance in reducing railroad accidents, notes the benefits of implementing a close call reporting system, and discusses how a similar reporting system is benefiting the railroad industry in the United Kingdom.282 E. Challenges to Using a Confidential Close Call 412 Reporting System In âDeveloping an Effective Corrective Action Process: Lessons Learned from Operating a Confidential Close Call Reporting System,â the authors describe the process for the reporting of close calls, discuss challenges associated with the implementation of a C3RS, and offer some solutions.283 XVII. EASEMENTS AND INTERPRETATION OF RAILROAD DEEDS 415 A. Introduction 415 Except under the circumstances discussed in part I of the digest, the disposition of a railroad easement or right-of-way is governed by state law. Part B discusses whether a railroad easement reverts to the original owner or to the said ownerâs successor-in-interest. Part C discusses the law in several states on whether an adjoining landowner has a right to an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Part D summarizes cases holding that a deed conveying a right- of-way conveys an easement rather than an interest in fee simple. Parts E and F discuss what is meant by the term right-of-way, whether a railroad is permitted to lease the subsurface of its right-of-way for nonrailroad purposes, and whether a railroad has the right to exclude others from its right-of-way. Parts G and H discuss the interpretation of railroad deeds and whether landowners may recover compensation when a railroad right-of-way is used by a telecommunication company. 282 Jordan Mutler, Improving Railroad Safety through Understanding Close Calls, at 1, available at http://www.closecallsrail.org/pubs/closecalls05a.pdf (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015). 283 Jordan Multer, Joyce Ranney, Julie Hile, & Thomas Raslear, âDeveloping an Effective Corrective Action Process: Lessons Learned from Operating a Confidential Close Call Reporting Systemâ (undated), available at http://www.closecallsrail.org/pubs/Lessons_Learned_From_Operating_A_Confidential_ Close_Call_Reporting_System.pdf (last accessed Mar. 31, 2015).
65 Case 416 B. Whether an Original Grantor or Successor-in-Interest Has 416 a Right of Reversion to an Abandoned Railroad Right-of-Way In Stone v. U.S.D. No. 222,284 concerning whether a railroad had obtained only an easement for railroad purposes, the Supreme Court of Kansas held that the determining factor was the language in the original deed, not the use to which the property had been put. Statutes 418 C. State Law on Whether an Adjoining Landowner Has 418 a Right to an Abandoned Right-of-Way 1. California 418 In California the rules that apply to a highway or stream apply to a railroad right-of- way.285 2. Iowa 418 An Iowa statute provides that âproperty shall pass to the owners of the adjacent property at the time of abandonment. If there are different owners on either side, each owner will take to the center of the right-of-way.â286 3. Indiana 419 An Indiana statute provides that when âa railroad abandons its right to a railroad right-of- way, the railroadâs interest vests in the owner of the right-of-way fee with a deed that contains a description of the real property that includes the right-of-way.â287 284 278 Kan. 166, 179, 91 P.3d 1194, 1203 (2004). 285 Freeman v. Affiliated Property Craftsmen, 266 Cal. App. 2d 723, 730, 72 Cal. Rptr. 357, 364â65 (1968). See CAL. CIV. CODE Â§ 1112 (2014), CAL. CIV. CODE Â§ 831 (2014). 286 IOWA CODE Â§ 327G.77(1) (2014). 287 IND. CODE ANN. Â§ 32-23-11-10(b) (2014).
66 4. Maine 419 Under 23 Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Section 7105, Maineâs Department of Transportation is authorized to lease or purchase certain railroad lines that have been authorized to be abandoned. In Maine, railroads are treated differently than roads.288 5. North Carolina 422 A North Carolina statute provides in part that whenever a railroad abandons a railroad easement, the presumption is that the title vests in each adjacent landowner âto the centerline of the abandoned easement.â289 6. South Dakota 422 A South Dakota statute states that a railroad that abandons service over a rail line âshall settle title claims with adjoining landowners and municipalities within one year.â290 Cases 422 D. Whether a Deed Conveying a Right-of-Way Is a Conveyance of 422 an Easement or a Fee Simple Interest 1. Presumption that a Deed Conveys Only an Easement 422 In Baltimore County v. AT&T Corp.,291 an Indiana federal district court held that under applicable Maryland law (relevant to AT&Tâs motions), when a deed granted a right-of-way to a railroad, the deed conveyed only an easement because the deed evinced no intention of conveying a fee simple interest. 2. Significance of Language in a Deed Indicating Conveyance of 423 an Easement In Dale Henderson Logging, Inc. v. Department of Transportation,292 the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine held for different reasons that the property owners did not now own a 288 23 ME. REV. STAT. ANN. Â§ 3026(1) (2014). 289 N.C. GEN. STAT. ANN. Â§ 1-44.2(a) (2014). 290 S.D. CODIFIED LAWS Â§ 49-16A-115 (2014). 291 735 F. Supp. 2d 1063 (S.D. Ind. 2010). 292 2012 ME 99, *20, 48 A.3d 233, 238 (2012).
67 railroad corridor in fee simple, but that the state transportation department held the easement for future railroad uses. 3. Judicial Factors Used to Differentiate Between the Grant of 425 an Easement or an Interest in Fee Simple In Beres v. United States,293 when the government denied that the plaintiffs held a reversionary interest in a right-of-way on their properties, the Federal Court of Claims held that all grantors of the deeds at issue had conveyed easements, not interests in fee, to the railroad. E. Meaning of the Term âRight-of-Wayâ 427 1. A Right-of-Way as a Strip of Land on Which Railroad Companies 427 Construct a Road Bed In 1891 in Joy v. City of St. Louis,294 the U.S. Supreme Court held that in every instance that the term right-of-way was used, the term referred to a strip of land rather than to a right to cross over the land because â[a] right of way is of no practical use to a railroad without a superstructure and rails,â and that an alternative definition would have defeated the purpose in granting the right-of-way.295 2. Right to Lease the Subsurface for a Nonrailroad Purpose Not 427 Included in a Railroadâs Right-of-Way In Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines, Inc.,296 a California appellate court held that Union Pacific did not have the right to collect rent from Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines based on the acquisition of a right-of-way under the General Right-of-Way Act of 1875, because the Act did not make âthe subsurface the âproperty of the railroad,ââ and because the leasing of the subsurface to generate profits is not a railroad purpose.297 293 97 Fed. Cl. 757, 774â75 (Fed. Cl. 2011). 294 138 U.S. 1, 11 S. Ct. 243, 34 L.E. 843 (1891). 295 Id., 138 U.S. at 45, 11 S. Ct. at 256, 34 L. Ed. at 858. 296 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 1007, at *1 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 2014). 297 Id. at *47â48, 51.