100 Year Leases For Homesteading Abandoned Railroad Right Of Way

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TRIGGER, Feb 4, 2005.


    TRIGGER New Member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Hello.does Anyone Have Any Info About Obtaining A Long Term Lease From The Railroads For Homesteading Abandoned Railroad Right Of Way. Any Info About Who,were,and How Would Be Great.
  2. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Jun 16, 2002
    South Central Kansas
    MOST railroad/land owner agreements were such that the land reverted back to the original land owner IF and WHEN the railroad ever abandoned the tracks.

    The Rails to Trails bicycling group has tried sometimes successfully, other times not, to secure abandoned corridors for biking trails. Many a court battle has taken place, most often with the farmer/land owner winning.

    In addition to my fully believing that the land should revert back to the original land owner, who would want to "homestead" such a very narrow strip of land?
    I expect the property would be hard to access except from the ends of the long strip you would homestead. Your own road would quickly eat into what width of property you did have.

    So many here also worry about chemicals and what they do to a person and the land. Did you ever see tank cars dripping while setting at a crossing waiting for a slow train to pass? Take a walk down a rail line and just look at the stains on the cross ties.

    I'm very opinionated on the topic of railroad land abandonment. My family had land split for 1½ miles due to rail lines. The land SHOULD revert back to the farmer or adjacent owner!

    Sorry, I didn't answer your question at all. No, I don't have any information on such. First time I've heard of this.

  3. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    In our county there was a LENGTHY court battle that went all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court because some folks wanted to make a rails-to-trails park out of the abandoned railroad and most landowners wanted the property to revert back to them....in the end the land owners won....

    So I would be really really leery of anything to do with a railbed....there's all kinds of federal transportation laws and all kinds of other stuff involved! Sorry I didn't answer your question either
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002
    About 6 years ago I looked at some railway right of way (mahoning county, Ohio) that was for sale..... 100 feet wide and 2.5 miles long. It was interesting to take a look but he wanted what we considered a silly price ($2,500 per acre when you could get good fertile farmland for that much).

    We did have fun trying to decide what one might do with such a property. We do have a husky so we figured dog sledding. Ahhh well.

    I don't think you would have much luck getting a lease for homesteading. Unless the railway had some real money on the table you would be worth more of a nuisance and liability than the money would justify. If the right of way is worth anything to them then they don't want it encumbered. If it isn't worth much/anything to them they will sell it or donate it to charity for the deduction.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

  5. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    A guy I know bought a section and used it for a mobile home park -- cant think of any other use for it tho!
  6. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2002
    Abandoned right of ways make good ultralight landing runways.
  7. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2004
    I have some property that runs along an old track. I think about 500' or so. Our power company owns the land now, I guess they got it when the railroad bailed. They keep it in case they need to run lines or something, but I lease it from them for 25 dollars a year. There's not much to do with it, it just adds another 50' between me and the other guy.
  8. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    100 year leases, shades of Hawaii. Haven't heard that idea bounced around in a long time. Must be getting generous, usually was only 99 years. :rolleyes: Renting with a twisted mode of thinking you should care.

    I would think a better plan of attack would be just be a squatter. Nice low profile for twenty years and then be up on the hind quarters screaming about your RIGHTS.

    Probably not the type of property anybody would notice you camped out on with malice. :no:
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    I would be real scared.

    Most RR land was taken from people for free with promises to give it back when RR was done with it.

    That doesn't happen.

    Makes _real_ bad feelings & rather ugly neighbors.

    Aside from the access issues - how do you get to this plot of land?

    I would want no part of it - either side of the issue. I tend to sympithize with the old land owners tho.....

  10. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    I would be worried about the contamination of the land.
  11. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

    May 8, 2002
    central New South Wales, Australia
    Long and skinny makes for expensive fencing - and you're usually required to split fencing costs 50/50 with the neighbours. You'd be paying for a lot of your neighbour's fences - particularly if they thought they should have got the land.

    Think about it: if you make the block half as long as twice as wide you've got not much more than half as much fence. One quarter the length and four times the width and you're up for not much more than a quarter the length of fence.

    The point about chemical pollution is valid too. Railway companies really didn't want weeds and brush growing up to fuel fires around their road-beds and wooden sleepers - particularly when they were running coal-burning locomotives blowing sparks and smuts all over the place. They used some pretty ferocious and long-lived chemicals to kill off any plant growth. The longer-lasting the poison the better, from their point of view, and they had absolutely no interest in what would happen if the land was ever returned to farming.
  12. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I agree - I'd be concerned about contamination and would have it checked thoroughly before ever buying it.

    Besides, there's still a lot of land left... you could buy much finer ground elsewhere.