TrainFilter: how would I find out who owns these tracks, and if they are still in use?
April 9, 2006 12:05 PM   Subscribe

how would I find out who owns these tracks, and if they are still in use?

I am looking at a home in this area and am trying to find out who owns these railroad tracks, and if they are in use (or will be in use in the near future.),+Monsey,+NY

since the tracks being in use would lower the house value dramatically, I am trying to figure out who own them...
posted by Izzmeister to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Looks like MTA north to me.
posted by jellicle at 12:26 PM on April 9, 2006

You can find out by asking at town hall tomorrow.

Or you could click over to SATELLITE and follow the tracks in either direction, looking for a train. There's no resolution on Patriot Drive, but if you scroll in either direction you can pick up the image. If you spot a train, obviously the tracks are/were in use — although the caveat is that you don't know when Google's image was taken. Its image of my neighborhood is several years old.
posted by cribcage at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2006

Another idea: I've read that trainspotting, or whatever the American equivalent is called, is a hobby with a relatively active presence of the 'net. Post your question to a railroad group, and you might find (a) someone who knows or (b) someone who knows how to find out.
posted by cribcage at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2006

I would ask someone from the neighborhood. Can't hurt to meet them anyway. Did you ask the Realtor?
posted by vaportrail at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2006

One quick way to get at least a rough idea is to go look at them. If the top surface of the rail is shiny, they've been used regularly within the last few years. If it's rusty, they haven't been.

If they have wooden ties, look at the state of them. If they're getting rotten and soft, it means the track owner isn't doing maintenance any longer.

But it seems to me that the easiest way to find out if they're in use is to knock on the door of one of the neighbor's houses and ask them.

Generally speaking, if they've stopped using a given rail line, they're very unlikely to start again.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:42 PM on April 9, 2006

Some googling on nearby town names brought me to this, which seems to indicate the railway is owned by Norfolk Southern and the line is in use.
posted by sebas at 1:23 PM on April 9, 2006

If the tracks are still then it's extremely likely (like 99.99%) that the railroad still has the right of way and can start running trains on them again at any time.
posted by fshgrl at 1:36 PM on April 9, 2006

Actually, I'm leaning towards it being an abandoned piece of the Erie Railroad's NY & NJ branch. The railroads have had so many mergers and acquisitions that it gets a little confusing. See some history here and especially here. And it's hard to find a good map.

You might also be interested in this report on the Rockland County train whistle issue.
posted by bim at 1:57 PM on April 9, 2006

jellicle's on the right track (npi). Those tracks are used by the MTA for Metro North/NJ Transit's Pascack Valley Line -- I checked the station locations, and they match the route of the tracks down to the Hoboken terminus. As this page notes, New Jersey Transit owns the tracks up to Spring Valley station, the northernmost terminus of the Pascack Valley line, which is just a mile or two northeast of Patriot Drive. The tracks eventually merge with the Port Jervis line in Suffern. According to this page and the Wikipedia article, it looks like there is some freight run through occasionally, and there may be future development of the line as well. I wouldn't hedge my bets on there being no traffic.
posted by greatgefilte at 2:42 PM on April 9, 2006

Besides, you really want to live there with all those frum Jews? :)
posted by greatgefilte at 2:47 PM on April 9, 2006

One last link that mentions the possibility of a new project incorporating the NY stations of the Port Jervis and Pascack lines into a new line connecting with Metro-North's Hudson Line on one end, and Newburgh Airport on the other.
posted by greatgefilte at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2006

Town Hall Didn't Know.

MTA... gave a runaround.

The Tracks are Rusty.

however, the track is disconnected about a mile away by a developer .... so it seems the the train is gone for good!

posted by Izzmeister at 2:42 AM on April 10, 2006

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