RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY
17
IV.
RAIL-WITH-TRAIL SURVEY FINDINGS
This summary of findings focuses on some of the most prevalent themes related to rail-with-trail
acquisition, development and management:
Location and Land Ownership of Rails-with-Trails
Railroad Operations and Attitude Toward Trail Development
Safe Design: Setback, Separation and Crossings
Liability and Insurance
Management and Maintenance
Results were analyzed from responses provided by trail managers or advocates involved in the
trail’s development. Most interviewees and survey respondents answered more than 60 questions;
due to the large quantity of data, individual responses, trail facts and contact information are
available in an online Appendix at
Location and Land Ownership of Rails-with-Trails
Location
The distinguishing characteristic of rails-with-trails is their location within or directly adjacent to an
active railroad corridor. More than half of the trails examined for this report have some portion of
trail located within the railroad right-of-way. Some trail managers indicated that the railroad was
unwilling to provide access to their right-of-way, forcing trail development immediately adjacent
to – but completely outside of—the railroad corridor. While many of these rails-with-trails are
located within or alongside publicly owned corridors (37 percent), a significant portion of trails
located within the railroad right-of-way exist in corridors owned by Class I, II and III railroads.
Railroad Classification
Railroads are classified by the Surface
Transportation Board based on their
annual operating revenues.
Class I railroads
have an annual
operating revenue that exceeds $433
million, based on 2011 dollars. Seven
Class I railroads account for most of the
freight rail traffic in the U.S.:
1.
BNSF Railway Company
2.
Kansas City Southern Railway
Company
3.
Union Pacific Railroad
4.
Soo Line Railroad Company
(
Canadian Pacific’s U.S. operations)
5.
CSX Transportation Inc.
6.
Norfolk Southern Combined Railroad
Subsidiaries
7.
Grand Trunk Corporation (Canadian
National’s U.S. operations)
Class II railroads
have an annual
operating revenue that exceeds $34.7
million, based on 2011 dollars. Class
II rail carriers typically haul freight and
are sometimes referred to as “regional
railroads.”
Class III railroads
have an annual
operating revenue of less than $34.7
million, based on 2011 dollars. Class
III railroads are generally referred to as
short line railroads.”
More information:
StatisticsAndPublications/Documents/
AAR.org/StatisticsAndPublications/
Documents/AAR-Stats-2013-01-10.pdf
43%
30%
12%
15%
Location of trail corridor relative
to active railroad right-of-way
Within active railroad right-
of-way
Immediately adjacent to active
railroad right-of-way
Segments within and adjacent
to active railroad right-of-way
Unknown