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Trail Planning

Railbanking and Rail-Trails: A Legacy for the Future

By: Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy REPORT
July 1, 2006

Railbanking and Rail-Trails: A Legacy for the FutureDownload

In an effort to conserve rail corridors while still allowing rail carriers to discontinue use on unprofitable lines, the U.S. Congress included a unique and prescient provision within the National Trails System Act Amendments of 1983. The Rails to Trails Act allowed the federal government to regulate the disposition of soon-to-be abandoned railroad lines to preserve the right-of-way in case the need for future rail use arose, and make way for the development of alternative transportation uses for railway corridors, including trails. This process is called “railbanking.”

Produced by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 2006, this report discusses the history, process and benefits of railbanking.

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