To The Editor:
In response to the article in the Dec. 29-30 edition of The Missourian, I submit the following:
My research has indicated to me that the railroad companies have no right to give, sell or trade their rights of way to anyone because they do not own that property.
The federal Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 and subsequent acts gave the railroad only a right of way (456 F. Supp. 154). This decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals (606 F 2d 934). When they abandon the right of way it reverts back to the owners.
Allowing this right of way to be “given” to some rails-to-trails outfit is strictly illegal, but if no one takes them to task they can get away with it.
In my opinion the property owners should hire a competent attorney, not one who the railroad company can buy, and file a class-action suit against it in order to prevent it from illegally taking its property.
In the meantime the courts state that the property owners can use said property for any purpose they desire, including putting up fences. It’s your property. Don’t let them steal it from you! I am not giving legal advice, I am simply telling you what the law is and as you know, ignorance of the law is no excuse! Enlighten the railroad company!