Article on Federally Granted Railroad Rights of Way
Dear CPRR Discussion Group:
I've recently completed a draft article entitled The Legal History of Federally Granted Railroad Rights of Way. It reviews the actions of Congress and the Interior Department in making railroad grants (including both right of way grants and checkerboard land grants) during the nineteenth century. It argues that, contrary to the holdings of several courts, there is no historical evidence of a change in the nature of federal railroad right of way grants in 1871, the year the checkerboard railroad grants ended. It concludes that as a consequence, the federal government retains a property interest in railroad rights of way granted both before and after 1871.
I'd be very interested in hearing comments by people familiar with this area of history. The draft is available for free download on the Social Science Research Network:
Thanks very much,
Darwin P. Roberts