Help with right of way.

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Mon Nov 7 04:49:31 EST 2005

Boy, I sure feel for you...

As I've bragged about before (and I can't help but be proud of it), I live along the NS right of way. A while back, I went and did my own deed title search at the local courthouse. My land has changed hands a bunch of times since the 1890's. That was as far back as I could get, so I didn't get to see what arrangement the Virginia & Tennessee had with the owners of this land in 1855-56. It seems the Civil War had resulted in the Smyth County courthouse being burned down in 1864. So, those records no longer exist.
Good luck in your search. Please, let us know what you do find out!
Ben Blevins

nw-mailing-list at wrote:

I agree with Dave. NS may have the information, but finding the right person to talk to, having your questions be a priority, and locating the information in their files may be a very time-consuming process. Your best source of information will be to do a title search at your local county courthouse.

Any easements that were granted on the property to the railroad will be recorded with the title. The original easement documents will detail the terms, such as what happens when the railroad stops using its right-of-way.

While you should not need a lawyer to access these public records, one would be helpful in interpreting the various deeds. If you have a lawyer you have worked with in the past (buying real-estate or preparing wills) and already have the various deeds and titles in-hand, they may be willing to give you a free consultation to look them over and answer any questions you may have.

A survey is also a normal part of any real estate transaction.

As far as selling the property, I think all you are required to do is notify the buyer that a railway easement exists. The normal real-estate transfer process (title search and survey) shall advise them of the details before they close on the deal.

Ron Davis

At 07:50 AM 11/6/2005, you wrote:

I'm not a lawyer and won't pretend to be qualified to give you legal advice. I stand by my recommendation that he retain one to research this. In most states the agreement that was signed would have been recorded with the county in which the land parcel is located as an attachment or easement to his property deed. He could find the records in the local county offices. The records and the copy of the agreement would show the width of the right of way. A surveyor could (and should) stake it out.

If you want to contact me off list it's drperiepa at, but what I've recommended already is about the limits of my knowledge. I have no idea where you'd start within NS, but if the records are there with the county you might not need to.

Dave Phelps

In a message dated 11/6/2005 7:24:15 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, nw-mailing-list at writes:

His grandfather signed an agreement for the right of way on land HE owned.

This was early 19??.

Then My great aunt got it when he died.

My dad now owns the land, but has a buyer.

He needs to find out about the width of the right of way.

One relative says 400 feet, I say 40 feet.

It’s 7 acres, with the track running down one side.

WHO within the NS organization can we contact?

He wants to sell the parcel of land.

Mark Lindsey

From: <nw-mailing-list at>

Reply-To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>

Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 18:41:16 EST

To: <nw-mailing-list at>

Subject: Re: Help with right of way.

He wants to sell the land through which the right of way runs, or he wants to sell the right of way? Does he actually have title to the right of way? Was there an easement in place? Did full right to use revert? Some research of the deed to the land is in order to make sure he's selling something he has a right to sell. I suggest you hire two professionals:

- a lawyer, to make sure your dad can really do what he's proposing to do, and

- a surveyor, do get the actual answer to your specific question.

Dave Phelps

In a message dated 11/5/2005 6:23:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, nw-mailing-list at writes:

My dad has a piece of land in n. Carolina with a RR righ tof way. He thinks it’s an NS track because it WAS a SRR track.

How can he find how wide the right of way IS?? He wants to sell it. The land that is.

Mark Lindsey


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