Railways in 1911--Land cost

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Wed Nov 24 21:50:46 EST 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
April 26, 1911


A railway commission of a state in the middle west has been in the throes of a valuation of the physical properties of all the different systems that touch the state, and the lessons learned are too numerous to enumerate. One practical course of instruction came from examining the title papers to more than 55,00 [sic. 55,000?] sales of real estate, involving more than one hundred millions of dollars, by private owners to railways that needed the lands.
From these examinations it was learned that when a railway wants land for a right of way it has to pay more than three times as much as a private party would have to give up. In cities, where condemnation proceedings are resorted to, it was found that the price awarded by a jury was equal to twice the value of adjacent property.
From this it would seem that special privileges are not always with the public service corporations. The man who owns a strip of marsh that the railroads want seems to be able to practice a bit of graft, also.
Gordon Hamilton
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