SV RR land acquisitions

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Mon Oct 30 01:02:24 EST 2006

Does NS still own the land inside the wye at Lofton?
... I don't know how SVRR acquired land.

October 30, 2006

Hello, John Marbury and Harry Bundy:

The Shenandoah Valley (SV) Railroad certainly acquired
the right-of-way for the route through Lofton, but it
may not have been the company that constructed the wye
at that location. That could have been a subsequent
land acquistion.

All deeds for right-of-way and other real estate
acquisitions are recorded in the deed books of each
county court house. An example of "other" real estate
is land for pump houses and water tanks, riparian
rights for streams that were the source of water for
tanks, section formeman houses, and spurs to serve
local industries or public delivery tracks.

I've looked a a few SV deeds for real estate in Clarke
County. They all refer to a 66-feet wide right-of-way
that seems to have been standard for this portion.
Also, all land purchases I've seen were fee simple
acquisitions, some through condemnation via eminent
domain. I think by the 1880s that many railroads
stopped including a provision that if railroad
services stopped, the land reverted to the original
owner's descendents. That did occur along the former
Valley Railroad between Staunton and Lexington, I

Notwithstanding, many landowners adjacent to abandoned
rights-of-way push for return of the land or limits to
its use. For example, many don't relish the idea of a
hiking trail going behind their homes in developed
areas, fearing it is a convenient way for potential
burglars to access their property. I'm not an
attorney so I don't know the pros and cons of their
legal positions, but I don't think they prevail often,
especially if a governmental entity is the one that
acquires the land.

Best wishes,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at

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