Rail trail is an American term for a trail that uses a railroad right-of-way (ROW). A trail is a Path or Road used for Walking, Cycling, Cross-country skiing, or other activities A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted – through an Easement or other mechanism – for Transportation purposes such as for a Rail line or A rail trail is either a rail to trail in a ROW that has been abandoned, or a rail with trail in a ROW that remains in use. Rails with trails ( RWT) are a small subset of Rail trails in which a railway Right-of-way remains in use by Trains yet also has
Most rail trails are "multi-use" or "shared" (see Trail), permitting at least pedestrian and bicycle uses, and often other uses as well. A trail is a Path or Road used for Walking, Cycling, Cross-country skiing, or other activities A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot whether Walking or Running. The bicycle, cycle, or bike is a pedal-driven, human-powered vehicle with two wheels attached to a frame, one behind Some of these shared trails are "segregated", and the segregation is achieved with or without separation (see Trail). A trail is a Path or Road used for Walking, Cycling, Cross-country skiing, or other activities Many rail trails are long distance trails. Long-distance trails (or long-distance tracks paths footpaths or Greenways are the longer recreational right-of-way routes mainly through rural areas used for non-motorised
A rail to trail may still include rails, such as light rail or streetcar (see Midtown Greenway). For specific light rail systems many of which use the words "light rail" as part of their name see List of light-rail transit systems. A tram, tramcar, trolley, trolley car, or streetcar is a railborne vehicle, of lighter weight and construction than a Train The Midtown Greenway is a 57 mile Rail trail in Minneapolis, Minnesota. By virtue of their characteristic shape (long and flat), some shorter rails to trails are known as greenways and linear parks. A greenway is a long narrow piece of land often used for recreation and pedestrian and bicycle traffic and sometimes including multiple transportation ( Streetcar, Light A linear park is a park that is a lot longer than it is wide It is often formed as a part of a Rails to trails conversion of Railroad beds to Rail trail recreational
In North America, the decades-long consolidation of the rail industry led to the closure of a number of now-uneconomical branch lines in the 1960s. Some were maintained as short line railways, but many others were simply abandoned. Short Line is also one of the four railroads in the popular Board game Monopoly, probably named after the Shore Fast Line, an Interurban streetcar
Beginning with a few lines in the Midwestern United States, these disused industrial relics were turned into ecological areas functioning as linear parks or community space, but mainly as non-motorized transportation or recreation corridors for walking, hiking, bicycling, horse riding, birdwatching, etc. Walking (also called ambulation) is the main form of Animal Locomotion on land, distinguished from Running and crawling The word 'hiking' is understood in all English-speaking countries but there are differences in usage Cycling is the use of Bicycles or - less commonly - Unicycles Tricycles Quadricycles and other similar wheeled Human powered vehicles For the Roman class see Equestrian (Roman Equestrianism refers to the skill of riding or driving Horses This broad description Birdwatching or birding is the observation and study of Birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like Binoculars.
By the 1970s, even main lines were being sold or abandoned. This was especially true when regional rail lines merged and streamlined their operations. As both the supply of potential trails increased and awareness of the possibilities rose, state governments, municipalities, conservation authorities and private organizations bought the rail corridors to create, expand or link greenspaces. The first abandoned rail corridor in the United States converted into a recreational trail was the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Wisconsin, which opened in 1965. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail is a Rail trail between Elroy and Sparta, Wisconsin. Wisconsin ( or wɪˈskɑnsɨn (French Ouisconsin) is one of the fifty United States of America, located in the north central part of the United States The following year the Illinois Prairie Path opened. The Illinois Prairie Path (often called the Prairie Path and abbreviated IPP) is a network of of Bicycle trails mostly in DuPage County, The longest developed rail trail is currently the 225-mile Katy Trail in Missouri; when complete, the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska will extend for 321 miles. The Katy Trail State Park is a recreation Rail trail that runs in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. Missouri ( or) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee This page refers to the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska, United States. Nebraska ( is a state located on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States and
Gradually, the movement acquired the name "rail trails" and created organizations to promote its ideas. Currently, there are tens of thousands of miles and thousands of rail trails in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and many other countries. Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. The main factor restricting the potential scope of the movement is the lack of abandoned or surplus rail lines in continental Europe, though abandoned canal towpaths are readily available and used for similar purposes. Canals are artificial channels for water There are two types of canals water conveyance canals which are used for the conveyance and delivery of water and Waterways A towpath is a Road or Trail on the bank of a River, Canal, or other inland waterway
Rail trail conversions can be quite complex for a variety of legal, social and economic reasons. Railroads in North America were often built with a mix of purchased land, government land grants, and easements. A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted – through an Easement or other mechanism – for Transportation purposes such as for a Rail line or The land deeds can be over a hundred years old, land grants might be conditional upon continuous operation of the line and easements may have expired, all expensive and difficult issues to determine at law.
Railroad property rights have typically been poorly enforced, with neighboring property owners intentionally or accidentally using land they do not own. Such encroachers often later oppose a rail to trail conversion. Even residents who are not encroaching on railway lands may oppose conversion on the grounds of increased foot traffic in the area and its perceived decline of personal security.
Because linear corridors of land are only valuable if they are intact, special laws regulate the abandonment of a railroad corridor. In the United States, the Surface Transportation Board regulates railroads, and can allow a corridor to be "rail banked" or placed on hold for possible conversion back to active status when or if future need demands. The Surface Transportation Board (STB of the United States was created by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 at the same time the Rail trail is a term for a Trail that makes use of a railroad right-of-way (ROW.
While many rail trails have been built, many more potential trails have been squashed by community opposition. The stature of the conversion organization, the quality of involvement of the local community, and government willingness are all keys factor in the successful acceptance of a trail.
Most original rail lines were surveyed for ease of transport and gentle (often less than 2%) grades. The Pine Creek Rail Trail is a Rail trail in the Appalachian Mountains of north-central Pennsylvania. "Railroad" and "Railway" both redirect here For other uses see Railroad (disambiguation. Surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional space Position of points and the distances and angles between The grade (or gradient or pitch or slope) of any physical feature such as a Hill, Stream, Roof, railroad, or Therefore, the rail trails that succeeded them are often fairly straight and ideally suited to overcome steep or awkward terrain such as hills, escarpments, rivers, swamps, etc. Rail trails often share space with linear utilities such as pipelines, electrical transmission wires and telephone lines. In Economics, utility is a measure of the relative satisfaction from or desirability of Consumption of various Goods and services. Electric power transmission, a process in the delivery of Electricity to consumers is the bulk transfer of electrical power A telephone line or telephone circuit (or just line or circuit within the Industry) is a single-user circuit on a Telephone
Most purchase of railway land is dictated by the free market value of the land, so that land in urban and industrial cores is often impractical to purchase and convert. Therefore, rail trails may end on the fringes of urban areas or near industrial areas and resume later, as discontinuous portions of the same rail line, separated by unaffordable or inappropriate land.
A Railroad right of way (easement) width varies based on the terrain, with a 100 ft being amply wide enough where little surface grading is required. A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted – through an Easement or other mechanism – for Transportation purposes such as for a Rail line or  The initial 705 mile stretch of the Illinois Central Railroad is the most liberal in the world with a width of 200 feet along whole 705 miles of line. The Illinois Central, sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, was a railroad carrier in the central United States, with its primary routes  Rail trails are often graded and covered in gravel or crushed stone, although some are paved with asphalt and others are left as dirt. Gravel is rock that is of a specific Particle size range In Geology, gravel is any loose rock that is larger than two millimeters (2mm Asphalt ( is a sticky black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude Petroleums and in some natural deposits sometimes termed asphaltum Where rail bridges have been directly incorporated into the trail, the only alterations (if any) tend to be adding solid walking areas on top of ties or trestles. A bridge is a Structure built to span a Gorge, Valley, Road, railroad track, River, Body of water If paved, they are especially suitable for people in wheelchairs.
Where applicable, the same trails used in the summer for walking, jogging and inline skating can be used in the winter for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and sometimes snowmobiling. Jogging is a form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace Roller skating is the Traveling on smooth terrain with roller skates Nordic skiing is a Winter sport that encompasses all types of Skiing where the heel of the boot cannot be fixed to the ski Development of snowshoes Origins Before humanity built snowshoes nature provided examples A snowmobile (known locally as snowmachine, snowsled or by the Brandname Ski-Doo) is a land vehicle that is commonly propelled by
Railbanking is the practice of preserving railroad rights-of-way for possible future use. A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted – through an Easement or other mechanism – for Transportation purposes such as for a Rail line or One such means to accomplish this is by using them as multi-use trails. A trail is a Path or Road used for Walking, Cycling, Cross-country skiing, or other activities In the United States, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., which promotes railbanking. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC is an American nonprofit organization working with communities to preserve unused rail corridors by transforming them into rail trails Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D
Many railroads are not built on land that is actually owned by the railroad company, but is simply an easement. For railroad track easement see Track transition curve. An easement is the right or freedom to do something or the right to prevent The terms of the easement often require that the land continue to be used for transportation, or it will revert to the property owner; railbanking often satisfies these conditions, keeping the corridor around if future conditions ever promote the conversion back to rails. However, conversion back to an active railroad can face considerable community opposition due to local attachment to a multi-use trail. As a result modern railroads are often hesitant to railbank a line as a rail trail.
RTC was founded in 1986 and has currently more than 100,000 members. Year 1986 ( MCMLXXXVI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar) The organization does not build trails, but promotes policy at the national and state levels to create the conditions that make trail building possible by local groups. RTC helps to keep the federal Transportation Enhancements program, which is the largest source of funding for trail development.
The land over which railways pass may often have many different owners — private, rail operator or governmental — and, depending on the terms under which it was originally acquired, the type of operating rights may also vary. Without Rail Banking, on closure, some parts of a railway's route might otherwise revert to the former owner. The owner could reuse them for whatever purpose he chose (for example, for building) or modify the ground conditions (remove embankments or fill-in cuttings), potentially prejudicing the line's future reuse if required.
A single section of a route changed in this way could have serious consequences for the viability of a restoration of a service, with the costs of repurchasing the land or right-of-way or of restoring the site to its former condition outweighting the economic benefit. Over the full length of a railway's route with many different owners the reopening costs could be considerable.
By designating the route as a Rail Bank, these complications are avoided and the cost of maintaining a right-of-way are removed from the railway operator. In the United States land transferred to Rail Banks is held by the state or Federal governments and many Rail Banks have been reused as Rail Trails. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A state government ( provincial government in Canada is the Government of a Subnational entity in States with federal The federal government of the United States is the central United States Governmental body established by the United States Constitution.
In the United Kingdom, many thousands of miles of railway were closed under the Beeching Axe cuts in the 1960s and whilst a few of these routes have subsequently been reopened none were formally treated as Land Banks in the US manner. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The Beeching Axe is an informal name for the British Government 's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969 The Beeching closures were driven by the government's desire to reduce expenditure on railways, and so most lines were offered for sale to the highest bidder, a process which frequently led to great fragmentation in the ownership of former UK railway lines.
This features an extensive list of completed, proposed, and those under construction. See also Rail trail This is a list of Rail trails around the world