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Thread: Abandoned Rail Lines

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    Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Abandoned Rail Lines

    Get permission first and be prepared to pay for it. Rail weighs about 35 lb to the foot and it cuts really nice with a torch.

    Added bonus, the ties can be sold to landscapers.


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  3. #2
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    There is a stretch of rail not far from me that when they replaced the track the old was just pushed off to the side. It goes on for as far as I can see...Schwing.
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    Before I found this forum, I used to live near an old railroad, and would pick up the ties, and plates and whatever else was metal out there...
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    Railroad material is considered federal property...so you better have documentation!

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    anything on the ROW (right of way) belongs to the rail lines. good luck, dont steal the steel

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    There is no such thing as an abandoned rail line. Those lines are still owned by the railroad, and anything that is there is their property. If you take it without permission, you will go to jail. None of my scrap yards will accept any rail's, or fasteners from a rail line.

    Even being on their property without permission is a federal offense and in today's society can be considered an act of terrorism. I know that in my area if a passing train see's you walking along their line's the engineer will contact the local authorities and you will be questioned if not charged for trespassing.

    There not worth it and better left untouched.
    CMHN Recycling

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    You would think there were thieves on this forum with all the cautionary warnings - red flags that go up when a suggestion has been made where to find iron.

    If your a legitimate business man, follow the channels to obtain rights to that scrap.

    The Railways do offer scrap up for tender.

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    Not everybody is a thief on here, but there are the fly by night scrappers that come on here to make "easy" money. We have to make sure they know what is right and what is wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CMHN View Post
    There is no such thing as an abandoned rail line. Those lines are still owned by the railroad, and anything that is there is their property. If you take it without permission, you will go to jail. None of my scrap yards will accept any rail's, or fasteners from a rail line.

    Even being on their property without permission is a federal offense and in today's society can be considered an act of terrorism. I know that in my area if a passing train see's you walking along their line's the engineer will contact the local authorities and you will be questioned if not charged for trespassing.

    There not worth it and better left untouched.
    Yes there is abandoned rail lines, I know of several, once the track has been removed one such line became part of the Canada trail while others have been offered to land owners who have adjacent property to the abandoned section of line paralleling their property.

    In Birnie MB I found 5 unclaimed acres across the road from our holdings, when I made an inquiry to obtain this parcel the land owner closes to the line grabbed it.

    The little 5 acer parcel application had been lost in a divorce until I came along blowing my whistle. The land I was after used to the the cattle yard for the railway.

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    I just wanted to add I see alot of people talk about cutting rail with a torch if you dont already know take your torch and just notch the top or bottom of track bottom the best just make a small cut say every 2 feet then put 1 end of the track on a block like 5 6 inches off ground let cool some then hit it with a sledge hammer it will break everywhere you notch it.Try it saves fuel.Rail has alot of cast iron in it local scrap dealer told me this.

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    I had a small section of a rail spur that serviced an old warehouse building that was being converted into offices. I was working on installing a parking lot for the building owner. He wanted all of the rail spur removed and it belonged to the building owner as this spur had not been used in years and was right next to his building. I pulled it all out with a backhoe and cut it up. Loaded it on a 40' trailer and hauled it in. Immediately the yard said they could not take it because it was RR tracks. I explained the situation but it didn't change anything. I ultimately had to get a letter from the building owner explaining where it originated from. Then the building owner realized that we were able to generate some decent cash from it and wanted a reduction in the contract price for the parking lot installation. My advice, only acquire it with lots of documentation.

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    One time I was picking RR spikes and stuff didn't know and they told me to leave and I did. I don't like to steal and never have in my life it's how I was raised

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasDeere View Post
    I had a small section of a rail spur that serviced an old warehouse building that was being converted into offices. I was working on installing a parking lot for the building owner. He wanted all of the rail spur removed and it belonged to the building owner as this spur had not been used in years and was right next to his building. I pulled it all out with a backhoe and cut it up. Loaded it on a 40' trailer and hauled it in. Immediately the yard said they could not take it because it was RR tracks. I explained the situation but it didn't change anything. I ultimately had to get a letter from the building owner explaining where it originated from. Then the building owner realized that we were able to generate some decent cash from it and wanted a reduction in the contract price for the parking lot installation. My advice, only acquire it with lots of documentation.
    I would of just told them that was factored into the price of me doing the parking lot so you already got the discount. If you want the money on the rails I will give you a new invoice for the parking lot and a invoice for the labor on ripping the rail road tracks that you can pay and you can keep the money on the tracks.

    I bet he would be said no its all good.
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    I ultimately had to get a letter from the building owner explaining where it originated from. Then the building owner realized that we were able to generate some decent cash from it and wanted a reduction in the contract price for the parking lot installation.
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    This is basically what happened but it created what I feel was an unnecessary dynamic between the customer and contractor. Still it was a headache getting all the documentation and still the scrap yard was reluctant. They just didn't think it was possible for anyone but the actual railroad to have possession of tracks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasDeere View Post
    This is basically what happened but it created what I feel was an unnecessary dynamic between the customer and contractor. Still it was a headache getting all the documentation and still the scrap yard was reluctant. They just didn't think it was possible for anyone but the actual railroad to have possession of tracks.
    In the future if this occurs, ask the nearest railroad what contractor is collected there disguarded rail...then sell that rail to that contractor at the price he is paying the railroad for their rail, or a little less may be better.

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    The last rail scrap I picked up was a wire that jammed in my bike derailleur when I rode next to the tracks. What was a shortcut became a 6 mile walk with a broken bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjones99 View Post
    Railroad material is considered federal property...so you better have documentation!
    When I took my very first load of scrap in from my gramma's torn down house before I knew and understood what ''scrapping'' actually was I took in a piece of the metal (not the rail itself but the cross piece) that had been in her old garage from when my grampa had picked it up as a young man. The yard guy actually got mad and yelled at me to ''not bring any more of this I can't do anything with it.'' Never having taken anything before this into a scrap yard i didnt know why he was mad. He could have explained instead of getting all upset and getting me upset and making me feel like I had done something wrong when i didnt even know what I actually had. I had no idea what it was, it was just a piece of metal I found in her old garage and was cleaning up the garage after she died. Now I understand of course but back then i didnt and i will never take anything like that into a yard ever again!

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    I resent the inference there are a lot of thieves here, any one who has been here for a while knows when we ferret one out they are usually harassed out of the forum. That said there are a lot of noobs here that know nothing about the rules of railroads. because of protection laws taking railroad equipment of any type even the steel slag often found along the tracks is akin to shooting an FBI* agent. even getting documentation for a purchase is risky when it comes to selling it even if you know exactly what you are doing. these laws date back to the 1800s and the Harrimans and Rockafellers when steel on the frontier was scarce and expensive, and the ranchers and black smiths found a ready supply at the nearest rr track.

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    Ya I find from time to time people that are trying to get rid of railroad ties and I even called one of these people a couple of days ago but the ties that they had were already gone by the time I talked to the guy. Im glad that I found this thread. I will definitely try to obtain some documentation if I end up getting some.


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