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Dozens of abandoned railroad lines cross Illinois

Dozens of abandoned railroad lines
cross Illinois

Illinois’ rich history of railroading has left behind dozens of abandoned railroads crossing the state.

The Surface Transportation Board, a three-member board under the federal Department of Transportation, is in charge of granting abandonment status to railroads, but it does not keep track of what happens to the property, according to a board spokesman. Once the track is abandoned, the railroad can do what it wants with the land as long as it owns the land.

Though there is no government tally of abandoned rails, a Texas-based train enthusiast and founder of AbandonedRails.com Greg Harrison estimates almost 60 different railroad lines have been abandoned in Illinois.

The 606 will join more than 60 other rails-to-trails already existing in Illinois, as tallied by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national organization.

According to its website, the conservancy counts more than 9,000 miles of railroad tracks around the country with the potential to become trails for bikers, hikers and more.

— Diana Novak

Updated: October 4, 2013 6:06AM



Illinois’ rich history of railroading has left behind dozens of abandoned railroads crossing the state.

The Surface Transportation Board, a three-member board under the federal Department of Transportation, is in charge of granting abandonment status to railroads, but it does not keep track of what happens to the property, according to a board spokesman. Once the track is abandoned, the railroad can do what it wants with the land as long as it owns the land.

Though there is no government tally of abandoned rails, a Texas-based train enthusiast and founder of AbandonedRails.com Greg Harrison estimates almost 60 different railroad lines have been abandoned in Illinois.

The 606 will join more than 60 other rails-to-trails already existing in Illinois, as tallied by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national organization.

According to its website, the conservancy counts more than 9,000 miles of railroad tracks around the country with the potential to become trails for bikers, hikers and more.



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