Railroads and Other Common Carriers

Section 228:60-a

    228:60-a Railroad Right-of-Way. –
I. No railroad right-of-way in this state shall be used for any purpose that would unreasonably limit the ability to restore rail service over the right-of-way at minimum cost if such service were to be required in the future.
II. If the commissioner is unable to acquire a railroad right-of-way by purchase or otherwise, he may proceed to condemn such right-of-way pursuant to RSA 228:59. This right of condemnation shall include such land as would be necessary to bypass an area where the original right-of-way has been irrecoverably destroyed or altered.
III. Any land acquired pursuant to paragraph II may be used for recreational purposes in conjunction with the statewide trail system provided for in RSA 216-F, subject to its being made available for rail use if necessary.
IV. No railroad right-of-way that existed prior to the year 1969, except those that are in present use or have been in use by the railroads at any time since 1969, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
V. All railroad rights of way and rail properties acquired by the commissioner or by the state are hereby declared to be owned in fee simple absolute. Any and all reversionary rights in railroad rights-of-way and rail properties which have been acquired by the state or are acquired by the commissioner by purchase, condemnation or otherwise are hereby declared extinguished as of June 18, 1991, or the date of acquisition, whichever occurs later. The commissioner shall give notice to the public of all such properties declared under this paragraph to be owned in fee simple absolute by the state by publishing a description of the properties sufficient for the identification thereof, specifying the county where the properties are located. Any such notice shall be published at least once each year for 2 years in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is located. Any person damaged thereby may make claim by petition against the commissioner to the appropriate superior court within 5 years of the date of acquisition or declaration of fee simple absolute ownership. The petition shall then be referred to the board of tax and land appeals, which shall proceed as with a condemnation under RSA 498-A. The right to appeal contained in RSA 498-A:27 shall be available to the claimant or the commissioner.
VI. The commissioner is hereby authorized to negotiate with the owners of abandoned railroad lines to purchase the railroad rights-of-way. The purchase of the rights-of-way for a negotiated price shall be subject to the approval of the governor and council.
VII. Any railroad corporation exercising its right to abandon or discontinue rail service shall provide the commissioner with notice, 12 months prior to such proposed abandonment or discontinuance of service. In such notice, the railroad corporation shall provide the following information:
(a) Traffic data over the line for the previous 5 years.
(b) The acquisition cost of the line proposed to be abandoned or on which service is proposed to be discontinued.
(c) An estimate of the minimum selling price being equivalent to the value of such rail properties remaining in continued rail use.
(d) A statement describing the physical condition on the line proposed to be abandoned or on which service is proposed to be discontinued.
(e) Any other information concerning the line to be abandoned or on which service is proposed to be discontinued as deemed appropriate by the commissioner.
VIII. Any railroad corporation owning rail properties shall provide quarterly reports to the commissioner listing in detail any rail properties it sold, transferred, leased, abandoned or otherwise disposed of during the previous quarter, and any rail properties it intends to sell, transfer, lease or otherwise dispose of or abandon during the following quarter. For purposes of this paragraph, no railroad corporation shall sell, transfer, lease, or dispose of any rail properties which do not timely appear on such quarterly reports.

Source. 1981, 568:55. 1982, 42:82. 1985, 254:1. 1990, 200:1. 1991, 282:1, eff. June 18, 1991.