Recently in the WSJ there was a article on a court ruling concerning abandonment of railroad tracks and ownership of the land. This was dealing with Federal land given to the railroads for use of track and right of way and whether the railroads owned the land for other uses.
This got me thinking about the ownership of the land of abandoned track here in the Chicago area. Do the railroads retain ownership or does it revert to the state county or city? Do railroads pay property taxes?
I know that the city is turning the old Bloomingdale line into a park. This line even though not technically in use I believe was never considered abandoned. Is there a length of time of non-use needed befor trackage is considered abandoned?
I also notice many crumbling railroad viaducts. Are the viaducts the responsibility of the railroads or of government?