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Am I right to guess that 19th century laws about taking land for railroad right of ways said something like, if the right-of-way ever stops being used for a railroad, the land reverts back to the original landholder?

Governments would probably use eminent domain to pay compensation to keep highways built on railroad right of ways (I-66 in Arlington), but not use ED "just" for a bike trail.

It's very complicated, but yes that was part of it. Then in the 20th Century railroads tried to take advantage of the mineral rights below the ROW and the government argued that those belong to the adjacent landowner because the ROW is like an easement [Though they never said it was an easement]. Now they were arguing that by "like an easement" they meant specifically that it was not an easement, but something different and new. This is why Roberts and the majority said they were contradicting themselves.

Landowners who sue, as I understand it, for an illegal taking can't really expect the land back. But they will be asking to be compensated. It's like eminent domain, but I'm not sure it is the same.

I think you're right that existing trails for which these laws are relevant will probably just be paid for, but new trails will become much more expensive and thus less likely.

Rail trails could still happen in some areas. The W&OD land was bought up by the NVRPA from Dominion Power a few decades ago.

Not a good situation, but hopefully it isn't fatal to the rail trails network nationwide.

How about they can only have the rail back if they agree to run steam and all employees have to wear suspenders and have waxed moustaches.

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