Public turns on its town to preserve land pursued by short line railroad

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
short line railroad
Eleven Hopedale residents have managed to put a land agreement with a short line railroader on pause.

Residents in Hopedale, Mass., are taking their town to court over land they believe should not have been sold to a short line railroad.

Residents in Hopedale, Mass., are taking their town to court over land they believe should not have been sold to a short line railroad.  

There is 155 acres of space that was pursued by both Hopedale and the Grafton & Upton Railroad. Much of the land, 130 acres, is classified as forestland, and the remaining 25 acres are wetlands. The railroad wants to build an industrial site. The property is next to the Hopedale Parklands, which is owned by the town and is intended to be preserved as conservation, recreation and a possible spot for municipal water supply.

Hopedale initially filed a lawsuit and preliminary injunction against the railroad late last year, but later agreed to settle. Hopedale would get 85 acres of the land plus a 20-acre expansion of the Parklands. In turn, the railroad said it would provide environmental protections and possible cost-sharing opportunities with land surveying and pinpointing new water sources.

The Hopedale Board of Selectmen, however, continued to deal with the railroad and eventually decided it would pay over $587,000 for around 40 acres of the forestland. Originally, the town approved purchasing the entire lot for just over $1.1 million.

The Hopedale Foundation said it would help fund the purchase, but upon receiving news of the new deal cancelled the assistance.

The Worcester Superior Court will hear the motion filed by Hopedale residents.

Read more articles on short line railroads.

Categories: Freight, Rail News, Railroad News, Shortline/Regional, Track Construction
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