Paris looks into railroad crossing rights

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PARIS — Selectmen are asking the town lawyer to find out whether St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad can legally block its crossing that cuts between private property and the town gravel pit off outer High Street.

The issue arose at this week’s selectmen meeting when David Everett of E.C.I. Materials asked for help paying for new culverts on a public way that accesses gravel pits owned by several landowners, including the town and his company.

However, in researching Everett’s ownership of the road, a consultant for St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad told Everett that the railroad crossing is private and owned by the railroad.

The railroad has no agreement for use of the crossing, consultant Allan H. Bartlett wrote in a letter to Town Manager Phil Tarr in April. The letter said that if the town or private landowners don’t enter an agreement with the railroad, then St. Lawrence and Atlantic “will consider removing the crossing and barricading the railway at our property lines.”

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In a letter to selectmen before the meeting, Tarr said it might be a good idea for the town to use its public easement rights to buy the easement required by the railroad.

Everett proposed he and the town share the $1,500 annual easement cost.

The issue of the railroad crossing came up when Everett requested $3,982 to pay half the cost of new culverts under the road, a public way Everett said is mostly used to access the town’s gravel pit.

Selectmen voted 4-0 to pay half the cost, with Jean Smart abstaining. Smart said she wanted to know the legal status of the railroad crossing before making a decision.

Everett said other landowners are paying for parts of the repair, including the price of gravel and stone. E.C.I. will pay for labor to install the culverts.

The road is between Paris Elementary School and Young’s Greenhouse.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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