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A new recreational trail in Troutville, Virginia?

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Can another .71 mile of recreational trail be added to the list of them in Virginia? The Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NSR) asked the Surface Transportation Board to abandon the mileage along the Cloverdale Branch in Troutville, Virginia. The line runs between milepost C 8.19 and milepost C 8.90 in Troutville, Botetourt County, Va., in zip code 24175.

The board announced the proposed abandonment on Friday, Jan. 3. NSR asked for it in December. You can find details at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-03/html/2013-31466.htm.

Under federal law, when a railroad company wants to abandon track, it must inform the board, which in turn publicizes it and makes the land available for linear trails for hikers, bikers, rollerbladers, etc., if anyone wants to take it over and operate it as such a park.

Roanoke Cement Company LLC (RCC) currently is the only user of the line but says it can get its shipments delilvered to another local station.

The board will decide whether to allow the abandonment by April 4. RCC has asked for an expedited decision so that it can move on with its business.

After abandonment, the line can become an interim trail while a permanent use of the land is pending under the law. But NSR says it doesn't want to negotiate interim use because the aim is to expand use of RCC facilities.

Petitions for permanent trail use must be made by Jan. 24.

The Board's Office of Environmental Analysis is responsible for conducting an environmental analysis or environmental impact statement of abandonment within 60 days.

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