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Public Information > Resources: Rails to Trails

Under the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d), the STB is given an administrative role in assisting carriers who wish to rail-bank their corridors as an alternative to a complete abandonment of the line, thus preserving the rail corridor for possible future use.

The railroad may form an agreement with any person, public or private, who would like to use the banked rail line as a trail or linear park until it is again needed for rail use.

The STB assists in this process by imposing a Notice of Interim Trail Use (NITU) in the abandonment decision.

The process begins when a trail proponent files a Public Use Condition and Trail Use Request.

Once the request is received, the rail carrier must also write to the STB, indicating its consent to having the condition placed in the abandonment decision.

The parties are then given 180 days to negotiate an agreement. That period may be extended by request of both of the parties.

To learn more about Trail Use Conditions, please see the STB rules, 49 CFR 1152.29 or the section of Trail Use Requests in the booklet, Overview: Abandonments and Alternatives to Abandonment or The Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance.