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railroad tracks
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s4xton
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 23 Mar 2003

Posts: 1070
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hardware wrote:
for the information of those reading this forum, i have never asked that the tracks be verified as active. i asked what the information was that served as the basis of the determination.


I can read the thread myself and make my own conclusion, thank you very much.

-Aaron
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's keep the personal attacks and general non-sense out of the thread. That goes for all parties involved.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2438
Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
p a r t y ??
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608
Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Let's keep the personal attacks and general non-sense out of the thread. That goes for all parties involved.


CRUD! Its the cops! Everybody scramble! Wink
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

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Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I am curious. Where does the figure 150' come from? I can not find it anywhere. The case that was referenced in California must have been state criminal charges as the picture was taken outside of a California superior Court and not a Federal Court. The law in California states
Quote:
(a) Any person who enters or remains upon the property of any railroad without the permission of the owner of the land, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession and whose entry, presence, or conduct upon the property interferes with, interrupts, or hinders, or which, if allowed to continue, would interfere with, interrupt, or hinder the safe and efficient operation of any locomotive, railway car, or train is guilty of a misdemeanor.
As used in this subdivision, "property of any railroad" means any land owned, leased, or possessed by a railroad upon which is placed a railroad track and the land immediately adjacent thereto, to the distance of 20 feet on either side of the track, which is owned, leased, or possessed by a railroad.


It does not appear to have been amended since the case reported. Federal Statutes appear only make it a crime to tresspass on a train with intent to kill, rob or hurt someone. This is probably because unless the tracks are on a military base, the criminal jurisdiction over the trespass probably belongs to the state.

In Minnesota, this appears to be the law:
Quote:
Subdivision 1. Intent to cause derailment. Whoever throws or deposits any type of debris, waste material, or other obstruction on any railroad track or whoever causes damage or causes another person to damage, tamper, change or destroy any railroad track, switch, bridge, trestle, tunnel, signal or moving equipment used in providing rail services, with intention to cause injury, accident or derailment, is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 2. Foreseeable risk. Whoever intentionally throws or deposits any type of debris, waste material, or other obstruction on any railroad track or whoever intentionally causes damage or causes another person to damage, tamper, change or destroy any railroad track, switch, bridge, trestle, tunnel, signal or moving equipment used in providing rail services, which creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of any injury, accident or derailment, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 3. Shooting at train. Whoever intentionally shoots a firearm at any portion of a railroad train, car, caboose, engine or moving equipment so as to endanger the safety of another is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 4. Throwing objects at train. Whoever intentionally throws, shoots or propels any stone, brick or other missile at any railroad train, car, caboose, engine or moving equipment, so as to endanger the safety of another is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 5. Placing obstruction on track. Whoever places an obstruction on a railroad track is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subd. 6. Allowing animals on track. Whoever intentionally permits animals under the person's control to trespass on a railroad track is guilty of a misdemeanor.


I can find no distance issues in Minnesota.

These are just copies of the actual law, and I am making no interpretations. I have printed the laws so that you can do that for yourself. Also, just because I could not find a 150' distance requirement does not mean that it isn't outhere somewhere.

It may also be that Geocaching.com has simply picked 150' as what they consider to be a good safe distance regardless of any legal limitations. If this is the case, remember: They can not stop you from placing the cache, but they can certainly refuse to post it on thier site.
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mtn-man
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Joined: 13 Aug 2003

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Location: Not in MN. . . well, sometimes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would bet the judge and prosecutors probably are experts with regard to the laws in California and knew what they were doing. If you think you are right I would think that Hillwilly would appreciate it if you would go out and have his sentence and fines overturned!


sui generis wrote:
It may also be that Geocaching.com has simply picked 150' as what they consider to be a good safe distance regardless of any legal limitations. If this is the case, remember: They can not stop you from placing the cache, but they can certainly refuse to post it on thier site.

To an extent, the first sentence is true. The 150 foot rule is a US property law concept independent of the terrorism concerns. In the US, you cannot trespass on railroad property. The RR owns a right of way on each side of its tracks. I have been told that Federal law says that, in the absence of a smaller right of way, it's 150 feet. Since no specific distance is mentioned in the MN law you posted an excerpt from, the 150 foot rule Federal regulation would be used.

In any event, the GC.com guideline is what is the key here.
Quote:
Caches hidden in close proximity to active railroad tracks. In general we use a distance of 150 ft but your local area’s trespassing laws may be different. All local laws apply.

In the absence of any distance law for the state of MN the Federal law would be used.

As you say, feel free to list it on the other sites.
Well... that, or just move the cache about 75 feet.

I sort of fail to understand why anyone would want to take a chance and possibly give geocaching as a whole a black eye, no matter what site the cache is listed on. It has been proven in several instances that this is a problem for local, state and federal authorities. The guideline did not come out of thin air. It is a response to events that exposed a definate problem with cache listings near railways. I do understand that some people will not take "no" for an answer though, and I beleive this is the case in this instance.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

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Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Federal law (USCA) states:

Quote:
The right of way through the public lands of the United States is granted to any railroad company duly organized under the laws of any State or Territory, except the District of Columbia, or by the Congress of the United States, which shall have filed with the Secretary of the Interior a copy of its articles of incorporation, and due proofs of its organization under the same, to the extent of one hundred feet on each side of the central line of said road; also the right to take, from the public lands adjacent to the line of said road, material, earth, stone, and timber necessary for the construction of said railroad; also ground adjacent to such right of way for station buildings, depots, machine shops, side tracks, turnouts, and water stations, not to exceed in amount twenty acres for each station, to the extent of one station for each ten miles of its road.


This lays it down at 100 feet. Again, doesn't mean that 150' isn't stated out there somewhere, just means that I haven't found it searching the USCA or the CFR. This also doesn't make it a crime in and of it self. Many states require some sort of posting or other notice before a charge of trespassing can be maintained. Nevermind issues where public parks and paths are maintained within the 100 feet of right-of-way, presumably with the permission of the railroads. But lets face it, to have to evaluate each site on a case by case basis could take hours of time. Seems one set distance that we all know is the best and easiest way to handle the problem.

On a side note: In the case at hand, the person entered a no contest plea. Never assume the judge and prosecutor "know" the law. If that were the case, the appeals courts would not be innundated with cases. Look at the number of people sent to death row by judges and prosecutors that are later exhonerated. This may be a case that could have been won at trial. Too late to tell though, as any time limit to file an appeal is almost certainly passed by now.

[/b]
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I am amazed by how many people harp on the need to speak and write English in this country while exhibiting a fundamental lack of skills in the areas of spelling and sentence composition. Would this be irony, hypocrisy, or both?


Last edited by sui generis on Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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towlebooth
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Joined: 26 Nov 2002

Posts: 1270
Location: Saint Paul

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this a dead horse? Starting to smell like one.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608
Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is this a dead horse? Starting to smell like one.


Sorry to offend. I'm just interested in the source of the rules for purely academic reasons (I have no caches near railroad tracks, and I have no plans to put them there. I personally think they are unsafe areas.) Please let me know what organizations' forums I should visit for a discourse on Geocaching rules and regulations in Minnesota. Confused
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I am amazed by how many people harp on the need to speak and write English in this country while exhibiting a fundamental lack of skills in the areas of spelling and sentence composition. Would this be irony, hypocrisy, or both?
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

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Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, for the most part, it's interesting and informative.

Sometimes I "revive" cache sites from 2-3 years ago, and one I was looking at, raised this question:

If the tracks are overhead, over 150 feet, would a cache placement be legal, and approved?

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=96ed6ac9-ee9b-439f-a38b-dbaf2c0bf042
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mtn-man
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Joined: 13 Aug 2003

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Location: Not in MN. . . well, sometimes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

towlebooth... yes.

sui generis... provide a link please. Anything we can do to make caches more approvable is appreciated. It would be nice to change the guideline to 100 feet. That would mean that hardware's cache would only have to be moved about 25 feet or so. The information would have to be verified based on the source. How cool would it be if this did narrow the right-of-way down to 100 feet. Believe me, we (GC reviewers and admins) all want to find ways to make caches more approvable.

KB... I would want to see a picture of the area. In addition, that one would need to be re-entered as a new cache and evaluated. Depending on the structure of the trestle it might be approvable. I would have to consult with other reviewers and site admins for an opinion on something like that.

And hardware... don't send me another insulting private message through these boards. If you are going to say in topic that you won't respond to me then that is fine, but don't send me insulting private messages. I will forward further insulting private messages from you on this board to the administrators. Be a man and debate this in the topic you started.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtn-man wrote:
Be a man and debate this in the topic you started.

If he is arguing with you via PM I suggest you leave the conversation there.
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sui generis
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Posts: 608
Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is also interesting http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/297

While it is not actually law, it is what the Federal Railroad Administration recommends states adopt as law.
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mtn-man
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SilentBob... understood.

sui generis... I guess it is back to 150 feet then. If you find something that is law and can provide a link then by all means let me know. You may need to email me through my profile if you don't see a response here. I don't normally look at these boards daily. If you click my name in my sig line it will take you to my profile page.
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northtrekker
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Jul 2004

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject: railroads Reply with quote

While we are on the subject of railroad tracks, let me know if you see any "date nails" on the tracks dated prior to 1926. The oldest nail I have is from '26 and I'd like to find some prior to that, but the ole railroad system is revamped. No more spikes, no more date nails. Just another thing to locate.

http://facstaff.uindy.edu/~oaks/DateNailInfo.htm#Frequentlyaskedquestions

Caching sure has slowed down up north. Chilly days, snow ... no footprints to even follow to the caches. Wink

Ntrekker
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