I recently was in a discussion with some title people about ownership to the centerline of a road.
The description in question reads all lands in NE4NW4 west of road.
The road runs generally north-south and my opinion is that west of road means west of the the centerline.
I mentioned it to the title company and their response was that they hadn't ever heard that legal principal.
So now that I have time and can see my opinion might be questioned I resolved to look at some case law and it didn't take much to call up a couple. One was a state Supreme Court case that's clear on the issue and recent 2012.
The next one up was very interesting and recent (2020).
A Florida case involving the rails to trails.
This is a summary, if you want to read it, it's an interesting case:
February 20, 2020
This conversation gets quite contentious at time. There are many thousands of miles of abandoned railroads across the US. Many of those stretches have been ignored by adjoiners mainly because the railroad created junkyards along their length, not to mention toxic waste dumps. Some have a recorded Affidavit of Abandonment while others may have a recorded Notice of Non-Interest or some such title while many others have absolutely no record since the creating record decades or centuries earlier. A relative few have been signed over to "trails organizations" rather than taking any official action of abandonment. What is left behind is an attractive nuisance. The railroads should be required to rehabilitate the area used similar to an EPA cleanup of industrial wastes and chemicals.
I am very knowledgeable of the railroads in my area. Walked many of them as a kid hunting whatever was legal. In those days there were only three or four trains a day on most of them and some had only one per day. Didn't worry about any railroad personnel giving us problems and it never happened.
I share borders with the railroad over a total of about two and a half miles all together and have my own crossing on one farm. I would hate to guess the tonnage of scrap material that could be salvaged out of just the stretches that I adjoin. This is everything from spikes, bolts and nuts to the "S" shaped flat steel driven into the ends of many ties, plus plenty of short pieces of rail strewn across the full 100-foot swath. If an old box culvert needed replaced, the chunks of demolished concrete and reinforcing rebar will be close by. Everything that has ever been spilled out/off of a railcar over the past 133 years is still there if it wasn't biodegradable. The huge amount of plastic drink bottles deposited in the grassy areas is still there if there hasn't been a railroad fire since the first litterer littered. Those were an annual, or more frequent, occurrence when I was young. Helped out many times to try to slow the spread of fire across adjacent fields. Those were really effective at burning up the scrap ties that were left over the years. In recent years the railroad attempts to recover those that are too poor to stay under the rails but still marketable in certain places. But, there are plenty left to clutter up the area between the fences because they are in bad shape. New ties have been strung out for miles recently awaiting the crews to rip out the bad ones and replaces them with shiny black new ones. That should be soon as there were more than two bus loads of workers getting started on a stretch of two plus miles adjacent to me today.
I have taken Amtrak from Pittsburgh to DC, very scenic through the mountains but takes twice as long as driving!
My property has 700 foot of frontage on an old railroad (now the Montour Trail). This section was fee bought in the early 1900's, splitting the farm in two. He then sold the north half to someone and kept the south half, of which my tract is a portion.
So in this case there is no "reverts to adjoiner" in my opinion, it just exists as a 60' wide tract on the north side of mine.
In my neck of the woods, a legal description that reads "west of the road" would mean west of the road right-of-way. The right-of-way can exist by dedication/reservation, or by prescription. In the case of prescription, the road width is defined as top of ditch to top of ditch.