The ARDA Newsletter         October 2021 

John K. Fiorilla, Esq.
Dyer & Peterson, PC
Parsippany and Riverton, N.J.
Past President of the ARDA Law Section
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Railroads using eminent domain to obtain property or property rights has a long history
Believe it or not the use of Eminent Domain by railroads to acquire property is not a new idea.  The Supreme Court opined on this as early as 1908 when in Hairston v Danville & W. R. Co., 208 U.S. 598 (1908), it ruled that that a railroad could validly exercise a right of eminent domain for the handling of business with nearby industrial facilities.  The Court also said that railroads could use the right to build spur lines and other facilities needed for its business.  Union Lime Co. v CNW R. Co., 233 U.S. 211 (1914).
Today most states still consider railroads to be “public utilities” operating in the public interest and therefore continue to give railroads the right of eminent domain to take property it needs for operations. The right to condemn given by the state to a railroad is a right that stems from the sovereign immunity of states and their right to take private property. However, it seems railroads don’t consider this as a viable option. Some seem to be saying we don’t want to be where we are not wanted.  But in our experience the real issue is not location but money.  In a matter which we handled for a Class I carrier in which a voluntary proposed purchase of property by the railroad was cancelled when the property owner demanded five times the appraised value, the railroad decided to use the state’s railroad eminent domain law and found that it was the first case of its kind in the state in fifty years. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed that even after fifty years, the railroads right to condemn as a public utility and its proofs of need were solid and that the requirements to condemn originally found in a statute adopted in 1877 were still good law.  Norfolk Southern Railway Company v Intermodal Properties LLC, 215 NJ 142, 71 A3d 830 (2013).  The procedure took four years but the required property, needed to expand a yard and accommodate new intermodal traffic, was obtained for only a little more than the appraised fair market value. 

2021-22 Executive Forum


Save the Date! 


For 2021-22, ARDA will be focusing our effort and events around the theme of "Reach." The Executive Forum this year will take place in New Orleans on January 31, 2022 through February 1, 2022! 



Registration for the 2021-22 Executive Forum will opening soon so please keep an eye for out for more information on the ARDA website. 


If you have any questions please contact Ashley Lauren at





Sponsor ARDA in 2021-22!


First, we want to say a big thanks to all of ARDA's 2020-21 sponsors who supported our effort to Build on our Foundation this past year! Your contributions were critical to putting together the Executive Forum in Charleston and the virtual Annual Meeting. 


2020-21 ARDA Sponsors


Bartlett & West


CSX Corporation


Norfolk Southern





Kansas City Southern

RailPros Field Services



GEI Consultants


RMI Valuation


Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway



Antea Group

Bergmann Associates

Daley Mohan Groble

Golder Associates

Kelly Hart



Looking forward to our 2021-22 membership year - ARDA offers companies the opportunity to sponsor the association on an annual basis, or by specific events at our Annual Meeting and Executive Forum. Multiple levels of Annual Sponsorship are available for your consideration. Corporate commitments greater than $1,000 also include complimentary individual memberships to ARDA. You can find our sponsorship level opportunities via the link below!


Sponsorship Level Opportunities


If you have any questions or would like to sponsor ARDA in 2020-21 please contact Ashley Riecken at


Renew Your ARDA Membership or Join Now

Membership renewal information was distributed on September 2, 2021. If you have not yet renewed your ARDA membership for 2021-22, please visit our website at and log-in at the top right corner of the page. 

Your renewed membership allows ARDA to continue fostering the industrial, real estate, natural resources, market development activities and environmental concerns of the North American railroads through the advancement of ideas and education of its members.

If you are not an ARDA member and would like to join, please visit our registration page.



American Railway Development Association | PO Box 1092, Tallahassee, FL 32302


The  American Railway Development Association (ARDA) is a not-for-profit educational trade association founded in 1906 to promote Economic Development, Real Estate Development, Technology, and Environmental Activities of the North American Railroads.   The objectives of the Association are to foster the industrial, real estate, natural resources, market development activities and environmental concerns of the North American railroads; and through the advancement of ideas and education of its members, further promote the effectiveness of railway development and related work. For more information, visit the ARDA website at