Fatal Flaws in Valuing
Old Rail Corridors
I am contacting you to say that the article in your March/April
2013 issue titled “Appraising Railroad Corridors” by John
Schmick is excellent and on-point. I agree with every aspect of
the author’s reasoning, as I too have concluded the currently
used corridor (Across-the-Fence with a corridor factor)
methodology is fatally flawed when valuing old rail corridors.
These old corridors are essentially being liquidated to dispose of
strips of land with no further economic use to the owner, while
still having potentially significant restrictions and liabilities.
The local public agencies, who often are the buyers, are typically
not even entering into the transaction with an economic use in
Thank you for publishing this article. It needs to be read by
appraisers, review appraisers, local public agencies, State and
Federal agencies who oversee LPA’s, as well as anyone else
involved in transactions involving corridors.
Jeffrey K. Jones, MAI, Chief Appraiser
Alabama Department of Transportation
Central Office, Right of Way Bureau
Corridor Valuation Training…Long
This letter is in response to an article entitled “Appraising
Railroad Corridors” by John Schmick which appears in the
March/April 2013 issue of Right of Way Magazine.
There are some things in the article with which I agree and
others with which I strongly disagree. But Mr. Schmick raises
a valid point that has been a sore spot with me for many years.
He points that many appraisers misuse the Across-the-Fence
approach, which incidentally does not invalidate the approach.
Why is this happening? I believe this is due to a lack of training.
In my opinion, a course in Right of Way Corridor Valuation
is long overdue. I have suggested this course be developed but
was told that the Association already has a course in easement
valuation. Unfortunately, corridor valuation and easement
valuation are completely different. I have written a book on
Corridor Valuation and would like to offer IRWA the rights to
use this book at no cost. I will even volunteer to help develop
the course, as without it, I’m afraid that the misuses outlined in
Mr. Schmick’s article are going to continue to the detriment of
private and government clients and to appraisers themselves.
Arthur G. Rahn
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