My preferred commute takes me across the NS railroad crossing under the 62nd St. Bridge in Etna/Sharpsburg, then along the dirt access road to the NST in Millvale. A few months ago a public hearing established that this crossing is public. It's unclear to me whether the access road is private property or not, but I regularly see joggers, cyclists, fisherman, and up-to-no-good packs of teenagers, and I've passed railroad and local cops there without anyone indicating to me that it's not public.
Lately I've noticed that the trains like to park in a way that blocks this crossing. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but my guess is that it is, by the way the trains often park with about 400 meters of cars obstructing the entry. I've (thankfully) never seen a train stopped to obstruct access to the Aspinwall or Millvale Riverfront Parks.
My sense is NS doesn't want people crossing the tracks for safety reasons, but this deterrent probably makes things less safe, as it encourages people to walk along the tracks and cross in less safe areas than the grade crossing with plenty of visibility (or, worst case scenario, cross between parked train cars where it's hard or impossible to go around). The other day I saw several people who had driven trucks across to go fishing get trapped when a train blocked the crossing. I have no idea how they got out.
Do you guys think it's worth writing to the railroad about this, or is it better just to don't ask/don't tell regarding property rights along the river?
This is from the 62 Bridge this morning: