Property owners fight feds over railroad easement

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In 1891, the San Joaquin Valley Railroad acquired easements for its railroad right of way. The Southern Pacific Railway later acquired these easements. Later, the Union Pacific Railroad merged with the Southern Pacific. Menno and Evelyn Toews now own property adjoining one of these railroad easements. In 1994, the railroad abandoned its easement over their property. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Under the federal Rails to Trails Act, the City of Clovis acquired the right to use the abandoned railroad easement for interim trail use. The city planted trees and fenced the easement area. It is now used for walking, skateboarding, jogging, rollerblading and other activities. But Menno and Evelyn feel they should be compensated for this public use of part of their property. Their predecessor's grant to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad says: "Provided, however, that if said Railroad Company shall permanently discontinue the use of said railroad the land and Rights of Way shall at on...