Tracking the Railroads: Live Webinar

Tracking the Railroads: Live Webinar



This program is a Live Interactive Webinar:

Date: Thursday May 18, 2023 Time: 8am to 12pm   

4 Professional Development Credits 


You will need an i-phone, i-pad, lap top, or desk top to view it.  You WILL need a microphone and webcam. Teacher must be able to see and speak with you during the class to verify your attendance.

Webinar links are emailed one day prior to the class date.

We are approved provider by:

NJ Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
New York Board of Professional Engineers , Sponsor # 201  beginning 2/1/2018 to 1/31/2024
Florida Board of Professional Engineers: Laws and Rules and Ethics, Provider number 007543 (Ethics) 0010489
Florida Board of Professional Engineers: CE provider Provider number 0007543
Maryland Board for Professional Engineers



Tracking the Railroads

Course Summary:

Railroads have played a major part in the settlement and development of the United States. The importance of these bands of steel uniting the country was underscored by the powers granted to railroad companies to acquire land rights in whatever way necessary, whether by grant, in fee, or as easements. Surveyors involved with the original location and layout of the rails had a much easier time of it than we do today, as we try to recreate not only original configuration of rails and parcels, but also what kinds of rights the railroad companies may have had in the land beneath their tracks. We will discuss historical, legal, and practical aspects of the problems we face today as we unravel the railroad puzzle.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Become aware of different legal definitions of railroads and how these affect railroad rights and regulation
  2. Identify the variety of real property interests that railroads may hold through examination of document language and laws
  3. Recognize the evolution in railroad and private landowner rights
  4. What is a “railroad” by law
  5. Brief history of railroad development in the US and impact on American life
  6. Finding railroad records
  7. Federal and state constitutions, statutes, regulations, and case law regarding railroad land rights and operation
  8. Extent, type, location, and time/duration of railroad rights
  9. Abandonment of railroad rights
  10. Rails to Trails conversions

Instructor: Wendy Lathrop

Wendy Lathrop, PLS,CFM president and owner of Cadastral Consulting, is licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, and as a Professional Planner in New Jersey. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy, and has been involved in surveying since 1974 in projects ranging from construction to boundary to environmental land use disputes. Wendy is also a Certified Floodplain Manager through the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM).

A former adjunct instructor at Mercer County College in New Jersey, Wendy has also taught as part of the team for the licensing exam review course at Drexel University in Pennsylvania. She has been teaching seminars for surveyors since 1986 and has been writing articles for surveyors since 1983. Wendy is a contributing editor for “The American Surveyor” magazine, and has four articles included in the American Bar Association’s text, Land Surveys: A Guide for Lawyers and Other Professionals. She and Stephen V. Estopinal, PLS, PE recently completed co–authoring a book entitled Professional Surveyors and Real Property Descriptions: Composition, Construction, and Comprehension, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Wendy represented the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (now the National Society of Professional Surveyors) on the first Technical Mapping Advisory Council to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the five years of that advisory group’s appointment, and presently represents the National Society of Professional Surveyors on the current Technical Mapping Advisory Council. She was a panel member of the National Academy of Public Administration’s study of US Geographic Information resources and of the National Research Council’s study of flood hazard mapping accuracy. Wendy is a past President of the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors and of the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Geodetic Surveying.