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September 28, 2021

Worcester courts ban Grafton & Upton Railroad from clearing Hopedale forestland

Photo | Google Downtown Hopedale

After a lengthy battle, a group of Hopedale residents successfully won an injunction against the Grafton & Upton Railroad Co., preventing the railway from clearing roughly 130 acres of forestland in the town, according to a decision from the Worcester County Superior Court signed Friday. 

More than 400 residents voted unanimously in a town meeting to acquire and preserve the land, and in October 2020, the town appropriated more than $1 million to do so, according to the memo.

In September, 11 Hopedale residents obtained a restraining order against the railroad. Now, the temporary injunction will bar the railway company from any further alteration of the forestland, unless the court decides otherwise.

Grafton & Upton is in the process of filing an appeal, company President Michael Milanoski said in an email to WBJ.

In its decision, the court stated clearing the forestland would cause irreparable harm, whereas “the Railways claimed -- delays in maintaining a construction schedule -- pales in comparison.”

It’s far from the first legal battle with the railroad company. There have also been spats with the owner of the expansive Draper Mill, claiming the railroad is impeding easements.

“We are gratified that the Court has preserved the forestland for the meanwhile,” said David Lurie, lawyer with the Boston firm Lurie Friedman LLP, who has represented several cases in town. “However, 11 Town residents shouldn’t have had to seek this injunction; the Selectboard should have sought it. I hope this decision is a wake-up call for them.”

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September 29, 2021
Great! Finally someone is waking up about the harm, noise, and I-am-the-railroad attitude that these people have, causing all kinds of problems in towns all the way up their 16-mile track. The town selectmen should always support its residents' concerns and not make them go it alone . Great job Hopedale residents .
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