A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Southern Pacific Railroad cannot sue the city of Alhambra for $6 million for loss of value of its property in a 1978 project to lower the railroad tracks through the city. Judge Norman Dowds ruled that the property issue involved only a temporary construction easement rather than inverse condemnation.
In the joint project involving the city, the railroad and the state, Alhambra claimed that the railroad benefitted when the tracks along Mission Road were put under cross-streets, allowing trains to travel faster and eliminating the possibility of auto-train collisions.
The next step will be a trial to determine what the temporary construction easement is worth. Also to be settled is the city's claim that the railroad never paid the $1 million it agreed to as part of its involvement in the project. The city also has filed a condemnation suit in which it will be decided how much money the city must pay the railroad for a strip of land it has acquired along the tracks to widen Mission Road.
Southern Pacific officials said that they could not comment on Dowds' ruling.