In 1871, the Detroit, Ell River and Illinois Railroad acquired an interest in land in Churubusco, Illinois by a deed. The deed specified that the land included both a railroad right-of-way and a right to use an adjoining strip of land “for depot and railroad purposes.” The Railroad’s interest in the land eventually passed to Penn Central Corporation (defendant). Penn Central ceased operating the railroad and abandoned the railroad right-of-way. It continued to collect rent from two tenants (plaintiffs) who occupied space on adjoining strip of land. The tenants brought suit to quiet title to the land. The trial court held that the railroad owned the strip of land in fee simple. The intermediate appellate court affirmed, and the tenants appealed to the state supreme court.