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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:18 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 632
The washout was first reported in a May 16, 2019 post by the Adirondack Explorer, a non-profit newsmagazine:
Quote:
A few weeks ago, a a couple of men came into the Explorer’s office to show us photos of a section of railroad bed had been washed out just north of Hoel Pond, where a stream enters the water body.

Apparently, the small inlet had grown into a river during a spring rain storm, washing out the soil under the tracks.

Yesterday, I decided to head out to the area to see the damage for myself. I paddled to the northern part of Hoel Pond, where the tracks were visible after I went a short distance up a small stream.

The damage was more severe than I anticipated. It looks like the stream knocked out a section of the railroad bed that was 40 to 60 feet wide and roughly 20-25 feet high. The damage was reminiscent of that caused by Tropical Storm Irene. You can see photos of the impacted area in the photo gallery above.
Link: Adirondack Explorer - Railroad bed washed out near Hoel Pond
The article includes 20 photographs of the washout and surrounding area.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 632
A July 5, 2019 article in the Utica, NY Observer-Dispatch newspaper:
Quote:
UTICA — After years of doing train repairs outside in all kinds of weather, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad has finally acquired property that will allow it to build a maintenance facility.

The 3.8-acre property is adjacent to Falvo Manufacturing near Harbor Point Road in North Utica. The property, which was previously owned by the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency, needed to be acquired and rezoned for the project.
and
Quote:
Funding for the project is provided in part by grants from the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and the New York State Department of Transportation. Additional bridge funding was provided by M&T Bank.

Now that the property has been obtained, the next steps include clearing the land and sending out request for bids, Sperrazza said.

“We are at the point right now where we’re getting ready to get into the bid process,” he said. “So once the big process goes, then we’re going to be clearing the land and hopefully we can get some construction going this summer.”

Link to full article: Adirondack Scenic Railroad maintenance facility gets green light


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 632
A July 9, 2019 article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:
Quote:
SARANAC LAKE — As the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation get ready to release a plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, the DEC has purchased several parcels of land in Saranac Lake.
and
Quote:
The DEC has posted on its website an 11-page “draft scope” document announcing the parameters of an upcoming draft amendment to the corridor’s unit management plan, as well as a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS). According to the draft scope, the new plan will be largely the same as the one proposed in 2016.
Link: State previews rail-trail plan, takes comments - Also buys parcels in Saranac Lake


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9313
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
In other news:

https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stor ... gotiations

Quote:
The railroad company that was negotiating to take over the 30-mile idled rail line from North Creek to the former Tahawus mine in the central Adirondacks says it’s no longer interested.

In a filing last month with the federal Surface Transportation Board, Denver-based OmniTRAX said it has decided to discontinue negotiations for the purchase of the Tahawus Line assets and had notified state officials and the current owner. Negotiations had begun last year.

“OmniTRAX continues to believe, however, that the Tahawus Line possesses sound commercial prospects for the right operator, but it has concluded that continued pursuit of this opportunity is not right for OmniTRAX at this time,” company attorney Robert Wimbish wrote in June.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:17 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 490
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
I fear we've moved this conversation several miles to the East. However, to follow up on Brother Mitchell:

Docket Number.: AB_1261_0

Case Title: NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION--ADVERSE ABANDONMENT--SARATOGA AND NORTH CREEK RAILWAY IN TOWN OF JOHNSBURG, N.Y.

General Filing Type: Motion/Petition/Request

Filed On: 07/11/2019

Filed For: United Rail, Inc.
Quote:
Since the May 24, 2019 STB Order, United Rail, Inc. (“United Rail”) has initiated preliminary discussions with SNCR about the purchase of the Line. United Rail was recently chosen by Warren County through a request-for-proposal process to be the operator of a rail line that directly connects with the Line in North Creek, New York and begins discussions about this rail operation on July 18. As a result, United Rail respectfully asks the STB to continue the stay order and have the parties provide a status report in 60 days from July 19, so these discussions may continue. SNCR does not object to this request. United Rail also respectfully asks to be made a party of record in the above-referenced proceeding.
https://www.stb.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/f92562bb91d96eaf852584350038d7f8/$FILE/248182.pdf

GME

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No case so weak nor cause so harebrained that it cannot be handled for an adequate retainer up front.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:00 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 632
A July 6, 2019 article in the Joe Boardman's hometown newspaper, the Rome Sentinel:
Quote:
Two state agencies have opened the public comment period on plans to turn part of the rail corridor between Remsen and Lake Placid into a multi-use recreational trail.

Comments are taken until Aug. 10 by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation on a draft scoping document regarding the use of the rail corridor.

The proposal is to remove track rails and ties between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and build a multi-use recreational trail on that portion. The Department of Transportation will rehabilitate the railway between Big Moose and Tupper Lake. Written comments may be mailed to John Schmid, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233-4254 or e-mailed to adirondackpark@dec.ny.gov.
and
Quote:
The scoping document (online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forest ... cscope.pdf) contains benefits and impacts and mitigations as expected by the agencies. Among listed potential benefits are serving a wider range of recreational users, including hikers, cyclists, cross country skiers, and potentially drawing hiker traffic from overused forest preserve trails and improving access to campgrounds and beaches.

LInk to full article: State seeks comments on Adirondack rail corridor plan


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 739
Location: Warren, PA
While the Plan may be legally modified to accommodate "trails" as a legitimate transportation corridor use, the other significant issue in the court decision was the lack of an historic impact mitigation plan. 'a plan to mitigate is not a plan'.

So that's the new battle here that deserves close attention here as it affects much more than just the Adirondack corridor. Remember that the entire corridor - all the way to Lake Placid - is on the National Register, including the track, structures, bridges, etc. I can personally tell you that during the bridge rehab, the photos of the bridges were referenced by NY Historic to put the railings and walkways BACK ON to stay true to the original appearance - and extra-cost item. So precedent is to adhere to that standard.

What remains unknown is how you mitigate a designated rail corridor by tearing it up rather than preserving it; i.e. the action is essentially destructive at its core. Any plan that involves posting pictures, or chunks of track, or any other methodology rather than just leaving it is fundamentally flawed against the original National Register nomination. What I've seen so far is deliberately skirting any detail and focusing on the use plan, which is not where this will be won now.

Another focus needs to be on just exactly how the 'rail plus trail' option was so summarily dismissed at the state level with very little publication of just how that was arrived at, costs, analysis, etc. Similar to some other locations, the devil is in the details, building a 12' wide paved accessible trail is one thing, building a recreational trail to walking standards is another - a trail is not a trail is not a trail. It needs revisited; there is too much pressure for a trail for it to be as ignored as it has been, the trails community also has a right to be at the table for this feature.

Another 'devil is in the details' is the offset cost of trail construction being supposedly covered by scrapping the line; the difficulty has greatly increased with the lack of tie recycling facilities in NY, prohibition of resale of sound ties, and a general policy of removing all ties on a corridor that is no longer rail use. Filling up a landfill with these ties should not be ignored as an impact either and that's state policy at work. Last estimate I worked with was $7 a tie including transportation; that adds up really fast and the peak prices for relay or scrap rail are also long past the 2007 high marks. Many cost estimates on this line are old enough to not include those factors. Re-factor all of this and the rail+trail use suddenly becomes more cost effective.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 632
From a July 23, 2019 article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about how NYSDOT is repairing the washout of a section of the line that they want to remove the track from:
Quote:
"Right now, we’re putting gauge rods in to hold the gauge so we can get our track equipment out here,” David Page of Riegel Rail Solutions said. “We’re just making the tracks so they can hold our equipment, so we can go up there and repair the washout. It’s pretty gnarly.

“Reale (Construction), which is the general contractor on the project, they are going to put in a drainage system. So we’re going to take out the old, existing track. And they’re going to put in a drainage underneath it, and then we’re going to put the track back on top of it.”


Link to full article: Washout fix on track


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3611
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Chris Webster wrote:
From a July 23, 2019 article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about how NYSDOT is repairing the washout of a section of the line that they want to remove the track from:
Quote:
"Right now, we’re putting gauge rods in to hold the gauge so we can get our track equipment out here,” David Page of Riegel Rail Solutions said. “We’re just making the tracks so they can hold our equipment, so we can go up there and repair the washout. It’s pretty gnarly.

“Reale (Construction), which is the general contractor on the project, they are going to put in a drainage system. So we’re going to take out the old, existing track. And they’re going to put in a drainage underneath it, and then we’re going to put the track back on top of it.”


Link to full article: Washout fix on track


From a trail booster in the comments.

Quote:
Scott Thompson
Without the rails in place, For one thing this would probably not have happened and for another, any local contractor could fix it with conventional equipment.


Does anybody doubt there is an element of hostility to railroads in this country, including heritage people like us?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2485
Location: Northern Illinois
J3a-614 wrote:
Quote:
Scott Thompson
Without the rails in place, For one thing this would probably not have happened and for another, any local contractor could fix it with conventional equipment.


Does anybody doubt there is an element of hostility to railroads in this country, including heritage people like us?


Hate to rain on your parade, but that is a 100% correct statement. No matter wha the gentleman's leanings in this fray, here he is simply stating fact.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3611
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Dennis Storzek wrote:

Hate to rain on your parade, but that is a 100% correct statement. No matter what the gentleman's leanings in this fray, here he is simply stating fact.
[/quote]

Dennis, there are beavers there. You should know as well as anybody here that roadbed maintenance is the same whether the roadbed supports a railroad, a trail, or a road.

Frankly, he doesn't make sense. Is he saying beavers discriminate?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:38 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 147
Location: At large
Scott Thompson is the person that started the whole "trail movement" so he is the one that is discriminating. Beavers will plug culverts regardless of if it's a railroad, trail, highway or drainage for your back yard.

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ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:20 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 739
Location: Warren, PA
One of the reasons that you MUST consider the trails influence is because of Scott.

First, during the early years of the railroad, he was GM. So he understands far more than the average person.

Second of all, his business interest is at stake - the Norridgewock - which is the isolated lodging out at Beaver River that is only accessible by ferry boat, or by the rail corridor. For years prior to Adirondack they actually did their own hirail truck ferry and 'dispatched' the line; that had to be stopped when the rail corridor was reactivated. Whatever compromises on access were originally reached seem to have been long since forgotten.

You have to understand the underlying access battle with DEC to understand why they spend as much time attacking the railroad corridor as they do.
https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stor ... stillwater

Given that background it's more understandable, he does have a dog in the fight. If you get rid of the railroad, you have your own 'land corridor' back. So any true solution up there has to recognize this situation and understand why they are so vocal. Probably 50% of all letters and campaigning against the railroad comes from this source.

I don't think it was so totally and outright anti-railroad until DEC pushed back they way they did. But I think it's also important to understand there's an agenda there, and it's not just philosophical in origin. It's a very odd country up there with the overlap of the Adirondack Park regulations on top of everything else, it makes living and doing a business up there within the park area a very, very challenging undertaking. You have to have multiple-level permits for virtually anything within the Park. You have to respect the Thompson family for no other reason than their longevity in that situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:51 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 147
Location: At large
Quote:
First, during the early years of the railroad, he was GM. So he understands far more than the average person.

Second of all, his business interest is at stake - the Norridgewock - which is the isolated lodging out at Beaver River that is only accessible by ferry boat, or by the rail corridor. For years prior to Adirondack they actually did their own hirail truck ferry and 'dispatched' the line; that had to be stopped when the rail corridor was reactivated. Whatever compromises on access were originally reached seem to have been long since forgotten.


Both of these statements need to be qualified. Scott was involved with the Adirondack Railway Corporation of 1980. A completely different company from today's Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Also, he became involved post Olympic trains when the railroad was starting to suffer from poor management and lack of proper maintenance. The part of the story he always forgets to mention is the post Olympic trains generally averaged 200 riders a day, despite the disruptions in service.

As to the second statement, the property owners of Beaver River are allowed high-rail permits to operate over the tracks between Big Moose and Beaver River. They are given windows of time they can operate on the weekends to access their properties. Scott Thompson lost his permit trying to haul propane over the tracks without the state's knowledge. Any activity done before these permits were first issued under the current unit management plan in 1996 were of the outlaw nature.

Scott's real issues are the fact that he currently has a transportation monopoly on moving groups of people or larger items in and out of Beaver River with his ferry and barge operations on the Stillwater reservoir. Secondly, there are two "seasons" for tourism in Beaver River and they correspond with the ice and snow, and the water levels on the reservoir. He believes that a trail will shorten the slow periods in between. He also believes he will be able to drive on the trail when no one is looking. With an operating railroad coming to town he will lose his sense of control of the community and his time as "sherriff" will come to an end.

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Matt Giardino
ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:27 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 739
Location: Warren, PA
Thanks Matt, that does align with the facts I'm aware of as well. I just like to repeatedly point out that he has a far more vested interest in his constant attacks than most people are aware of - and he appears to prefer to characterize himself to the outside world simply as an observing trail advocate rather than a business interest and property owner with a stake, as well as the history with DEC.

During the earliest years we were involved, the Thompsons were not necessarily mortal enemies of the project by any means, but only because they thought the railroad would possibly bring them more business. They were also THE vocal advocates of dual-use with the rail and snowmobile access, which is perfectly understandable given their access issues and snowmobile market.

Norridgewock was even written up in the Wall St. Journal for its isolation.

You also have to understand that there seems to be an attitude up there - particularly in Placid - that the 'railroad had its chance and didn't deliver', fair or not, so people are willing to let the trail concept have a shot even if the numbers are fuzzy, preservation law is present, and the studies can be severely flawed. It's just such a difficult place to do any business and keep it going, people always keep looking for something new to turn it around. That created the initial local enthusiasm for the railroad, now it's the trail, but it's symptomatic of the situation.

And the regional tourism market is changing, for sure... This is a pretty non-biased review of trends, freshly published: https://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.c ... ping-less/


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