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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3601
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Jeff, thanks for posting that Catskill Mountain Railroad link--and look what I found on it:

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blo ... D7U0.email

Might we really have a higher purpose? I like to think we do. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3601
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
One thing that gets bandied about in the discussion of the Catskill Mountain railroad and the proposed trails are a variety of "studies." The discussions about them take on the feel of "he said, she said" and can apparently get quite contentious, based on the letters to the editor and electronic comments on the newspaper site.

Anyway, I've dug out all three "studies," or at least releases about them, and bring them here for discussion and observation:

Study by the county:

http://www.ulstercountyny.gov/planning/ ... o_cmrt.pdf

Study by an outside consultant, reportedly paid for by a very rich person (former Facebook founder) who recently moved to the area:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/148500624/Rai ... pact-Study

Finally, we have the railroad's report on the subject.

http://catskillmtrailroad.com/reports/C ... MP3-11.pdf

It's interesting that some people say the railroad's report isn't really a fully developed engineering plan or feasibility study (on fellow commenting upon this in the paper there said it didn't have any certified engineers signing off on it, others have complained the maps are out of date and don't show some current obstructions), yet it has the greatest detail by far of these three exhibits.

I open the floor to commentary.


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 Post subject: CMRR Volunteer Workdays - 6/28 to 6/30
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1278
Friday, June 28th

Trains will be running in Mt. Tremper.


Saturday, June 29th

On Saturday we will be running in Mt. Tremper and Kingston.

In Mt. Tremper, George Peck plans to support the train crews through the first run, then his crew will switch to Phoenicia where they will continue work cleaning up the Phoenicia yard. Meet at 9:30am at Mt. Tremper.


Sunday, June 30th

Trains will be running in Mt. Tremper.

In Kingston, George Peck and Mark Glaser will lead a track crew starting at 9am at Cornell Street Yard. Plans are to continue installing ties west of C9 so our Kingston City Limited can go further west to Route 209, and running the sickle bar in Kingston.


Ernie Hunt
Volunteer Coordinator
CMRR


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:53 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3601
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Is it too much to hope that all the noise that's been coming out of this may be making a difference?

http://dailyfreeman.com/articles/2013/0 ... =fullstory

Those numbers about 1,400 miles of trails along working railroads are from the Rails-to-Trails site. Wonder why the local trail crowd apparently has been so adamant about ignoring material from their own organization?


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 490
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
First and most importantly - I am surprised that CSX's counsel has not had a little chat with Catskill Mountain's board about: 1) use of the copyrighted logo; and 2) what appears on the video to be a clear case of trespass by the videographer. Note that between 2:00 and 2:18 he is clearly standing between the access road and the track. Prior to that he is on the drivers side of the truck and this appears to be the same location from which he shot the truck driving away. I will grant that he appears to have stepped back for the shots of the undercutter but at 3:00 the interview is being conducted in the gauge of the CSX main. If this video was endorsed in any way by the Catskill Mountain it has insured heightened scrutiny by which ever safety regulator gets there first, and frankly, if I were representing the mayor, it would be one of my exhibits showing a flagrant disregard of basic safety rules by the organization.

Second - From what I can determine without putting several hours of time in and sending somebody a bill, I do not believe that this is a Surface Transportation Board matter. While it is regulated for safety by the FRA, the Catskill Mountain does not appear to be a common carrier railroad under the law. There is no physical connection between the operating portion and the general standard gauge system of the United States. It is not listed as a short line connection by CSX. Based on the CN interactive map [http://cnebusiness.geomapguide.ca/] in hybrid mode, it appears that a connection cannot even be re-established in Kingston without removing a building. I can find no published tariff or timetable from the CMRR holding itself out as providing the carriage of passengers and/or freight by rail in interstate commerce [key words, out-and-back tourist, one way tube/canoe carriage and the occasional local flat car of firewood will most probably not rise to that level]. There does not seem to be a single carload of freight interchanged to the Catskill Mountain in its entire existence and certainly not in the last two years. A last run in September of 1976 implies that Conrail did abandon the common carrier authority and obligation [this can be checked easily enough], so if there is a residual obligation it is on the part of the county not the railroad. If I am wrong about this will somebody please post either a link to the Notice of Exemption or the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Catskill Mountain.

This being the case the governing law is that of New York State based on the lease agreement

There are some disturbing parallels here with the Stewartstown and Pemberton situations and also with the federal lawsuit between Cape May Seashore Lines and Middle Township NJ and some of the actions involving the Denver and Rio Grande Historical Foundation.

The first is that the organization or at least part of it seems to have taken the "We are a railroad and you can't regulate us" stance. For a line that is not a common carrier the Federal Preemption doctrine does not apply at all. Even common carriers must comply with a myriad of state and local regulations that do not burden interstate commerce. Old railcars which are waiting for restoration, and the restorations are not part of the normal course of interstate commerce, are not protected by preemption. They may well be governed by local zoning or nuisance ordinances and violations would have to be determined on a case by case basis.

The second is that if you do not own the property you operate on you have to meet the terms of the agreement which allow you to use it. The terms of the lease only become an STB issue when they unreasonably burden interstate commerce. It appears, at least on the surface, that the lease terms may not have been met insofar as rehabilitation of the track is concerned. There also appears to be a diligent effort to cure the defects.

My general advice to all such groups, beyond having good counsel and listening to them, is for the managers to read the documents themselves, make sure copies are available to the entire membership, make sure that there are no policies or procedures which may violate the terms of leases or other agreements and remember that for a 501 that is getting essentially free use of public land that your landlord is a stake holder and a representative of that landlord should be invited to the general business meetings and possibly the board meetings. Most problems like this can be resolved before the politicians start grandstanding if the parties will talk to each other from the beginning.

GME

As an addendum - Despite apparent claims in various blogs cited in various posts above, there are no filings in the STB online docket.

Edited once to remove a duplicate 'effort'.


Last edited by Trainlawyer on Mon May 12, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:26 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:49 am
Posts: 261
Location: Cambridgeshire UK
Hi Guys;

To loosely paraphrase the late President Lyndon B Johnson, “It’s better to have your enemies inside your tent “peeing out” than outside your tent “peeing in”. Note the trail next to the railroad in the attached video. Possible compromise?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8MQHjvyzh8

David Notarius, London UK, ex New Hope Pa


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:11 am
Posts: 141
Location: North Carolina USA
If I step back from my own bias, we have a contest waged by two special interest groups, arguing consultants, federal money burning a hole in the political pockets of the pols, competing projections, out of state opinions, etc..all of which call out for some good old fashioned democracy in the form of a local voter referendum. Let the people decide. Everyone is not shy about expressing their "expertise, their opinions ( me too) what's best for this or that reason..with the exception of the citizens aka local taxpayers whose fate is ultimately determined by everyone with the exception of themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:14 pm 

How often do you guys still work on LS&I 23? Thanks!


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:37 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 614
Here is the link to an Times Herald-Record article, published on July 2, 2013:
State labor department to probe Catskill Mountain Railroad

Here is a short, fair-use, quote of the article - be sure to click on the article and read the full story before commenting on it:

Quote:
KINGSTON — The state Department of Labor is reviewing the Catskill Mountain Railroad for having volunteers working at the for-profit company — a potential violation of federal labor law.

A Department of Labor spokesman confirmed the agency was looking into the railroad. "The Department of Labor is reviewing the matter and cannot comment further at this time," said the spokesman.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit, private-sector employers.

But according to the Catskill Mountain Railroad's website, the railroad is "an all-volunteer operation, with over 150 active volunteers." It runs scenic train trips on a five-mile round trip between Mount Tremper and Boiceville.

_________________
--
Chris Webster


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2547
Location: S.F. Bay Area
I call bunk on that one. An awful lot of small businesses rely on the owners, families and often friends volunteering their time. Of course one way to solve that is to file their Form 1023 like they should have 25 years ago. The IRS has a 501c3 designation just waiting for them...


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:37 pm
Posts: 439
Location: Missoula MT
This whole frumpus just shows the import of keeping the neighbors happy if there is ANYTHING non-compliant about your operation. Oh wait, there's always something non-compliant--guaranteed!

Another thing not pointed out is that Ulster County appears to have changed from a council/commission form of government to a Executive Director/Charter form in 2006.

From reading elsewhere about the local political scene, it appears that most political power has devolved to the executive. The legislative part of county government seems to have some leverage, but seems stuck. They put in for changes in the charter in 2012:

http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/20 ... 111601.txt

In 2012, more changes were made to the charter, which some raised alarms about:

http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/20 ... 625021.txt

In short, Mr. Hein holds a tremendous amount of power, and unless somebody in the county legislature (which seems like a rather fragmented group) can pull the legislative side together, the only practical recourse for the CMRR are the civil courts and the courts of public opinion. I doubt the CMRR could regroup into a 501(c)3 without the County using that as an excuse to end the lease. It really doesn't help that the CMRR doesn't meet most common definitions of a common carrier.

It does prove the import of watching the local politcal scene. What may appear to be a minor change can turn into a veritable can of worms down the road if foresight is not excercised.

I do wish the CMRR luck though, and hope they can beat the devil (as it were). Certainly kudos are in order to all who volunteer and make things go there.


Michael Seitz
Missoula MT


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 Post subject: CMRR Work Report - 6/27 to 6/30
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1278
Thursday, June 27th

Al Schoessow and Earl Pardini performed cleanup at Cornell Street.


Friday, June 28th

At Mt. Tremper, Conductor was John Prestopino, Engineer was Al Schoessow, Brakeman was Ed Winstanley, Car Attendant was Bob MacDonald, and Ticket Agent was Peter Fluchere.


Saturday, June 29th

At Mt. Tremper, Conductor was Ray Farrell, Engineer was John Patane, Brakeman was Bob MacDonald, and Ticket Agent was Gary Lowe.

In Phoenicia, George Peck, Neil Remsen, Dave Heick, and Jarrett May continued restoring track. John Prestopino finished work on flat 35111's brake journals.

In Kingston, Conductor was Walt Otto, Engineer was Al Schoessow, Brakeman was Mark Glaser, Flagger was Fred Rasmussen, Car attendants were Tyler Carelli and Alex Sorenson, and Ticket Agent was Pat Smalley.


Sunday, June 30th

In Mt. Tremper, Conductorwas Walt Otto, Engineer was Earl Pardini, Brakeman was Tony Bocchino, Car Attendants were Tyler Carelli and Bob MacDonald, and Ticket Agent was Bruce Devorkin.

In Kingston, Al Schoessow, Mark Glaser and Tom Whyte used the sickle bar to cut the ROW in Kingston. George Peck, John Patane and Neil Remsen inserted 4 ties west of C9, and Ernie Klopping continued work on the high-rail dump truck.


Ernie Hunt
Volunteer Coordinator
CMRR


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1278
Friday, July 5th

Trains will be running in Mt. Tremper.


Saturday, July 6th

On Saturday we will be running in Mt. Tremper and Kingston.

In Mt. Tremper, George Peck plans to support the train crews through the first run, then his crew will switch to Phoenicia where they will continue work cleaning up the Phoenicia yard. Meet at 9:30am at Mt. Tremper.


Sunday, July 7th

Trains will be running in Mt. Tremper.

In Kingston, Mark Glaser will lead a track crew starting at 9am at Cornell Street Yard. Plans are to spike up ties already installed and to continue installing ties west of C9 so our Kingston City Limited can go further west to Route 209.

At Shokan, Paul Sternitzke will lead a crew sickle bar cutting west towards the reservoir. He will meet at 9am at the Shokan toolhouse area.


Ernie Hunt
Volunteer Coordinator
CMRR


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 Post subject: Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad News - 2013
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 254
Location: Baltimore
Maybe we should start describing our "volunteers" as "folks participating in unpaid internships." Though I wonder how this would work at hospitals that depend on "volunteers" to provide services to patients and their families. -- Ray


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 Post subject: CMRR Work Report - 7/3 to 7/7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:29 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1278
Wednesday, July 3rd

On Wednesday, Earl Pardini led a crew at Cornell Street weed-wacking the yard. Jim Bruck was part of the crew with Al Schoessow.


Thursday, July 4th

Paul Sternitzke and I used the sickle bar cutter to mow in-guage from Shokan to MP 9.7 and back.

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209660

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209661


Friday, July 5th

Earl Pardini led a crew again weed-wacking Cornell Street yard which included Al Schoessow and John Patane.

Today at Mt.Tremper the Engineer was Walt Otto and the conductor was John Prestopino. Ed Winstanley was brakeman. Bruce Devorkin was ticket agent.

George Peck, Tom Whyte, Neil Remsen and Art Vogel worked on extending Longyear's siding. Tom Whyte also did some weed wacking at Andrews lane. Dave Heick and Art Vogel also worked on trackwork in Phoenicia.


Saturday, July 6th

Mt. Tremper Saturday July 6, Conductor was Ray Farrell, Engineer was Al Schoessow, Brakeman was Bill Kaba, Car Attendant was Bob MacDonald
and Ticket Agent was George Bain.

George Peck worked in the Phoenicia Yard with Art Vogel, Neil Remsen and Dave Heick. They moved flat car 35111 into the east siding in the yard where it can be restored for service.

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209695

Kingston Saturday July 6, Conductor was Walt Otto, Engineer was Earl Pardini, Brakeman was Mark Glaser, Flagger was Dave Hilliard, and the Ticket Agents wer Peter Fluchere and Jim Bruck. CMRR ran a special train in conjunction w/UPAC.

Earlier in the day, Earl Pardini and Mark Glaser spiked 6 ties west of C-9 and did track maintenance on the bridge.


Sunday, July 7th

Mt. Tremper Sunday July 7, Conductor was John Prestopino, Engineer was George Peck, Brakeman was Tony Bocchino and Ticket Agent was Dave Cenova.

In Phoenicia, Neil Remsen worked with Dave Heick and Al Johnson in the yard area.

In Shokan, Paul Sternitzke and I tested his new in-guage mower on the Glenford Dike and we cleared trees from the ROW from MP 9.7 to 6.9, and inspected culverts.

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209696

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209697

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=209698

On Sunday in Kingston, crews loaded 2 containers with tie remnants just west of 587, removing what remained with the side dump. Today's cleanup crew: Earl Pardini, Al Schoessow, Tyler Carelli, Tom Whyte, John Patane and Mark Glaser. Ernie Klopping continued repairs on the MOW pickup at Cornell St.


Ernie Hunt
Volunteer Coordinator
CMRR


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