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 Post subject: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Public comment period on the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor is now open. Comments taken through December 15 according to an article in the Adirondack Almanack:

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/ ... ridor.html

If this line is to remain a railroad, the DOT and DEC need to hear your comments. Those folks living in New York will probably have more weight than others, but the word "stakeholder" can mean a broad spectrum of people.

From the article, the email address as follows: nystravelcorridor@dot.ny.gov

James Falcsik,
Irwin, PA


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 94
Location: San Jose, CA
Thanks for the heads-up. The trail advocates have been extremely annoying.

Here's my comment:
I am a former New York state resident and a potential future visitor to the upstate area. My inclination to visit the area and contribute to the local economy will be greatly reduced if rail service is not restored to the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment. There seems to be sentiment to remove the rail line and replace it with a trail but this would be a serious mistake because older, disabled and less active people would be more inclined to use the train to enjoy this scenic area. There is plenty of other land available for trails and one could even be built adjacent to the rail line, with a low fence separating the two uses for safety. The rail line must be restored to active service on the entire line.


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 106
Here are the comments I sent. Dollars often speak louder than common sense.

New York State Department of Transportation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Re: Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor

During the past decade, I have organized and led a number of tours in New York that have focused on researching the railroad history of the state. These tours generally include 100 to 200 participates and last a week or more. They have include charters on area railroads, as well as visits to communities along the routes to research the impact that the railroad had/has on them. This year I am bringing at least one day of an international railroad convention to New York, even though the main convention is based in Vermont. All of these tours and events are based upon actual operating railroads, not trails that have been created by tearing up usable rail lines.

Several years ago, one of these tours was based in Utica (NY) and featured several days of charter train travel on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern. The charters operated Utica (NY) to Lyons Falls (NY) and Utica (NY) to Carter (NY), handling almost 200 participants from around the world. We have made initial arrangements to conduct another tour in the Utica area when the line is restored further northward from Carter and on toward Lake Placid.

As a transportation researcher and professor, and as someone who leads history tours about transportation, I want to encourage you to include actual rail operations in your planning for the Remsen-Lake Placid corridor. Once a railroad is removed, it is extremely difficult to restore it. Removing a rail line for a trail eliminates travel options for much of the population, especially senior citizens and those with certain handicaps related to mobility. Building a trail alongside the railroad allows all to participate and experience the scenery and history of the Remsen-Lake Placid route, a route that owes its entire history to the railroad.

If your Departments are interested, I can provide a copy of the route history that has been used by my tours of the route. This history demonstrates that the entire Adirondack State Park might not even exist if the railroad had not been built, so removing the rail line would essentially remove the heart of today's park.

Should you have any questions about my comments, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your time on this...

Barton Jennings
Professor of Supply Chain Management


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2355
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Below is my letter:

To Whom it may concern,

My name is Thomas Gears and I am from Wilmington, DE. Please accept my comments on this important rail corridor. I strongly urge the continuation and vigorous development of this corridor as a rail route. Historic railroads act as huge magnets for year-round tourism in many places. My family and I have traveled far and wide to experience America by riding historic railroads. We have ridden trains in over 30 states, including New York. I plan every one of my vacations around riding a train and visiting authentic American towns and villages by train.

With proper development and marketing the Remsen-Lake Placid rail route can be a cash generator for the entire region. Historic trains offer a year round moving platform to showcase the area's beauty and history twelve months a year.

I understand there is a small but vocal group of snowmobile people who stand against the railroad. These people have worked through both legal means and illegal means to halt the railroad. Most notably they sabotaged a locomotive operated by the Adirondack Scenic RR causing extensive damage about one year ago. Please don't let these criminals and their supporters fool you into thinking a snowmobile trail will draw large numbers of people to the region. A well developed historic train ride will be an economic engine for everyone while a snowmobile trail will be used by of mostly local people.

Think about it this way. How many people have a car and money to spend compared to how many people have a snowmobile. Develop a rail route and bring in people from all over or create a snowmobile trail for the people who already live in the snow belt.

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Gears

_________________
Tom Gears
Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Another similar report by North Country Public Radio (NCPR) focused on the public hearings beginning NEXT WEEK in various Adirondack communities:

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/ ... l-proposal

October 28, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Utica at the State Office Building

October 29, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Old Forge at the View

November 6, 2014 6:00-8:00 PM in Tupper Lake at the Wild Center

November 7, 2014 1:00-3:00 PM in Lake Placid at ORDA

Attendance by railroad preservationists and supporters of the ASR is obviously critical.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:28 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
The article in the Adirondack Almanack has developed quite a following of comments.

A selection of comments supporting the trail:

…“This just in: railroads stopped making money on passenger traffic in the 1930’s! Even today in metro corridors railroad companies receive (justly so in my opinion) massive subsidies through Amtrak. And the cost of upgrading and maintaining a railroad in the heart of the Adirondacks would be prohibitively expensive. As it is, the train doesn’t run during parts of the year and when it does depends heavily on volunteers among other operating issues, which as the saying goes is no way to run a railroad.”…

“Hummmm, why did the train fail three times and what has changed? I have asked the Old Forge real-estate folks how many have built and bought and rent for snowmobiling in winter and how many have for train riding in summer…your guess?? Yes, the trail will be large for our business, but in the Big Picture it will be HUGE. We don’t need another way to get to the Adirondacks, we need another reason to come and less time between popular activities.”

“There is no reason to consider rail service to Tupper Lake or beyond for that matter. There is no demand nor is there any economic benefit. On the other hand the Adirondack Rail Trail as proposed by ARTA should encompass all 90 miles of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor precisely because there is great interest and demand for this type of venue. We are a tourist destination for the active traveler, those people who travel to participate in active recreational activities and adventure oriented excursions. The longer the trail the more opportunities are presented for various kinds of use from the short trek to an extended overnight adventure.”…


A selection of comments supporting the railroad:

…“A question I posed in my OP has not been answered. Let’s assume a hiking/biking/snowmobile trail is made. Who is going to pay for its upkeep, and since parts of it are not close to the roads, security? Are you assuming it will be free to all comers? The scrap value of the iron will only go so far, then what? Whose deep pockets will be tapped?”

“Somehow we ended up in a misguided argument of trains vs trails. Have both! Let the trains run on their tracks and instead of blowing so much hot air and money trying to rip up the tracks, use those resources to build a new trail…If the user-base for a trail is as large as the proponents say, then it is surely worth building new trails to meet the demand.”

“I own a bike shop here in PA and I see all ends of the debate, but I will honestly tell you just a plain trail only will not bring in the dollar amount that some are touting here. It just doesn’t happen.”…

“Sure Hope, hovercrafts….That about sums up the lack of seriousness trail advocates seem to have for the future of our only rail line.”

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/ ... nt-1132760


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:01 pm 

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 10:27 am
Posts: 167
Location: New Haven Ct area
When riding on the Durango and Silverton I noticed that a good portion of the riders in my car were merely using the train to get them from Durango to some neat trails to hike and bike. It seemed like that provided quite a bit of revenue for them and was quite well liked by all. Seems to me like the trails can often provide a very nice destination for the rails to take people to.


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
^^See also bicycle transport and trail-by-rail on the Western Md. Scenic RR^^


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:05 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 520
Anyone who's been to Lake Placid knows the real issue up there is not bikes, but snow mobiles....

remember the miracle on ice ?

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:09 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
The comment section of the Adirondack Almanack article is popular, but by far the more important place to send a comment is the NYDOT:

Via email; nystravelcorridor@dot.ny.gov

Via mail; NYS Travel Corridor, NYS DOT Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau, 50 Wolf Road, POD 5-4, Albany NY 12232 (Attention Ray Hessinger)

In addition, Letters to the Editor and Guest Commentary pertaining to the rail-trail debate is frequently published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, a Saranac Lake , NY newspaper, to the attention of Editor Peter Crowley: Email; pcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com

Crowley is tough, but if you have facts and references to back up responsible commentary he will publish up to 1000 word essays on the subject. The online version of the paper is a paid subscription which you may not want to fork out, but your letters and comments are still important to the preservation of this railroad, and it is published in the heart of the subject corridor which will reach the folks who need to consider your opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
In regard to the comments, both in print and to the NYDOT, I would like to use a quote, but can't find it. It starts out, "A railroad is a country thing. . ."

It sounds like something Lucius Beebe would write, but I'm not seeing it in my copy of "Mixed Train Daily," which is where something like that might show up. Any idea of who wrote that, and where? Could it actually have been something by David P. Morgan?

No luck finding it on the internet! Not everything is there yet!


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
A recent post to an ARTA Facebook page as part of the discussion leading up to the UMP hearings:

"Rail is a money pit w/ limited use. Not to mention that current rail is subsidized by the state. Removing the rail and opening it up to others will generate more money and be better maintained than it is in current state, with mind you, no cost to state taxpayers!"


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
jefalcsik wrote:
A recent post by a trail supporter from the ARTA Facebook Page:

"Rail is a money pit w/ limited use. Not to mention that current rail is subsidized by the state. Removing the rail and opening it up to others will generate more money and be better maintained than it is in current state, with mind you, no cost to state taxpayers!"


From a letter in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

Quote:
US Snowmobile Sales—Courtesy of International Snowmobile Conference, 2014

1996—168,509
2004—109,750
2006----91,670
2007----79,815
2009----61,593
2011----51,796
2012----48,689
2013----48,536
2014----54,028

Anyone taking an honest look at these numbers should be shocked at the decline that’s represented. The sales figure for snowmobiles, while improved in 2014, is but half of what it was in 2004, and only a third of what it was in 1996!

New York snowmobile registrations are also down considerably. This decline is not quite as bad as overall snowmobile sales, but it is still significant, with the last available figure being only 67% of what it was at the peak in 2002-2003. It’s notable that registrations still declined slightly in 2013-2014 in spite of a decent snowmobile season and increased overall sales.

New York Snowmobile Registrations—New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

2002-2003—172,184
2003-2004—163,635
2004-2005—155,000
2005-2006—149,610
2006-2007—130,502
2007-2008—128,283
2008-2009—136,471
2009-2010—131,664
2010-2011—134,442
2011-2012----90,433
2012-2013—116,740
2013-2014—115,982

It’s very likely the economic impact of snowmobile activity has dropped as well. Snowmobiling’s economic impact was estimated at $868 million, based on a survey by SUNY Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (commissioned by the New York State Snowmobile Association), and about a quarter of that was in the Adirondacks. But that was in 2010-2011; registrations are down 13% since then, and presumably the economic impact is down that amount, too.

All of this seems to shred the claims of some trail advocates that snowmobiling is a growing activity in the State of New York.

What does this mean? Well, if I were in the snowmobile trade or in a business connected with it, I would wonder what was behind the drop. Is it generational based, as a big part of the decline in driving seems to be? Is it a shrinking middle class that can’t afford what are, admittedly, fairly expensive toys? Or are snowmobiles largely being replaced by ATVs and UTVs, which have the important advantage of being usable for the whole year? Is it a combination of all these things?

I would also be concerned about how long this drop has been going on. Both sales and registrations have been declining for well over a decade, suggesting this is a trend.

At the same time, rail and transit ridership has been increasing over the same time period, again suggesting a trend.



This trend has to have a negative impact on the license fees that fund trails in New York. Curious that the ARTA has ignored this so far.


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:20 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
UMP hearings were in Utica, NY this evening, from 6 to 8 PM.

If anyone attended, would you provide an objective report on how it was set up?

Was there opportunities to debate or just a time limit to speak an opinion?

How was the turn-out?

Overall appearance? Anything unusual?


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 Post subject: Re: NYDOT Seeks Input on Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
I attended the Utica meeting and plan to do a detailed report as soon as I get a chance to put it together. Until then, I will only report a few things:

First and foremost, I was impressed with the work the state has done between last year's meetings and this year's meetings. They have really done their homework and tried to research all the questions and concerns people had about the subject.

According to the state's research, cost of trail construction from Big Moose to Lake Placid (which is no longer an option, the only current debate is Tupper to Placid) is $20.4 million dollars vs. Rail restoration from Big Moose to Saranac Lake at $17.7 million. Also, it is likely the state will need to pay back $2 million to the federal government if the tracks from Tupper to Placid are removed, as a Federal Grant was used for some of the track rehab.

The meeting was well run (as were the previous ones). The turnout was good and I would say the room was 90% Rail supporters (which is on par for the last Utica meeting). Patient Zero Scott Thompson was there and outspoken as usual, as was Jim Rolf of NY State Snowmobile Association. Both are still pushing hard for all track to be removed from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

_________________
Matt Giardino
ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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