Railway Preservation News

Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Placid
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Author:  Rob Gardner [ Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

NYC, I would be surprised if you could find any examples of Rails to Trails efforts that didn't get completed as planned as most elected officials will simply vote for and support what is "popular". Also, how do they truly measure the success of their trails? Is there any unbiased organization that has tracked actual usage of rail trails vs the original projections of anticipated use? We have a rail trail here in Western MA that runs from Westfield, MA south into the Farmington Valley of CT, one of the most affluent parts of the entire nation. I can't say that I have exactly seen tons of new businesses spring up to support the trail effort like the trail people claim the trails will do. That question has always been at the heart of all the discussions about this particular case as well as the CMRR. The point being, once the trail folks get what they want, the case is immediately closed and they move on to the next one.

Rob Gardner

Author:  PMC [ Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

nyc1115_wv wrote:

If the roles were reversed, and a rail-trail group hadn't satisfied the requirements of a similar plan after TWENTY years (thus precluding tourist railroad development), how much more time would you allow them to pursue their goals?

The problem is that once the track comes out it is almost certainly gone for good, something you don't seem to understand:


And so, "whoops, sorry, we were wrong, no one is using it, you can have it back," won't work.

Author:  greenwichlirr [ Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

traingeek8223 wrote:

Your responses seem like they are out of the ARTA handbook, so I will no longer engage you in debate as it is on the same level as banging my head against the wall. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

Welcome to my world. I've engaged in almost the same arguments with ARTA trolls on various other 'net forums, and the above writings and 'opinions' are almost verbatim straight out of the ARTA playbook. The fact that I'm reading them *here* on RYPN truly make me shake my head.

This story is a mess, pure and simple, and it's sadly obvious that there is a lot more to it than 'people who just want a trail'.

Keith's extended written piece really hit the nail right on the head. It's a shame that it hasn't been published in any of the papers. God knows ARTA has had their share of printed letters in the North Country, and most of the time they repeatedly came from the same people.

Author:  Chris Webster [ Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

An April 4, 2016 article in the Lake Placid News: Utica, Oneida County boards support Adirondack Scenic Railroad

An excerpt:
The Oneida County Board of Legislators and the City of Utica Common Council have passed identical resolutions opposing the state's plan to remove tracks at the northern end of its Adirondack railroad.

Author:  thebigham [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5282

Rail trail is last thing state should build
April 12, 2016

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates have been pushing the idea that rail trail construction should start as soon as possible. DEC has said it could start in November 2016 after seasonal rail operations end, but Lee Keet of ARTA said in an April 1 Albany Times Union article, "We would like to see this clock start ticking (so) the tracks can start coming up this summer." It's no secret ARTA wants to build the trail in the worst way - and that's exactly what this would be.

Consider this: After one of the worst winter tourism seasons on record, Mr. Keet is calling for a major construction project right through the Tri-Lakes at the height of the summer tourist season! This disruption would be bad enough by itself, but it would also come with the loss of all the business and jobs generated by both the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and the Rail Explorers. The last thing the area needs now is another sucker punch to the economy on top of what the weather has done. But that's not all.

Remember, the state Adirondack Park Agency only ruled that the rail trail plan is compatible with the State Land Master Plan - but that's just the start. The trail still has to be designed. No one yet knows how wide the trail will be, will it be one or two lanes, what kind of surface it will have - or who will really have control of it or pay for it. (It's going to be a training/event facility for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, among other things.)

This also means no one knows how much the trail is really going to cost, what it will really look like - and DEC's own plan admits building it out will take years. The last thing DEC should do is rush into it. The plans call for local input, after all. ARTA and DEC should allow enough time to do it right.

This should really call into question whether ARTA has the good of the area at heart, and just why Mr. Keet is in such a hurry. (Growing opposition to the rail trail, perhaps?) It doesn't mean a halt to everything, though. The state can still go forward with the part of the plan that will cause NO disruption: Let the state Department of Transportation restore the tracks to Tupper Lake first, and see what happens.

That, after all, fits in with the 1996 plan, already approved but never carried out by the state - and it's part of the so-called compromise in any case. Rail work can begin as soon as weather permits and can probably be completed this season. It would not prevent regular rail operations OR disrupt the towns in the area. There's nothing new to build, no surprises - and the costs are well understood.

Although DOT will be in charge of that section, DEC has trail development planned for it. DEC should prove it CAN work with the rail line - something it has failed to do for the past 20 years. We saw what happened to the corridor before the Adirondack Scenic Railroad came along. Counting on the state to preserve the line until they get around to restoring it on their timetable is a fool's hope. Do it first.

Remember, the state's own economic justifications turn on bringing back full passenger service all the way from Utica to Tupper Lake, not just on building the rail trail. This will be a good test with the least risk for everyone. The state's plan presumes a line running only to Tupper Lake will still attract commercial bids for operation; this is how to prove it.

If, as rail supporters believe with good reason, rail service really needs to run all the way to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, let's find out before any tracks are ripped up. Several seasons of service to Tupper Lake along with current Tri-Lakes operations would be a good test. (Don't forget the Rail Explorers, either!)

It just might turn out that restoring the entire rail line is the real best use once solid cost estimates for the trail are available and people know what it will really be like. The state is planning on $11 million to bring tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake up to Class 2 standards (30 mph maximum for passenger trains) and another $8 million to $10 million to build the rail trail - guessing at trail costs.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad had an engineering study done. It estimates $22 million - about what the state already plans to spend - would be enough to upgrade even more of the line, from Thendara to Lake Placid, to Class 3 standards. That means train speeds would be limited only by curves! Given that, a train trip to Lake Placid from Utica's Amtrak-Thruway connections looks like even more of a tourism draw. For about the same amount of money as the "compromise" plan, that would change everything.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Keet is apparently not willing to risk that possibility. ARTA still wants the tracks removed all the way back to Thendara, compromise be damned. Given that a) support for keeping the rails is growing, b) the serious questions recently raised about APA's decision-making process, c) the possibility of a joint Olympic bid with Quebec, and d) the economic potential of a fully restored rail line, the wisest course all around would be to hold off on the rail trail for now but go ahead with the rest of the plan.

In this case, haste really would make waste. The area has survived without a rail trail for over a hundred years, after all. A little longer won't hurt. The last thing Mr. Keet should want is to have DEC rush through a badly designed, hastily built trail just to pre-empt legitimate concerns. If DEC and ARTA really have the best interests of the region at heart, this is the way to go.

Larry Roth lives in Ravena, south of Albany.

Author:  dinwitty [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

they have to reveal full their plans for the trail (rail trail) or they cannot even start anything, no construction company is going to start with half baked plans. Is there a website for their supposed plans? Why the hush hush? And why the rush rush.

Author:  dinwitty [ Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

I wanted to postscript this a bit,


The South Shore/NICTD is working on expanding service, and they have had open public meetings about it, nobody is shut out.

Is this group pushing for the trail are they well organized? Like the above NICTD link, or or is someone just being a political hoghead for their own concept and blow the rest away?

I was thinking of another good reason the railway must be kept, that is for emergency services and any possible need to move heavy loads, no snowmobile could do what the railroad could do. You blow the rail line out you lose a lot more. When you suddenly need the line and you blew it away, you go a major.. UH OH.

The Oneida County Board of Legislators and the City of Utica Common Council have passed identical resolutions opposing the state's plan to remove tracks at the northern end of its Adirondack railroad.

That should help point the finger in the right direction, but for all those concerned you should write your own rep, tell them the circumstance, show them this thread on this board, because I think somebody has their finger in the pie and trying to suck it all up.

You don't want to lose this line, it was built for a reason in the first place.

Author:  LVRR2095 [ Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Has anyone researched reversion clauses in the deeds to the right of way?
Lands taken by eminent domain sometimes have clauses that return the property to the heirs of the original owners in case the right of way is no longer used for railroad purposes. If they remove the tracks....the property may revert to the families of the original owners and they may not want a trail on their private property.

Author:  diningcartim [ Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

thebigham wrote:

Rail trail is last thing state should build
April 12, 2016
c) the possibility of a joint Olympic bid with Quebec
Larry Roth lives in Ravena, south of Albany.

If there is an effort going on to make a bid for a future Olympics, I hope the rail people are talking with the Olympic bid team. There are a lot of factors that go into evaluating a bid and transportation to major event sites is one of them. To lose transport by rail would be a huge blow, especially when many of the people in the IOC come from countries where rail access is the norm.

Author:  Dougvv [ Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Rail to trail to rail - Re: Adirondack Park ... Lake Placid


I looked into trail to rail conversions about 10 years ago. I am having memory problems (health problems) and can not find my notes BUT there seemed to be over 100 trails that were reurned to rails. The "fact" that trails are never restored to rails is a false assumption. I think it is infrequent but assuming 5% reversion is nothing is not a realistic assumption.

As for public support for tourist railroads, The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic railroad is an example of a multiple goal tourist railroad. The purchase of the ex-D&RGW railroad in 1970 of 64 miles was based on TWO (2) goals. The railroad had been a major employer in a high unemployment area of the states of NM and CO. Based on the push by some narrow gauge railroad fans, the ultimate result was a entity that was of railroad historic and engineering historical interest and of economic interest. Both historic and economical entresets being about equal.

Without the C&TS, a lot of unemployment benefits would have been large. Roughly speaking, the "unemployment benefits" were changed into employment oportunities for the area and so some on unemployment would be able to work and hold up their heads by being able to work.

Both points I address here I understand but I tend to take both together in one bag and come up with a good win-win situation. A tourist railroad (living museum) and lower unemployment.


Doug vV

Author:  thebigham [ Fri May 13, 2016 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/ ... _refQuery=

State officials rethink plan to tear up Adirondack train track
by Brian Mann (Adirondack Bureau Chief) , in Saranac Lake, NY

May 13, 2016 — State officials say they are re-evaluating a plan to pull up a section of railroad track in the Adirondacks that runs between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. That plan was approved by the Adirondack Park Agency three months ago.

But it still hasn't been signed and Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said his department is once again reviewing public comments and developing a final plan for the historic rail corridor...

Author:  traingeek8223 [ Tue May 17, 2016 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Well this is certainly no good.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the final plan to govern the use of the 119-mile travel corridor from Remsen to Lake Placid. The final plan, signed by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation will maximize the use and economic benefits of the corridor.

The scenic railway will continue operations on the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment through November 2016. The removal of the tracks and the development of the 34-mile community connector trail will begin after November 2016.

Author:  thebigham [ Tue May 17, 2016 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

If you want to contact The Gov:


Contact us by phone


Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Author:  Randy Gustafson [ Tue May 17, 2016 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

Read this very carefully, particularly between the lines:

•Continuing consultations with the State Historic Preservation Office to examine mitigation measures to address the impacts of removing the rails with regards to the Corridors listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

I want to see how that can possibly be defended. To ignore this guts the entire act and places the New York SHPO in an indefensible position - do what is right or suffer the consequences of standing up to the intent of the Act.

It's one thing to put up 'mitigation' when an asset cannot be preserved due to decay, or as in the case of the Kinzua Bridge, destruction by nature. It's quite something else to simply declare that something/somebody else wants to do something else with it and 'mitigate' it.

This is EXACTLY why the register exists to begin with. Lest I remind everyone why this happened and what's at stake here. Historic preservation BEGAN with rail preservation.


Is putting up pictures of Penn Station inside the existing building effective 'mitigation'??

Author:  J3a-614 [ Tue May 17, 2016 7:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla

In my opinion, there is one good thing to take out of this so far.

The trail crowd has lost the argument.

The trail crowd had its claims of "scrapping the railroad will pay for the trail" debunked, repeatedly, by a number of people, including by me.

The trail crowd tried to ignore how much the trail will cost to maintain (about the same as the railroad)--but they can't bury that completely.

The trail crowd's claims of a snowmobile gold rush have been disproven with a long-term fall in registrations and, most recently, a catastrophic winter season that essentially reduced their economic impact to something approaching zero.

The trail crowd has had its claims of huge tourist bike numbers at soundly questioned by James Falscik and others; James even got a retraction from a trail booster about he grossly exaggerated claims of overnight visitors on the Virginia Creeper trail (the overstatement was on the order of 1,700 percent).

The trail crowd has had to contend with claims about additional costs, such as refunding Federal money that had been used in track work, that were not addressed by them. This and other things have come from creditable and respected historical groups.

In short, virtually their entire case is at best questionable, at worst well proven to be wrong.

When you can't win with logic, when you can't win with facts, then you try to win with muscle. That's what's happening here, both with the governor's order and with what must have been pressure on at least one of two recent persons who have either recently resigned or have chosen not to pursue renomination in the Adirondack Park Administration. The latter person has been critical of the governor's office for micromanaging the APA in other matters, including apparently limiting the information the APA members can use in their decision processes.

I don't know how to tell the railroaders to fight this, but know this--they are right in their logic and their facts. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

There is one possible silver lining. If the railroad goes away, I think Lake Placid and other places will find out the hard way they made a serious mistake. I think those towns will not do as well as the trail advocates claim they will. There will be hard feelings for years, if not decades.

The silver lining is that the railroad people will not have to deal with that. That will be up to the trail people. They will be the ones who will have to make people feel better, who may face the wrath of their fellow citizens if things don't work as promised.

The railroaders will not face that--the trail people will.

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