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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:42 pm
Posts: 131
Nice job, Matt. I especially like the last picture on p. 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Letters in support of the Adirondack Scenic; interestingly, two were published in the pro-trail Adirondack Explorer:

http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/lette ... ifferences

http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/lette ... cess-story

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5005

The last one is very interesting in that the railroad people spoke of environmental concerns while the trail people were only about money--but if my analysis is right, the money claims by the trail people are as bogus as anything else they have.

Here's one more by a trail supporter; I wonder if he knows that snowmobile registrations have declined by about a third since 2003. . .

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:51 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
Thank you for posting those letters, J3a.

You also suggested:
J3a-614 wrote:
Here's one more by a trail supporter; I wonder if he knows that snowmobile registrations have declined by about a third since 2003. . .

I think it is a big mistake to view snowmobiles as the enemy of the railroad.

My understanding is that the only thing happening right now is that the NY State Departments of Transportation (NYSDOT) & Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) are deciding whether or not to amend the "Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan" that was written in 1996.

If NYSDOT & NYSDEC decide to amend the Travel Corridor's management plan, then they will have to go through another lengthy public involvement process. They will have to work with the Adirondack Park Agency and hold many more public meetings. A lot of angry people will yell at them. They will also have to meet with local politicians. Eventually, NYSDOT & NYSDEC will have to release a draft plan for comments, collect comments from every interested party, consider those comments, document how they considered all the comments, and then release the amended plan.... and once all that is finished, they will get sued and have to defend their work in court.

I am pretty sure NYSDEC and NYSDOT do not want to be burdened with amending the plan, but I doubt they can get out of it - the plan has not been touched since it was written in 1996 (18 years ago).

Assuming NYSDOT and NYSDEC amend the management plan, the question they will be asking is what is the best use of the "Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor"? The answer is obvious - much more travel will occur with year-round rail service and a parallel snowmobile trail that with only a snowmobile trail.

I think year-round rail, with a parallel snowmobile trail, will be what an updated plan will have to say, provided that: (1) NYSDOT & NYSDEC are not allowed to drop the word "Travel" from the description of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and (2) rail advocates do not turn against snowmobiles (and vice versa).

There are several win-wins for year-round-rail with parallel snowmobile trail. For example, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a Snowmobile Adventure Package. A similar package in the Adirondacks could introduce a lot of people to snowmobiling, which should be of interest to the snowmobile clubs given the decline pointed out above.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:16 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Chris Webster wrote:
I think it is a big mistake to view snowmobiles as the enemy of the railroad.


I don't think anyone here considers the snowmobile crowd to be enemies, and in fact, a poster here who has been sharing information with me for a letter on this subject is a snowmobile man himself as well as a rail enthusiast. However, I do think we have an organization (Adirondack Rail Trail Advocates--ARTA) that is very much an enemy and must be faced as such.

Chris Webster wrote:
Assuming NYSDOT and NYSDEC amend the management plan, the question they will be asking is what is the best use of the "Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor"? The answer is obvious - much more travel will occur with year-round rail service and a parallel snowmobile trail that with only a snowmobile trail.

I think year-round rail, with a parallel snowmobile trail, will be what an updated plan will have to say, provided that: (1) NYSDOT & NYSDEC are not allowed to drop the word "Travel" from the description of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and (2) rail advocates do not turn against snowmobiles (and vice versa).

There are several win-wins for year-round-rail with parallel snowmobile trail. For example, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a Snowmobile Adventure Package. A similar package in the Adirondacks could introduce a lot of people to snowmobiling, which should be of interest to the snowmobile clubs given the decline pointed out above.


No arguments from me on that--but you will, and have, gotten them from the ARTA. They include preposterous claims that a trail has never been built alongside a single track railroad before (plenty of examples they choose to ignore), and then there are the claims of financial impossibility (crocodile tears, say I), and I won't go into the personal insults, such as us having blue hair!

Some with the railroad think this is really a plan to close the area as a "Forever Wild" place--no railroad, no trail, no nothing. No way to really know, but it could be true, given the background of at least one of the trail people, a fellow named Lee Keet.

Oh, about rail and trail--you're not alone. . .

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256

. . .but will you, me, and these others be heard--and more importantly, be heeded?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
Quote:
Here's one more by a trail supporter; I wonder if he knows that snowmobile registrations have declined by about a third since 2003. . .

http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256



A trail supporter huh? That happens to be non other than Scott Thompson, charter member of ARTA and a person many believe to be "patient zero" behind the anti-rail epidemic. He is one of only four year-round residents of Beaver River (the others being his wife, brother and sister-in-law) and owner/operator of the Norridgewock III, the only place to get food/drink/supplies between Old Forge and Tupper Lake (except for the Big Moose Station Restaurant, which I highly recommend). He has almost single handedly been trying to get the railroad removed for decades. Once the rails are gone he believes he will be able to use the corridor however he chooses, as he did for years before the state re-gained control of it in 1991. Even after that he, along with other residents of Beaver River (most seasonal) are allowed to, by permit, run hi-rail trucks between there and the connection to the outside world at Big Moose. That is until the day he was caught operating a hi-rail propane truck without permission and lost his permit.

This is another good example of ARTA hiding truths and focusing on incomplete or fabricated "facts". Sure, in the conditions shown in the photograph, snowmobiles could use the ROW better with the rails removed, for one or two passes. Snowmobiles by nature tend to tear up the surface they travel on (hence the need for grooming) and in these conditions the ROW would be reduced to un-passible mud within hours.

Recent weather history has proven that December has become an extremely inconsistent month for snowmobiling and favorable riding conditions don't develop until January. So why not extend the railroads operating permit until the end of December? (are you listing DOT). Even if there is significant snowfall, the operation of the trains (remember we are still only talking about south of Big Moose) will help create a more groomed base on which to build from.

The more I study maps and explore the area between the active sections of the line, the more strongly I feel that a trail alone is a really bad idea. The distances between public roads is too great. The idea of a companion trail (not necessarily adjacent or parallel) could work with the proper development though. There are many existing trails that can be connected with new trails or combined through easements on private roads to make a very usable north-south snowmobile trail. In the no snow/no mud/no black fly season (mid-summer and fall) it can serve the dozens (not hundreds of thousands) of die-hards that want to walk or bike sixty miles through the woods. Restored rail service will help serve this trail as well, with people traveling to strategic drop-off points, such as Beaver River, Nehasane (Lake Lila), Sabattis, Horseshoe Lake, and Floodwood, to better access these areas without the long hassle of driving or hiking to these remote locations. It can also help with emergency response for incidents that take place in this wilderness area (Big Moose Fire/Ambulance has a hi-rail response truck).

All of this will require years of planning and COOPERATION. Restored rail-service is still the least expensive and fastest/easiest option, and it can serve as a great "phase one" to the grand plan.

Your resident Railfan/Snowmobiler,

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ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
J3a-614 wrote:
Chris Webster wrote:
Oh, about rail and trail--you're not alone. . .
http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256
http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256
http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/pa ... l?nav=5256
. . .but will you, me, and these others be heard--and more importantly, be heeded?


While I cannot predict the future, I think it is very unlikely that an amended plan would result in the removal of any sections of the railroad.... provided we all participate in the public involvement process.

As I mentioned above, the "Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan" calls it a travel corridor. Since the corridor was intended for travel, I think NYSDOT & NYSDEC would first have to change the definition of what the corridor is before the railroad could be removed. If the update process does not include redefining what the corridor is, then those agencies will get sued, lose and probably have to start the process all over again! (There would be more travel in the corridor with Rail and Trail than with a Trail alone, so a Trail alone is not the best use of this "Travel Corridor".)

Second, the amendment process will be managed by NYSDOT and NYSDEC. The NYSDOT Mission & Values statement is:
Quote:
Mission Statement
It is the mission of the New York State Department of Transportation to ensure our customers - those who live, work and travel in New York State -- have a safe, efficient, balanced and environmentally sound transportation system.

Five Priority Results
Our customers:
(1) Want to enhance their mobility and have reliable, predictable trips for themselves or in the movement of their goods;
(2) Expect both the infrastructure and its users to contribute to the physical safety of people and their goods while in transit;
(3) Recognize the critical relationship between a mature, multi-modal transportation system and the state's economic vitality. They see viable transportation options as essential to both economic sustainability and livability of their communities, both Upstate and Downstate;
(4) Expect the transportation infrastructure to be secure from external threat or potential abuse; and
(5) See the impact of transportation-related decisions at both macro and micro levels affecting the environment and expect the system to more than mitigate transportation's impact.

Removing the track does not support NYSDOT's mission.... so, next consider NYSDEC. According to their "About DEC " page:
Quote:
Mission: "To conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being."

DEC's goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.

I think we can make a very strong argument that retaining the railroad and building a parallel trail would best support DEC's mission.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Chris Webster wrote:
I think we can make a very strong argument that retaining the railroad and building a parallel trail would best support DEC's mission.


But will it be heard?

I've had the unfortunate experience of making a strong argument, with others, against the construction of a highway, and I was able to add the argument for a light rail line as an alternative--but we lost anyway.

I've made other arguments in other ways with what I thought were good points, at least worth considering--and got brushed off anyway.

This isn't to say we will lose here--but there's no guarantee of a win, and it's going to continue for some time.

I will say I do think things are changing, based on some things we see in other areas. Amtrak has record riders, and has been doing that for about ten years now. About 30 cities now have light rail or streetcar systems, compared with five in all of North America in 1970 or so. One of the most contentious ones, in Cincinnati, Oh., will be completed in spite of the strong efforts of an anti-streetcar mayor to kill the project as soon as he got into office; its salvation came not only from the grassroots effort to keep it under construction, but by pledges from local corporations to make up its subsidies for the next 9 years--a development that wouldn't have been imaginable not too long ago. All of this and more has occurred in spite of opposition from NIMBYs, the alleged machinations of the oil business, the auto and road lobbies, the trucking lobby, certain environmentalists, starved funding and a skeletal system for Amtrak, the inertia of state Transportation Departments that never see anything but asphalt, and a culture that has long equated automobiles with "status" and "freedom." And yes, I think some of this may be spilling over into the railroad preservation field as well--witness the support some railroads have been able to garner in the face of the trail crowd, most notably in Ulster County.

But the fight, in particular for this jewel of a railroad in New York, is very far from over.

Other things to note:

http://wamc.org/post/rails-trails-proje ... dirondacks

http://www.thearta.org/Trail_Plan.pdf

http://www.transportation.northwestern. ... tation.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
ARTA has a second Facebook page that one of my contacts says is their "real" page; seems some of them don't like us there, either.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/107243836054598/


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:57 pm
Posts: 68
An odd lot of comments...

English lawyer's cynical maxim.

If the law is against you, argue the facts.

If the facts are against you, argue the law.

If the law and the facts are against you - make a personal attack on the character of your opponent.

Does it fit?

Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 253
sleepermonster wrote:
An odd lot of comments...

English lawyer's cynical maxim.

If the law is against you, argue the facts.

If the facts are against you, argue the law.

If the law and the facts are against you - make a personal attack on the character of your opponent.

Does it fit?

Tim


Fits a lot of these trail outfits that want a trail where rails currently are. Bottom Line: Own your right of way, have a good PR person, thick skin, and Common-Carrier status doesn't hurt.

See the Kellar Branch trail fight in Peoria, Il from about 5 years ago now, though it started long before that.

For-profit shortline leasing track from city, trail advocates want trail, city gives operator the boot, calls in someone to run it into the ground (who had a loaded train "run-away" on their very first trip).

Surface Transportation Board reinstates original operator (but does not throw out city's chosen operator, who turned against city), city tries to overturn board (made a lot of rude remarks too), trail lobby launches personal attacks on officers of the railroad,

City attempts to "build out" connecting line to UPRR main, and then tear up connection to neutral switch carrier, railroads object because UP has pricing power that terminal carrier doesn't, trail advocates claim it doesn't matter (apparently staggers never happened in their world)

Flash forward a few years: multiple acts of vandalism, including on one locomotive that rendered it unserviceable, and a bad economy contribute to less than 25 carloads a year, sole remaining shipper not forced out by city decides to use terminal carrier's transload facility and truck material from there, City again files for abandonment and pays railroads off.

Middle of line torn out for trail, South end and north end remain, inactive customer on south end hasn't ship a carload since 2003, and North end hasn't seen a revenue carload since the line's middle was abandoned, and hasn't felt flanged wheels in a year since the last of the storage cars left, along with the only locomotive left on the line.

The real sad thing is that had the city been more co-operative, the line's potential was fairly large, via the terminal railroad, 4 class ones, one regional, and 3 shortlines could be reached, at the time the trail advocates started making a ruckus, business was on the uptick, and there was even talk (which the city didn't support, and thus it didn't go far) of stringing caternary and running "heritage trolleys" between Downtown and a shopping district on the line, and the serving carrier supported this plan, as long as it didn't bring negative affects to the freight business.

The above is my best recollection of events, and I attempted to remove a lot of the bias, but I still fume over this incident.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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In the interest in keeping an eye on the opposition:

I received my NYSSA e-newsletter today (apparently they don't care I haven't paid dues in three years) and it contains a page long "call for support" from ARTA:

http://www.nysnowmobiler.com/Custom_NYSSA/magazines/nyssa_magazine_0114_ezine.pdf?utm_source=The+NYSSA+Online+Magazine+Jan+2014&utm_campaign=jan+2014+ny+snowmobiler+online&utm_medium=email

Quote:
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
The immediate decision on whether to open the Travel Corridor UMP rests with Commissioner Joe Martens of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and Commissioner Joan McDonald of the NY Department of Transportation. Both of these Commissioners need to be urged to make a decision to reopen the UMP for the Railroad Corridor. You may also want to contact your own legislator expressing your support for the re-opening of the UMP and the eventual removal of part of the rail.
Contact DEC Commissioner Martens here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/407.html
Contact DOT Commissioner McDonald here: https://www.dot.ny.gov/main/feedback-form


At least it was buried on page 13.

Even more disturbing though is our Governor Cuomo on the first page supporting snowmobiling. That in it's self is not a bad thing, but the fact that he took part in this event, yet declined to take a train ride this fall (sending his Lt. Governor instead) from Utica to Big Moose is the troublesome part. I guess he thinks snowmobiling (plus the NY S.A.F.E. act) is the better path to the White House than supporting railroads.

Opening up the Unit Management Plan is like opening a can of worms. It could end up being disastrous for all parties. ARTA still maintains that the trail would be built in 2014! What a joke.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:29 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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An interesting item in the NYSSA coverage of Cuomo's "visit" that bears on a prior comment I made:

Remember the $11-odd million in grants made for trail 'grooming'? Apparently these were all made out of the 'Trail Development and Maintenance Fund' -- which is said to be 100% funded out of smowmobile registration revenue.

Snowmobilers aren't likely to go along with the idea of having this fund revenue dissipated on any sort of trail development and maintenance that isn't snowmobile-oriented. Be interesting to see a NYSSA article on how multiple-use support of a converted trail would be apportioned...

I have to wonder if the ARTA folks have shot themselves in the foot already, even with the snowmobile community...

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:33 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:24 am
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J3a-614 wrote:
ARTA has a second Facebook page that one of my contacts says is their "real" page; seems some of them don't like us there, either.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/107243836054598/


There for sure is something alarming about this jackwadd - he and his group fail to understand that this is a operation primarily handled by volunteers, his comments may be factual but have a clear lack of understanding these guys are a business on paper nothing more

my understanding was that the expenses for ASRR were emptying the till on a regular basis and have since (few years back) have restructured and made some wiser financial decisions, if the information is true --- this does not mean that they are not viable --- some would say Amtrak (privatized) is not viable, and in most cases I would Agree, but it does not mean that I do not ride them,

these people have selfish goals, some could argue the same for the ASRR, however given the choice of no operator on the line and a trail, well I would say "find a new place to walk/bike/snowmobile" , ripping apart any rail infrastructure at this point is a hard sell ,to me, simply because the end result will be no further economic growth opportunities, period!, In all likelihood removal = death and not banked for future opportunities

you have an operator, are they perfect, no ,who is? certainly not the clowns at ARTA, its narrow minded to not think about possibilities for future growth, but these trail advocacy groups are not thinking about it, rail services are coming back in many new and strange ways, because fuel prices keep going up, my advise to anyone is to hold on to what exists because as soon as its gone you may find you could have put people to work! and not for a year but perhaps a lifetimes!

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise has published another FUD-filled "Guest Commentary" by the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), in which ARTA again resorts to flinging mud at the railroad:
Adirondack Daily Enterprise "Guest Commentary" - Railroad’s auditors question its viability by Jim McCulley, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) (February 3, 2014)

Just two weeks earlier, the very same newspaper published an article that demonstrates just how much money it actually costs to maintain pathways in the Adirondack Mountains: Adirondack Daily Enterprise - Village wins $761K grant for sidewalks (January 17, 2014)
Here's a short quote of that article:
Quote:
The state has awarded the village $761,600 in federal funds to replace the sidewalks along Lake Flower Avenue....the sidewalk along the road, which is part of state Route 86, is the only pedestrian connection from that business district to the rest of the village...The sidewalk work is expected to take place this spring. It's part of a temporary fix to Lake Flower Avenue that village and state Department of Transportation officials negotiated while a major overhaul of the road remains on DOT's long-term calendar.

The state is spending $761,600 to temporarily fix a short section of sidewalk, entirely within the village. That $761,000 short section sidewalk will be ripped out a few years later when the road is reconstructed. (In September, the village board voted down the rails-to-trail resolution.)

Finally, here is an article about another group that is raising $125,000 to fix a 1-mile long path in the Adirondacks... I am including this because it is another recent data point: Denton Publications: Friends of Poke-O seek funds for Ranger Trail (January 14, 2014)
Here's a short quote from that article:
Quote:
Friends of Mount Poke-O-Moonshine have started a fund raiser called, “Sum(m)it Up for Poke-O,” focused on making needed repairs and renovations to the Ranger Trail, a steep, one mile path leading to the top of the mountain located in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest area....Organizers said they estimate a cost for the project of at least $100,000 and have set a goal of raising $125,000 by 2018, the centennial of the fire tower. So far, they have received over $25,000 in donations and pledges.

I hope the Friends of Poke-O are successful - the Ranger Trail is a really cool hike!

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
And another editorial: Glens Falls Post Star - EDITORIAL: Rail trail proposal will give boost to Adirondacks (February 01, 2014)

The paper claims that removing the track would not be a removal:
Quote:
The best compromise is to embrace the existing reality: Allow the excursion trains to continue where they are working, but take up the tracks along the 80-mile stretch from Old Forge to Saranac Lake.

This would not be a removal but a transformation of transportation infrastructure.

Wouldn't it be great if newspaper readers thought that way? Everyone in Glens Falls could take a daily copy of the "Post Star", neglect to pay for it, and use it to line their bird cage and/or compost pile. That would be ok since 'This would not be a theft but a transformation of newsprint.'

For those of you not familiar with upstate NY geography, Glens Falls is about a 20 minute drive from the Saratoga & North Creek's depot in Saratoga Springs, and a two-hour drive to either Old Forge or Saranac Lake.

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