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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041
I'll just leave this here...

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:19 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
daylight4449 wrote:
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/539789/Makings-of-a-successful-rail-trail.html?nav=5041
I'll just leave this here...


Didn't see any response to this from the trail people yet, but I think someone will say something like this:

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041

I would say you have topped this fellow's comment about "the strangest criticism!"

I noticed your "comments" about taverns, which reminded me that someone from up there, I believe in Saratoga Springs, writing on a high-speed rail page, made a comment along the lines of how the snowmobile operators liked to buzz along the trail to the taverns, where they would get a buzz, and then buzz their motors some more, including buzzing off the trail. . .

And one other thing: as I recall, this was originally an essay for a writing class. What sort of grade or commentary did you get from your instructor?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:57 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
J3a-614 wrote:
daylight4449 wrote:
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/539789/Makings-of-a-successful-rail-trail.html?nav=5041
I'll just leave this here...


Didn't see any response to this from the trail people yet, but I think someone will say something like this:

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041

I would say you have topped this fellow's comment about "the strangest criticism!"

I noticed your "comments" about taverns, which reminded me that someone from up there, I believe in Saratoga Springs, writing on a high-speed rail page, made a comment along the lines of how the snowmobile operators liked to buzz along the trail to the taverns, where they would get a buzz, and then buzz their motors some more, including buzzing off the trail. . .

And one other thing: as I recall, this was originally an essay for a writing class. What sort of grade or commentary did you get from your instructor?

I still haven't gotten the paper back. I'll ask the professor about it when I see her today...

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
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Location: NJ
Sorry, but I don't really feel that this is the best place for sarcasm. Some people may not realize that this piece is intended as sarcasm, and may take it quite seriously. It amazes me sometimes how poorly the public reads and how little they really understand.

Just my opinion...


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Interesting points in the debate; full text of a letter to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, provided courtesy of Bill Hutchinson:

Beware of ARTA’s numbers
November 6, 2013
By James Falcsik

As a resident of western Pennsylvania, I offer comments to my northern neighbors based on the unique position of having owned a retail business 100 feet from a trail, and having lived and raised a family in the shadow of the Great Allegheny Passage.

I take issue with three items the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates put forth in their argument for removing the tracks that are misleading or disturbing:

1. ARTA believes rail-trail conversion and maintenance is at substantially lower cost than railroad support from the public sector.

2. ARTA commissioned economic impact analysis to support their position that thousands of trail users will add revenue dollars to the region.

3. ARTA has shunned the environmentally friendly railroad industry in favor of thousands of personal internal combustion recreational vehicles.

Rail-trail organizations are publicly funded. They are organized as 501(c)3 tax-exempt entities, soliciting public grants and private donations; they are required to file federal Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service, as did ARTA, EIN 45-4752327. Maintenance and improvement costs are usually spread out over sub-chapters organized in the trail towns. Determining the actual cost of yearly trail maintenance, repairs, mowing, administration, fundraising, etc., can be difficult unless all sub-chapter organizations are identified and financial data acquired. Websites like http://www.guidestar.org are helpful to find this public information. Because rail trails are considered linear parks, counties may include budgeted funds in their parks and recreation departments for maintenance, etc.

To illustrate my point, here in Westmoreland County, Pa., the mother-ship trail organization is the Regional Trail Corporation, formed in 1991 and headquartered in West Newton, Pa. The RTC is responsible for maintaining 43 miles of trail, known locally as the Youghiogheny River Trail, which is part of the GAP. The RTC also has responsibility for four smaller rail trails in the area, and its most recent Form 990 filing lists the following information:

EIN # 25-1660116

2011 RTC total income: $2,324,817, total grants $1,994,413

2011 expenses: $347,095

Assets: $21,122,276

2011 government grants: $1,171,377

2007 through 2011 total public support: $15,386,880

2011 public support: 97.94 percent.

An active railroad will generate income by providing a service to the private sector. Most passenger rail operations in the U.S. are subsidized. Freight, a moot point for now on this corridor, can generate enough revenue to be self-sufficient. By removing the railroad asset and creating a recreational trail, continued public funding in perpetuity could be expensive and considered “redistribution” as each trail chapter seeks local funding or government grants.

Economic studies cited by ARTA should be viewed with a wary eye by government officials and the public, especially when making economic decisions that affect the general population.

In order to legitimize their position, ARTA commissioned the national Rail Trail Conservancy to perform an economic impact analysis of the rail corridor for $25,000. ARTA discounts a study conducted by Camoin Associates, which reported much lower visitor numbers and revenues. Regarding economic impact studies, Texas A&M Professor John L. Crompton, Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences, writes, “The motives of a study’s sponsor invariably dictate the study’s outcome.” Additional cautions from Crompton include the following:

There is temptation to adopt inappropriate procedures and assumptions to generate high impact numbers.

Sometimes errors are committed deliberately to mislead stakeholders.

Mischievous manipulation involves abusing one of four principles: exclusion of local residents, exclusion of time-switchers and casuals, use of personal income rather than sales output for economic impact, and careful interpretation of employment data.

Local residents and “time-switchers” should not be included in economic impact studies because they do not inject new funds into the region. The Camoin study removed all local visitors from their summary. In the ARTA submittal, the economic impact table for six existing trails relies on local users in some examples for up to 63 percent of annual expenditure projections.

Personal income data, rarely used by tourism advocates because results are several times lower than sales figures, is the most meaningful information that should be considered by elected officials and the residents participating in this debate. After all, citizens of the region affected will be interested to know how tourism and economic development will affect their financial well-being.

As an example, portions of the Great Allegheny Passage trail have been in use for more than 27 years. Comparing U.S. census data from 2000 and 2010 in several prominent trail towns, although not a scientific survey, one may find answers about the economic impact of the trail. Between West Newton, Pa., and Cumberland, Md., of six towns reviewed, five of six experienced population loss, and four of six experienced median per-capita income growth lower than the state average. The worst performer was Connellsville: population loss 17.1 percent and 12 percent slower income growth. West Newton, home of the Regional Trail Corporation, experienced population loss of 14.6 percent and 3 percent slower income growth.

Railroads are a green industry. Moving passengers by rail, or freight in the future, is efficient and cost-effective. A train of only 10 freight cars will carry the same freight that would require 40 long-haul tractor-trailers. Some commentary writers ask, “How many of the engines burning this diesel fuel would be low-emission, EPA-regulated diesel engines?” Well, perhaps two, or three on a good day. Once the tracks are gone, so goes the enormous potential for economic development with a proven, environmentally friendly, volume-based transportation system. Directors of the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates include a professional environmentalist and others committed to conservancy issues. It is very ironic they would form a coalition with, as some would describe, “reckless, carbon-footprint-spewing, internal-combustion snowmobilers.” This unusual marriage of ideology and departure from the roots of environmentalism is cause for questioning the motive.



James Falcsik lives in Irwin, Pa.



References:

http://www.guidestar.org

Crompton, Texas A&M: agrilife.org/cromptonrpts/files/2011/06/3_5_8.pdf

Crompton: “Economic Impact Studies: Instruments for Political Shenanigans?” agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/cromptonrpts/files/2011/06/3_9_3.pdf

http://www.sedacograil.org/Pages/Home.aspx

http://www.clintoncountypa.com/resource ... s/12.30.10 percent20- percent20Railroads percent20and percent20the percent20Marcellus percent20Shale.pdf

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases ... 85891.html

http://www.carloadexpress.com/

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5256

censusviewer.com/city/PA/West percent20Newton

http://www.zip-codes.com/zip-code/15089 ... arison.asp

http://www.city-data.com/income/income- ... vania.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Smithton- ... vania.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Connellsv ... vania.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Meyersdal ... vania.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Frostburg-Maryland.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Cumberland-Maryland.html


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:04 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I've had this up before (and to be honest, forgot I had it up before--ugh, is senility settling in?), but it's handy to have it here to go with the letter above as reference to the cost numbers the trail people have.

From what I’ve seen, the railroad is self-sufficient operationally. The trains pay for themselves and generate an operating profit. There is no operating subsidy, and no long-term debt.

The railroad is reimbursed for track maintenance; this is the “subsidy” the ARTA (trail group) complains about. This includes brush cutting, tree removal, washout repairs, and electricity to operate crossing signals, as listed by ARTA. This has come to $1,418,000.00 over the last nine years for the entire 119 mile corridor. This works out to an average a bit under $158,000.00 per year, and works out in turn to $1,324.00 per mile per year. An item of note is that the ARTA’s list doesn’t seem to include railroad-specific work, such as tie replacement or line-and-surface work other than the repair of sun kinks. That $1,324.00 per mile is close to my estimate of $1,000.00 per mile for a secondary road, based on information from a highway financial report from 20 years ago.

Interestingly, the ARTA estimates trail maintenance to be somewhat higher, on the order of $1,500.00 per mile per year. See this report from the ARTA; relevant section starts on page 15:

http://www.adkaction.org/files/public/R ... -Study.pdf

An important question to ask is where the money for trail maintenance will come from. Is it to come from toll booths? Is it to come from a gas tax? Or will it come from general revenues as a subsidy?


Last edited by J3a-614 on Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 964
Location: Leicester, MA.
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041
Well, I think that someone has struck a corde with ARTA...

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
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Quote:
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5041
Well, I think that someone has struck a corde with ARTA...


That is easily the biggest piece of garbage opinion piece I have read yet. They have no problem attacking rail supporters that post on their Facebook page, who are simply posting well thought out comments and facts, with comments like "crazy choo-choo fanatics" and "we want a trail and don't care about your stupid train" but they have the arrogance to go public with "stop attacking us, we are only trying to destroy something you care about". They also care little about the flat lies and mistruths they tell about the railroad, but "please don't counter our opinions with your facts". They expect us to consider it a "win" that the tracks will stay in place south of Old Forge? What a joke. Are they entitled to do with them as they please and no one told us? They are so sure that they have won, they haven't even noticed that they are losing the battle. NYS DOT is not happy with the way they have conducted themselves (oh yes ARTA folks, they are watching) and while I'm not saying in any way that the vandalism was an ARTA sanctioned act, it was definitely 100% anti-railroad approved and reflects on them anyway. It looks as though they are now grasping at straws trying to drum up their own sympathy while at the same time continuing to propagate the idea that the trail will be cheap to build and maintain. Why should anybody give them any sympathy? They are a special interest group with questionable motives trying to enact change within New York State to undermine an established and popular business to make personal gains, while deceiving the general public at the same time. I say well done to whomever ruffled their feathers (provided it was not in a school-yard manner). It is forcing their true colors to show.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:59 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
traingeek8223 wrote:
They are so sure that they have won, they haven't even noticed that they are losing the battle. NYS DOT is not happy with the way they have conducted themselves (oh yes ARTA folks, they are watching)


Out of curiosity, can you confirm that the NYS DOT is getting upset with the trail people? It would feel mighty good to know that--and as others here have pointed out, we do have honest, reliable numbers. Even the ARTA has a cost figure for railroad maintenance that is less than what they anticipate the trail will cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:18 am
Posts: 155
When I confronted them on the issue of the railroad's sabotage, the ARTA directed attacks at me, decrying that since I know about railroads, people like me would be responsible for the sabotage. I personally find it incredible that they believe some of the stuff they say. I am sorry to say that although I do not think it was the right thing to do, I feel I had to retract my statement because these guys might be "sue" crazy.

I think they should be reminded of the many dual-railtrails in existence.(5 Star Trail, Greensburg-Youngwood PA, GAP between Frostburg-Cumberland,MD, etc.) This is the same way we killed the anti "Steam into History" groups. Facts directed at them showing the benefits of Dual-Use trails and the viability of them. It may be the only way to get through to these people, on how things can be favorable. In the Anti-"Steam into History" group however, they failed because their leader could not take any Criticism or Facts from the other side before blowing up and removing all credibility from the movement. (The Group of about 150 folded just days after the criticism.)

The Adirondack Rail Trail Association, however, can take criticism without the same results. They also have a support base of a few thousand. The only way that I can foresee any sort of compromise is if the group's moderate-Anti rail people were to see the ways of successful dual-integration of Rails and Trails. The Leadership cannot be reasoned with as they are completely Anti-Rail, with no hope of compromise. Replace the leadership with more favorable people, like a moderate, and the chance of reasoning increases.

Just my thoughts and observations on how the ARTA and similar groups function, and how they are structured, what they believe, Etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:08 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
Quote:
can you confirm that the NYS DOT is getting upset with the trail people?


I can only confirm what I have been told by people with the railroad that have said, yes, DOT people are very unhappy over the vandalism and the way that several ARTA members have conducted themselves online and in the papers. This does not mean that DOT has made their decision (many of us believe that this is simply a show of fairness and DOT will never decide to remove existing infrastructure), but rather, it means that the people that will help to make the decision have taken notice, and do not like the way the anti-rail people are conducting themselves.

Quote:
I feel I had to retract my statement because these guys might be "sue" crazy


I have all but been told this by one of ARTAs directors face to face. When I introduced myself as a rail supporter I was told that "you people have a lot of nerve talking to us the way you do. Some have even suggested that I do some things to myself that are anatomically impossible. We have taken note of all the things that you people (he had to say that twice) have said and you are just lucky we don't want to push the point because we could press charges and really make you guys look foolish". I will point out that this was the first thing said to me after I shook his hand, gave my name and mentioned that I post on another railroad forum that he lurks on. These people are crazy but they are not stupid (arrogant yes) and I wouldn't put pursuing a lawsuit past them. That is one reason no one should engage in school-yard tactics, instead relying on facts and well thought out arguments (maturity would be the other).

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2070
"I play with trains"

"I play with snow mobiles, ATV's and bicycles."

It all gets childish.

Again this is where multiple interests need to become cooperative and everybody exists in harmony. And thats having a dual rail/trail, and not "its my way and not your way"
Someone wants to dominate and destroy the other.

It won't happen when the train gets hackered, someone is in big trouble there.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:55 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
cood101 wrote:
I think they should be reminded of the many dual-railtrails in existence.(5 Star Trail, Greensburg-Youngwood PA, GAP between Frostburg-Cumberland,MD, etc.) This is the same way we killed the anti "Steam into History" groups. Facts directed at them showing the benefits of Dual-Use trails and the viability of them. It may be the only way to get through to these people, on how things can be favorable. In the Anti-"Steam into History" group however, they failed because their leader could not take any Criticism or Facts from the other side before blowing up and removing all credibility from the movement. (The Group of about 150 folded just days after the criticism.)

The Adirondack Rail Trail Association, however, can take criticism without the same results. They also have a support base of a few thousand. The only way that I can foresee any sort of compromise is if the group's moderate-Anti rail people were to see the ways of successful dual-integration of Rails and Trails. The Leadership cannot be reasoned with as they are completely Anti-Rail, with no hope of compromise. Replace the leadership with more favorable people, like a moderate, and the chance of reasoning increases.

Just my thoughts and observations on how the ARTA and similar groups function, and how they are structured, what they believe, Etc.


In my opinion, the Adirondack Rail Trail Association at least partially suffers from a generational factor. I've mentioned this before; a short version is that people born prior to 1930 and those after 1953 tend to either be pro-rail or at least are not anti-rail, while those born between about 1930 to about 1953 can be stridently anti-rail. The reasoning is that this reflects the attitudes toward railroads at the time they would have come of age, which is around 20 or so (this is when your views of things crystalize). Those born before 1930 grew up with trains as part of the landscape, while those born after 1953 grew up with both too many cars, the first of several oil crunches, increasing environmentalism, and new electronic gizmos that make cars old-fashioned. The group in the middle mostly came of age and grew up in an era when cars were very ascendant and trains were supposed to go the way of the stagecoach, and any talk of reviving rail is turning back progress. At least one very prominent and wealthy member of its board of directors, and likely some others, would fit this demographic.

In the case of at least some members of ARTA, this includes what some have claimed to be extreme environmentalism. For people of this persuasion, the railroad is an industrial facility that intrudes upon nature (One wishes these people would read Alfred Runte's "Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation."). A variation might be the people who complain about the smoke and "pollution" from the Strasburg's steam locomotives, but are blissfully ignorant of the much larger amount of pollution from autos and trucks, due to sheer numbers, or of the power plant near Strasburg that burns more coal in four hours than the railroad does in a year. It has been charged that at least one person on the ARTA board of directors may actually be out to not only kill the railroad, but to sabotage the snowmobile trail, too, that he is actually planning to "con" the snowmobile crowd. That may be a bunch of hooey; certainly the snowmobile people have vigorously denied it.

traingeek8223 wrote:
These people are crazy but they are not stupid (arrogant yes) and I wouldn't put pursuing a lawsuit past them. That is one reason no one should engage in school-yard tactics, instead relying on facts and well thought out arguments (maturity would be the other).


Absolutely agree!! Schoolyard tactics should be left to the opposition, which has engaged in them. We don't need them, and indeed, they are counterproductive.

Our goal is not to convince these trail people; they are like Chester A. Riley of the radio show, "The Life of Riley," who would proclaim of his opinions and decisions, "That's it! My head's made up!" Rather, we need to convince the great many people who are NOT rail enthusiasts, and who may or may not be snowmobilers, hikers, and the like and who are not necessarily anti-railroad, that we have a case, and that the trail people are full of beans. Facts and well thought-out and respectful commentary are the weapons we need to use. The on-line commentary on North Country Public Radio's weblog page has included words to the effect that some didn't realize the railroad cost as little as it did, and none of that was for operations, and it altered their view of the case. Quoting some of the material that has appeared on ARTA's Facebook page (i.e., "blue hairs", and by the site administrator no less) in a "pot calling the kettle black" bit may have also had an effect--or at least I hope it has.

It might be me, but the most recent material on the ARTA's Facebook page looks just a little subdued compared to what's been up there in the past. Given their long and noisy history, plus what might be questionable numbers and "facts," I wouldn't expect it to last, much less to represent a change of heart.

P.S.: I also recommend we read "Allies of the Earth," both to argue our case--and just because I think it's a good book.

http://tsup.truman.edu/item.asp?itemId=277

I'll add that "Allies of the Earth" is in many ways a sequel and follow-up to Runte's "Trains Of Discovery: Railroads and the Legacy of Our National Parks," which I imagine many here may have seen.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/re ... -parks8557


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Another radio story on the sabotage incident:

http://wamc.org/post/railroad-officials ... c-railroad

At the time of this posting, there are three comments. The one by John Garesche is from a fellow in Kingston, a trail supporter who naturally wants to see the Catskill Mountain Railroad go away. Steve Porter is also from the Hudson Valley, and is a railroad supporter. NCPR Observer is someone from the Adirondacks who has made favorable comments about the railroad at the NCPR site.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:49 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Some material that came up from "All Aboard for Ashokan" that might be of interest:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/resourc ... ncreasing/

http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/ ... x.html#/1/

I find it amazingly ironic that we should be able to help ourselves by helping the trail people, but at least some of the trail people think the only way they can win is by destroying us.


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