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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:49 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
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Here is some news about the Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway, a tourist attraction about 10 miles down the road from the ASRR's Lake Placid station: Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Governor commits $12 Million to fix Whiteface highway
Quote:
WILMINGTON - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state will invest $12 million to repair Whiteface Mountain Veterans' Memorial Highway, a major tourist attraction for the region. The money will also be used to repair the toll house at the road's base, the castle at its top, near the mountain's summit, and an elevator inside the mountain, leading to its peak. The funds will come from NY Works, the governor's infrastructure program.

Th memorial highway is an 8-mile long, 25 mph toll road to the top of the 4,867-foot high Whiteface Mountain, New York State's fifth-highest peak. At the end of the road, there is a castle built from native stone, a restaurant and gift shop, and an elevator carved deep inside the mountain up to the top itself.

According to the Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway website, the toll road's 2013 Summer Rates were:

Vehicle and Driver: $10
Each Additional Passenger: $7
Bicycles $6
Groups of 20 or more - $6 per person plus one free entry per 20 purchased tickets

The website also says they offer Castle Dinners, which cost $69 for a family style dinner including one glass of wine. A cash bar is also available.

I'm glad to see that the memorial highway is being attended to; it is a wonderful place to visit. However, the $12 million for 5 miles of roadway makes the $16 million for 70 miles of track seem like quite a bargain!

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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And I would bet my left kidney that no one at ARTA has a problem with this project.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Another news item; don't know whether it will be good or bad.

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/ ... ent-451745


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:36 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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Quote:
Another news item; don't know whether it will be good or bad.

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/ ... ent-451745



Left my two cents in the comment section. It amazes me the arguments that the trail people continue to use. I personally like the one about not being able to afford a train ticket but he will use the trail because it is free. There is some economic stimulation for ya! Take note of that comment Tupper Lake. And they continue to say that leaving the tracks south of Thendara (Old Forge) is a compromise! I thought us train people were crazy. These people really live in a fantasy world.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
traingeek8223 wrote:
Left my two cents in the comment section. It amazes me the arguments that the trail people continue to use. I personally like the one about not being able to afford a train ticket but he will use the trail because it is free. There is some economic stimulation for ya! Take note of that comment Tupper Lake. And they continue to say that leaving the tracks south of Thendara (Old Forge) is a compromise! I thought us train people were crazy. These people really live in a fantasy world.


I like how the trail people are actually giving us ammunition. Here's a comment by a Pete Nelson:

Quote:
There are multiple comments piling up about how expensive it will be to create and maintain a recreational trail. These are fictions and grossly misrepresent the real situation.

The reasons rail trails are so successful across the country is that they are not that expensive to do and thus provide a large cost/benefit. In Wisconsin where I live and which pioneered rail trails, the economic wins for towns are legendary and repeated over and over as new trails get converted. This is what we risk giving up if we don’t build this great trail.

Here is a link to data compiled by a Milwaukee County – thus not an advocacy group – as they studied costs to build more trails. Note that they were comparing to asphalt, something not contemplated for the Adirondack Rail Trail. Crushed stone is much cheaper to build with, a little more to maintain.

http://www.americantrails.org/resources ... tcost.html

As you can see, the numbers are nowhere near as some are representing above. And this is just one example of data. There are hundreds more. Don’t trust me: go look for yourselves.


And here is my reply:

Quote:
Thank you for the information on trail construction cost and maintenance. The numbers in that study are close to the ones I’ve been using.

For the record, the minimum trail maintenance cost is about $1,200 per year, which is just under what the state has been spending on the railroad over the last 9 years. ARTA’s $1,500 per mile estimate is in there, too. Others cost more, up to around $2,000 per mile, and a railroad can run more than that, but this one hasn’t, and some, notably the Catskill Mountain line in Ulster County, does it for a good deal less.

Construction cost on asphalt trails have run from just under $150,000 per mile to a little over $300,000 per mile. Using a realistic railroad reopening cost of $16 million for 60 miles of line comes to $266,666 per mile, higher than some trails but not as high as some others.

Costwise, all this looks like a wash. The questions revolve then around economic benefit. The trail people are making claims that all these people will come to ride and bike and spend money, but real experience in some other places suggests this is a mixed bag. The railroad does have a current and measurable impact, and in my opinion, will be needed in the future.

An interesting point, and one I’m going to have to try to find somewhere, is to find how the railroad has been expanding its operation over the years. It started out with only about 4 miles of open line at the south end, and now has a total of nearly 60 miles open, with some track authorized for 40 mph (maximum currently allowed on a “dark” railroad without a block signal system). The available photos suggest an alignment that could be good for speeds considerably higher than this. The question is, how did they expand their line? ARTA’s list of what the reimbursements paid for doesn’t seem to include full rehabilitation costs, only maintenance of what is there. Has the railroad been paying for its expansion and reopening of more track on its own? If so, it’s a bargain for the taxpayer, although obviously the progress is slow.

Something to check up on. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Has anyone done a comparative study of what the current ASRR organization could do with the money the trail conversion people are proposing to spend to tear up the track and replace it with a trail? That could be a real eye-opener for those who have not made up their minds in terms of bang for taxpayer buck.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:21 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
This letter to the editor is an endorsement for turning the Catskill Mountain Railroad into a trail, but the applicable item is a comment that is posted below:

http://www.dailyfreeman.com/opinion/201 ... for-rejoin

Quote:
If the Rail with Trail people don't get better organized regarding public relations, and orchestrate a letter writing campaign as good or better than the one being used by the trail only people, the train is going to disappear. Public opinion is formed more by repeatedly reminding people of your opinion than by any rational or logical discussions.--Wally Again


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
In trying to make the case for the Adirondack, I'm trying to find out something.

From what I'm reading, the road has no operating subsidy and no long-term debt. It does get "reimbursed" for what it spends on track maintenance, and I know it provides its own equipment. The big question is, how has it paid for its track rehabilitation from an original 4 miles to the 50 or 60 it runs on now? My impression is that it has paid for this by pursuing grants and with at least some of its own money, which at least technically isn't a subsidy from the taxpayer. Can anyone confirm, correct, or expand upon this? I haven't had too much luck looking beyond what you see above.

And a second question, more for the "Railfanning" page but here as a convenience, is what did the NYC run on the Adirondack Division in the steam era? All the photos I've been able to find show 4-6-2s, primarily 70-inch drivered K-11s (which, like similar engines on the Lackawanna and the Lehigh Valley, were considered dual-service or freight locomotives). I do imagine something else ran up there, but what?

Thanks in advance. . .


Last edited by J3a-614 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:51 pm 

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J3a-614

The initial 4 1/2 miles of operation, plus the expansion 6 miles to Carter Station were done with mostly volunteer labor and grant money. After that NY State, through the support former Governor Pataki, funded re-habilitation of the trackage south to Remsen in 1997 and the Lake Placid-Saranac Lake section, plus spot repair in between for equipment moves, in 2000-01. These were all in the form of state grants and was the "State's end of the bargain" for restoration. The railroad did the actual hiring of contractors and oversaw the rehab work. Upon Governor Pataki's departure from office, he allocated another round of grant money to rehab the sections of track between Carter and Big Moose and Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. This was in 2003(?) and the Spitzer administration found a way to divert that money downstate instead. This was the last time state grants have been given to the railroad for track rehab, and I believe the Big Moose extension completed last year was only a long delayed and fought for result of that last round. Someone from the railroad would know more probably. Absolutely zero state money has gone into equipment, salaries or other expenses. The railroad runs self-sufficiently.

As for the steam era, K-11s (and some K-14s) were probably 90% of the motive power on the line for both freight and passenger trains, although a few 2-6-0 and 2-8-2 (unsure of the exact classes) could be found too. Engine terminals were located in Utica and Malone with a small one located in Tupper Lake. In those days the line was still a major link for the NYC between New York and Montreal and the line saw a lot of traffic. Double headers were very common.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Thank you, Matt, for your information.

I'm not a New York Central fan--my "handle" here tells you I'm a big C&O enthusiast--but I'm beginning to become one because of this Adirondack Division. Sort of a backwoods segment of the NYC perhaps, but a pretty and interesting one, and certainly not in the image of what one would think of the road! It would almost be a dream railroad if the whole thing could be reopened, with the Amtrak connection in Utica, pretty scenery, and attractive restored stations, and (maybe) a decent destination for those proposed Pullman passengers at Lake Placid.

Most interesting that 4-6-2s so dominated the power situation on the line; bet you wish one or two were still around for service there today (and, as some have suggested, such an engine might be ideal for a lot of tourist operations), and of course there was the oddity that this division used oil-fired locomotives in summer because of the fire hazard.

I also find it most interesting that this line once went to Montreal; I was under the impression it had always terminated in Lake Placid. I wonder how many people may wish that connection was still around. Probably something that couldn't be reopened today, though, not unless the segment north has been railbanked or is a trail. Whooee, can you imagine the squawks if reopening that route were proposed today?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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This line has always been interesting, from it's construction days as "Webb's Folly" to it's twice now resurrection, once for service to the Winter Olympics and once by "a group of railfans". The line is certainly is out of character with the "Water Level Route" but still feels like the New York Central, and it certainly has all the ingredients to be a world class tourist railroad: A major city with Amtrak service at it's beginning; miles of bridges, rock cuts, mountains, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands; several 80 to 100 year old stations, and small towns with local stores and restaurants along the line; and a major mountain resort town at the very end of the line as a destination (plus Old Forge in the middle is no slouch either). Add to that a not-for-profit, volunteer based organization to operate it with clean, vintage equipment and you easily have what should be something very special that everybody can enjoy and be proud of. Certainly that is the way it was for at least the first ten years of the Adirondack Scenic's existence. Then enter a few loud individuals with ideas that differ from these, who's egotistical entitlement has led them to believe that they can do what they please with someone else's property, who then set out on a campaign to stir the pot to near riot-like levels through mis-information and general propaganda and you end up with the situation were are dealing with today. I truly get sad when I compare the excitement surrounding the railroad in the mid to late 90's to what it is now. It is still there though, hidden under all the mud that has been slung it's way. It will be a devastating blow to the die-hard volunteers and supporters who have worked tirelessly toward the goal of restoring the line all the way to Lake Placid if even one stick of rail is removed. And what of the memory of the people who have passed, some so passionate that they wrote songs of the lines history and rebirth, or believed in it so that they left donations in their will, or in the case of one of it's founders, literally gave the last moments of their life working to make sure the "work got done". ARTA cares none for any of this. They instead try to convince us that tearing out 90 miles of railroad is a "compromise".

Sorry for babbling. I'm tired.

Anyone interested in the history of the line pre-1980 should pick up the book "Fairy Tail Railroad" by Henry A. Harter, or, for a more technical guide to what was where and in what year, the book "Mountain Railroads of New York State: Where Did the Tracks Go in the Central Adirondacks" by Michael Kudish

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:48 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
traingeek8223 wrote:
Sorry for babbling. I'm tired.


No apologies necessary. I probably do too much of that at any time! In fact, I kind of got accused of that by another fellow named Matt up on the current discussion, who says I'm "angry." He's the one who said he couldn't afford a ticket, but he is a local cross-country skier, so unless he's really using old equipment or something, he likely has more money than I do!

If you haven't done so, check out the later comments by a fellow who is simply using the name of "Mark" (and I have a bit of a conversation with him, too). I think you'll appreciate his thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:44 am 

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The line originally travelled north to Montreal via Malone and split off the Adirondack at Lake Clear Junction between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. The section between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid was originally D&H (dual guage) and deadended in Lake Placid. That line came in via the north and northeast from Plattsburgh. D&H pulled back in 1947 and leased the Saranac-Placid segment to NYC. The Saranac Lake and Lake Placid Stations are thus D&H style.

There is a great Trains article in the September 1950 edition by Philip Hastings with nice photos of the Pacifics in operation.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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Sitting here digesting my turkey dinner and surfing the net trying to fight off the sleepys when I stumble into this excellent video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4MPCuoJyQ

It's on the long side (45 min) but it shows a round table discussion with the Railroad's side of the story. The two spokespeople (Bill Branson and Dave Link, two of the Adirondack Scenic's best) do a very good job showing where the railroad stands on many of the current issues and sheds some light on why and what they are doing in regards to the "trail" (anti-rail as I call it) movement.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Just keeping an eye on things:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/30/ne ... +-+Text%29

Sadly the bulk of the article seems to be behind a paywall. It also may be that the railroad was not present or not represented in the interviews for the article, although with out being able to look at the whole thing I can't say that with certainty.


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