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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
A commentary from a pro-trail advocate in a newspaper in Utica:

http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/make ... /#comments

At least two of his comments are misleading in my opinion. One is the estimated cost of rehabilitation of $45 million dollars. That's a high end, into the future figure that includes NEW locomotives and cars. How many of us here have that luxury?

The other is the bit about there not being enough people in Utica to patronize the train. Well, tell me, are there enough people living in Durango and Silverton to patronize D&S? Are there enough people in Williams and Grand Canyon Village to patronize Grand Canyon Scenic? Are there enough people in Strasburg, Cherry Hill, and Paradise to patronize the Strasburg Rail Road?

Cass, W.Va. has all of 52 people in it; the population of Whittaker, Spruce, Old Spruce and Bald Knob are all at zero.

I'll let others take this from here.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Text of a letter by pro-trail advocate Jim McCulley, originally printed in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and quoted as shown from The ARTA's "Snow" Facebook page:

To the editor:

The impassioned pleas to save the Adirondack Scenic Railroad need to be put in context.

Railroad proponents claim that those seeking to convert the 90-mile rail corridor from Old Forge to Lake Placid into a world-class recreation trail are opposed to the tourist train south of Old Forge. The truth is that trail advocates wholeheartedly support continued ASR operations from Utica to Old Forge.

In fact, the removal of the tracks north of Old Forge to create a popular bicycle and snowmobile trail may indeed save the tourist train. ASR's 2012 tax return contains a "notice of ability to continue" written by their auditors. The tax return shows that ASR is functionally insolvent and on life support. Without loans from its board members, the tourist train operators would already be out of business.

The tax returns also show that 84 percent of ASR revenue comes from the southern end of the corridor between Utica and Remsen. While ASR claims that extending the railroad would result in more riders, history tells a different story. During its inaugural year of 1992, ASR's tourist train ran just 4 miles and had 55,000 riders. ASR's overall ridership has been on a downward trajectory ever since. To hide this trend and inflate its ridership figures, ASR in 2010 began counting round-trip passengers twice: once going and once coming!

Those who support a trail on the northern section of the corridor (Old Forge to Lake Placid) seek a compromise by supporting the tourist train operation between Utica to Old Forge. But ASR needs to be realistic about the marketability of ever-longer trips. (For good reason, their 9.5-hour excursion from Utica to Big Moose ran for only one year.) And the state should not waste more millions of taxpayer dollars to upgrade the tracks in hope of creating a long-distance tourist train that is destined to fail.

Jim McCulley
Lake Placid

Known (to me) faults in this letter: McCulley implies the railroad chose to change its accounting in 2010. That was not so; it was required by the FRA.

This change in accounting does not explain that ridership was going up both before and after the accounting change.

Finally, the trail will cost far more to build than to restore the whole railroad, and will likely cost more to maintain (in fact, cost of maintenance figures from two sources show this--and make the argument that the State of New York has not spent adequately for its maintenance contract).


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:23 pm 

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

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

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

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

Rail-trails are for recreation, AFTER a railroad has been abandoned; railroads are assets for economic development and the future. The attack on active railroads by the Rail Trail Conservancy need to be met with strong opposition and now is the time.

Jim Falcsik
Irwin, PA


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:05 pm 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:01 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
I am posting excerpts of comments lifted from the Adirondack Almanack article on the NYDOT announcement:

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

A selection of comments supporting the trail:

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

The following comment is by ARTA director Scott Thompson, who owns a restaurant/bar right on the ROW:

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

The following comment is by ARTA director Hope Frenette, who also seems to manage the two ARTA Facebook pages:

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

A selection of comments supporting the railroad:

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

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


The following comment is exceptionally important, from a bicycle dealer/repair shop in Plains, PA:

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

This is a humorous response to a post by ARTA director Frenette:

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


The comment section is popular, but by far the more important place to send a comment is the NYDOT:

Via email; nystravelcorridor@dot.ny.gov

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

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

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


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
A recent post by a trail supporter from the ARTA Facebook Page:

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

No cost to taxpayers?

Wow.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:51 pm 

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

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

No cost to taxpayers?

Wow.


From a letter in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:21 pm 

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

Anyone in attendance, how did it go for ASR?


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Current discussion on an Adirondack Almanack article written by Phil Brown:

Would Rail Trail Cost Taxpayers $20M Or Nothing?

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/ ... nt-1144122

Iron Horse Railway Preservation contends they can do the demo and trail construction for free, using salvaged materials to pay workers, P&O, and trail construction.

The Remsen-Lake Placid corridor is state owned: A question has been asked as to whether or not the rail-trail conversion would be considered public works:

Jim McCulleys response:
ARTA has said they will take over management of the trail and the construction. Just as ASR does not have to follow prevailing wage as a lease holder. The same should apply to ARTA.

From the New York Bureau of Public Works:
Question: What is a Public Works Project?: Answer: A three-prong test is applied to determine whether a particular project is public work and subject to the prevailing wage requirements of Labor Law § 220 and article I, § 17 of the State Constitution. First, a public agency must be a party to a contract involving the employment of laborers, workmen, or mechanics. Second, the contract must concern a project that primarily involves construction-like labor and is paid for by public funds. Third, the primary objective or function of the work product must be the use or other benefit of the general public.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
A quote from the ARTA Facebook Page about the company who is proposing free rail-trail conversion for the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor:

TOM CONNORS: People should know that Joe Hattrup and Iron Horse Preservation Society has a long history of taking forever to complete their obligations. They have removed rail, sold it, and then run out of money to actually install the surface that was promised to municipalities. I am sad to say that I would absolutely not recommend anyone do business with that organization. Very sad to say, but it is true. Years of municipalities trying to get something done as Iron Horse failed to complete the work on time or on budge. Sad.

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


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
jefalcsik wrote:
A quote from the ARTA Facebook Page about the company who is proposing free rail-trail conversion for the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor:

TOM CONNORS: People should know that Joe Hattrup and Iron Horse Preservation Society has a long history of taking forever to complete their obligations. They have removed rail, sold it, and then run out of money to actually install the surface that was promised to municipalities. I am sad to say that I would absolutely not recommend anyone do business with that organization. Very sad to say, but it is true. Years of municipalities trying to get something done as Iron Horse failed to complete the work on time or on budge. Sad.

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


And this and some follow-up comments are on the very pro-trail, anti-rail ARTA page. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
This came up on my Facebook page, though how I came across it I don't know:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 088&type=1

For those who can't get to Facebook, this is a link to an album of four photos, all around the Route 86 grade crossing. Here are the photos in what should be open links accessible by all:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 4f73ecf372

https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... e=54E811D9

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/ ... f5e4b4bf01

https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... e=54DA9A5A

What is most notable about these photos is the date: January 13, 2014. Note how little snow there is at this date, which is about halfway into the snowmobile season.

Here is the text with the album:

Quote:
"These photographs were taken at the Ray Brook railroad crossing with NYS Route 86 on January 13, 2014. As you can see there is very little appreciable snow pack on the Saranac Lake to Lake Placid section of the Remsen-Lake Placid Rail Corridor. This is approaching the halfway mark of the snowmobile use period for the corridor, December 1st through March 31st, and there is very little snow. The only appreciable snow reaching this section of the corridor and allowing sufficient grooming and snowmobile activity here finally occurred in the month of March! The previous 2012-2013 snowmobile usage period fared about as well. Even Jim McCulley [ARTA board member and very aggressive advocate of the trail] publicly stated on an interview aired on a Mountain Lake Journal Extra segment that he went through recent records for trail grooming and he couldn't get on the corridor until late January. With global climate change and highly variable snow pack conditions in the Adirondacks, are we going to sacrifice this potentially valuable rail infrastructure to allow for a few additional weeks of adequate snowmobile usage? We think NOT!"


Below are the following comments from this album:

Quote:

Rusty Russum Amen
13 hours ago · Like

Pete Snyder The snowfall is unpredictable. There is more reliable snow for snowmobiling on the south end due to lake effect snow... I have cut brush and worked on the track late in the season many years. As you say it's a short window season wise for snowmobiling up here.
13 hours ago · Like · 1

Rusty Russum Now some might agree that snowfall up here in this area TL-LP is not as good as on the Thendara end. I remember that for the 1980 games we had to truck snow in from Canada. Riding the train up we all said, "Where's the snow?" Now watch the folks who want the trail ignore the facts and start pushing for bikes and walkers; completely brushing aside the snowmobile idea.
13 hours ago · Like · 1

Friends of the Rails - Adirondack Rail Corridor In some respects it would be nice to have a good old fashioned Adirondack snowfall this season so the tracks could get suitably covered so the snowmobile community can have their fun to their hearts delight during the Winter months. We don't begrudge them that! What we take serious issue with is the removal of the rails just because "Mother Nature" has dealt them a bad hand as far as the snow pack in recent seasons. Blaming the rails for this shortcoming is ludicrous and eliminating valuable rail infrastructure which would be next to impossible to replace is pure folly! This infrastructure destruction just so they can achieve a few more weeks of activity during a low snow pack year is truly NUTS!
12 hours ago · Like

Pete Snyder Agreed, I too am happy when they have deep enough snow to run on it, why not- but as you say, it usually is only for a matter of weeks, maybe a month but not usually much more. In the meantime when the snow is less, people can still cross country ski or snowshoe or hike etc no problem with the rail in place. It seems such a crazy idea to tear all the infrastructure out for such a short snowmobile season. More, there has been plenty of press lately about the new younger generations forgoing cars and buying houses etc.
12 hours ago · Like · 1

Pete Snyder hmmm. And those younger people want "transit" to get around... Eventually, if the Adirondack's want tourists, they will need alternative ways to get here because they won't own a car. It is a real trend.
12 hours ago · Like · 1

Rusty Russum Good argument, Pete, we are all but cut off up here, one flight or two a day to Boston, and one bus a day to Albany nothing else exists. So let's keep the rail and get some vendor to offer two or three faster trains a day...
11 hours ago · Like · 1

Jamie Sheffield I'd love to see the rails torn out and the space made into trails for snowmobiles and bikes and skiers and walkers ... that seems of more potential use to the area than an expensive retrofit of tracks that lead to Utica.
11 hours ago · Like

Friends of the Rails - Adirondack Rail Corridor Jamie Sheffield, Its still a free country and you are entitled to your own opinion and unlike the ARTA Facebook sites who vehemently censor any dissenting posts like some sort of Moscow Politburo, we well let your comment remain - for now. Just the ty...See More
9 hours ago · Edited · Like

Bruce Young Jamie: Why can't there be both? Are we running out of available land around here? I think not. Besides, the rail-line is open (what seems like) 90% of the time -- so quitcherbitchin' and get on the rail-line, man.
37 minutes ago · Like

David Lubic Bruce, in fairness to Jamie, the place where this railroad runs is the Adirondack Park in New York, which has been designated a wilderness area with very severe restrictions on new construction; that would include a new parallel trail.

Having said that, there are also questions of whether the trail would be built once the railroad was taken out. Those same people who have been backing the snowmobile people are also alleged to be behind an idea of eventually removing all powered equipment from the Adirondacks, even all settlements. Sounds wild, I know, but that's some of the talk that's around, and there is some evidence to give it a bit of credibility.

There are other alternatives. Some are a combination of existing roads, a limited amount of new construction outside the delicate area, and some existing trails that already parallel the railroad. However, the trail people have claimed this isn't adequate, that what they want amounts to a superhighway for snowmobiles.

The bad thing--snowmobile registrations are down in New York by about 33% in the last 10 years or so; this includes snowmobiles from out of state that are registered to operate in New York (a state requirement, which includes a license fee that goes to trail maintenance). Snowmobile sales have declined even more--50% in the last 10 years, and an amazing 66% in the last 16 years! In my opinion, for whatever reason or reasons (Poor economy? Aging population? Replacement by ATVs, which can run year round?) the snowmobile trade is in such serious trouble that any claims its proponents make about growth from their business should be taken with a dose of salt.
10 minutes ago · Like


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Well, one day after the public comment period for the future of the Remsen-Lake Placid rail corridor expires, the Governor of New York makes the following announcement:

http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governo ... evelopment

Note the very first bullet:

"Adirondack Railway Preservation Society of Utica, Oneida County, received $791,000 to construct a maintenance and repair facility in Utica for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad;"

This represents some strong support for the railroad. This is a significant signal the railroad has the ear of the Governor.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:13 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Just some aggravation from ARTA Green; am curious as to who NCRA is:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =1&theater

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 91b29cc435


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
The Onion, America's Finest News Source recently published an article about Lake Placid:

The Onion: ‘Miracle On Ice’ Players Wondering If They Can Reunite Somewhere Other Than Lake Placid

An excerpt:
Quote:
LAKE PLACID, NY—Telling reporters that they would be open to hundreds of other cities and towns across the country, members of the 1980 “Miracle On Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team openly wondered Wednesday whether their next reunion could be held anywhere other than Lake Placid.....“I hate to say this, but c’mon, this place is a ----hole. Maybe we could put on our old Team USA jerseys and get together somewhere warm like Miami or Los Angeles. Hell, even going two hours south to Albany would be a big improvement on this dump.”

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Personal Website Last Updated in 1996


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