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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:22 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3053
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
An Adirondack Almanack story, which looks much the same as that published in another link, but with comments by readers:

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/ ... l#comments

Of particular note is this comment, way down the string, from Keith Gorgas:

Keith Gorgas says:

October 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

There is an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, dating back to 1974 that clearly states that NY State doesn’t own a lot of the land under the Right of Way. We know from people near the top of DOT that they have been warning the DEC of this for at least the past 4 years. DEC had on their website, during the public hearing process, that they had full ownership, Even the land that the DEC claims to own between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake was not taken via court proceedings, and will not stand up to legal challenge. The state simply declared that they owned it. The fifth amendment of the constitution has a clause forbidding the public taking of private property without just compensation. From all the info I’ve been able to glean, there never were condemnation proceedings If someone has documentation of such proceedings, I would be happy to hear about them and will stand corrected..


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:24 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3053
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I tell you, the position of the rip out the railroad crowd looks worse by the day. Clearly we are looking at what at best could be described as gross incompetence.

Worse, and I think this is the case, is that someone deliberately tried to keep this undercover to build the trail.

If this is true, or even if it is only the incompetence, the trail rank and file should be boiling, smoking, volcanic FURIOUS AT THEIR OWN LEADERSHIP for this fiasco. That "leadership" has decided to risk destroying a railroad which does have some trail use even now, for no trail at all!


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:53 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2097
It sounds like we are getting blabberred with misinformation, while they are trying to force something down out throats. They better become more transparent, its too obvious theres some underhand workings going on.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:43 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3053
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
One thing that's positive, in the same comment thread, is this lengthy missive about the fight by rail supporter Larry Roth:

–– If you're willing to indulge me, perhaps I can supply you with some perspective that will give you a better handle on why there seems to be so little readiness to compromise.
I think I can understand why you support turning the corridor into a trail. The railroad has nothing you need or want, and you don't think it has sufficient economic or historic value to justify keeping it. You don't think there will ever be enough rail users to make it worthwhile.

From your point of view, it's a waste of space and money compared to what it could do as a trail. (Correct me if I've got any of this wrong.)

You enjoy cycling, you go on trips to do it, you know it has health benefits, you and your friends enjoy it, and you think more people would enjoy it if it was right there in the tri-lakes.

Almost everybody you know wants the trail - or doesn't care one way or the other. You see little local support or need for a train, and you think the rail bikes of the Rail Explorers do nothing that couldn't be done just as well or better by bicycles. (Did you ever ride with them by the way?)

From your point of view, the rail supporters ARE being selfish - especially when they're being offered upgrades to the rest of the line they'll be keeping. Why shouldn't they just accept what they're being offered and get on with it? You've found them to be angry, even abusive at times - and they consider you to be the outrageous one. Let me see if I can convey to you why that may be.

Rail supporters have been at this for a while, more than 20 years some of them. They've invested a lot of time, money, and personal physical labor to restore rail service to the full length of the corridor. They've kept at it even when the state failed to come through with promised funding or threw all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles in their way.

They've been carrying out their part of the 1996 unit management plan - and they've made tremendous progress from the few miles of track they started with. Unlike you, they see great value in what they do, and in the line that is and could be again.

It's now possible to move trains over the entire line, and carry passengers between the parts that have communities on the line at the northern and southern end. They've made the history of the region come alive again, and they've served over a million visitors to the Adirondacks while doing so, people who might not have been able to experience it any other way. Their work made it possible for the Rail Explorers to come in and start a business that served 35,000 riders or more in just two years in the tri-lakes. The rails have generated business for the rest of local economy, and brought in money that helps support the line.

For those who want trails in the corridor, it didn't happen - but that's not the fault of the railroaders. If they'd sat back and waited for the state to make things happen, there'd be nothing. For the past 20 years DEC was supposed to be coming up with trail development. There have been any number of people who have come up with plans. DEC's response has always been "No. Can't be done. Not safe. Too expensive. State laws won't allow it."

That might be more credible if we hadn't seen this summer how quickly the state could ram a major roadway up Blue Mountain despite all those costs, laws, etc. Blaming rail people for the lack of trail development is barking up the wrong tree. DEC can move with the proper motivation. (Or improper, for that matter.)

From the rail supporter viewpoint, they've done nothing wrong. They've been doing exactly what they intended to do, with (and without) help from the state. When people tell them the 1996 plan has failed, that's assigning them blame for things not their responsibilty - and ignoring all they have accomplished.

So, when they hear they are just a bunch of hobbyists monopolizing a public asset to indulge themselves, when they're told they're liars because they couldn't possibly have as many riders as they do, when they're simultaneously accused of wasting tax payer money AND getting rich off the railroad, when they're told to walk away from something they've literally put blood and sweat into, well maybe you can begin to understand why there are times you might find them not as civil as you'd like.

Compare and contrast.

To have a rail trail, what do you have to do? Get the state and the towns to pay for it and keep it up. All you have to do personally is show up with your bike and ride. Maybe you can volunteer to do trash pickup or something, but no one is going to make you.

To have a working railroad, you need a lot of things. You need people - volunteers who believe in what they're doing and who want to share railroading with other people; doing what they believe is a good thing. They have to undergo safety training before they can work anywhere on the railroad; some jobs require certification. They have to follow rules and regulations precisely. It's not just about avoiding fines, criminal convctions or pushing needless paperwork; it's because people can die if they don't do their jobs in the right way.

When these people are dismissed as hobbyists playing with their toy trains by the ignorant or the malicious, it's pretty close to a blood insult. (Take a look at Rudyard Kipling's poem "The Sons of Martha" if you want an appreciation of where they're coming from.)

Consider the compromise.

What exactly are the rail trail people giving up? They want the corridor all the way to Thendara - or farther. It's not theirs, but they're not getting it is a sacrifice? They have to 'settle' for a mere 34 miles that they've done nothing to restore or maintain for the past 20 years - it will just be handed over to them and remade to their desires by the state.
Explain to me why that is considered a compromise on their part.

From the rail supporters point of view, the state is going to upgrade the line to Tupper Lake - when they were originally promised the line all the way to Lake Placid. All the work they've done between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid is going to be tossed away. The history they've worked to preserve will be put aside. The thousands of people they've served and could serve in the future will be turned away.

The rail supporters are supposed to consider this a win?

Keep in mind this isn't just about the trail. Rail supporters have always supported the development of trails in the corridor - and DEC is supposed to finally do that in the section between Big Moose and Tupper Lake. (And why didn't they do that before?) Take a look at the Pennine Cycleway in the U.K if you want to see how a rail with trail partnership can work. Take a look at how the ASR is already offering rail and bike adventures.

No, the rail-trail is also the Trojan Horse for a more basic agenda, above and beyond its purpose as a trail. It's the lever being used by people whose sole interest is to remove the rails for their own ends. While there are good reasons for a trail and people who are sincere about it, there are also those who don't care as long as they get rid of the tracks. For them, the compromise is just phase one of their campaign to take out the rest of the line. (ARTA is still pushing for that.)

If you feel you are getting unfairly attacked, you may just be drawing fire intended for others. Just because somebody agrees with you doesn't mean they're necessarily on the up and up.

If feelings are high, it's because the stakes are so uneven. You already have many places to ride a bicycle, including a rail trail already in Tupper Lake. There are cycling events all around the region using the existing roads. There are plenty of places to ride within the towns, and ways to make the area more bike-friendly without taking out the rails.
If the trail isn't built, you have lost nothing you currently have. If the trail is built around the rails, you gain from both, and vice versa. If the trails replace the rails, you get a nice trail - but you lose everything the rails have brought in the last 20 years and everything they might have brought in the future. You've turned away the thousands of visitors who will never climb on a bicycle, but would be more than happy to ride a train. You'll also be turning away those who want to do both.

If you don't care about that so long as you get your trail, well fine. But don't call rail supporters selfish if that's all you're concerned about.

For rail supporters, the stakes are far higher. They only have one line between Utica and Lake Placid. Less is less. They have nowhere else to go.

They lose a prime tourist destination at the end of the line that would draw visitors from around the world with full rail service. They'll lose all the ridership they already have in the tri-lakes, and all they've invested in it. They'll lose all the riders who come to Lake Placid, and discover the railroad there.

The Rail Explorers have already been driven out of the Adirondacks, and that's going to be a huge blow to Saranac Lake all by itself.

Tupper Lake as an end point is going to take a lot of investment before it begins to match what the line is losing in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid - and not just on the railroad's part. The station is in an area of town with little development around it to support foot traffic or draw visitors. How much cooperation can they count on from the community, with so much anti-rail effort in the area or the limited financial resources of the town?
How much can the railroad afford to invest, knowing that the same forces that are planning to take the last 34 miles of the line are already planning how to get the rest of it? How much ridership will they have to get, and how quickly before the naysayers pronounce them a failure?

When you understand why the rail supporters are putting up a fight, how uneven the compromise is, how high the stakes are for them, I hope you'll be willing to listen with an open mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:05 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 463
J3a-614 wrote:
I tell you, the position of the rip out the railroad crowd looks worse by the day. Clearly we are looking at what at best could be described as gross incompetence.

It is not gross incompetence -- it just looks that way if you are looking at it with "Rails versus Trails Fight" blinders on. Try looking at it from the perspective of a state government needing to provide fewer resources to a politically insignificant part of the state. Do that and you will see that the state is doing a brilliant job of implementing a "You'll Get Nothing (from NY State Govt) and Like It" strategy.

The Adirondack Railway shutdown in 1981. Another 15 years passed before the state produced its "Unit Management Plan" (1996) that promised to provide both rail and a trail in the corridor. Another twenty years then passed and would-be trail users got nothing. After waiting thirty plus years for passenger trains to again run from Utica all the way to Lake Placid, fed-up locals told the state they were frustrated of waiting; just build us a paved bikeway. The State jumped on this since it was an absolute gift to the State: I cannot ever recall another situation in which local communities in NY demanded *fewer* resources from the state.

The second step on the "You'll Get Nothing (from NY State Govt) and Like It" path was for the state to get out of the communities' "paved bikeway" expectation -- that has already happened:
Quote:
"Surfacing material for the 34-mile length of trail will be stone dust composite. In the future, communities can decide to add paved sections of the trail." -- Robert Stegemann, Regional Director of NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)

Link to article with that quote:
North County Public Radio - Rail-trail questions: State says ownership of Adirondack rail corridor uncertain (September 30, 2016)

Expect the NYSDEC to continue shifting the costs of building, maintaining and/or patroling the trail onto the locals. Per the above quote, the NYSDEC has already said the local communities will have to pay for paving (building) the trail. The NYSDEC will also tell the local governments they will have to agree to police and maintain the trail. That is probably already happening in the closed-door meetings that the DEC is having with its focus group:
Quote:
"The stakeholder process is expected to inform DEC’s development of a draft conceptual trail design and draft conceptual operations and maintenance plan which will be provided for public review and comment in the coming months. "

Source: Adirondack Almanac: Adirondack Rail-Trail Design Process Begins (September 14, 2016)
Ask yourself why would external stakeholders be drafting an "operations and maintenance plan?" If the NYSDEC were going to maintain and patrol the trail itself, it would be writing the plan itself. (The NYSDEC doesn't go out to external stakeholders and ask them how to deploy its police officers, does it?) Instead, the external stakeholders are likely learning that they are going to have to do it all, i.e. "You'll Get Nothing (from NY State Govt) and Like It".

If the local communities are unwilling to agree to NYSDEC's "You'll Get Nothing (from NY State Govt) and Like It"conditions, the NYSDEC will utilize controversy to further delay the trail and/or kill it outright. The land ownership issues is one controversy we are already aware of. Another likely controversy will be car parking. As far as I know, nobody has yet said where those expected thousands of trail users are going to park their cars. Where are the hundreds of needed parking spaces going to be provided?

PM if you would like an even more detailed explanation.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:49 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2097
It sounds like ripping the track out is kinda a revenge factor for the trail wait.

I was just reading about this NAFTA Superhighway that Bush Jr quietly implemented thats -supposed- to run Mexico traffic all the way to Kansas City with a Customs office there like moving the Mexican border all the way up there. A Spanish Outfit was doing construction in Texas and went bankrupt. Much of the process was to be funded thru Mexico/Spain, Canada, they went belly up trying this idea.

Does the APA have unlimited funds to create this Trailway? You will have to expend gobs of money to make it happen, then maintain it with all the ATV whatever traffic, can the locals support all that? Can the APA keep it up? I can just see deep gorged ATV tracks all along the route. People riding the train may see this and go ....why...
or tear up the tracks and you get the same thing. Go ahead, Helicopter record the route, rip out the tracks install the trail, then helicopter photo session again the trail route including all the ATV tracks.

yay...


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:20 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 688
Location: Warren, PA
Here's the last article about the upcoming court hearing on the historical status:

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5240

That's coming up Nov. 2nd and you want to watch this closely. This concerns a couple rather precedent-setting points; one being the status of a trail against reversionary property rights where the railroad never went through current STB railbanking procedures for 'interim trail use' and is actively contesting removal of the rail; and second, the attempt by the state to claim historic mitigation on the forced removal of historic rail artifacts and the rail corridor itself (which is on the National and State register) just by photographing it.

This still sticks in my mind as one of the most blatant forced attacks on a property on the Historic Registers I've ever seen - basically a state-level strongarm where 'mitigation' is an excuse for destruction. Remember the entire Historic Register program was to prevent government authorities from destroying historical properties in the name of renovation using public funds - and Penn Station started the resistance, also in New York. This is EXACTLY why the program was enacted. Pay attention.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:25 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

New York City holds the bulk of the population in New York State. When I worked in Poughkeepsie, there was a major complaint that New York State was simply not interested in any part of New York State except metro New York City.

An idea was batted around that maybe New York/Long island needed to be one State and Upper New York needed to be another State.

I worked in Poughkeepsie from 1996-1998.

The ex-New York Central Westside freight line (elevated) was pushed through as a linear park (IIRC). Many may use that. The Lake Placid line in upstate NY is a nothing compared to the constituency in New York City.

I believe the same sort of thing happens in California with LA and San Francisco being the population centers.

Even in Georgia when Atlanta was about 1.5 Million people c1980, there was a strong Atlanta vs rural Georgia animosity.

The only City in the US that is a "state" unto itself is Washington DC. It does not reside in Virginia (The Virginia side seceeded with the Confederacy and became part of Virginia again). DC is also not part of Maryland.

Politics is unfortunately in everything.

Doug vV


Last edited by Dougvv on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2097
seems the rail/trail isnt the only place of environmental controversy.

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.co ... l?nav=5047


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:48 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3053
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Considering how badly the snowmobile trade has declined over the years, I wonder if much of the noise from the snowmobile crowd in support of the trail is desperation.

From a high of 163,635 registered sleds in 2002-2003, registrations have dropped to 91,542 in 2015-2016--fewer, in fact, than were around in 1995-1996. A big part of the drop, about 24,000 units, can be blamed on the lack of snow last winter, with a lot of sleds kept in sheds, but that doesn't explain the decline of over 40,000 units by 2014-2015.

In regard to at least this segment of the trail crowd, it looks like the State of New York is backing the wrong horse.

See page 13:

http://nysparks.com/recreation/snowmobi ... Report.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:50 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2097
I found a forum on the Adirondack, theres a post on the railroad, I wanted to see the other side of the story, I put a post in putting some pointers in, but I am not direct linking as I don't want flamers flying there, if you find it its easily googleable.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:21 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
I was lucky enough to get to Lake Placid for the last day of operations. I was able to chase the first run of the day and ride the second and final run of the day. Here are the pics I took:


http://rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=118995


http://rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=119031

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Matt Giardino
ALCO Historical & Technical Society


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 463
J3a-614 wrote:
From a high of 163,635 registered sleds in 2002-2003, registrations have dropped to 91,542 in 2015-2016--fewer, in fact, than were around in 1995-1996.

IMHO, the primary reason for the decline in sled registrations is upstate NY's economic and population decline.

Also, FWIW, local residents are calling for limits on the times that snowmobiles are used on the corridor, according to this recent article:
Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Snowmobile concerns raised at rail trail meeting (October 25, 2016)

An excerpt:
Quote:
SARANAC LAKE - At a public meeting village Trustee Rich Shapiro hosted last week, several members of the public raised concerns about snowmobile use on a proposed rail trail..... In what was the public's first opportunity to have some say on the plan for the rail trail, some of the questions Shapiro fielded were about enforcement of snowmobile laws, including speeding, drunken riding and riding on village streets.

and
Quote:
Mayor Clyde Rabideau asked if there are time limits for snowmobiles.

Sweeney said he believes there are under the current law but said he'd have to research it.

"People living next to the former tracks at 2 o'clock in the morning really don't want to hear a loud snowmobile go by," the mayor said.

"If this is all going to happen, then there have to be restrictions put in place for time and speed, and provisions for enforcement that could be a discussion with DEC," said Trustee Paul Van Cott. "That's something that I think is important to a lot of village residents, both who live near the (trail) but also who want to use the (trail). It's supposed to be multi-purpose."Sweeney said he believes there are under the current law but said he'd have to research it.

"People living next to the former tracks at 2 o'clock in the morning really don't want to hear a loud snowmobile go by," the mayor said.

"If this is all going to happen, then there have to be restrictions put in place for time and speed, and provisions for enforcement that could be a discussion with DEC," said Trustee Paul Van Cott. "That's something that I think is important to a lot of village residents, both who live near the (trail) but also who want to use the (trail). It's supposed to be multi-purpose."


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 463
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise has published two photos of the final train leaving Saranac Lake:

Train heads south for winter, possibly for good (October 26, 2016)
and
Train departs, perhaps for good (October 27, 2016)


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack Park Agency oks scrapping RR line to Lake Pla
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:47 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2097
http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/ ... 322649.php

seems ridiculous to remove the rails to Lake Placid when there is major plans to renovate the rest of the line, they would be throwing all kinds of money around to do this project, renovating the other lines and keeping ther Lake Placid makes a good long coniinuous line for the rail line, that would be excellent. They need the rail/trail plan. I did not know the Placid line was -that- short.


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