Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Adirondack Scenic Railroad Planning New Repair Facility

Adirondack Scenic RailroadThe Adirondack Preservation Society, operator of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, has announced the award of a $99,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties for a new repair facility.

This grant will supplement a $791,000 grant awarded by the New York State Department of Transportation, and help the Railroad leverage their “matching funds” obligation.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad serves in excess of 74,000 passengers a year, and is the second largest tourist attraction in Oneida County. The addition of a repair facility is considered vital by the organization to increasing the number of passengers that the Adirondack Scenic Railroad can accommodate.

Due to a change in use criteria at Griffiss Business & Technology Park, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad lost its repair facility in 2013. Repairs are currently being made to the fleet in the Utica rail yard.

“This is an extremely inefficient way to maintain a fleet, coupled with inhospitable working conditions in the winter, and leads to staff lay-offs between January and April,” a statement sent to the press said.  “With the construction of a permanent repair facility the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will be able to overhaul an estimated two cars per year compared to the current rate of one car every two years.”

The Adirondack Preservation Society operates the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, offering heritage train excursions through the Adirondack Park.

Learn more and purchase tickets here, or by calling (1-800) 819-2291.

Photo provided.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

18 Responses

  1. Larry Roth says:

    I am surprised the Adirondack Almmanack finally got around to publishing this story, since so many seem to believe the railroad has nothing to do with the Adirondacks and is purely a Utica concern. The fact that this is good news for the railroad which one way or another will be offering service all the way to Tupper Lake – and beyond depending on how things go in court – ought to be celebrated in all the towns on the line.

    • John Warren says:

      Larry, they announced this on the Thursday before Labor Day. It was turned around in less than two business days.

    • Paul says:

      Larry, this is a totally unfair comment. This particular blog has probably had more timely coverage of this topic (all sides and aspects) than any outlet. This whole debate seems to have driven many people off a mental cliff.

    • john says:

      The last part of your comment is assuming the state sides with your group & that the state would then go ahead & put more money into Alt 6. They haven’t done that for the better part of 30 years, so why would you expect them to jump in now & put any more money into rehabing the rails all the way. What’s to say the state doesn’t refuse to renew your lease the next time it come due! It’s the states right to not renew the lease! Keep pissing the state off & they may bit back.

      • Paul says:

        “why would you expect them to jump in now & put any more money into rehabing the rails”

        The state has recently decided that this is what they are going to do. Maybe that is part of why DOT gave the RR the 800K for the particular facility?

        • john says:

          ok, I’ll bite, maybe they will put money into fixing the rails to TUPPER LAKE, if option 7 is not overturned by the court, but if that happens, then it’s back to square one, which is status quo!

          • Paul says:

            John there is nothing to bite at. I am just saying what the recent decision was that was made by the state. Their plan (yes – depending on what happens in court) is to do both things. If any money is spent it certainly would not be spent on a trail first a rail-rehab later. That would certainly be taking sides, no way the state can do that at this point.

            • Ben says:

              If you go back & look at the Alt 7 in the UMP updated it states that before any rail updates to the tracks are made a NEW Rail operator has to be found. That means a RFP needs to be created & approved & send out for bids, bids accepted & studied, then one choosen. Only at that point will anything happen to fix/and or expand the line to Tupper Lake.
              The trail work begins next year. We’ll be done well before any train makes it too Tupper Lake!

              • N. says:

                Done ripping out the tracks and destroying two active businesses, that is. Putting in a decent trail surface will take longer and will be delayed indefinitely by the “forever wild” lawsuits. Probably never happen. Usage of the trail will remain close to nil.

  2. Scott says:

    Celebrate having trains and increased associated noise and major chemicals in the adk back country ? No thanks. I am unhappy they are taking my money for this too.

  3. Paul says:

    John, FYI – from the online editor!

    “The addition of a repair facility is considered vital byt the organization to increasing the number of passengers that the Adirondack Scenic Railroad can accommodate.”

    Typo in here (byt). Not sure exactly what it was supposed to be. Maybe jut “by”?

  4. Bruce says:

    It’s good the ADKRR is moving forward in spite of the naysayers. The one place I don’t agree is spending money on a court case to retain the rails to Lake Placid. Rail to Tupper Lake, and a first-class multi-use trail to Lake Placid sounds to me rather like two bites at the apple instead of just one. Trail users will ride the rails, and Tupper Lake stands to be a major beneficiary as a terminus for both.

    The money spent fighting the court case would be better spent on the line between Big Moose and Tupper Lake, and I have written a letter to the ADKRR expressing that view, when they asked for money.

    • N. says:

      There will be no “first class” trail to Lake Placid. The Forever Wild people haven’t started suing yet. They’re waiting for the railroad to be ripped out; then they’ll jump in and prevent the trail from being constructed.

      • john says:

        Forever Wild has NOTHING to sue over, the trail remains on the TRAVEL CORRIDOR which NY State already owns.

  5. Big Burly says:

    thank you John for running the news item. The timing of the release to media was dictated by the announcement from the funding foundation. Lots of commenters in this string may not have all the information to make their assertions about what is or is not good to retain an important transportation asset to support all the recreation amenities of our region. Ripping up rails is what was done 30 years ago. Today, in other parts of our nation and in most countries around the planet, there is a renewed effort to revitalize rail transportation — because people want and use it. It is increasingly recognized even by our Governor in his announcements about investments in rail on Long Island that it is important for economic sustainability. Cutting Saranac Lake and Lake Placid out of the NA rail grid is a backwards step for the tourism economy of the tri-lakes area. Your coverage has been balanced and informative during the whole course of the denouement.

    • Boreas says:


      You seem to be talking two different points here. Commuter rail and excursion rail. Two entirely different uses with two entirely different ridership clientele. Yes, many parts of the world, including LI would benefit from better high-speed commuter rail service. The ADKs isn’t one of them.

      The ASR is excursion rail since there is no demand for commuter rail between small villages and Utica. The ASR excursion rail can function well to TL, but ASR needs to believe it first. Perhaps a company with more foresight should take over the line.

  6. Bruce says:


    I agree. Commercial passenger rail service to small towns and villages will never be again what it was before the late 40’s. As American Heritage Railways has proven, properly managed excursion rail can be a very valuable economic tool.

    AHR runs the Durango and Silverton in CO, and the Great Smoky Mountain RR in Western North Carolina. Last year alone, the GSMRR served over 200,000 people.

    If the ASR starts running to Tupper Lake, it will be a somewhat longer run than either of the above. Longer runs allow the time for classier, more interesting trains that riders spend good money on, not to mention money spent on overnight stays, restaurants, shopping, etc.

    For me, one of the bigger trips on the GSMRR is a very long day if I don’t stay overnight, as I live about the same travel time as Syracuse is from Old Forge.

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