Tuesday, September 26, 2017

PROTECT: State Must Reject Railroad Car Storage Plans

Railcars being stored on the Sanford Lake Railway in a section of railroad in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest AreaThe following statement was issued to the press on Monday by Protect the Adirondacks:

A new plan has emerged from the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, an arm of Iowa Pacific Railway Company, to store hundreds of old, dilapidated railroad cars, supposedly mostly boxcars, on siding track and unused rail lines in Warren and Essex Counties. These rail cars would be stored “indefinitely” on these rail lines. Saratoga & North Creek Railway leases rail lines from Warren and Saratoga Counties and owns the Sanford Lake Rail Line in Hamilton and Essex County. The plan was announced at a Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting last week.

Saratoga & North Creek Railway stated that it plans to store “hundreds” of old railroad cars. The Adirondack Park has never been used for this purpose. This is a critical moment in the history of the Adirondack Park and for all the reasons below, we urge you to take action and block this ill conceived plan.

“This is a bad idea. Protect the Adirondacks is very concerned about this proposal and finds that it contradicts and undermines everything that the Adirondack Park is all about,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director. “This proposal threatens the scenic beauty, ecological integrity, and protections for the “forever wild” Forest Preserve. For many reasons we oppose this proposal and we urge your administration to take a stand to protect the Adirondack Park and reject this plan. Quite simply, the Adirondack Park is a region that should not be used for storing waste. There has been a longstanding principle, longer than 30 years, that the Adirondack Park should not be used for storing or disposing of waste from outside the Adirondack Park.”

The Saratoga & North Creek Railway states that using the rail lines that it owns or leases for storage of old railroad cars is the only way it can money. If this is a reality, then it shows that the scenic railway from Saratoga to North Creek is a failure. Further, if the company undertakes this activity then it is stating that it has no viable business opportunity for using the tailings and rock at the Tahawus Mine as storage of rail cars will block the use of the rail lines for any other purpose.

In the early 1990s, Governor Mario Cuomo stood behind the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Commissioners when they passed a resolution that the Adirondack Park should be used to handle locally generated garbage and waste, but not used to handle outside waste. This principle was upheld in 1995-1996 by Governor George Pataki, who rebuffed an effort by Essex County leaders to sell the Essex County landfill to a company that wanted to make it a major regional landfill – a giant Fresh Kills Landfill north. We urge your administration to stand with long established precedent and not allow the Saratoga & North Creek Railway to import waste into the Adirondack Park.

Our initial research raises many questions about the regulatory status of a railroad once it is no longer used for transport, but used for long-term storage of rail cars, whether on a main track or siding. Such a transition appears to constitute a new commercial activity that should be subject to local control. We’ve seen many cases over the years where small businesses in the Adirondacks had to secure new commercial use permits from the APA is order to utilize an existing building. We believe that the proposal of Iowa Pacific to utilize the Sanford Lake Rail Line constitutes a new commercial use.

Furthermore, nearly the entire stretch of the Sanford Lake Rail Line is within the classified “Wild” or “Scenic” river corridors of the Boreas or Hudson Rivers. While operating a railroad is a “grandfathered” activity within these protected corridors under the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, the indefinite storage of old railroad cars does not appear to be grandfathered activity, but rather a new use. We also believe that other parts of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) must be investigated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding storage of various waste products.

Deterioration of Existing Stored Rail Cars on Sanford Lake Rail Line in Essex County and in Warren County

The Saratoga & North Creek Railway is already storing dilapidated railroad cars in limited numbers on portions of its rail lines. In the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County, over 20 rail cars have been stored for more than a year on a section of track on the banks of the Hudson River outside of the hamlet of North Creek. Storage of these rail cars mars a scenic corridor of Route 28 along the Hudson River. Additionally, other old passenger cars have been stored on a stretch of siding of the Sanford Lake Rail Line in the Town of Minerva in Essex County located in a wetland along the Boreas River. These cars are in disrepair and are falling apart. They had been vandalized and trash was evident. Most disturbing was places where the rail bed is littered with piles of paint chips that have fallen from an old rail car and are soaking into the track and ties.

“The poor storage of the railcars outside of North Creek and in other remote sections of local rail lines does not give us much confidence in Saratoga & North Creek Railway/Iowa Pacific’s claims that there will be no negative environmental impacts from long-term storage of other rail cars on its rail lines,” said Peter Bauer.

Plans to store hundreds of dilapidated rail cars on remote and unused rail lines in the Adirondack Park, mostly in the Forest Preserve, will be a visual blight in the Adirondack landscape. The locations where the railcars will be stored run primarily through the Forest Preserve, including a vast stretch in lands recently purchased by the state along the Hudson River and in areas of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest area along the Boreas River. The Sanford Lake Rail Line runs predominantly along the banks of the Hudson or Boreas River and storage in these areas undermines the “forever wild” Forest Preserve. These rail cars will have to be transported on a bridge over the Hudson River where it is run by thousands of rafters every week.

Time for a Fresh Look

The Saratoga & North Creek Railway is failing. It’s time to take a fresh look at other uses. One obvious use is conversion to a multi-use pedestrian trail. Warren County well knows the benefits of a rail-trail conversion from the wildly popular Warren County Bike Trail in Glens Falls, Queensbury and Lake George. The rail trail has been the catalyst for a number of successful businesses and is used by people of all ages.

“It’s time to take a hard look at getting out of the railway contracts in Warren and Saratoga counties, purchasing the Sanford Lake Rail Line, and converting the rail line to some kind of multi-use pedestrian trail. This would be a true community-to-community trail from Saratoga Springs to Newcomb, a European style countryside walking trail, a bike trail, a totally accessible trail, a cross country ski and snowmobile trail, and it already has both a wide defined corridor and connects hamlet areas. The dividends for the region and for communities along the rail line would be far greater with a community-to-community pedestrian trail than with a dying railroad whose only viable revenue stream comes from trashing the Adirondacks,” said Peter Bauer

Protect the Adirondacks, Inc. (PROTECT) is a privately funded, IRS-approved not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park in northern New York. PROTECT was formed through the merger of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks in 2009. PROTECT pursues its mission to protect the Adirondack Park and defend the public “forever wild” Forest Preserve through citizen advocacy, grassroots organizing, education, research, and legal action. PROTECT is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. PROTECT maintains an office in Lake George. For more information visit their website.

Photo: Railcars being stored on the Sanford Lake Railway in a section of railroad in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Area, provided.

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com

79 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Is it in the High Peaks? Are they oil cars? The headline may lack some accuracy.

    Sounds like maybe a bad idea either way. But this smells a bit like propoganda.

  2. To believe that the Old Forge to Lake Placid Corridor will be a better performer is a pipe dream. If Snowmobiling is not your areas best winter economy it is only because you don’t have a good trail connecting you and a good position in the snow belt. Snowmobiling only needs to have the rails removed for a much longer season NO cost beyond removal. Then develop the bicycle trail and yo have a year round venue.

  3. Larry Roth says:

    I can agree with the position that the rails should not be used for railcar storage. It’d be a waste of a rail line that can best be used to move people (and goods) through some really beautiful scenery. I must take exception to Protect the Adirondack’s position that the only recourse is to remove the tracks because Iowa Pacific has failed, however.

    What is happening with Iowa Pacific on the line is part of larger problems they are having as a company. They’ve done a tremendous job restoring the line to date – they just have run out of the resources needed to properly promote it and provide the level of service it needs to truly flourish because of problems elsewhere in their business.

    Unfortunately, it’s much easier to get investors to buy questionable financial instruments, and hedge funds to cannibalize companies for immediate gain than it is to get them to invest in companies that actually do things, invest in company physical assets and employ people.

    And there’s always the rail trail vultures waiting to pounce, with their claims of hordes of waiting trail users and the vast amounts of money they will bring in their wake. It seems to me if trails are such a financial boon, why aren’t they being built from scratch? Why isn’t the Adirondacks rolling in money, given how many trails they already have for hikers, bikers, snowmobilers, etc.?

    There’s also no mention of Revolution Rail and their rail bike operations on the line. If you want to ride with them, you’ve got to make reservations and hope they have an opening. Sounds to me like somebody is having a success with the line. Why drive another new business out of the Adirondacks? Let’s not be in such a hurry to tear out the tracks.

    • Paul says:

      “it’s much easier to get investors to buy questionable financial instruments, and hedge funds”. This is some kind of a myth that comes from watching too many movies like Wall Street. There is far more investment and investors in traditional equites and the bond market than anything else. Most people don’t have a stomach for hedge funds.

  4. Hope says:

    “Unfortunately, it’s much easier to get investors to buy questionable financial instruments, and hedge funds to cannibalize companies for immediate gain than it is to get them to invest in companies that actually do things, invest in company physical assets and employ people.”

    Precisely, Larry, you hit the nail on the head. No business can survive if it is undercapitalized. This is a lesson learned by Warren County and NYS that without private investors to pony up the major share of funds for what is essentially a private business venture, they are doomed to failure. The dream of enough passenger and/freight coming and going into the Adirondacks Park is a boondoggle in the making. Utilizing the Travel corridor for a trail and possibly a buried fiber optic line to all the communities along the way is a much better use for the public asset IMHO.

    • Larry Roth says:

      Ah Hope – there you go again, completely ignoring the rail bike efforts, and skipping over the rest of the shaky logic behind your arguments.

      If private business can’t succeed without funding because the private sector is falling short, but you’re happy with government fully funding a use you approve of, the question becomes why can’t the government also support the rails? You have no problem with private businesses using roads paid for by the public – ditto for the snowmobiles getting their trails on the taxpayers dime.

      It’s not like there’s a critical shortage of trails, but there are so few rails left in the region, taking them out would weaken an economy that needs more diversity. Your special interest anti-rail agenda does not serve the public interest.

      • Hope says:

        You can give up the “anti rail agenda” propaganda as I am completely pro rail where it is appropriate and beneficial. Love to see more rail investment in the major travel corridors such as between NYC and Montreal, Chicago, Washington, etc. I even think there should be separate railroads for freight and passenger services so they don’t have to compete for the same trackage. I’ve got nothing against railroads where appropriate.
        FYI. Our road system accommodates more people and businesses with more flexibility than a train to the region ever would. Let’s keep our roads, which spread traffic around the region in good condition and give bicyclists a great Adirondack Rail Trail for touring. ASR can bring cyclist to Thendara from Utica to ride the trail.
        You and I will never agree but that’s OK.

        • Larry Roth says:

          Shorter Hope: NIMBY

          • Hope says:

            Nope, REALIST. The train doesn’t affect my backyard in the least bit.

            • Larry Roth says:

              So I take that to mean that the train doesn’t have to run through my backyard for me be allowed to have an opinion on this?

              Thanks – that’s a refreshing change from the trail fanatics who want everyone outside the area (those visitors you claim to want) to shut up and go away.

            • Chip Ordway says:

              Can you see this, Hope? Good…

              Based on the logic of your own little group of ARTA minions, people who aren’t affected by the issue shouldn’t be expressing their opinions–meaning if you don’t live here, then we don’t care what you say.

              Based on that, why are you bothering to post in this story?

  5. Kathy says:

    Snowfall amount is what snowmobiles need…
    At least these cars are in bad enough shape they won’t be used as hut-hut glamping cabins.

  6. Tom Baker says:

    Recycle them for scrap metal. Why store them at all, anywhere?

  7. Terry DeArmas says:

    My husband and I have long felt that the railroad cars in North Creek are an eyesore and do not belong there for more than aesthetic reasons (and they have been there for more than a year ). The park is not a venue for storing junk.

    • Hope says:

      The ones there along the Hudson ruin what is otherwise a very nice view shed of the river and the far shore. What a terrific recreation trail it would be.

  8. Paul says:

    These cars are already scheduled to be sent up herestarting next week as I understand it. I think it is already a done deal. This group may think that this “appears to be” a new use of the RR. But I think that it may be just that what they think, not what it actually is.

  9. M.P. Heller says:

    A major difference between this line and the ASR line in the Tri-Lakes is that the railroad, not the state, county or some other public governmental agency, owns a good portion of it. Specifically they have clear title to the section between North River and Tahawas. (Sometimes known as the Sanford Lake Line.)

    This fact complicates matters well beyond the difficulties currently being faced by the State as they attempt to create a rail-trail in the Tri-Lakes. If the tracks get ripped up to the point where they own them and it leaves them with an orphaned spur to nowhere they will likely sue Warren County leaving the taxpayers on the hook for more than what it would have cost to just keep operating the rails as they are.

    Be careful what you ask for…..

  10. Northcreek says:

    Once in a very blue moon, Protect! Almost makes a sensible statement, but we are still waiting. Clearly the SNCRR is a financial failure and many of us would prefer a recreational trail, but there are a couple facts the writer knows and chooses to ignore. 1) Railroads are federally regulated; the state lacks authority even in the Adirondacks and 2) the new use argument is a reach. 3) they own the tracks. Maybe there is an opportunity for NL to take the rails back if they are not fully paid. This public statement is just another plea for money to keep Protect! In business.
    I hate to see the stored rail cars and I’d bet the rail cars will never be removed under the power of SNCRR. It will cost a lot of money to move the defunct cars so I wonder if they even have a deal to store them or if it’s not a Hail Mary move.
    Warren County should terminate the contract with SNCRR and begin the rail to trail project on the rails they own. The rest will become theirs in time.

    • Boreas says:

      Clogging most/all of the side tracks with junk cars seems to me to be a sign that the corridor itself is not expected to support much rail traffic into the future. So is it just me, or does anyone else believe NYS taxpayers will ultimately end up paying for the removal of these cars and the subsequent cleanup? Perhaps a bond put up by the IPRC ensuring payment for removal and clean-up would make this venture more palatable?

      Once the public tires of seeing these rotting cars dumped in the Park and raises a stink blowing toward Albany, I don’t see them staying too long. In the meantime I feel sorry for the local residents and the counties involved.

  11. Tony Goodwin says:

    Larry Roth;
    Stop trying to blame external factors for SNCRR’s financial failure. When they started, Iowa Pacific was supposedly in good financial shape. The SNCRR therefore ran several trains each day with at least one run tied to the Amtrak schedule. It didn’t work. So don’t think that an “adequate” level of service would improve their financial situation. If the railroad can’t pay for itself over time, no amount of additional investment will change that.
    They tried snow trains, but any skier that got up early enough to get to the station by 7AM could just keep driving and catch first tracks at the mountain rather than move their gear from car to train, ride for two hours, move the gear from train to shuttle van, and then finally start skiing at least two hours after the lifts opened. I predicted that it would be a non-starter, and it was.
    Likewise, I predicted that hauling the tailings would never work – much as i would like to see the ugly tailings piles visible from Santanoni gone. In the end they shipped, what, 20 cars that went to a railroad Iowa Pacific operated in Massachusetts.
    Like Hope, I agree that there is an important place for rail transport – both freight and passenger – but only between major population centers. If taxpayer money is spent on improved rail service, it should go for projects like improving the passenger speeds on the line from Albany to Montreal and perhaps adding an early morning run/late day from Plattsburgh. That would permit a day trip to the Capital Region or time to conduct business in NYC the day of arrival and the day of departure.

  12. Tim-Brunswick says:

    “may lack some accuracy” says Paul in the very first comment……

    Hah…shouldn’t be any surprise there when it comes to “Protect’s” propensity to make broad dramatic statements not supported by fact!

    Having said that, it may indeed be a detriment to the Adirondacks, but I sure as heck would want more information from a “reliable” source before jumping to conclusions!

    Thank you

    • Paul says:

      Wow. The writing has been on the wall. Support trail or rail it was clear that the state did not follow proper procedure here and that the legal issues were very complicated. This is what the court is for to make sure that everyone – even the state follows the law. If you don’t like the rules and the law talk to the legislature. There should not be any arguments between rail supporters and trail supporters regarding this. With that said these people can get back to arguing. Because even this won’t end that. All I have seen here is the issue tear apart small communites that are already torn up over other things. It’s really sad.

      • Paul says:

        Sorry this was supposed to be in reply to Larry and the ADE article.

        • Larry Roth says:

          I disagree with Lee Keet on a few things, but I think his comment on the Boreas Ponds matter is worth passing on here:

          “September 25, 2017 at 8:42 am
          Well said Pete. We need a lot more pressure on the commissioners to do their job as defined in the law. The Governor’s opinion should have some weight, but this is a democracy that conducts its business under the rule of law.”

      • Jim S. says:

        I am happy to see the state lose for ignoring the law, however I surely would love a recreational trail where you can ride a road bike without worrying about cars. Trains are useless to me in the north country, extremely inconvenient. Cuomo is a bully who deserves the slap from the court.

    • Tony Goodwin says:

      Great, now see if you can find more people to ride the 140 miles to Lake Placid than SNCRR could find to ride 50 miles From Saratoga to North Creek.

      • Larry Roth says:

        Funny you should mention that Mr. Goodwin – there already are people who want to ride those trains. Not to mention all the people who want the Rail Explorers back as well.

        Maybe it’s time for New York to start putting some effort into its rail systems, like other states are doing, instead of ‘gateways’, yurts, and glamping.

        Not everyone is still stuck in the past, where cars were the only way to go.

        • Tom Baker says:

          Name ten people.

          • Larry Roth says:

            If we could post pictures here, I could show you train cars full of people and crowds at the stations. Or you could accept the ridership numbers reported by the railroad. You could also ask the Rail Explorers how many people they served, and how many of them were repeat customers, before the state drove them out.

        • Greg says:

          The train would take 5 or 6 hours to go from Utica to Lake Placid, vs 3 hours by car. I, like most people, would ride it once and then never again.

  13. Skip Holmes says:

    I wonder if there is more to this than is being reported. What company would pay to store dilapidated rail cars on an indefinite basis? Steel scrap prices are high,,currently $690/metric tonne vs $412/metric tonne in December 2015. Taking old rail cars to the Port of Albany seems like a profitable alternative.Prices have been trending down so why not sell them for scrap now? Perhaps this is a negotiating position of the rail line.
    I do not like the idea of storing them in the Adirondacks, for many reasons.
    If you were to take a hard look at the condition of the track and rail bed you might discover that its condition seems poor. Bed timbers are deteriorating.I have personally observed this as a landowner adjacent to the track in the north country. I have no financial interest in what ever the outcome will be.Lets get this out in the open and move forward with a viable solution. I would enjoy seeing this rail corridor turned into a trail for cycling and xc skiing.

    • John Warren says:

      One reason cited last time, when they admitted out front that they would be oil cars, was the cost of cleaning them before scrapping.

  14. M.P. Heller says:

    Here it is folks. Judge Main cleared up the questions. It’s “arbitrary and capricious” to try to convert rail lines for special interest. Yup. You heard it here first. Ruled ILLEGAL.

    For those who for years have said that rails are not the mode, but some other forms of transportation have phased that platform out, I tell you what the judge just told you. Go pound sand.

    • Boreas says:

      An amusement ride is not a means of transportation. I don’t see the state doing a 180 and pouring more money into the corridor for an even narrower special interest. I would like to see the corridor used for something, but if the judge feels it is illegal to change the purpose of that portion of the corridor, I suppose now we will sit back and watch those rails continue to rust. I feel sorry for the communities involved.

      • Larry Roth says:

        Amusement ride? Boreas, you exceed yourself with that response. The differences between a trail and a railway or highway are substantial, and word games can’t disguise that. Calling it a narrow interest also shows your parochial bias.

        Your dismissive comment is neither accurate nor constructive. The state was effectively circumventing its own laws to get the answers certain people wanted. Do you really want to embrace that principle when it comes to managing the Adirondacks? Because it won’t stop with the railroad if they get away with it.

        • Boreas says:

          “For those who for years have said that rails are not the mode, but some other forms of transportation have phased that platform out, I tell you what the judge just told you. Go pound sand.”


          I’ll say it again – the ASR has does not provide a year-round transportation service. It is a seasonal, scenic RR, and it is providing nothing on that segment of track at the moment. What the future holds, no one knows.

          • Larry Roth says:

            The only thing preventing year round service on the entire length of the line is the refusal of the state to act in the public interest and invest in the region’s infrastructure.

            • ben says:

              what small segment of public interest?

            • Boreas says:


              Now THAT I agree with! Perhaps not the only thing, but certainly a large one. I guess the question is, will this administration now begin to whistle a different tune?

      • Paul says:

        This isn’t necessarily the case. The state simply has to go back and do this in a way that is complient with the law. The court didn’t say it was impossible they just said they didn’t follow the rules.

        As I understand it the train at the south end of the line (where it actually goes somewhere) is doing quite well and is far from rusting but actually being refurbished and extended recently. When the extension took place it became even more popular. Seems like evidence that the extension of the line to Tupper under this plan is still maybe a good plan. Just have to follow the rules if they want the trail part at the other end.

        • Larry Roth says:

          40,000 riders a year plus the rail explorers is pretty good evidence that things are good at the north end as well. Upgrade the section of the line so passengers can ride all the way to Lake Placid, and the “It doesn’t go anywhere” argument disappears.

          The only thing blocking development of a complementary trail system at the north end is the absolute determination on the part of certain people to make sure it remains ‘impossible’ so they can justify removing the rails – their goal all along.

  15. M.P. Heller says:

    You reading here Scott Thompson??? (Keet,Beamish,Goodwin,Frenette, et. al.)

    Your plan was CRAP.


    • Paul says:

      The comments around this debate are so childish. The ruling regards the implementation. The judge doen’t care if there is a trail or a train.

  16. Kathy Shreves says:

    Why not scrap the old railroad car’s & not litter our beautiful park with them.

    • Boreas says:


      Part of the problem is that out of service railcars could contain toxic materials (especially oil tankers). Inspecting for and cleaning up any toxic materials can cut heavily into the revenue received from scrapping the cars. So this RR charges a fee to store them instead on their side-tracks – presumably to scrap in the future – but not necessarily. If the RR restructures or goes belly-up, it is conceivable these cars could remain for some time, potentially needing to be removed by the State or other entity.

    • Larry Roth says:

      Fine with me – just keep the rails so I don’t have to be one more person having to drive to enjoy that beauty. I’d rather enjoy a relaxing rail ride, able to enjoy the passing scenery.

      • Jim S says:

        The idea of people using the rail for transportation is laughable. It will never be anything but a sightseeing novelty. Vacationers won’t want to be stranded near the railroad stations. Most of the scenic wonders of the Adirondacks are not near the rail line. Sightseeing is fine, but to sell it as transportation is crazier than the projected economic impact from bicycles.

        • Larry Roth says:

          You haven’t actually ridden the line, have you?

          Funny thing about the stations – most of them are located within the towns – things are within walking distance, because it dates back to before everybody had cars to drive around in. There are also things called shuttle buses, taxis, etc. If you want to take a group for an outing, you can do it by the railcar full.

          And if you happen to bring a bicycle along, you can ride around on that.

          What’s your problem with sightseeing novelties anyway? What do you think tourism is about? You appear to be unable to handle life without a car.

          • Jim S. says:

            I really am not too fired up about this railroad subject. Keeping or removing the rail is not a big priority for me. I would not ride it because I find it useless and inconvenient. I visit every area in the Adirondacks and the train doesn’t. It certainly is a useful way to get sick or lazy people to see some leaves on a rainy day. That being said, I would certainly use a bike trail if it were to exist , however I don’t need a trail to ride my bike. Keep the rails, but don’t call it practical transportation for the north country.

            • Larry Roth says:

              I understand – the train does nothing for you. Fair enough. We don’t all have to like the same things.

              Your slam against “sick or lazy people” though is another matter. Go ride your bike. Just don’t expect anyone to give you any more consideration than you give to others.

  17. ben says:

    Rail folks accomplished nothing: You still have to get the state to grant you a permit to operate. You still have to get the state to spend tax payer money to fix a rail line. If they didn’t do that before under the old 1996 UMP, what makes ya think they will now.

    • Boreas says:


      The “rail folks” did show that the State did not follow the proper legal channels and get all their ducks in a row before announcing their plans. That is important. The suit also made it fairly clear what the State will need to do to accomplish their goal if they decide to pursue the plan further. So in a way, although stopping the trail for now, the administration will now know the legal hurdles they must surpass if they decide to continue. I doubt very much this the end of the matter. But without any operating permits, the rails will rust.

      • Larry Roth says:

        And if the state does nothing but let the rails rust, that serves no one.

        • ben says:

          I as a snowmobiler will still use the corridor ever winter (i.e. when there is enough snow), but I will still be using the corridor & you’ll be sitting at home wondering why the train doesn’t run anymore!

          • Larry Roth says:

            And when the snow doesn’t come, what will you be doing, without being able to blame the rails for your problems? Because it all has to be about you, right?

            • ben says:

              I’ll still be having fun driving to my camp &/or enjoying my life in the Adirondacks. And I can do all that WITHOUT a TRAIN. I doubt you can say the same! But then it’s not all about me, it’s about making sure a small select of ignorant people don’t monopolize a travel corridor for their rail enjoyment at the expense of the rest of the state! That be YOU! And I be on here causing you a headache, because you won’t be riding no train at anytime soon again north of Big Moose!

              • James Falcsik says:

                Ben, are you using an alias name? You sure write and project the same attitude as a former contributor named David W. You are so sure NYS will be vindictive against ASR for standing up to Lee Keet and the lies supported by ARTA, with a trail plan that was not able to be defended in the Supreme Court of NYS. The plan was a sham to begin with, with made up economic numbers and miscalculations. Keet miscalculated the ARPS resolve to fight this corruption. What a shame you have nothing to offer except to cause a headache to those who want to work with as many people as they can to create several tourism venues to benefit the region. Your barking will surely grow dim soon enough.

                • ben says:

                  All this court case proved was judges at any level can provide screwed up decisions. Will this decision stand. I doubt it, but we’ll have to see. The rail folks want to claim ARTA lied, ARTA claims ARPS lied, in my opinion both sides lied & neither side has won anything. ARPS got the judge to order the rails left in place for now, but all the judge really did was tell the state to rewrite the UMP to fix the errors he found. The rail folks still don’t have a train running north of Big Moose, they won’t have one running north of Big Moose this year, and more than likely won’t be running north of Big Moose next year either because the rails are no longer safe for use & I doubt the state is going to spend a single dime on something they want torn up. And as afar as ever getting year round use, there is another community who uses the corridor in the winter & they generate much more economic input into the region than any rail line can. And as far as me using a alias if that be so, it is for me to know & you to wonder about!

                  • James FAlcsik says:

                    LOL…Dave..err, Ben,I don’t have to wonder too much….LOL As for NYS getting a chance to “do over” as you suggest, it won’t be that easy to go back to the drawing board. In order to change the SLMP which would be required as Dick Booth warned at the APA hearing, that would be a state-wide issue, not something local. Places like Utica would get a voice in that and in a broader measure that won’t be so easy for Keet/ARTA to overcome. The Judge gave ARPS a slam dunk on the rail corridor. We’ll have to see if cooler heads prevail and folks get together to make an existing rail asset work better for the region.

                    • ben says:

                      It didn’t work for the 20+ years the 1996 UMP has been in place, why would the state make any effort to fix it now. After you sue the state why would they make any attempt to fix it now. You say rewriting the 2016 UMP may be difficult & could take a long time, that may be the case, but if any indication of how that would go: you didn’t get to use the rails this year, so why would the state let you use the rails while we go thru the whole UMP rewrite & state wide issue as you say! Why would the state invest any money into something they want torn up. If that corridor sits for another 3-4 years what shape do you think it will be in. At that point the state won’t invest another dime in it! We may not have a trail now, but you don’t have a rail either & I’m betting We the trail folks can last you out. And who is Dave character you confuse me with?

        • Boreas says:

          “And if the state does nothing but let the rails rust, that serves no one.”

          I think you are beginning to see my point. I feel we should either use the rails or tear them up. I am not against the RR per se, I just want to see the corridor USED. I have pushed for removing the rails and building a trail because I firmly believe this administration, like others before it, does not want to make the investment to rehab the entire line. That isn’t my decision – it is theirs. I just don’t want to maintain the status quo with only a section of the line being used seasonally. It is a waste of the asset.

          • ben says:

            All we need to do is look at Iowa Pacific & the Saratoga-North Creek rail line as a example of why not spending anymore money on the ASR to extend north is probably the best answer. They are much better funded, much better equipment, they currently end at a ski location & they couldn’t survive. They are costing IOWA Pacific over a million dollars a year in losses. Think ASR can handle that type of loss! Doubt it. Why would the state invest anymore money in the ASR when they have a perfect example of what can happen on the other side of the ADK. Now I’m not saying the state won’t be stupid, but then again we’ll be right back here in a few years because the ASR cannot survive if you extend the line. They aren’t capable!

    • Larry Roth says:

      You want your trail, the state has to follow its own laws first, get the plan approved on the basis of real facts instead of backroom maneuvers, and then fund it – at taxpayer expense now and forever. You’re not getting off the hook for money either way.

      If the state refuses to permit operations on the line, they are hurting the local economy, are trashing the region’s history, are opening themselves to further litigation, and showing that the state really is arbitrary and capricious.

      • ben says:

        what further litigation? They own the corridor & can or cannot grant permits as they see fit. If the rails sit & rust for a few years, so be it. AT that point the state can tear them out as a health/safety hazard & create the trail.

  18. Thomas G Philo says:

    What in hell is wrong with Warren County board of Supervisors? It seems that the Railroad has breached the lease many times ` not paying monies out ` failing to fulfill agreements as to train schedule etc for them to terminate the lease. Income from lease is insignificant and it seems far greater economic benefit would be realized from bike trail.

  19. DIANA KELLEY says:


    Seems like a Recycling Challenge and maybe an Income Stream

    tiny home from railroad cars at DuckDuckGo

  20. Ari Dan says:

    Follow the money and see who is profiting from this? Have you ever been to the airplane graveyard in Arizona; It is an eyesore.The idea of leaving these rusting cars in the Adirondack Park is beyond bizarre. I agree with another poster who said to sell them for scrap and use the money to beautify and improve the Park.

  21. Daisy says:

    What happens when SNCRR/Iowa Pacific lose their contract to operate on Warren County Line AFTER they put all these cars in storage north of there? (Outside Warren County) How would it be possible to remove them later?

  22. […] “Saratoga & North Creek Railway stated that it plans to store “hundreds” of old railroad cars. The Adirondack Park has never been used for this purpose. This is a critical moment in the history of the Adirondack Park and for all the reasons below, we urge you to take action and block this ill conceived plan.”  [Read the full story at Adirondack Almanack] […]

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