Some 25 more out-of-service oil tanker railcars were brought through North River, alongside the Hudson River in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County en route to little used railroad track in Essex County Monday evening. This is the second shipment of out-of-service oil tanker cars delivered to the Adirondack Park. More than 50 tankers have arrived, some parked across ‘forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve land. The cars are being brought for indefinite storage by Iowa Pacific Holdings.
Despite strongly worded statements of opposition to this activity by Governor Andrew Cuomo, neither the Adirondack Park Agency nor Department of Environmental Conservation have acted.
Last week, Governor Cuomo said: “It is unsightly, it is out of character with the Adirondacks, nobody goes to the Adirondacks to look at old trains, they go there to look at the natural beauty. We don’t own the tracks, there is a question as to what legal right we have to oppose it but we oppose it 100% and we are going to do everything we can do to stop the owner from storing the trains on those tracks.”
“It appears that Iowa Pacific will continue to bring in more use oil tanker railcars until the state steps in and halts this activity. There are now more than 50 oil tankers railcars stored in the Adirondacks. The company says they are here indefinitely. How many will it take for the state to act? 100? 200? 500? It’s high time for the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency to assert their authority and stop this ill advised plan that undermines everything that the Adirondack Park is all about,” Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, said in a statement sent to the press Monday night.
Bauer said the additional tankers will fill the limited siding along the main track at the Boreas River where 28 oil tanker cars are already being stored, having been brought in two weeks ago. With the siding filled, Iowa Pacific will have to use sections of the main track.
“We run the risk of seeing Iowa Pacific create a 25-mile-long junkyard through the central Adirondack Park. This reckless and damaging plan must be stopped,” Bauer’s statement said.
Iowa Pacific Holdings, based in Chicago, operates the Saratoga and North Creek Railway. It also owns several other small boutique rail lines around the country and has recently used many miles of these railroads to store out-of-service rail cars. Iowa Pacific leases the rail line in Saratoga County from the Town of Corinth and the line in Warren County from Warren County.
These contracts prohibit storing rail cars on these lines Bauer said, though 22 boxcars have been stored next to the Hudson River, outside of North Creek, for more than a year. Iowa Pacific owns the Sanford Lake Railway in Hamilton and Essex Counties, which connects to the Warren County line in North Creek. The company brought in 28 oil tanker cars for storage on the Sanford Lake Railway in mid-October and has stated it could store over 2,000 rail cars on the roughly 29 miles of track from North Creek to the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb.
Video of the cars moving through North Creek was posted to Facebook Monday evening. Read more about this ongoing story here.
Photo courtesy Protect the Adirondacks. Video courtesy Richard Carlson.