The last 24 oil tanker railcars that were stored all winter on the banks of the Opalescent River were hauled 30 miles south to the North Creek Depot on Tuesday, May 8th.
Just under 100 oil tankers were stored all winter in the Adirondacks. Widespread opposition from state and local leaders, and an array of environmental organizations, last fall stopped storage of oil tankers at just under 100.
The railroad company, Iowa Pacific Holdings, which stored the oil tankers in the Adirondacks, is also removing its equipment from the North Creek yard, according to a report by Michael Virtanen at Adirondack Explorer.
In March the company said it would no longer pay Warren County and the Town of Corinth the $18,000 monthly payments it is obligated to pay under a contract to lease the 50-mile railroad between North Creek and Saratoga Springs. It has not operated an excursion train to North Creek since April 7th. Iowa Pacific took over the line in 2011 when Upper Hudson Scenic Railroad Co. lost its contract.
Iowa Pacific Holdings owns the Sanford Lake Railway, which runs 30 miles from North Creek to the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb, and leases the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, which runs from North Creek to Saratoga Springs. The North Creek to Saratoga railroad track and corridor is owned jointly by Warren County and the Town of Corinth.
Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, said the Sanford Lake Railway would return to private landowners, including the State of New York, Bauer said, if it ceases to function as an active rail line used to haul minerals from the Tahawus Mine. No minerals have been hauled in the last two years, Bauer said.
“The removal of these oil tankers from the Adirondacks closes a sad chapter in Adirondack history and showed a corporation that cared little about the concerns of local communities and the Adirondack Park,” Bauer in a statement sent to the press.
Protect the Adirondacks was one of the lone voices that opposed certification of the Sanford Lake Railway in 2010, arguing that the line was defunct and should be returned to private landowners.
Iowa Pacific also faces legal opposition from the Cuomo Administration, which has filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to decertify the Sanford Lake Railway between North Creek and Newcomb, arguing that Iowa Pacific has failed to live up to its agreements when that line was opened in 2010.
Photos of Oil Tankers in North Creek provided by Protect the Adirondacks.