Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

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airman00
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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by airman00 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:31 am

Well then reading between the lines, the ROW has to be an easment because if the county filed for abandonment, then once (or if) it went through, they'd get rid of the railroad but then also the row too. (In which case no trail then) The interesting thing about railbanking is that it doesn't completely kill the railroad, as railbanking ensures that one day the RR might come back. So the county it seems is going to have a rather tough road ahead. In any event I say the CMRR better get across rt. 209 fast!!

Something else I wonder about... How does the county plan to pay for the trail? There's no million's for restoring the entire CMRR but there will be million's for the trail? Where is that $$ coming from? Private donors? And if so, those "donors" NEED to be made public, so we ensure that there not just political cronies promised cushy jobs in exchange for some trail donations.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by chrisnewhaven » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:54 am

"Railbanking (as defined by the National Trails System Act, 16 USC 1247 (d)) is a voluntary agreement between a railroad company and a trail agency to use an out-of-service rail corridor as a trail until some railroad might need the corridor again for rail service" (as quoted from http://www.railstotrails.org/ourwork/ad ... nking.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;). Ulster County would have to railbank the corridor in order to maintain the easement to build their precious trail. But, how would the STB view preserving the R.O.W. for future railroad use when, in doing so, they are evicting an active railroad? Seems contradictory.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by Otto Vondrak » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:56 am

jmarino wrote:Otto, I posted this a couple of days ago , why don't the d&u and the CMRR more supportive of each other and ever made the effort to connect the two ever happened ?
As far as I know, DURR is privately funded and located in another county, though the two railroads do cooperate in many other ways. You'd have to ask them if they have any specific plans, though. They did indicate interest in running to Pine Hill at one time...

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jaystreetcrr
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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by jaystreetcrr » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:13 pm

I've been posting on the Daily Freeman opinion board, and normally any pro rail post is greeted with a half dozen angry, fact challenged responses. Last night I wrote about the need for approval from the Surface Transportation Board....crickets. The STB is kryptonite to these folks.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by airman00 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:52 pm

Well I imagine it's going to be tough evicting an active railroad. The trail people probably know this and are trying to find a way around this "roadblock". The thing is you have to be truthful in your application to the STB. If you lie and misrepresent facts and whatnot that won't fly at all with a federal agency.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by jaystreetcrr » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:06 pm

The Rails to Trails site offers a detailed step by step guide on how to steer a railbanking project through the STB. Just flip the script.
Again, has anything actually been filed with the STB? Maybe it's too daunting for in-house legal talent or some local ambulance chaser doing pro bono.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by jaystreetcrr » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:10 pm

The press release on Chuck Schumer's website says that the trail will open up the Ashokan Reservoir to canoeing, tubing, kayaking and fishing...NYC's water supply, that's been on lockdown since 9/11.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by RussNelson » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:43 pm

Yeah, that's gonna be interesting. You need to get a permit to walk on reservoir property, a different permit to canoe, and a different permit to fish. Are they seriously going to claim that they will open up the trail to Kingston residents, and then check permits at the edge of the NYCDEP property?

I cannot see this ending well for the county.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by scoostraw » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:25 pm

jaystreetcrr wrote:The STB is kryptonite to these folks.
The CMRR rebuilding and running on the line is also kryptonite to them.

It seems like the county's intent is to present the line to the STB as inactive. They can truthfully say that the line has not seen a train since 1976. Now as long as the CMRR was blocked by C9, they probably saw it as no problem. Just wait until 2016 and then don't renew the lease. But once the railroad got across the creek and was on the verge of rebuilding up the mountain, it was time for them to pull out their trump card - which was to terminate the lease.

If the CMRR had a US Senator, the county executive and the Kingston mayor all in their camp, we all might feel pretty good about things. Unfortunately those people are all in the other camp. And quite obviously not dispassionately.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by sd80mac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:37 am

scoostraw wrote:If the CMRR had a US Senator, the county executive and the Kingston mayor all in their camp...

we dont need choo choo chuck. we can have other senators and legistatives... what about cuomo adm?? I'm sure that he's for tourist... what about NYS tourism agency?? They can have one of these to back them up.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by DogBert » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:26 am

Fending off the eviction is the first step. Assuming Cmrr has a good lawyer and their insurance in order I suspect that is do-able.

A press release showing proof of insurance, volunteers removing trash , maintaining the row, etc is in order. It would remove the crazy lies seen in the daily freeman comments and shows Hein he is in for a large battle that will dirty his name instead of being some easy win.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by DogBert » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:46 am

Also I wonder how widespread this problem of trail groups going after active tourist railways is? ADIX I hear is having similar issues - is it more widespread than this or just a New York State issue? tourist railways that don't own their ROWs may need to start gathering and publishing data on how many tourists and jobs they really bring.

In my area, a trail group is trying to take the old LIRR rockaway beach branch - this while a nearby trail sat abandoned for 15 years and is chronicly under maintained. The organizers see dollar signs because 'The high line' did so well.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by airman00 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Every trail is different. Just because one trail does well, doesn't mean all trails will do well.

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by scoostraw » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:28 pm

DogBert wrote:Fending off the eviction is the first step.
I agree.

I don't know how the CMRR gets around two things:

1) "The lease requires CMRR to rehabilitate a minimum of 1 mile of track per lease year so that the line of track from Kingston to Phoenicia is entirely rehabilitated to Class 1 condition by the end of the lease.'" Now clearly this hasn't happened. However the CMRR could argue that given the opportunity over the remaining 3 years of the lease, that they will make up for lost time. (Not to mention of course the damage done by Irene)

and

2) "CMRR is currently operating a rail yard on the U&D right-of-way from Downs Street east to Cornell Street, which site is located outside the lease premises. By reason of the foregoing, CMRR is trespassing on County-owned property."

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Re: Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) Discussion - 2013

Post by SlowFreight » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:28 pm

OK...I asked earlier if the CMRR had spoken to a commerce attorney, and I was poo-poohed and told that they have a mighty fine lawyer. But in speaking with some attorney friends in the industry, here is the reality. Your Local Attorney does not know how to defend a railroad when it comes to abandonment issues.

-Whoever holds the common carrier obligation holds the upper hand. This is a legal authority, and does not automatically convey to the CMRR with its lease of the railroad from the county.

-Very likely, the only reason CSX could originally sever the CMRR's connection was because the county holds the common carrier obligation--else, the CMRR could have resisted its severance from the U.S. rail network. Otherwise, it's possible neither party knows who actually holds it. The Gardendale Railroad was inactive for over a decade, but since it was not abandoned, UP couldn't sever it from the main, and it came back with a vengeance in the last 3 years--Iron Horse held the obligation, and did not file for abandonment.

-If the county holds the authority and files for abandonment, it's actually reasonable to tell the STB that "no traffic has moved over the line in XXX years," going back to the loss of CMRR's last freight customer. Convincing FEMA that the Boiceville Bridge was in service because track speeders used it is NOT the same thing as convincing the STB that you are engaging in interstate commerce. Quite simply, CMRR is NOT.

-Now that it is disconnected, if the CMRR does not hold the common carrier obligation, it will have a tremendous uphill battle proving to the STB that it is actually a railroad. It may run railroad equipment, and follow FRA regulations, but since it currently engages in no interstate commerce and does not have the ability to do so, it won't have the same rights of protection in the abandonment process that an active shortline might.

Friends, you're in a difficult position here. Calling Sen's Gillibrand and Schumer are your best starts.

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