• Amtrak service temporarily suspended west of Albany

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by NYCRRson
 
"We were told that federal law prescribed something called "joint and several liability": any previous owner of the building would be liable for the entire cost of a federal Superfund cleanup, even someone taking ownership of a corporate entity that had once owned the site. The feds could go after the seller, regardless of the terms of the sale. Basically, you don't want to go near anything that might have hazardous waste requiring a Superfund cleanup."

Exactly, this is why there are "brownfields" all over the old industrial portions of the USA. Nobody wants to buy/reclaim them since any trace of a spilled "toxic chemical" from 100 years ago leaves the current owner "on the hook" to pay for the whole cleanup.

Of course if the current or past owners have gone belly up and filed for bankruptcy then the gubermint "steps in" and cleans up the mess sometime in the next 100 years....

The business where I am employed has been purchased several times over the last decades. Each purchaser insists on "due diligence" which includes drilling sample wells all around the property to make sure no "toxics" are in the ground or leaching into adjacent properties.
  by markhb
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:29 am We were told that federal law prescribed something called "joint and several liability": any previous owner of the building would be liable for the entire cost of a federal Superfund cleanup, even someone taking ownership of a corporate entity that had once owned the site. The feds could go after the seller, regardless of the terms of the sale. Basically, you don't want to go near anything that might have hazardous waste requiring a Superfund cleanup.
I had been waiting for someone to mention the S-word. I don't know if, strictly speaking, it applies here (I usually hear of it in conjunction with someone having done something nefarious at some point in the past, and lead paint and asbestos were SOP back in the era when this was built), but in general this is the sort of situation I think it exists for. (I'm assuming that the intact building has no remaining usefulness... given its long derelict condition, that seems likely.)

So far as the "there's no profit in taking the building" angle goes, that's true, but it seems that the condition of the building also presents a clear and present danger to public safety, the protection of which is one of the reasons we create governments in the first place.

So it seems that the most effective solution is for some level of government to assume responsibility for the building and demolish it. The feds are the ones that have that kind of money readily available, so I see either the city or EPA taking the building, the EPA demolishing it, and then charging the expenses back to the ownership chain. The big question then becomes validating that the ground isn't contaminated to the point of being unusable, which if it's an industrial or commercial property doesn't seem hard.

I'm not a lawyer of any stripe.
  by eolesen
 
It's really not realistic for the Feds to step in and buy up every defunct claptrap relic that's been abandoned thru bankruptcy.

At best, this is a local issue. The City or county have to handle it one way or another.

As others have alluded to, the red tape involved in demolishing a building can be suffocating, which is why so many claptraps and brownfields wind up abandoned and foreclosed on.

It's also why so many buildings like this magically burn down in the middle of the night... once it's truly a risk of collapsing, it will have to come down regardless of things like lead paint, asbestos, etc...
  by west point
 
THE problem of doing nothing is what happens when a piece breaks off. Every fall of the building's concrete will throw asbestos, lead paint, and who knows what into the air. How do you mitigaate the dust from this collaspe on a very windy winter day? IMO better to tent the demo for each section removed.
  by Ken W2KB
 
eolesen wrote: Tue Aug 09, 2022 4:50 pm It's really not realistic for the Feds to step in and buy up every defunct claptrap relic that's been abandoned thru bankruptcy.

At best, this is a local issue. The City or county have to handle it one way or another.

As others have alluded to, the red tape involved in demolishing a building can be suffocating, which is why so many claptraps and brownfields wind up abandoned and foreclosed on.

It's also why so many buildings like this magically burn down in the middle of the night... once it's truly a risk of collapsing, it will have to come down regardless of things like lead paint, asbestos, etc...
That and other entities in the chain of title are likely no longer extant, or like the present owner, a corporation with no assets other than the building property itself so there is no means of recouping the cost. This one falls upon the state or municipal taxpayers to remedy.
  by andrewjw
 
NYCRRson wrote: Tue Aug 09, 2022 8:00 pm "So it seems that the most effective solution is for some level of government to assume responsibility for the building and demolish it. The feds are the ones that have that kind of money readily available"

Ah yes, the "feds" who have taken the richest nation in the history of the world from spending within their means to a current state where the "feds" have run up our collective "credit card" balance to just about 30 Trillion dollars....

That is about 80 thousand dollars per citizen of debt (30 Trillion in debt / 350 Million citizens) for every citizen of the USA....

Gubermint does not have any money and cannot create any money, they can only take it from productive citizens.

Wonder how long it will take us all to pay off your US Gubermint Imposed Debt of $80.000 while making the "minimum monthly payment" ???
you clearly have no actual idea how fiscal policy work and keep taking us off-topic from railroads. no one else is interested in debating your rants. we want to talk about the trains. please just stop.
  by eolesen
 
Sure, we all want to talk about the trains here, but don't fault some of us for caring how they're paid for.

As already pointed out, the freight rolling by never stopped. They appear to have decided the risk to their property is minimal and manageable. If CSX truly saw this as a threat, they'd close down the tracks. They didn't.
  by JoeG
 
It often seems that Amtrak will do anything to avoid running trains. But an Amtrak train hit by a falling piece of concrete is a much greater potential liability than a freight train so hit. So, it isn't a fair comparison between CSX and Amtrak.
  by Greg Moore
 
I can't speak as to why CSX didn't stop their trains but I'll point out that their tracks are 80'+ away from the building and are at ground level and presumably not causing vibrations that was reportedly part of the reason the building is shedding debris.
The Amtrak tracks are on a bridge less than 10' from the building (and in fact has a branch that connects to the building).

So, if the façade of the building did collapse, it's far less likely a CSX train would be impacted (and more so, my reading was it was the side facing Amtrak's tracks that was most at risk) and if something catastrophic happened, it would be freight cars impacted, not Amfleets filled with passengers.

I'm also not sure how many trains CSX runs a day (I hear the whistles from several miles away several times a day but don't track them) but it's probably fewer than the 10-12 (5-6 in each direction) that Amtrak runs through Schenectady.

Now that said, while I do think there's definitely some politics involved here, the reality is there are some differences in risk.
  by Railjunkie
 
CSX shares the elevated tracks with Amtrak and its only a few locals to the port of Rennselaer and Troy biggest commodities I see roll by is liquid asphalt and construction debris.
Canadian Pacific has tracks on ground level I have no idea how many trains they run into and out of Kenwood yard/Port of Albany but there two biggest commodities are grain and fuel oils/ethanol.
  by Greg Moore
 
Ah right, I was mistaken in thinking the CP tracks were CSX.

And honestly, it's not too difficult for CSX to avoid the LAB and that area if they really wanted to.
  by NYCRRson
 
"you clearly have no actual idea how fiscal policy work "

RIGHT..... The USA is currently in DEBT to the tune of 30 Trillion dollars.... That is about 1.5 x the size of the entire USA GDP... (that is all the productive things private citizens do each year)

So, you bring home say $50,000 a year and spend $75,000 a year.... That is unsustainable.... Same thing the gubermint has been doing for decades...

Amtrak was "promised" to be a "for profit" corporation to get the legislation passed through the US Congress (the "keepers" of the purse strings")... Nothing could be further from the truth....

Amtrak has never made a profit and will never make a profit, if it was an "evil" private capitalist company they would have gone bankrupt back about 1976, maybe 1979....
  by nomis
 
Mod Note: this is railroad.net, not fiscal-policies.net
  by Railjunkie
 
Greg Moore wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:26 pm Ah right, I was mistaken in thinking the CP tracks were CSX.

And honestly, it's not too difficult for CSX to avoid the LAB and that area if they really wanted to.
IF they really wanted to they could. Then again those tank cars of liquid asphalt or tar that are going to Gorman INC in the port may have a little $$$ in them. Business must be good, they have added another siding into the plant a run around and I think I may even seen a trac-mobile.
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