• Binghamton NY - New York City NYC Passenger Rail Discussion

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by trainhq
Talk about taxpayer ripoffs; check this out!

Money came, passenger service didn't
Sunday, October 17, 2004
By Mike McAndrew
Staff writer
A New York state senator said passenger trains would run daily between Syracuse and Binghamton when the state borrowed $3 million and gave it to the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad.

7 Rich "We're very excited to establish passenger rail service that connects Binghamton to the Amtrak system," Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, told a rail passenger association newsletter in June 2002 when he announced the $3 million grant. Records identify Libous as the grant's sponsor.


Newspapers and industry newsletters quoted Libous that year saying that he expected daily passenger runs to begin by late 2003.

But two years after New York gave NYS&W the $3 million grant - and after Gov. George Pataki steered $5 million in other state grants to NYS&W - there is no regular passenger service to Binghamton. What's more, a NYS&W executive says the company has no plan to start it.

"I would say that it's in the possibility stage," said Nathan Fenno, NYS&W's vice president.

Passenger trains stopped running through Binghamton in 1970. NYS&W won't revive daily passenger service to Binghamton, Fenno said, unless taxpayers subsidize the operation.

NYS&W is owned by Walter G. Rich, who has a long history of contributing money to politicians and receiving tax money for his railroads.

Rich has hosted fund-raisers for Pataki and President George W. Bush at his Cooperstown mansion. Since 1999, Walter Rich and his railroad companies have contributed more than $102,000 to New York politicians, including $16,750 to Pataki and $10,550 to Libous.

Rich also owns OnTrack - a little-used passenger train that shuttles between Carousel Center and Syracuse University and which has received more than $8 million in state grants.

In 2002, five days before NYS&W submitted an application for the $3 million grant, Rich allowed Pataki to use one of his vintage trains for a whistle-stop tour between Binghamton and Syracuse as he campaigned for re-election.

Pataki and the three other Republican politicians on board did not pay Rich to use the train and did not declare it in their campaign filings.

A spokeswoman for the Republican State Committee said the train ride should have been disclosed as an in-kind contribution from Rich's wife.

"Due to a bookkeeping error, it was not reflected in the State Committee filing," said Karin Kennett, the Republicans' spokeswoman, in an e-mail. She said a $4,072 in-kind contribution would be declared on the next campaign report.

While Libous talked of passenger service between Binghamton and Syracuse, NYS&W spent the $3 million grant on another line - from Binghamton to Utica, Fenno said. In the grant application, the railroad talked of improving the tracks to Utica for freight trains and "expanded passenger service."

Fenno said NYS&W has no plans to revive passenger service between Binghamton and Utica, either.

NYS&W spent another $5 million in taxpayers' money fixing tracks between Binghamton and Syracuse, Fenno said. Pataki steered that money to the railroad in the state's 2001 budget. The company's freight trains can go faster now, Fenno said. He said the track improvements will help the region's economy.

Taxpayers are scheduled to be paying off the bonds for the $3 million loan through 2013.

  by SimTrains
LOL - Typical NYS politician thinking, throw tons of money at it, and the economy will boom. Also, sounds like this Walter G. Rich guy is a real scheister. Hope he gets what’s coming to him, being a republican and all.

  by scottychaos
the taxpayers have been directly funding railroad's direct competttion for decades..(highways and airports)..
its about time we gave some cash to the railroads..
seems only fair to me..

its obvious this "article" is nothing but a political slam piece..
someone has an axe to grind..
it absolutely reeks of bias..
I wouldnt be surprised if its 50% fiction.
my instict is to laugh at it and then ignore it..

  by trainhq
I would tend to agree, except that an examination of the record indicates
that nothing has been done on the project in the two years since it was
announced. So where else did the money go?

  by scottychaos
do we know for certain that these millions of dollars in grants were given to NYSW specifically for passenger service?
nowhere in that article does it actually say that directly..
its just implied..
and all that stuff about fundraisers and money Rich gave to politicians, and use of the train by Pataki etc.., none of that is relevant to the story!
its only in there to imply that something "shady" must be going on..
when in reality its possible the grants had nothing to do with passenger service, and all the political fundraising is likely perfectly legit..

the whole thing is pure spin..written to imply that Republicans must be Evil and something underhanded must be going on here..
its not even done well enough to disguise that its just a political bias piece, as most other articles of this nature are..

If democrats actually want to imply that only Republicians recieve "special interest" money from private businessmen, then they REALLY want you to stay stupid!
there is nothing unusual going on in that respect..its "business as usual" in politics, on all sides of the fence..

that whole article is nothing but spin and barely disguised accusations..
sad really..

  by henry6
Leave it to the media...they don't know railroading and they don't know history. All they know is how to read the words in a press release or what is heard in the 10 second sound bite! Libous had proposed the Susie Q get $$ to rehabilitate track so that paswsenger service could be revived between Syr and Bing. even if only for special occasions. NY service has nothing to to with this $$ nor with the Susie Q!

Libous's office several years ago got the state to buy a survey of passenger needs that included Broome countie east plus the Corning area that showed an interest in service to NY via Scranton and the NJ Cut Off when such service has reached Scranton(in 2007?). Susie Q has nothing to do with this nor have they been approached or offered to supply the service.

However, that all being said, there is a "grassroots" group called the "I81&86 Corridor Rail Passenger Committee" which has met several times and is trying to get the powers that be involved so that when the service gets to Scranton it can quickly reach Binghamto and furthre upstate as traffic, etc. warrents. All rr's in the area, along with IDA's, DOT, politicians, etc. have been informed and attened these meetings.
Much more work will be done over the next 3 to 6 months to get this movement going full steam ahead!

  by roadster
State and federal grants and funds have been utilized by regionals and shortlines for a number of years to rehabilitate track structures, grade crossings and the like. Political contributions from the Railroads are just as numerous. The class ones spend mega bucks contributing to political parties and campaigns. Consider the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer which had several OCS's attending both from the various class one's. I would hope that deception wasn't part of receiving those funds for the NYS&W. Possibly, the funds were meant for upgrading infastructure with the potential of future passenger services if dictated by feasability studies. Otherwise it's politics as usual.
  by tdstedman

This article was written in the Syracuse Post Standard. It was one of several articles discussing projects that did not not come out of the State budget, but rather from "legal" slush funds. One of the articles also described who these funds are created and controlled.

The control over these funds are exclusively the Govenor, Assembly Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader. Since the people who hold these offices are a Republican, a Democrat, and a Republican (respectivey), this was not an article slamming one party or another, but the abuse of power in the current Albany system. Likewise, it was not an exclusively anti-railroad piece.

-- Tim
  by henry6
Check out today's (Fri, 10/29) Binghamton Press for more at

  by bingdude
Like I have posted before on this forum, The Powers That Be in Binghamton are mistaken about Train Service there. They can't accept that to make it workable they must cooperate with Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

They also seem to have the notion that the train will "Bring People to Binghamton" when in effect it will allow people from Binghamton to commute to the NYC area to work (Albeit a long commute).

They should have saved that money and used it to lure some industry to one of the many gaping holes in the Binghamton area (like where the old Anitech/GAF/Ansco plant was).
  by henry6
Discussion of the return of rail passenger service has been in a cloud for so long. Media people read the survey report but did not know what they were reading so picked up the line about service to Syracuse ignoring the fact that the report did not include the populaton between Broome and Tioga counties but only Broome and Steuben counties and that the report did make delineations between the Port Jervis route and the Scranton route. So the ignorant have ranted and raved since then, including members of the media and political estaablishments. There is the I81/I86 Corridor Coalition for Rail Passenger Service in the process of organizing and attacking these misnomers and making the powers that be aware of what is needed, wanted, anc can be done. Keep posted.

  by joshuahouse
Steuben County is about 100 miles west of Broome County, and they included the population here in their statistics?
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