• Ethanol Plant on the Falls Road proposed

  • Discussion about shortline operator Genesee Valley Transportation, operator of the Delaware-Lackawanna; the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern, the Falls Road Railroad; Depew, Lancaster & Western; and the Lowville & Beaver River railroads. Official site: GVTRAIL.COM.
Discussion about shortline operator Genesee Valley Transportation, operator of the Delaware-Lackawanna; the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern, the Falls Road Railroad; Depew, Lancaster & Western; and the Lowville & Beaver River railroads. Official site: GVTRAIL.COM.

Moderator: metman499

  by nessman
Very good news for GVT and the Falls Road Railroad!!

From the Buffalo News:
Ethanol fuel production plant proposed
Orleans Correspondent

ALBION - An $81 million proposal to build what could be the state's first ethanol fuel production site was aired at the Orleans County Legislature meeting Wednesday.

Gabrielle Barone, county manager of business development and Empire Zone coordinator, said that WNY Energy, based in Livingston County, is proposing the project for 144 acres on Bates Road in the Town of Shelby and three parcels nearby in the Town of Ridgeway.

The production facility would be across Bates Road from the Medina Industrial Park. The project is proposed in a state Empire Zone, which provides economic incentives to new and existing businesses. It is expected to add at least 50 jobs in Orleans County over a five-year period along with the chance for area farmers to sell their corn for conversion to ethanol, which can fuel automobiles.

Specific tax incentives, if any, offered to WNY Energy were not discussed.

"The Governor's Office will do an official announcement of it," Barone told the legislators. "More particulars will be announced as we move forward."

Gov. George E. Pataki recently called for efforts to develop alternative sources of fuel such as ethanol.

County officials said ethanol fuel-producing projects are moving ahead in Fulton, north of Syracuse, and Seneca Falls, west of Syracuse. Orleans County leaders said there are an estimated 90 ethanol producing sites throughout the United States.

"I think it is important that Orleans County beat out several other counties," Barone said. "It is something not handed out by any means."

An estimated $66 million would go for development of the site and construction of several buildings. Construction could start as soon as spring of 2007. Another $15 million is proposed for additional development or what county officials said were "soft" costs related to the project.

"It's a beginning," said David Callard, at-large legislator for western Orleans County.

"I'm excited about this," said Legislator William Eick, a Republican who represents the towns of Clarendon, Shelby and Barre. "It is 99 percent go."

The project would also need approval from the Shelby Town Board and Orleans County Planning Board.

  by nessman
State spending $6M on Orleans ethanol plant

David Tyler
Staff writer

(May 8, 2006) — SHELBY — New York will spend nearly $6 million to help a company open what is billed as the first state-of-the-art dry mill ethanol plant in the state.

Western New York Energy, LLC, plans to spend $87.4 million to build on 144 acres in the town of Shelby, Orleans County. Construction is expected to begin in June and be completed by early 2008. The plant will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol a year and create 58 jobs, officials said

Gov. Pataki, speaking at an appearance at Shelby Town Hall, said the plant will help make New York a leader in alternative energy production and help wean the country from dependence on foreign oil.

"It is just, in my view, tragic that in the 21st century we still have that dependency," Pataki said.

Pataki also said as many as 500 jobs would be created in ancillary industries such as transportation and agriculture. The plant will use 20 million bushels of corn a year, with 6 million of those expected to come from New York state.

The state support includes $3.1 million to help rail and other transportation access at the site, $435 thousand in the form of a grant, and Western New York Energy also will be eligible for up to $2.5 million in renewable energy production tax credits. The plant site also is in a tax saving Empire Zone.

The Shelby plant is one of at least three ethanol projects being planned around central and western New York. A coalition of corn growers plans a 50 million-gallon-a-year plant in Seneca County. The coalition is currently trying to decide whether to place the plant in Seneca Falls or at the old Seneca Army Depot in Romulus.

Northeast Biofuels has proposed a 100 million-gallon-a-year plant in Fulton, Oswego County.

As the price of gasoline continues to rise, ethanol has become a more economically attractive option for producers. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have launched ambitious campaigns to market ethanol-powered vehicles, which have helped public awareness of the products.

New York's strong heritage in agriculture, chemistry and engineering also make it an attractive place to build such plants, experts say.

Distillers' grains and carbon dioxide, two byproducts of ethanol production, also are in high demand.

Pataki has proposed bringing alternative fuels to New York State Thruway rest stops and cutting taxes to make the fuel drastically cheaper than gasoline.

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  by metman499
Awesome, GVT will likely score big on this one. I would assume run through power and they do the local switching (if any)?

  by nessman
metman499 wrote:Awesome, GVT will likely score big on this one. I would assume run through power and they do the local switching (if any)?
I'm sure those details would need to be worked out. Would be easier to run the train through Lockport to Medina by CSX and bring out any loads/empties back through Lockport to Niagara Falls. But we're talking about 20-40 cars a day give or take so the Falls Road may be able to handle the job and any local switching duties easily (or better yet give the Falls Road trackage rights and let them run to/from Niagara Falls).

  by Challenger3985
Yeah this is very great news for GVT. However, I was just thinking would you think it is possible that they might lay the 12 miles of trackage back in from Brockport to Rochester again that Conrail took out? I'm sure there would be some advantages to that, but costly of course.

I live in hamlin, and I remember when I was a kid seeing trains going by on this line a few times daily with long trains. I miss those days for sure, so maybe I might be surprised?

Well let me know what you guys think, thanks.

  by pablo
I think that's a different line in Hamlin.

Dave Becker

  by nessman
The abandoned line between Brockport and Rochester is still owned by CSX... however it was abandoned for a reason and in all likelihood will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

  by Challenger3985
Ah.. bummer, do you know why they abandoned the line in the first place? I know Conrail didn't see any use of it so they did that. Perhaps that isn't the whole story? Well its good to know CSX still owns it, I have noticed that all the bridges leading up to rochester are still there, so that is a good sign (I guess).

Blast, I had my hopes up... :(

pablo, the line you are talking about is probably the Hojack. I live no farther then a mile from it over to redman road. All that is used for now is ATV's and Dirt bikes.

  by pablo
I thought that it was the Hojack. I was merely redirecting yonder former poster.

I used to live in Hamlin when I worked at Hilton.

Dave Becker

  by med-train
Challenger3985 wrote:Ah.. bummer, do you know why they abandoned the line in the first place? I know Conrail didn't see any use of it so they did that. Perhaps that isn't the whole story?
We believe that Conrail wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be a competitive alternate route to the Main Line. Removing the rails would also lower the property tax.

  by nessman
That makes no sense... the Falls Road branch was owned by Conrail at the time of abandonment... you can't compete against yourself. GVT didn't come into the picture until 2 years after that segment was gone.

I think it had to do with the lack of customers between Rochester and Brockport, too many years of deferred maintenance on the line catching up to them and that it was a redundant through route to the main line (ergo - surplus property).

  by pablo
Les, I think your post is right on, though your last phrase agrees with the previous post. I think that poster was talking about IF that line was ever sold, it might compete with the River Line, per se. What would it have been like if the Hojack was bought and totally rehabbed by someone interested in competing with Conrail...imagine 100 car freights going through Hilton and Hamlin...

OK, I just woke up...but you get the point.

Dave Becker

  by metman499
This would not be the only move made by Conrail to prevent competition from themselves. Two subjects come to mind relating to the GVT. The first would be ripping out the Lackawanna Cutoff across New Jersey. The second would be selling land to the beer distributor right next to the wye at Br. 60. This was done supposedly to prevent that leg of the wye from being restored. Story goes they geussed wrong as to the amount of land needed to be sold and there was just enough room for the leg to be restored.

  by nessman
The notion of the Falls Branch being a "competitve route" the Conrail mainline is completely ludicrous.

Think about it. The Falls Branch went from Rochester to Niagara Falls - and so did Conrail via the Mainline and the Niagara Branch. If someone took over the entire branch back in the day - how would it affect Conrail?

First of all they'd have to get past Niagara yard, down the Lockport Secondary - something that Conail wouldn't give up without a fight because of the traffic for Lockport and Somerset.

Would there be any time savings? Doubtfully... you'd still have to I/C and classify traffic at either end of the line. Would it give CN or CP "access" to Rochester? Probably - but they'd have that access via interchange with Conrail anyway.

Besides, it's not like Rochester is a lucrative market for the Canadian rail shippers that they were clamoring to take over 55 miles of neglected branch line to get a few carloads there.

Bottom line is Conrail abandoned Brockport to Rochester because there was no local traffic. They had a through route between Rochester and Niagara Falls via the Mainline and Niagara Branch which are both much better maintained. The segment between Lockport and Brockport was no longer profitable.

If they kept the abandoned portion intact, how would a shortline operator "compete" with Conrail for through traffic? You'd still have to I/C with Conrail at either end (along with the usual fees).

I simply don't buy that argument. Now if someone can come up with solid proof otherwise, then please correct me.

  by WNYP431
Getting past the Conrail arguments, the Ethanol Plant in Medina - the one that's not going in - has seen a flurry of activity in recent weeks.

The contractor made quick work of the hundreds of trees in the way, hurriedly slicing them down and grinding them into mulch. Every 60 seconds or so, dump trucks have been delivering excavated soil to angry bulldozers, brazenly shoving the piles around and compacting them into what many would call a "wye".

A culvert has been set on each side of this wye, supposedly to let rainwater ebb and flow freely underneath the crushing wheel-squeal of flanges delivering product to and from this plant...the one that is not going up.

Surveyors skip from stake to stake with their little pink rolls of tape dangling from their belts and a song in their heads, and plunge wooden markers into the ground...

...and of course, there are managers too...pointing, yelling, spreading out maps, and taking measurements....all working together laying the ground work for the switches and track work to be done in the near future. Track that will be traversed by millions of tons of American product, served by an American transport system, feeding American markets, and putting Americans to work.

I haven't seen any self-leaning shovels....nobody on this project is taking a lunch break...or arguing over details like the Peace Bridge. This ain't Bass Pro of Buffalo....or an Indian Casino. This is what America used to be, and how Americans used to get things done. It's going quick, it's going professional, and I glide by every week...proud to be part of it.

Hope they get it done before those Ecology boys come in and move it.