• New Adirondack Scenic Thread (ADIX)

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

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  by jurtz
 
SST wrote: Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:47 pm Was the washout the reason you stopped ferrying equipment? And with the washout repaired, can the ferrying of equipment resume and therefore justifying this section remain a railroad?

I guess I ask these questions because I find it interesting that the DOT would spend the money on a section that stands at the brink of abandonment. At least that's the way it looks from my "arm chair."
Adirondack Scenic used the out of service section to ferry equipment between the in-service portion on the south end to the in-service track between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. After the 2016 operating season, the state pulled ARPS's operating permit on the north end in anticipation of pulling the tracks and building the rail trail, so there was no longer any reason to move equipment. That, and not any washout, is why the equipment moves ceased.

When ARPS had their operating permit for the entire line, they would periodically patrol the out of service portion to look for problems (beaver dams blocking drainage culverts in particular) and correct those issues as they arose and were still minor in nature (sometimes with help from the DOT). Once the state pulled the permit up there, nobody was minding the store, and eventually a washout resulted. As tree68 said, that probably would not have happened had it been an operating RR with regular track inspections.

DOT spent the money to fix the washout because otherwise that section would be unavailable to the snowmobilers this winter, not to restore rail service.
  by rhallock
 
At a meeting in Utica on Dec. 3rd, trail people heavily outnumbered railroad supporters and were demanding that all the tracks north of Big Moose be torn up for trails. There is another meeting on Dec. 19th at NYS office building. The deadline for public comments is Jan 7th. If rail supporters continue to be apathetic, it will be the death knell for any hopes of getting the railroad back even to Tupper Lake. The trail people will never be happy until every railroad in the Adirondacks (and probably the whole world) has been ripped up. Time to stop BSing and get up off your posteriors people!
  by charlie6017
 
rhallock wrote: Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 pm At a meeting in Utica on Dec. 3rd, trail people heavily outnumbered railroad supporters and were demanding that all the tracks north of Big Moose be torn up for trails. There is another meeting on Dec. 19th at NYS office building. The deadline for public comments is Jan 7th. If rail supporters continue to be apathetic, it will be the death knell for any hopes of getting the railroad back even to Tupper Lake. The trail people will never be happy until every railroad in the Adirondacks (and probably the whole world) has been ripped up. Time to stop BSing and get up off your posteriors people!
You're preaching the truth. First of all, there needs to be more communication and awareness within the railfan
community and more importantly, the general public. Very little of anything is advertised really well, and this is
something the public should know about. If things keep going as they are, the tracks WILL be removed and people
(read: ADIX riders) will wonder what the heck happened. I would put money on the vast majority of said people
not knowing anything about these meetings that have taken place.

I don't have all the answers, but being an observant person this is something that sticks out to me. Communication.

Stepping down off the soapbox.

Charlie
  by tree68
 
One problem is that this is a busy time for the railroad. Five nights per week all hands are on deck to get the Polar Express trains out.

Another is something I found tonight on the train. We had riders from Massena, Binghampton, and Albany that I know of, and others from even further away who were visiting with their families to ride the train. These folks aren't going to travel to Tupper Lake to attend a hearing. They aren't even going to come to Utica.

And a good number of other people who do have an interest don't have the wherewithall to make any of those meetings, either.

Where they can make an impact is by writing a comment. They need to read the proposed UMP and comment on it. "I like trains" comments will get no credibility.

The anti-rail faction is quite passionate about their cause - but I'm willing to bet that the same people have been at each of the meetings and hearings. They might have even rented a bus.

The comments to the APA about their re-definition of a travel corridor apparently came in 60-40 in favor of rail. Rail supporters can do the same (and better) now.

I thought comments had to be in by December 20, maybe that's changed - but be sure. We don't need a flood of support showing up too late. Start writing your well-reasoned comments now. Point out the economic and tourism benefits of the railroad (how many million were spent on those signs?). Point out shortcomings in trails -there are plenty of examples why the neighbors of such trails are opposed to them.

We can beat this. I hope. I suspect that in the back rooms of Albany, the decision has already been made.
  by eehiv
 
As we have found with the CMRR, 80% of trail supporters are locals and 80% of train users are from out of town. This gives rail supporters a disadvantage with the local population who generally will not use the train frequently and are more likely to use the trail as an amenity. It is difficult, but not impossible, to harness the 80% of rail supporters from out of town. Since they are generally NY State residents, they can be helpful to support the train, but will not be coming to any local support meetings.

The key local political support the railroad has is with the local businesses that benefit from the passengers from out of town. These businesses generally have great local influence, but may not be willing to come to a meeting and antagonize their local customers who may be trail supporters. They have to express their support through local politicians who will then lobby the state unless they themselves have direct influence in state politics. The other problem is that these pro-rail businesses only exist where the railroad is currently running (where they can see the money they are making off of customers from the train) - not where the railroad wants to run in the future.

As with the CMRR, it is difficult for our own people to attend these types of meetings because we are busy running a railroad, which the trail community does not have to worry about. As said before, the people who show up at these meetings are hard-core trail supporters who have the time to go to these meetings and know how to make themselves known at the same. They are generally not representative of the broader trail community. They are anti rail-with-trail - one said to me once "just the sight of railroad tracks next to a trail will ruin the experience".

Trying to harness a dispersed ridership base to support the train and the businesses that will one day benefit from it is not easy but is the key to keeping the rails in place for future generations - and most important local businesses - to benefit from. Using the ASRR's huge ridership base, and the existing local business support where the train already runs, to lobby the state and the local politicians and businesses that will benefit from future rail expansion is the key to creating political support for a plan more acceptable to all parties.

Ernie Hunt
President, CMRR
  by BR&P
 
Ernie, that is the most thoughtful and well-said analysis I have seen in a long time! It's worth re-reading for anyone interested in preservation efforts, no matter what line segment is involved.
  by tree68
 
And the trail folks thrive on things like Mrs. Keet's comment at a previous round of meetings - "What if a train derails into the lake?" Oh, the humanity! Like the railroad wants to do that, but the anti-rail folks (the Keets being at the top of the heap there) want to make the railroad look as bad as possible.

One only has to wander into downtown Old Forge on "train days" to hear the merchants talking about the crowds they expect, how they put on extra staff, etc.

But, like Ernie says, they can't alienate the rest of their customers, and when there's snow on the ground, those customers are snowmobilers.

The trail campaign has been going on for a lot of years now. They have a local newspaper in their pocket at the north end, and someone willing to fund their efforts. Word a couple of years ago was that a local foundation threatened to pull funding from recipients if they came out in favor of the railroad (we won't mention whose foundation that is).

That all makes it hard to find the support that we all know is there.

Which is why we all have to write letters, even if we can make it to the hearings.
  by oibu
 
I think in addition to all the good points already made, the very stupidity and bizarreness of the situation makes it a.) not something that anyone who isn't already tracking such matters is going to know about, and b.) not something that most "rational" people would expect (i.e., "the railroad is there and business seems good" is not going to make John Q. Public think there is any threat to the railroad, and the fact that the State preserved and helped restore the rail corridor does not create any logical reason for the typical rational layperson to think that the State is going to 180 itself. Even most people who know about the train would probably see the occaisional article and perceive it as nothing more than a small group of outspoken militant locals stirring the pot and not an actual imminent threat to the rail corridor itself that requires action to stop.

Even as a rail enthusiast, were it not for this forum my awareness of the threat and the actual severity of it would be minimal and would probably tink this is just a case of "there is always someone who will never be happy" stirring the s#!t pot.

The big takeaways I think are, as was pointed out by others, that the ridership and the local businesses need to be made aware of the actual threat and be motivated to speak out, and that fact needs to be re-stated until it sinks in that the use by snowmobiles in winters and trains in spring-summer-fall is not at all incompatible. That would weed out and isolate the core group who actually want the corridor shut down to anything but themselves, who currently are hiding behind the snowmobile lobby.
  by D Alex
 
I don't know how many posting on this thread know people in the 'snowmobile crowd'. These people will trailer their machines from hundreds of miles away just to ride them like a bunch of yahoos going from bar to bar. I doubt more than half of them on any given winter's day are below the legal blood-alcohol level threshold!

Taking away somebody's boozy weekend dream is always going to meet with resistance. I think an intervention is needed. Perhaps more stringent alcohol checkpoints, like they do for cars is in order?
  by tree68
 
D Alex wrote: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:38 am I don't know how many posting on this thread know people in the 'snowmobile crowd'. These people will trailer their machines from hundreds of miles away just to ride them like a bunch of yahoos going from bar to bar. I doubt more than half of them on any given winter's day are below the legal blood-alcohol level threshold!

Taking away somebody's boozy weekend dream is always going to meet with resistance. I think an intervention is needed. Perhaps more stringent alcohol checkpoints, like they do for cars is in order?
I do know some sledders who are out there for the thrill of the ride, not transportation to the next "refueling" stop, but...

How many of the central core of "trail advocates" hold the same view, and would like to see those folks out of the woods?

And, as I've said, they can't get the sledders off the corridor until the tracks are gone.

The snowmobilers campaign to have the rails removed at their own peril...
  by tree68
 
Late word has the dome car in Willard, OH, waiting some attention by CSX. Nothing wrong with it, but apparently the same measurements taken by BNSF were not sufficient.

It got through Chicago in pretty good time, which is good, as it probably would have picked up an additional layer of paint in the process otherwise.
  by BR&P
 
I realize that the politics involved in this line are extremely difficult, and sometimes you have no choice.
Last edited by BR&P on Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by tree68
 
BR&P wrote: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:47 pm But anybody who thinks hiking trails alongside an active railroad is a good option should look at the CSX derailment this morning at Harper's Ferry.
In the case of the Adirondack, a busy day would be maybe three "local" round trips and perhaps the long-run train out of Utica. The locals always ran with four cars, and I'm betting the long-haul trip wouldn't exceed seven cars. Speed on that portion of the line was 25 MPH. Safer than walking alongside the highway.
  by BR&P
 
tree68 wrote: Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:17 pm In the case of the Adirondack, a busy day would be maybe three "local" round trips and perhaps the long-run train out of Utica. The locals always ran with four cars, and I'm betting the long-haul trip wouldn't exceed seven cars. Speed on that portion of the line was 25 MPH. Safer than walking alongside the highway.
They should take their damn trails somewhere else.
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