• Saratoga & North Creek (S&NC) Discussion

  • 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 Safetee
 
according to local media, a warren county official is wondering whether county should consider pulling the plug on rail and going to bike trail for their portion.
  by greenwichlirr
 
The sharks smell blood and they're circling the waters. The fools over on the ARTA pages (the group out to kill the Adirondack Scenic) are already out with their social media torches and pitchforks. Iowa Pacific extended itself too much too quick in other parts of their system, and the S&NC is feeling the brunt of it.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
There are rumors on another board that IP is finished and will fold shortly. Not just in your part of the world.
  by 161pw165
 
And the announcement:

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Satellit ... 1647581793" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Under the amended agreements, Amtrak will continue to provide train crews, ticketing and reservation services, and also coordinate with the private freight railroads that own the tracks over which the Hoosier State operates. Intermediate stops will continue to be Crawfordsville, Dyer, Lafayette and Rensselaer.
  by Safetee
 
Ip really believes in quality passenger service and its guaranteed attraction for riders. the problem of course is that as the fares go up the ridership goes down. the costs to field old passenger equipment good, bad, or ugly is horrendously expensive. the cost for train and service crews is not cheap. track maintenance is not cheap. Train service is very expensive.

historically the warren county commissioners have had dreams about gleaming trains hustling along the upper hudson with the idea that the railroads would be an economic development tool for the county at virtually no cost to the county. These dreams were based heavily on nostalgia and very little fact.

The first railroad gave the county the best cheapest ride that they, the UHRR, could afford to give and they, the UHRR lost their shirts and most of the rest of their clothes.The county treated UHRR like they were pirates. and then out of no where the iowa pacific waltzed into town promising polished pullmans, crisp white waiter jackets, four star dining cars, sleeping cars.

On the first day of IP operations all of what had been promised was furnished to the grateful surprise of the county officials. as soon as that shiny d&h colors loco showed up with the dome cars and all the IP employees dressed to the nines, the county commissioners knew that they were vindicated. ie, you really could have premium rail service for virtually no cost to the county at all.

if warren county would provide a subsidy of the operation as well as maintaining the track and crossings, a carrier could have a half way decent chance of surviving. No subsidy, highly unlikely any rail carrier can survive. But for those who think that bikes on a bike trail where trains have trod is the economic nirvana that they have sought. think again. Bike riders have nice bikes, lots of spandex, but eat very little beyond snacks, live in tents, wash in streams, and spend very little on the local economy.

One hopes that the IP folks can survive, if for no other reason than they truly have put their money where their mouth was. But the prognostications are not good.
  by thebigham
 
Bike trail, anyone?

http://poststar.com/news/local/supervis ... 7ed5a.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Supervisors question railroad's future after snow train cancellation
DON LEHMAN [email protected] Jan 21, 2017
At least one Warren County supervisor is advocating for the county to take another look at potentially using the county-owned rail line for a bike trail after the operator of a tourist train on the line cancelled its winter trains for the second year in a row. Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino, chairman of the county board’s Tourism Committee, said Friday at a Board of Supervisors meeting that he was “really disappointed” at Saratoga & North Creek Railway’s last-minute cancellation of its winter trains. “If they’re not going to do the snow train, we need to know before January,” he said. “We have to know what’s going on.” Merlino pointed out that the railroad’s plans to run winter trains resulted in the train track right-of-way being off limits for snowmobile trails that had used them for years during the winter. The railroad operator that pre-dated SNCRR did not run winter trains, so the track area had become part of the snowmobile trail system, and it was frustrating that no trails were running but snowmobilers could no longer use the right-of-way.
  by rhallock
 
I would suggest a full or partly volunteer operation, like Catskill Mountain RR or Adirondack Scenic. The county or state would have to help with track upkeep on so long a piece of track, but at least some ticket and or trains crews could be unpaid. I think there would be people from the Capital District who would be interested. Iowa Pacific just had too ambitious a program for the potential traffic. A more modest schedule would be appropriate.
  by BR&P
 
One thing that should be kept in mind is that while a railfan might like to ride all day, John Q. Public with a wife and 2 kids in tow needs an attraction that lasts about 1 1/2 hours long, two hours tops.

I have not gone back and read this whole thread, can anybody give me the Cliffs Notes on why the freight traffic (ore? tailings?) did not move? CP service issues? NIMBYs? Rates?
  by Otto Vondrak
 
There weren't enough customers left for regular shipments (thinking lumber yards and other small businesses), and for whatever reason, CP was not interested in helping SNC move tailings and aggregate out of Tahawus. I seem to recall a disagreement about interchange at Saratoga Springs. Not a lot of details were released.

Regarding the train ride experience, I think they did a good job of keeping the track speeds up. I don't think the idea was short excursions with kids, it was designed as a day trip to depart from Saratoga Springs and spend the day in North Creek and return. I don't know if short 1-hour round trip excursions from North Creek or Saratoga Springs would have helped supplement the "long-distance" travel, it's all speculation now.

=-otto->
  by BR&P
 
Otto Vondrak wrote: I don't think the idea was short excursions with kids, it was designed as a day trip to depart from Saratoga Springs and spend the day in North Creek and return.

=-otto->
IMHO, that's a big part of their problem. There's just not that many people who want spend the time and money for a day-long trip.
  by lvrr325
 
Round trip in the morning, round trip in the afternoon. That gets you both types of customers.
  by CP4743
 
Regarding passenger service, many different models have been trialed. The basic model is leave Saratoga at 10am, spend a few hours in North Creek and return to Saratoga by 6pm. Yes, a long day. There was a north end local from Thurman to North Creek. A short trip that should appeal to the Lake George crowd if marketed correctly. last year they tried dinner trains out of Saratoga in the typical fashion but the ticket price was very expensive. What is not clear is have any of these services covered their costs? Did the Polar Express make money? They also experimented with some theme trains that I believe tended to sell out. I would hope they were all profitable. IP owns the Sanford Lake branch (taxes?) and has a lot of equipment stored in North Creek. So I am not sure how the accounting works on SNC. I think a cut of the profits go to the County so, in theory, there is an "incentive" not to show a profit on SNC operations.

Regarding freight, they tried to get a log yard set up in Corinth but that idea faded out. Barton in North River successfully shipped 3 high cube boxcars of garnet based abrasives. Not sure why this business has not grown. The tailings business has been done on a small scale. The growth limiter on tailings according to the press releases was the inability to get a workable rate from CP. It was a problem before the NS takeover of the D&H south of Schenectady. It is more of a problem now. For any load not going through Canada, CP must haul a car 10 miles to the NS interchange. SNC petitioned the STB to get interchange with NS at Saratoga and the STB said no. There were lots of details in the STB filing as to the issues SNC faced with CP rates and service levels. From the filing, it was clear that SNC did not have a positive relationship with CP. One plan that was published was shipping tailings to the Port of Albany for loading on a barge. This could be a SNC to CP only move but the assumption is CP wanted too much. Back when CP ran their train on the east side of the Hudson, they hauled a lot of loaded stone cars out of Comstock and Saratoga to NYC.
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