• 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 griffs20soccer
Once again this is an non-issue. Our friend at the Post Star was not paying attention at he meeting of the Warren County Public Works. Those pictures we see in the article have nothing to do with the cars that are going to be stored. The stored cars will be non-hazardous and will be in a condition to haul freight immediately when needed. The cars are being stored on Iowa Pacific's property by a railcar leasing company. The county will receive revenue for the cars traveling across the right of way they own. However, they will not receive a portion of the storage fee. The cars will NOT be stored on the mainline; therefore, there will be no impact on the Revolution Railriders operation or freight operations to remove tailings from the Tahawus mine. The cars will be stored on the yard tracks at the mine.

The miss information by the trail people seem to go unchecked by the paper which appear to be pushing the rail trail agenda. The railroad continues to try and be a good neighbor and run a successful business, but at every turn these people try and prevent this. It seems that people in the area would want the jobs, business, and revenue the railroad brings to the county. No they want some pie in the sky bike path that will only benefit the few and be a financial drain on the county. As my dad used to say, "No good deed will go unpunished."
  by Benjamin Maggi
Engineer Spike wrote: The business plan for S&NC seems like a non starter to me. As others have said, it is a long trip to NC. The old Upper Hudson ride was short enough to not bore everyone except a buff. The novelty of the ride fades fast. There are only so many things to do up and there.
Exactly! We have ridden the S&NC once, and it doesn't have an open air car. We found the ride pretty boring, and once in town there wasn't much to do but wait for the return trip.

When my wife and I rode the UHRR we loved the open air gondola car. Whenever we ride tourist trains we always go to that car. Until they put something like that on the S&NC we won't be back to ride, regardless of the layover time. Without one, you can see a lot of the same scenery just driving through the area.
  by CP4743
1..Is SNC serving meals on the train to North Creek? When they did, it was a very nice ride and eating lunch or dinner took up a lot of "dead time". On a nice day, riding up to North Creek, checking out the town, and having a nice leisurely dinner on the way back to Saratoga is a pretty positive experience. SNC also has a nicely refurbished dining car but I do not see it in use right now.

2..Taking the train to the rail bikes, which I know some are doing, is also a reason to ride the train. Combine all that with a nice dinner on the train ride home and you have a great experience.

3..Polar Express might be overpriced, but still sells out. I agree they should use a different name and lower the rates and still maintain profit without the royalty fees.

4..It is really too bad that SNC can not get trackage rights from Rensselaer to Saratoga so they could run a ski train from Rensselaer on Friday nights. It would be great if they could run a sleeper and diner on the end of a late Amtrak out of NYC and switch them over to SNC at Rensselaer for the trip to North Creek. That would be an interesting service to offer as a weekend experience for people in the metro NYC area. Unfortunately Amtrak is unable to drop or pickup cars at Saratoga so it has to be Rensselaer which also opens up a train later then the Ethan Allen. Amtrak might be open to SNC running from Rensselaer to Schenectady but once again CP is in the way for the last 15 miles. CP would not even let AAPRCO operate with Amtrak crews.

5..There is so much of the tailings in Tahawus such that if they ever did find a buyer they would have years and years of business. It's unique material so hopefully they find an outlet in the future. The biggest challenge on freight is having CP as a 15-30 mile partner "in the way" of a CSX and NS connection.
  by Engineer Spike
The tailings is a low value commodity. There is no big profit which will result. My point is that there are miles of absolutely no commercial potential.

S&NC running to Albany is another non starter. I don’t think CP, nor Amtrak want to deal with it. They don’t want a shoestring operation out on their main lines. Running on a branch is a whole different ball game from busy, and high speed lines, with dense traffic. Our unions don’t want our work undercut either. Would you like it if I came to your place of employment, and told your boss that I’ll do your job for next to nothing? It would almost be like me coming over to your house, grabbing a beer out of your refrigerator, sitting on your couch, and putting my feet up on the coffee table.
  by CP4743
The value or profitability of selling tailings has nothing to do with the money that can be made moving tailings by the transporter. I agree that the transport cost is a bigger percent of the total cost on a low value commodity. But CP is moving lots of stone from Comstock, NY to NYC so the model works with a CP-CSX move. So adding SNC seems to be one too many carriers. Maybe the heavier weight of tailings is an issue too if customer wants cu ft. But the idea of moving the tailings has merit. And the D&H ran this line for 40 plus years with the one customer at end of line model (with exception of IP at the beginning of line). If SNC had a customer and brought tailings to Saratoga, that creates more union work for CP and CSX south of Saratoga.

There is no reason an Amtrak union engineer could not bring the SNC train to Saratoga and hand it off. That would be more union work. The line from Rensselaer to Saratoga has a large amount of excess capacity with exception of some yard congestion at Saratoga. If the train left Rensselaer on a Friday night after the Lake Shore it has double track to Schenectady with zero traffic for a 12 hour window unless the CSX local is running. Schenectady to Saratoga is about 20 miles with 2 big sidings. The only busy section is CPF-485 to CPF-480.
  by BR&P
http://www.timesunion.com/business/arti ... 257825.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Another report on the same matter states:
"Iowa Pacific's president, Ed Ellis, said Friday afternoon that the Polar Express, operated by Chicago-based Iowa Pacific's Saratoga and North Creek Rail Road, would be replaced by the "Train to Christmas Town."

"It's actually a story we like better," he said. "It's all about friends and family. We wanted a different story, a fresh story."

The book was written by Ellis' wife Peggy. The Christmas Town theme will also replace other Iowa Pacific Polar Express trains in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oregon, and at two locations in the United Kingdom."
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: added link to source
  by Engineer Spike
The real choke point for running more passenger trains would be on the Freight main. The track configuration was changed, and much double track was made single. The remaining track was centered in all the bridges. This was to accommodate oversized loads from GE. This area has CP, Guilford, and NS traffic. Jobs doubling out on the south end of Saratoga now have the new second track. This has made Saratoga much more fluid. The only drawback is that the controlled point on the south end of Saratoga Yard should have had universal crossovers.
  by Littlefoot14
Drove by the North Creek station this weekend and noted the following. Please forgive me for any of this that isn't 100% accurate or has already been discussed. I haven't been on these boards or near the railroad in awhile so I'm just posting what I saw.

Iowa Pacific 4137 was in the yard next to a string of passenger cars. Unfortunately for me only the nose was sticking out and I just assumed it was any old GP38/40/etc but now that I look it up I realize it's actually a pretty odd looking bird.

Behind the station was a pair of S series switchers coupled together elephant style.

A BL2s was coupled the the old UHRR open air car and the two E8s.

North towards the mine there was appx 25 hopper cars on the siding along route 28. Just past the string of hoppers was some kind of passenger car that appeared in pretty rough shape sitting by itself. Way to much brush to see what it was.

Also another note I happened to have the luck of catching the SNC in Hadley about a month or so ago. Totally unintentional just happened to be in the area for work when the crossing gate when down as I approached the intersection. A BL2 with a single hopper and a caboose crossed the road and stopped at the Hadley station. It's actually what sparked me to come back to this thread as I thought they may have started consistently running freight but after some reading I see that is not the case.

Anyways I know not everyone that cares about the SNC happens to live close to them so just figured I'd post what I had seen.

  by Old Muley
Regarding the article in today's NY Times, it appears that Peter Bauer and the photographer are trespassing on private property. Mr. Bauer is Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks! Their motto is "Legacy, Leadership, Vision", yet Protect the Adirondacks continues to spread falsehoods and hyperbole about the storage of the rail cars. They are well funded, and well connected. Godspeed Mr. Ellis.
  by Roscoe P. Coaltrain
Someone said this is part of a shakedown routine, as in if you pay us enough money, we move the problem railcars elsewhere. Supposedly, it's been done before in the Chicago area already. So who knows. Desperate financial times often call for desperate tactics.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realesta ... -them-back" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by CP4743
Roscoe P. Coaltrain wrote:Someone said this is part of a shakedown routine, as in if you pay us enough money, we move the problem railcars elsewhere. Supposedly, it's been done before in the Chicago area already. So who knows. Desperate financial times often call for desperate tactics.
Characterizing this as a shakedown is far from the truth. Iowa Pacific wants to move stone out of Tahawus and hopefully someday they are able to secure a contract. Currently there is a large amount of stone moving out of the Comstock, NY area (not that far from Tahawus) to New York City and this is the market SNC tried to tap into. The material is currently moving via barge (on the Champlain canal and Hudson River) and via rail on Canadian Pacific to Selkirk and onto NYC via CSX Hudson line via CP's haulage agreement. In the meantime, until SNC can secure a stone contract, SNC wants to make money. So they want to store cars on track they purchased and rehabilitated and own. Plenty of railroads store cars. In fact, Mohawk, Adirondack and Northern was storing tank cars in the Adirondack Park north of Utica NY this year. Reading and Northern is storing 1,000's of cars.

The SNC cars are not visible and not a blight on the Adirondacks unless you hike into private property. Those pictures were taken as a result of a one to two mile hike on railroad property. In NYS trespassing on a railroad is Criminal Trespass in the Third (3rd) Degree which is classified as a B Misdemeanor charge. Since he put his picture in the NY Times, I hope he is charged.

Governor Cuomo is making statements with absolutely no grasp on the facts. Clearly he is on the side of the trail nuts since he is strongly in favor of tearing up the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

So Ed Ellis says he would be happy to not store cars if somebody makes him financially whole when he removes the cars. That does sound a bit like a shake down but in reality it is just sound business. I assume Ed is happy to store cars on his tracks and I assume he is happy not to as long as the net cash flow is the same.
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