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Adirondack Scenic RR to catch a break from NY State ?

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Adirondack Scenic RR to catch a break from NY State ?
Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, May 13, 2016 3:29 PM

Item in the TRAINS Newswire of this date:

"New York department to review Adirondack Scenic decision"

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, May 13, 2016 4:49 PM

The old DEC commissioner is gone, and the current one hasn't signalled his feelings on the topic.  The APA "approval" wasn't really an approval - only an agreement that "Option 7" was not counter to the Agency's master plan.

The "trail advocates" thought this was a done deal, and are expressing their outrage (huge surprise...).

One of the main "trail advocates" is also known to have made a number of political contributions, so this may have caused some rethinking in the halls of the capitol.

There have been legal questions about the APA's actions as well.

The simple fact that the topic has been officially noted to be still up in the air is very significant.

Perhaps that small group of people who want everyone out of their woods won't end up being successful in this attempt.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, May 13, 2016 6:41 PM

tree68

   One of the main "trail advocates" is also known to have made a number of political contributions, so this may have caused some rethinking in the halls of the capitol. There have been legal questions about the APA's actions as well. The simple fact that the topic has been officially noted to be still up in the air is very significant. Perhaps that small group of people who want everyone out of their woods won't end up being successful in this attempt.

Hopefully, this current process will have a good outcome for ASR...That area needs to be able to show itrself off to a much wider group of people who can enjoy it from the comfort of the ASR. 

     It would be a shame, and an economic loss for the State; limiting area to limit it to a small, cliquish group whose enthusiasm can be short term and fickle.        It is an asset already in place...Enjoy its benefits, and services.  Not to mention access to that area by enhancing its usefulness.  My 2 Cents.  

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Posted by wanswheel on Friday, May 13, 2016 8:21 PM

I listened to the NPR broadcast, and the environmental conservation commissioner, and doubt he’ll go against the park agency, who voted 9-1.

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/31774/20160513/state-officials-rethink-plan-to-tear-up-adirondack-train-track

http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/243.html

 

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, May 13, 2016 8:38 PM

He doesn't work for the park agency - and all they said was that Option 7 did not conflict with their master plan.  It was simply a formality.

The one vote against was a lawyer who said they were way off base with their decision.

It's long been said that nothing happens in Albany unless the governor says so.  With current events being what they are, the gov may decide to distance himself from the decision so as to hopefully eliminate some potential "conflicts of interest..."

The decision is a joint one, involving DOT and DEC.   Both have to sign off.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, May 14, 2016 4:52 PM

tree68

He doesn't work for the park agency - and all they said was that Option 7 did not conflict with their master plan.  It was simply a formality.

The one vote against was a lawyer who said they were way off base with their decision.

It's long been said that nothing happens in Albany unless the governor says so.  With current events being what they are, the gov may decide to distance himself from the decision so as to hopefully eliminate some potential "conflicts of interest..."

The decision is a joint one, involving DOT and DEC.   Both have to sign off.

 

Larry: Any guesses as to which way this might go?  The Newswire article seemed to indicate it was about to be a 'new game', and the decision might gain different meanings with the new Commissioner....

Hope this was a real consideraton of the previous decision, and not just a ploy to 'fish' for funds in a political time.   Bang Head 

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, May 14, 2016 6:03 PM

samfp1943
Larry: Any guesses as to which way this might go?  The Newswire article seemed to indicate it was about to be a 'new game', and the decision might gain different meanings with the new Commissioner....

At this point, it's really hard to say.  There are a lot of variables in play, but the general impression I get from folks who know a lot more than I do is that things may well be tipping in favor of keeping the tracks.  

What this may do is embolden those who, for a variety of reasons, have withheld support for the rails for fear of retribution to show their support (there is one definite example of this happening).  At least one local government has already changed their stance.

For now, "cautiously optomistic" is probably the best position to take.

 

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, May 14, 2016 6:56 PM

Old news (Mar. 1) from same radio station, about Adirondack Scenic Railroad maybe suing the state.

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/31155/20160301/impending-lawsuit-keeps-rails-trails-debate-at-a-boil

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, May 14, 2016 10:30 PM

tree68

...

The decision is a joint one, involving DOT and DEC.   Both have to sign off.

 

I guess we heard what DEC/Parks said.  What is DOT saying?

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, May 15, 2016 6:36 AM

I'm hearing that DOT favors the railroad, but I don't know what their "official" position is...

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Sunday, May 15, 2016 11:21 AM

Did Penn Central ever abandon the railroad under ICC rules?

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 7:40 PM

The governor has now gone on record as approving "Option 7," which calls for lifting the rails north of Tupper Lake.

The railroad has filed a 1,500 page lawsuit opposing that decision.  Among the treats in the lawsuit is a document signed by DEC and DOT - which disappeared after a very short time on the state website, and which signatures were denied by the state shortly thereafter.

The "trail advocates" are crowing about their victory - I'm sure at least one is polishing up his spike puller, so to follow the last train out of town and get rid of the rails he hates so thoroughly..

At this point, though, one 800 pound gorilla in the room - the state and national historic registers - have yet to be addressed by the "trail advocates."  Perhaps they think they can buy that decision like it appears they may have bought this one.

It's not over yet.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:14 AM

Who is going to pay for trail maintaince on 80 miles of trail where nobody lives in rural counties that are broke. My local bike trail has 150,000.00 a year for maintance and its 20 miles long.

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 3:54 PM

CandOforprogress2
Who is going to pay for trail maintaince on 80 miles of trail where nobody lives in rural counties that are broke. 

The state owns the corridor, so the state will pay, if the trail is even built.  They provide ASRR money each year for corridor maintenance anyhow.

The bigger question is where the money is coming from to build the trail (if it's ever built).

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:01 PM

Excerpt from Adirondack Almanack

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/05/61518.html

The lawsuit lists three causes of action:

Travel Corridor. The rail line is classified as a Travel Corridor in the State Land Master Plan. Except for the rail line, all the Travel Corridors in the Park are highways. ARPS contends that if the tracks are replaced with a recreational trail, the rail line will no longer be a Travel Corridor in the sense intended by the State Land Master Plan. “A Travel Corridor is not defined as a trail allowing for a range of recreational activities. It is defined in terms of highways and railroads,” the plaintiff’s lawyers assert in court papers. ARPS argues that the Adirondack Park Agency erred when it ruled in February that removing the tracks would not violate the State Land Master Plan.

DEC approval. Seggos signed off on the plan in March, according to the lawsuit. ARPS lawyers contend that his approval of the plan was based on “flawed and biased economic impact data.” They also say he ignored competing data. Furthermore, ARPS says Seggos and other DEC officials refused to consider information that the society tried to present at a meeting in December. The lawsuit contends Seggos’s approval of the plan was “arbitrary and capricious” and should be nullified.

Historic preservation. The corridor and the rails are on both the federal and state registers of historic places. Under the state Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law, state agencies must avoid damaging historical resources or take steps to mitigate such damage. DEC has said it intends to install historical signs and repair old railroad buildings along the corridor. But the lawyers for ARPS assert that “the notion that destruction of this historic railroad can be ‘mitigated’ by a sign that [says] ‘once there was a railroad here’ is cynical and irrational.”

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:13 PM

If it goes to a lawsuit, I hope they do better than the Catskill Mtn Railway.  CMR lost the suit on all accounts, had to pay the government's legal fees, and had to agree to support rail dismantling to the extent that they had to expell any member who protested the dismantling.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:39 PM

wanswheel

Excerpt from Adirondack Almanack

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/05/61518.html

The lawsuit lists three causes of action:

Travel Corridor. The rail line is classified as a Travel Corridor in the State Land Master Plan. Except for the rail line, all the Travel Corridors in the Park are highways. ARPS contends that if the tracks are replaced with a recreational trail, the rail line will no longer be a Travel Corridor in the sense intended by the State Land Master Plan. “A Travel Corridor is not defined as a trail allowing for a range of recreational activities. It is defined in terms of highways and railroads,” the plaintiff’s lawyers assert in court papers. ARPS argues that the Adirondack Park Agency erred when it ruled in February that removing the tracks would not violate the State Land Master Plan.

DEC approval. Seggos signed off on the plan in March, according to the lawsuit. ARPS lawyers contend that his approval of the plan was based on “flawed and biased economic impact data.” They also say he ignored competing data. Furthermore, ARPS says Seggos and other DEC officials refused to consider information that the society tried to present at a meeting in December. The lawsuit contends Seggos’s approval of the plan was “arbitrary and capricious” and should be nullified.

Historic preservation. The corridor and the rails are on both the federal and state registers of historic places. Under the state Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law, state agencies must avoid damaging historical resources or take steps to mitigate such damage. DEC has said it intends to install historical signs and repair old railroad buildings along the corridor. But the lawyers for ARPS assert that “the notion that destruction of this historic railroad can be ‘mitigated’ by a sign that [says] ‘once there was a railroad here’ is cynical and irrational.”

 

Travel Corridor: Railbank used to mean leaving the rails in place.  However, it is now interpreted as it's OK to pull the rails and create a trail to "preserve" the corridor for future rail ROW if the need arises.

DEC Approval: Courts give great deference to government official's decission making process.

Historic Preservation: Yes it's cynical, however, historic preservation is experiencing a back swing of the pendulim.  In our state (Michigan) the legislature is considering a sunset on Historical Designation Districts, so that they have to re-apply and go thru the whole approval process every 10 years.  Politics is tilted toward redevelopment.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 9:12 PM

I'll be cynical - if they pull the rails up a Interstate should go in!

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Posted by wanswheel on Friday, May 20, 2016 7:01 PM

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, May 20, 2016 8:35 PM

I called in a little later.  

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Posted by wanswheel on Friday, May 20, 2016 11:28 PM

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 3:18 PM

Ah, those golden tones.  You'd think I'd done radio before, or something... Cool

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Posted by caboose63 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 3:24 PM

too bad the catskill mountain railroad got hosed so bad by the lawsuit. guess the trail nutjobs got what they wanted. will the catskill mountain have any track left to operate any excursion trains, or is it a dead line? nice going trail people.

 

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Posted by caboose63 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 3:27 PM

Even though i live in michigan, I and my wife are praying that the Adirondack Scenic Railroad is successfull in keeping that 34 miles of track in place for further use. Same the trail nuts are so anti rail as does the state's current governor. hope support for Adirondack continues to grow.

 

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, May 21, 2016 3:40 PM
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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 6:41 PM

The Adirondack Railway (for the Olympics) of 1979 and 1980 didn't haul as many people as the Central did in 1932.  It was chiefly the fear of total gridlock in the Lake Placid for the 1980 event that brought it about in the first place.

That said, the summer following the Olympics - June through the end of operations in August - saw some 16,000 people ride the rails to Lake Placid from Utica.  Even if those riders were counted as two boardings, that's still 8,000 passengers - not a number to sneeze at, and higher than the Stone study counted.

There were two round trips per day, and each saw about 100 passengers aboard, according to folks I know whe were there.

From what I've heard, it was some questionable management that lead to the safety issues that brought that operation to an end.  I would suspect that had that iteration been well run, today's Adirondack Scenic Railroad would not exist, as tourist service might well have continued to this day.

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Posted by schlimm on Saturday, May 21, 2016 7:46 PM

tree68
That said, the summer following the Olympics - June through the end of operations in August - saw some 16,000 people ride the rails to Lake Placid from Utica.  Even if those riders were counted as two boardings, that's still 8,000 passengers - not a number to sneeze at, and higher than the Stone study counted. There were two round trips per day, and each saw about 100 passengers aboard, according to folks I know whe were there.

I don't know what numbers the Stone Study showed.  However, the numbers you gave do not come close to agreement.

First number:  16,000, maybe 8,000.

Second set: (2 RT daily = 4);  4 x 92 days x 100 = 36,800.  Now that is a very large number, but so far from the others as to prove again how unreliable eyewitnesses' memories are 36 years later, unless it is the boardings vs passenger metric again.

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, May 21, 2016 8:02 PM

Slightly off-topic, but the acting Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, who signed the execution order, might could possibly personally ride 34 miles of new bikeway.

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, May 21, 2016 9:29 PM

schlimm
I don't know what numbers the Stone Study showed.  However, the numbers you gave do not come close to agreement.

I don't have my copy of the ridership handy, and don't recall the specific period it covers.  And I do have to rely on the recall of the folks who were there 35 years ago, so the specifics there are iffy.

The 16,000 number is solid, though, and is on file with state DOT.  As you note, I don't know how it was arrived at, ie, if that was boardings vs actual bodies.  And service ended, rather abruptly, in mid-August.  It's hard to say how things would have turned out had they continued through fall, when the "leaf peepers" would likely have resulted in sold-out trains.

As I recall, the Stone study (the current study) conservatively estimated 7,000 riders.

The bottom line here is that historically people will ride the railroad all the way from Utica to Lake Placid.

Another thing the "trail advocates" like to point out is that commercial passenger service ended in 1965, which it did.  To compare common carrier passenger service (in 1965) with tourist service (in 2016), however, is ludicrous - apple and oranges.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, May 21, 2016 9:33 PM

caboose63

too bad the catskill mountain railroad got hosed so bad by the lawsuit. guess the trail nutjobs got what they wanted. will the catskill mountain have any track left to operate any excursion trains, or is it a dead line? nice going trail people.

 

 

CMR was kicked out of the Kingston end.  They still have about 6 miles in Phoenicia and eastward.  They wanted to move their Kingston equipment to Phoenicia, but now the Phoenicia locals are trying to stop any further expansion there.  The County also leases this track to CMR, and can someday evict them from here too.

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